As boys, we learn that shaving is a man’s ritual. Every so often, we’d watch our dad prep for a shave. We’d watch his funny facial expressions in front of the mirror, we’d smell the strong detergent scent of shaving cream, and we’d cringe as he covered his cuts with tiny bits of toilet paper. And while scratching our own hairless jawlines, we’d wonder, “when will it be my turn?”.
This is our glimpse into manhood: the art of shaving.
Knowing when to start shaving involves a few factors. For an expert’s opinion, we turned to Dr.Clayton Cummings, a pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine.
What’s the right age to start shaving?
Here’s the blunt, honest truth: every guy reaches this milestone at his own time, whether it’s at 12 or 25. Basically, there’s no exact age for a guy to start shaving.
The question of when depends on personal factors like puberty stage, maturity level and personal preference, explains Dr.Cummings. So if papa hasn’t yet passed down his shaving wisdom, you can still learn about the signs of being ready. Besides, it’s better to stay informed rather than risk botching your face by following a clueless kid giving a shaving tutorial on YouTube. Not advised.
When puberty makes you hairy
In the early stages of puberty, boys get a little whiskery around the lip and chin area. These barely-there bits of hair, otherwise known as “peach fuzz”, can be a sign to start shaving. But it’s not necessarily the rule.
When making the choice to start shaving, a guy should consider “how much hair he has and if it’s bothersome or embarrassing to him,” suggests Dr.Cummings. You can always wait until more hair grows. Not everyone who reaches the early years of puberty will become hairy enough to bother shaving.
Plus, everyone reaches puberty at different stages. This means that hair will grow at different rates for every guy. If it’s just some blonde fluff on your lip, and you’re not desperate for a razor, it’s better to wait until the hairs become darker and more obvious. Otherwise, rushing to feel like a “big boy” can just cause a lot of unnecessary effort and hassle.
Shaving over a young, soft face can cause complications such as “ irritated skin or other problems such as razor burn, bumps, nicks, cuts, or painful ingrown hairs. Ingrown hair is a condition where the hair curls back or sideways into the skin, causing an infection of the hair follicle,” Dr.Cummings explains. These sore follicles (folliculitis) is also known as "razor bumps".
So, if you’ve still got baby skin, it’s better to wait another year or so to start shaving. When your skin ages a bit more, becoming tougher and fuzzier, you’ll know you’re ready.
A shaving gel is perfect for teenagers with acne because it's clear, allowing them to avoid pimples and other problem areas.
Although puberty can be a sign to start shaving, the decision also comes down to a guy’s maturity level.
If you’re an early sprouter with a hint of moustache at twelve, you may not be emotionally ready to start adult-type grooming habits. And that’s okay. According to Dr. Cummings, puberty isn’t always a reliable indicator for when to start shaving. A guy should start shaving when the hairs are visible and he feels prepared to begin this routine.
Sometimes, certain parts of the face are ready for shaving but not others. For example, maybe your upper lip and sideburns have hair, but not your jawline. In this case, you can start shaving, only focusing on the hairy areas without shaving your entire face needlessly.
Bottom line is that these routines shouldn’t be forced. Some guys might be physically ready to shave but not emotionally. So just because you’re sprouting some peach fuzz doesn’t mean you’re should start shaving. Yet it’s normal for young gents to be excited about starting. The ability to shave is an empowering and masculine experience that can boost confidence. But no matter how strong your enthusiasm, if your facial hairs aren’t making their debut, the razor shouldn’t either.
The decision to start shaving also depends on a guy’s personal style.
A thirteen-year-old might develop more thicker beard growth than a sixteen-year-old, but they might have different preferences about how they want to look. Perhaps the thirteen-year-old is enjoying his early sprouts of manhood— even if a little patchy and awkward. And the sixteen-year-old with less hair might start shaving because it feels right for his age and image.
Ultimately, most teenage guys can’t yet grow a thick beard. That’s why most prefer shaving to maintain a neat look, rather than have an uneven, scraggly mess of hair. But then again, if you’re the naturalist type or “just too-cool-to-care”, you might prefer to let your peach fuzz fly free.
There’s never one true indicator to know when a guy should start shaving. But one thing’s for sure: rushing to the razor with a hairless baby face is a big no-no. Say no to premature shaving. And for those who are ready, practice safe shaving.
A clear shave gel is perfect for those looking to tighten lines around their beard, mustache, sideburns or goatee, or those with sensitive skin or breakouts that want to avoid shaving over sensitive areas.