Easier to shave long stubble than short?

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Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby Jacquers » Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:57 am

I generally shave once or twice a week, but last night I wanted to test a new blade so I shaved with about 2 days worth of stubble. I experienced a lot of tugging and pulling and I don't think it was the blade as I've experienced this before with shorter stubble. I find that it's actually easier to shave off longer stubble (e.g. 4+ days worth) than shorter 2 day stubble. There seems to be less tugging and pulling. I know RVT mentioned once that there is a scientific reason for this - I'd like to know why please. And some tips for dealing with the shorter stubble, other than waiting and letting it grow out. Thx!
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby O_P » Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:11 am

Jacquers wrote:I generally shave once or twice a week, but last night I wanted to test a new blade so I shaved with about 2 days worth of stubble. I experienced a lot of tugging and pulling and I don't think it was the blade as I've experienced this before with shorter stubble. I find that it's actually easier to shave off longer stubble (e.g. 4+ days worth) than shorter 2 day stubble. There seems to be less tugging and pulling. I know RVT mentioned once that there is a scientific reason for this - I'd like to know why please. And some tips for dealing with the shorter stubble, other than waiting and letting it grow out. Thx!


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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby Jacquers » Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:22 am

Sure, yes, but I've experienced it with other blades as well. And I changed back to a different better blade mid shave and it did the same. The shorter stubble seems to have more resistance. Maybe the longer stubble has become softer?
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby BLES » Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:49 am

I have no choice but to shave every day as I'm working in uniform. Try to focus on your pre-shave. What I do that work extremely well for me is when I enter the shower I wash my face first with Nivea Sensitive 0% alcohol face wash. On the soap container it state that it help to soften the beard hair.
After shower I rub in either PREP cream or pre-shave oil which further enhances the softness of the stubble. While this sits on the skin I prepare my lather. Just before lathering up I rinse my face with hot water again to keep the stubble soft.
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby Jacquers » Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:01 am

Thx BLES, I should probably spend more time on the pre-shave than what I currently do.
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby dini » Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:11 am

I also shave once or twice a week and find it much easier and smoother , so if there is a scientific reason for this I would also like to know

Sure , different blades might have a different effect and with a whole lot of samples and new blades temptation cannot be ignored :mrgreen:
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:02 am

In my understanding there are three main reasons for this phenomenon. You aren't alone here, many people (myself included) will testify to the fact that shaving longer stubble seems to give a better result than shorter stubble - especially with safety razors.

1. Longer hair is easier to hydrate simply due to each hair having a larger surface area. Hydrated stubble is much easier to cut (some say as much as five times easier).

2. Longer stubble ensures that an even spread of hair enters the gap between the blade edge and the safety bar (known as the blade gap) . This results in a much more even reduction of the beard with each pass. Shorter stubble could have uneven patches meaning certain parts of the blade edge could face more resistance than others. This gets better as your technique improves.

3 . A very fine layer of dead skin cells builds on your skin between shaves. We normally exfoliate this top layer when we shave, This layer gets softened, and loosened by the brush when lathering and and then shaved off with each pass. A longer break between shaves would result in a slightly thicker (and more even) layer of dead skin cells. This thicker layer, when mixed with water from the lather, also gives the razor a better shaving 'surface.' Also, this layer when removed, leaves the skin feeling refreshed and renewed.

As mentioned in earlier posts by Bles. Face prep is important. The steam from a hot shower helps soften the beard. A moist hot towel (from the microwave also helps).

BTW:

This question was answered in a Shave The Man 'post shave Q & A' video on youtube . As luck would have I can't find it now, but it please follow this channel for some great information.

On the old cycling shave forum there was cool post by a doctor (or trainee Doctor) about how the skin and pores react when hair is shaved. There were some interesting diagrams.

Strangely, I find with a straight razor that longer stubble is much trickier to get rid off than short.
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby Jacquers » Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:17 am

Very interesting, thanks for the info - it makes sense.

I'll check out their channel. Could it be this one? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FhzGDr_zYs

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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby HenkB » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:31 am

I also find that shaving every day irritates my skin, but I think that my pre-shave was not right.

That said, I like to take the 30mins every 2nd or 3rd day and just shave at a relaxed pace. One way to soften my beard is that when I am in the hot shower, I take some conditioner and spread it over my beard. Leave it on for about 5 minutes, wash off and then start the shave. I have gotten much more smoother shaves this way, and the conditioner, together with a nice balm afterwards feels that my skin is nicely hydrated.
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:56 am

HenkB wrote:I also find that shaving every day irritates my skin, but I think that my pre-shave was not right.

That said, I like to take the 30mins every 2nd or 3rd day and just shave at a relaxed pace. One way to soften my beard is that when I am in the hot shower, I take some conditioner and spread it over my beard. Leave it on for about 5 minutes, wash off and then start the shave. I have gotten much more smoother shaves this way, and the conditioner, together with a nice balm afterwards feels that my skin is nicely hydrated.


Thanks Henk :thumbup: (I always wondered what the conditioner was for :) )
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby AndreV » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:30 am

Looks like we are all in the same boat.
I never shave 2 days after one another but rather leave my face to rest a day or 2 between shaves. But my smoothest shaves i get from 4 days growth with a sharp new blade (which i will be doing tonight 8-) )
I have always wondered about conditioning my beard before shaves, especially after seeing a face conditioner on the table at my local barber. It's in a hairspray kind of bottle. Haven't been there for a shave as yet but think i'll try one with my next hair cut. But before that I'll borrow some of the SO's conditioner to try, thanks for the hint Henk
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Re: Easier to shave long stubble than short?

Postby dappershaves » Sun Sep 19, 2021 5:21 pm

Not sure I agree with some of the information presented in post 7 above. I say this with utmost respect to the poster and value contributor on this forum. But more importantly it’s my opinion and so it must be observed, an opinion only.

1. Firstly short stubble will hydrate at the same rate as a longer hairs from the same person, surface area has no bearing on hydration. If both are covered with water they will hydrate equally fast. I do agree that hydrated hairs will significantly cut easier than dry. Secondly hydration is also provided by the skin, thats why the ends of your hair on your head (not Bles thou) are dryer than closer to the skin. Thus skin and beard preparation as suggested by Bles is what’s going to determine your end result, not hair length. Additionally dry skin will not hydrate like hairs (within a couple of minutes), so if your skin is dry the shave will be bad and this is where folks think their beard is the problem, especially when shaving daily when in fact its their skin. Skin care and preparation is critical if you want to shave regularly.

2. Stubble length will be consistent if you shave daily or once a week. If you do shave with lacking technique and have uneven patches this will be true for short or long stubble. Secondly shorter hairs will enter the blade gap area a lot easier than longer hairs, ask Lood de Jager, he struggle to enter a single man tent. If you have good technique you will cut the hairs evenly, long or short.

3. I don’t understand how a layer of dead cells will give the razor a better surface to work on. More over these dead cell are washed/scrubbed away with lather using a brush before you shave. The only guarantee for healthy new skin cells is to keep the shin health and hydrate, if not new cells will dehydrate nearly immediately causing sore red and irritated skin.

I believe the primary reason folks believe longer hairs cut easier than shorter is that their skin has more time to recover between shave because of poor/lacking skin and beard preparation. Get on point with you preparation using a great soap, keep your skin healthy and hydrated and your result will significantly improve.
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