Do You Exfoliate Before or After Shaving?

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips

Exfoliation offers a number of benefits to our skin. It removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores, evens skin tone, and can even improve blood flow! But, do you exfoliate before or after shaving? When is the best time to exfoliate and enjoy all these benefits, while also making sure you get the best shave possible? We’ll explore this question below and share the information you want to know to help you decide when to exfoliate.

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Table of Contents

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Should I Exfoliate Before or After Shaving?

You should exfoliate your skin before shaving.  Before we go into why you should exfoliate before shaving, let’s explore what exfoliate is and what it does.

Exfoliate is a process that removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores, and removes any other dirt, debris, or bacteria that is hanging around on your legs.  Safely exfoliating at home can help improve the tone and texture of your skin and can even stimulate the production of collagen.

So, back to our original question:  should you exfoliate before or after shaving?  Exfoliating before shaving is the best choice.  It can help you achieve a closer shave while also reducing the chances of getting an ingrown hair.

Exfoliation improves the texture of your skin, so your razor will be able to get closer to each hair.  Also, since all those pesky dead skin cells are removed with exfoliation, it will be less likely for ingrown hairs to develop, since they are often caused by clogged hair follicles.

Another benefit of exfoliating before you shave is that your hairs will be lifted up.  This will ensure that your razor is able to cut through them with ease.  If the hairs aren’t lifted up like this, it will be more difficult for the razor to cut them properly, and it may end up pulling on them.  This can cause tears or cuts on the skin.

Shaving Situations

Do you always exfoliate before shaving?  Read through each of these situations to learn more about shaving specific areas of the body.

Exfoliate Face Before or After Shaving

Exfoliating your face before shaving is the best idea.  It helps ensure that your skin is prepped and ready for a close shave by removing dead skin cells.  Exfoliating also helps the hairs stand up to ensure the razor will be able to shave them without pulling, which can prevent little cuts or tears in the skin.

Exfoliate Before or After Shaving Pubic Area

Before you shave your pubic area, you should gently exfoliate it.  This will get rid of dead cells and make it possible for the razor to get closer.  Exfoliating your pubic area before you shave can also loosen ingrown hairs for a more effective shave.

Exfoliate Legs Before or After Shaving

Before you shave, use a sugar scrub or other exfoliators to exfoliate your legs.  The sugar scrub we recommend is Tree Hut Island Bliss Shea Sugar Scrub. Exfoliating your legs before shaving can help you achieve that perfect shave you’re always looking for.  It removes dirt, oil, and dead skin cells from your legs, which means that the razor will be able to get in for a much closer and smoother shave.  If you’ve been dealing with ingrown hair, exfoliating first can also help lessen the chances of them developing.

Exfoliate Before or After Waxing

Exfoliating before waxing is fine, but you will want to wait at least one or two days after exfoliating to have waxing done.  Exfoliating before waxing is a good idea since it removes the dead skin cells and can make it easier for the wax to grab onto the hair and not the skin.  However, if you do it too close to your appointment, it can make your skin more sensitive and waxing may be more painful.

Sugar Scrub Before or After Shaving

Since sugar scrubs are a type of exfoliator, you will want to use them before you shave.  It will help remove dead skin cells and lift your hairs up for a closer shave.  Using a sugar scrub right after shaving may irritate your skin.

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Exfoliate or Shave First Before Tan

Whether you’re looking to use a self-tanner, spend some time in a tanning bed, or tan outdoors, exfoliating and shaving before getting your tan is best.  It can help prepare your skin and improve the look of the tan.  If you wait to exfoliate and shave until after tanning, you’ll be removing some of the outer layer of skin, which is where the color is.  This, clearly, is not what you want if you just spent time tanning your skin, so always exfoliate and shave before tanning (about 24 hours before is ideal).

Can You Shave Right After exfoliating?

How long should you wait to shave after exfoliating?  If you’d like, you should be able to shave right after exfoliating.  Your skin will be prepped and ready to go, and you’ll be able to get a close shave and very smooth skin.

Can you exfoliate and shave on the same day?

Yes, you can exfoliate and shave on the same day.  However, make sure you exfoliate before, not right after shaving.  Exfoliating before shaving can help improve your skin, but exfoliating right after shaving may irritate the skin.  This is since shaving leaves tiny cuts in the skin, and the exfoliator may irritate these cuts and cause redness.

How do you exfoliate before shaving?

Follow the steps below to help you exfoliate before shaving:

  • Brush any loose dead skin cells off of your skin using a medium-soft bristle brush.  Move the bush in circular motions in the direction of your heart.  Apply some pressure, but not too much; you want to remain gentle.
  • If you’re exfoliating your face, use your hands to apply an exfoliator such as Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant.  If you’re exfoliating another part of your body, you can use a loofah to apply an exfoliator such as Brooklyn Botany Brown Sugar Body Scrub.  Regardless of the area you are exfoliating, use circular motions.
  • Rinse your skin off to remove the exfoliator and any dead skin cells and debris that it has removed.  Start with a warm water rinse, then follow up with a cooler water rinse, as it can help prevent clogging of your pores.
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Exfoliate Before Shaving

Exfoliating before you shave can improve your shave and leave your skin extra smooth.  What new tips have you learned that you are going to use to help you with exfoliating and shaving?  Share them below, we’d love to hear!

Read through these related posts on our blog to learn more about exfoliation and taking care of your skin!


Should I exfoliate before or after shaving?

You should exfoliate your skin before shaving.

Can You Shave Right After exfoliating?

If you’d like, you should be able to shave right after exfoliating.

Can you exfoliate and shave on the same day?

Yes, you can exfoliate and shave on the same day.

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  1. Oh no! Of course exfoliation like this isn’t for everyone, best to listen to your own skin needs!

  2. I wish I could do this! If I exfoliate, my skin is too sensitive for any kind of hair removal afterwards without getting awful irritation. I try to exfoliate the day before but even then I get mild irritation after I shave/ wax. I can never get that super smooth prep unfortunately x

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