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How do you pass - what's your technique?

I often see shavers mention with the grain (WTG), across the grain (XTG), and against the grain (ATG) passes. Two to four passes in a shave seems to be the typical range. I was thinking this could be an interesting topic to capture what others are doing.

I typically do three passes, a WTG, then two XTG passes. I hardly ever go ATG, I have found for me that the smooth-feeling that only lasts several hours isn't worth the risk of getting irritation or ingrown hairs that last much longer than the smooth feeling. I've found that ATG is just not comfortable for me during or after the shave, so I have come to enjoy a damn fine shave instead of BBS.

The WTG pass is fairly straightforward, generally north to south, except for the bottom inch or so of my neckline that is south to north. For my second pass, I do a XTG pass that is from the ears to the mouth direction on the cheeks, and then about 30-40 degrees from WTG direction going from the ears to the Adam's apple. For the third pass I do another XTG pass, sometimes ears-chin or chin-ears direction on my cheeks, then from the chin down away from my Adam's apple. I typically do one or two touch ups at the end of the shave now.

So what's your technique for passes per shave?
With the grain, against the grain, and a touch up atg, so i guess 2 1/2 passes 😊
I’m a daily shaver, and have super tough “steelwire” whiskers, and fortunately not sensitive skin 😊 only thing that can give me irritation is coated blades really 🤨
# WTG > XTG (Lips to Ear) > XTG (Ear to Lips) for above the jaw line area.

Second XTG pass is done a bit angular (leaning towards ATG).

# Ear (left side) to Ear (Right side) = WTG
North to South (XTG) and then South to North (XTG) for neck area.

I've learned not to go ATG in neck area unless I'm feeling too lucky and besides, I can get BBS with this technique.


Probably not Al Bundy
When I first got started I did a single WTG pass and as a daily shaver, this worked well and allowed me to learn and get my technique down, then after about 12 months I started doing 2 passes, WTG and XTG (lips to ear on right side then lips to ear on left side). This achieves DFS 99% of the time for me. Have never felt the need to pursue the additional ATG pass to achieve BBS.
Like ShavingPanda, I find diminishing returns to ATG, except for in one spot on my neck just under my chin.

My beard tends to grow pretty much down in one direction other than around my adam's apple where it reverses.

1. I shave WTG left cheek, left side of neck, right cheek, right side of neck, then moustache left and right, chin and below mouth, then up (still WTG) around my adam's apple.

2. Then I relather and do roughly the same pattern XTG.

3. Finally, I rinse, feel around for any missed spots, and relather for cleanup and usually I will do an ATG pass on my neck starting midway up to my chin and do some buffing on my chin. Getting the whiskers that grow near my ears just behind my jawbone often requires some ATG touch up too.
ATG, except for upper lip, which is XTG with blade buffing.

But what constitutes a pass? I try to shave each patch of skin only once. If the blade angle is correct I don't see what additional swipes with the same angle in the same direction will do little to nothing.

I have seen videos where it looks like the shaver is blade buffing his whole face. If I did that for three passes my skin would be a basket case.
WTG or ATG passes are irrelevant to me.

My beard particularly on my neck grows in so many directions and then in spots swirls so that a WTG pass is meaningless. I look to see in what direction my beard grows the most and that becomes my WTG pass realizing that in some spots it may be XTG and ATG. I then use an exceptionally light touch in going in that direction.

To get a decent shave I have found that I have to do a four-pass shave. My first pass is North to South. As I said some of my beard grows in such a manner that going N to S is against the grain and across the grain. My next pass is from the back of my neck to the front and with the third pass from the front to the back. My final pass is South to North. Most of my beard on the final pass is against the grain but in some places it is WTG and XTG.


Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
It’s tough to track under the jawline, but I try getting everything in one or two ATG passes and calling it a day. Sometimes, I don’t get irritation or weepers. Working on changing that to “usually.” It’s good to have dreams…


Remember to forget me!
My predominant grain flow is from the left ear to the right ear, although within any area, there is a good percentage of the growth veering in different directions.

My first pass is typically, vertically to the jawline. Shaving downwards on the face, and upwards on the neck. My second pass tends to be vertical in the opposite direction.

If I want to go for full smoothness, I have to start introducing horizontal and diagonal travel. Imagine a magnetic field diagram, with a magnet shown horizontally, and that roughly shows the paths I must take. I may then need to to a bit of "seek and destroy", to remove any errant stubble that wasn't captured by the earlier passes.

For many shaves, that's all very unnecessary though, and I can be quite content with just the two vertical passes, with maybe just a couple of off-vertical swipes on the right side of the face.
As I developed my SR shaving technique, I was doing three passes; WTG, XTG and ATH. This worked well until I started getting a BBS result. That was so close that I had nothing to shave 24 hours later.

I then changed to two passes; WTG and XTG. This gave me something to shave 24 hours later but I could only shave 14 passes per week. After adjusting my technique, I was able to return to three passes; WTG and 2 x XTG. This still left me something to shave 24 hours later (although not as much as with a two-pass shave) and 21 passes per week. I still do a fool's pass (upper lip ATG) with every shave but that is to ensure that the blade's edge is up to my standard.

For me, the goal is to get as may SR passes in per week. That is what many SR shavers want to do.
I have a weird technique which works for me. There are areas of my face I totally avoid on my first pass. I do one solid pass on these areas in my second run. This includes the areas around and above my chin and portions of my neck.

I am prone to in growns there and I have had better luck attacking these areas once. Call me crazy. But it works for me.

I generally only do WTG and XTG.
When I began wet shaving I did the "Big Three" every single time. After a while I discovered that for my use (head shaving) most modern razors let me comfortably do two passes: WTG/ATG. Then I started using barber straights/shavettes occasionally, and learned that taking off as much of the easy stuff first means there's less hard stuff to do later. So I started with two WTG passes, followed by ATG.

I took that concept under advisement with some vintage DE and SE razors and found that two WTG passes, depending on several factors, made ATG much easier.

Now I tend to look at a razor first and see how it's built. Something like a Blackland Sabre or an ATT SE1 that shaves smooth from all the way across the room :) I'm going to take only two passes and it'll be wonderful. Some other razors, particularly ones that don't clamp the blade very well, are going to need a more gradual and complete reduction.

We can't say what's "mid-aggressive" as a universal truth. What I find aggressive another person may feel is too mild to shave at all. Or useful for flensing but not for shaving. However, my experience is that mild to low-aggressive razors even if well designed will give me a smooth shave in three or sometimes four (2WTG, 2ATG) passes. What I would call a mid-aggressive razor usually can do two passes -- more than that is courting irritation. Some razors are just too much for me, but for my sins I've tried them anyway. :)

Ultra traditional here. Three passes, WTG, XTG, and ATG.

DE and SE all follow the traditional dictum.
But then it's not so traditional with straights ...

WTG all over us pretty normal.
The XTG above my jawline is also normal.
"XTG" below my jawline is actually "WTG" again, but using the opposite hand as the first pass.
ATG is normal everywhere but my upper lip and the corners of my mouth which are XTG again.
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