Cold Water Shaving: Better Than Shaving With Hot Water?

Cold Water Shaving: Better Than Shaving With Hot Water?

When the day is hot and steamy, cold water shaving seems enticing.

Experts have always vowed for the benefits of shaving with hot water. It softens the skin and the hair and de-clogs the pores for a seamless shaving experience. But rarely do they talk about using cold water for shaving. Some may even think of it as a crazy idea.

However, cold water shaving is not as bizarre as it may sound.

In this article, we will answer all your questions about shaving with cold water:

Man Washing His Face With Cold Water
Shaving with either hot or cold water is a personal preference; though each one has its own pros and cons.

Is It Okay to Shave With Cold Water?

Getting a professional shave from a barber is like getting a spa treatment—it is comforting, and the results are out of this world. The professionals always begin the process by steaming your face with a hot towel then using a warm lather for the base. The only time you will get cold water on your face is when you finish your shaving routine. Sometimes, they do not even do that.

Hence, many are wondering if it is okay to shave with cold water. Using hot water for shaving is not a rule set in stone. Not to mention, shaving techniques and water temperatures are relative. To each his own, really.

Also, in Sir John Bannard’s A Present For An Apprentice, he says that you should “always” use cold water for shaving because it “saves much time and trouble.” You do not need to wait for your hot water to reach the perfect temperature for shaving. Cold water is always readily available.

So, yes, it is okay to shave with cold water. During hot summer days, you would not want to be near warm water. You want to have a refreshing shave and not add more degrees to your body’s already rising temperature.

What Are The Benefits Of Shaving With Cold Water?

If hot water for shaving calls for a smoother experience, is there any benefit to cold water shaving?

Of course, there is. If not, no one would even bother trying it out.

On that note, here are the benefits of using cold water for shaving:

  • Tightens the skin
    Cold water constricts the blood vessels on the skin. It makes up for a tighter base for your blade to glide on. Think of it as skating on solid ice. Sometimes, hot water softens the skin too much, making it bend along the movements of your blade—similar to skating over moist soil.

  • Closer shave
    Some shaving aficionados on Badger and Blade tried out cold water shaving and enjoyed the results. One even said that it gave him a closer shave. Cold water is excellent for separating the hair strands from the skin. It simply stiffens the hair, letting it stand up, hence easier to cut with a blade and easier to achieve a skin-level shave.

  • Calms the skin
    According to Tony Robbins, cold water showers “lower the damaged tissue’s temperature.” So, if you use cold water on your face for shaving, you enjoy immediate relief and less inflammation. It will significantly benefit with experiencing razor burn, and minor cuts or shaving nicks will not hurt too much as the cold water already somehow numbed them down.

  • Convenient
    Shaving with hot water is a luxury the elites enjoyed during the old times. During those times, hot water is not accessible. People had to wait by the fire and wait for their waters to warm up to experience a comforting shave. Hence, why many opt to shave with cold water.

    Now that heaters are available, and faucets have built-in hot water settings, getting a hot water shave is no longer an inconvenience. But what happens if these systems stop working or if there is no electricity? You will not have a choice but to use cold water for shaving. Either way, cold water is always there, making it a convenient option for people who are always on the go.

  • Refreshing
    Yuppiejr, from the same Badger and Blade forum, mentions that cold water shaving can be an excellent summer experiment. During hot summer days, you might get a sunburn, and shaving on top of inflamed skin is just downright painful. Cold water shaving may not be as comfortable as hot water shaving, but it sure is refreshing.

    Although shaving with cold water can be chilling to the bones at first, there is no harm in trying it out. Given these benefits, we can say it is worth a shot.

Who Should Use Cold Water For Shaving?

Cold water shaving is best for people who have sensitive or acne-prone skin. The anti-inflammatory properties of cold water calm down the skin and constrict pores. It does not disrupt the top layer of oil and sebum on your skin, not triggering the skin to produce more sebum. Hence, controlling oil production and preventing breakouts.

Man Showering with Cold WaterShaving may cause irritation especially to sensitive skin that is why it's important to observe which temperature is apt for you.

Is It Better To Shave With Hot Or Cold Water?

Shaving with cold water feels like violating the laws of traditional wet shaving. But not really. Again, to each his own. Yet, why do many people opt for hot water for shaving? Is it better to use higher temperatures of water to accompany your grooming needs?

Let us weigh out the pros and cons of using hot water vs. cold water for shaving:

 Hot Water for Shaving (Pros) Cold Water for Shaving (Pros)
  • Softens the skin
  • Unclogs pores
  • Softens hair follicles
  • Relaxing
  • Gives a better aroma for shaving soaps
  • Close shave
  • No tugging and pulling
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Constricts the skin and hair
  • Close shave
  • Refreshing
  • Convenient
  • Less energy consumption
Hot Water for Shaving (Cons) Cold Water for Shaving (Cons)
  • May trigger acne
  • Dries out the skin (if too hot)
  • Makes the hair sharp after the blade cuts through
  • Risks of getting razor bumps and ingrown hairs

The takeaway is that shaving with hot or cold water does not matter too much. Do not use boiling hot water to lather your shaving soap as it can damage your brush, and the lather may scorch your skin. Meanwhile, if you have high blood pressure and a weak heart, do not use ice-cold water for shaving as it may shock your body, risking a stroke.

What you need to do instead is find the perfect temperature of the water that works best for your skin—using warm water anywhere between 100-120℉ (37.8-48.9℃) or anything just a little higher than an average body temperature. Warm water does not dry your skin and does not trigger overproduction of sebum, so it is the best way to go.

Yet, no matter whether you use cold water or hot water for shaving, what is truly important to give you the best shave is your shaving gear. Hot water may weaken your razor blade’s integrity, hence getting a durable straight razor with a blade having a 61-65 HRC rating like our Solomon Straight Razor is the wisest choice if you want to have a long-lasting razor.

No matter what your water temperature is for shaving, using a reliable razor will guarantee the best results and a clean shave always.

Naked Armor's Solomon Straight Razor Kit

Do not forget to complete your shaving gear by checking out Naked Armor kits, complete with a robust straight razor, leather strop for maintenance, a sturdy shaving brush, and organic shaving soap.


More Naked Armor Reads:

How To Use A Scuttle Shaving Mug
Lathering Shave Soap: Step-by-Step Guide
Is It Better To Shave Before or After Shower

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