We’re often asked the best way to shave here at Dollar Shave Club, with requests ranging from manscape tips for avoiding the dreaded post-body shave prickle to advice on how to stop bleeding from shaving. But few areas seem as troublesome as that area directly beneath the nose, a veritable no-man’s land of uneven terrain, awkward stray hairs and sensitive skin. We turned to Mark Herro—a man who’s been offering expert grooming advice at Sharpologist.com for over a decade—for some pointers on the best way to shave this tricky patch of face.
Step 1: Shave Downwards
Once you’ve gone through your usual pre-shave preparations (using an exfoliating prep scrub and lathering up with a good shave lather or shave butter), shave the rest of your face, leaving the upper lip for last, giving those tough hairs maximum time to soften up. When you’re ready, curl your top lip downwards to tighten the skin—making for a smoother, more even surface for the razor blades—then shave downwards from right underneath the nose.
Step 2: Shave Outwards
Unlike the rest of your face—which generally should be done in as few passes as possible to help avoid ingrown hair—the best way to shave your upper lip is with multiple passes. For the second assault, turn your razor horizontally and position it in the middle of your upper lip, under the nose, then shave outwards as though cleaning the soap off your windshield. Do this on both sides of your lip.
Step 3: Shave Inwards
For the next step, you want to repeat the previous step, but in reverse—that is, you want to shave from the outside of your lip inwards. Once again, shave one side at a time, with the razor in a horizontal position.
Step 4: Shave Upwards
This is pretty much the only time you’ll ever hear us recommend not to shave with the grain. Curl your lip downwards once again, and shave from your top lip up to your nostrils. Thanks to the uneven surface of the upper lip, it’s necessary to make so many passes to catch every straggler, and to make sure that all the hairs are sliced down to a uniform height.
Step 5: Catch Those Last Tricky Hairs
If you find you still have a couple hairs hiding somewhere awkward—like right below the folds of your nostrils—there’s an easy way to get to them. Turn your razor around and look at the back: Many models come with a special trimmer edge to help you get at the harder to reach hairs. Use this to clear out those tight spots.
Step 6: Moisturize
Apply a gentle alcohol-free post shave cream to your face, making sure to rub some into the upper lip as well. Then, stand back and admire your hairless mustache area. Now that you know the best way to shave that tricky top lip, it need never look messy again.