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How to Teach a Young Man to Shave For the First Time

There are many times when single parents are faced with the dilemma of teaching the opposite sex child some basics of life that they will have to acquire. A single dad may have to learn all about pigtails and braids, talking to a daughter about periods, and helping her to select her first bra. These can be daunting occasions for some fathers who are alone.

Single moms have a similar situation: how to teach a son about puberty, hormones, girls and simple tasks like shaving. If you are a woman who has no older brothers, no close male friends and no friendly he-man neighbors what are you to do?

Resources about shaving hair

First, I believe it is rare, under normal circumstances, that a person has no one to turn to. But, there are situations in which this occurs. In this day and age our technical support team is a great start. When my nephew, now 17, had his eighth grade commencement he wore a suit and tie. I had to figure out how to tie it and teach it back to him. My resource: the internet.

By turning to ‘Google’ I was able to select the visual aid that assisted me the most in understanding the twists of the knots and practicing it. When it comes to the ‘first shave’ ritual, I would suggest that moms take a peek at what videos are available on YouTube or other sites. It is amazing how much one can learn by turning to this resource.

Boys love to practice shaving

Applying shaving cream from a toy kit.

Applying shaving cream from a toy kit.


Daddy Role Models

Little boys love to emulate their fathers in every way. Watching dad shave, and later pretending to shave, is part of the development of young males. I have a wonderful memory of my oldest grandson, Marco, receiving his first ‘shaving kit’ one Christmas when he was six. He could not wait to try it out.

The first shave is actually a ritual and one that should ideally be shared between father and son. That is what memories are made of. But, with the number of absent parents, (both moms and dads), that is not always the case.

When my nephew had grown sufficient facial hair for me to no longer ignore, I sent a good friend in to help with his first shave. And, what was my role? I acted as witness and recorder-I took the photos of the event. The men, young and old alike, were tolerant of me and my camera.

How to Shave: Steps 1-3

So, how to teach a young man how to shave for the first time? These are the steps I would recommend:

1. Provide a man’s razor. Ladies, don’t give your son a pink handled razor and expect him to be happy using it. It’s humiliating enough that you are standing in the bathroom with him without stripping him of his dignity further by handing him a girl’s razor.

2. Buy shaving cream. Again, do not hand over a product that you are using-keep those girly things out of sight from his first experience. Shaving cream is recommended over soap. There are several reasons for this, primarily-it dries quickly on the skin and does not act as a lubricant.

3. Instruct your son to place a warm, moist washcloth over his face where he will shave. As seen in the old 'barber shop' scenes in movies, and suggested by hubber Stevennix2001, it provides a smoother shave. Then, have him lather his face well. Shaving cream should cover the facial hair liberally-under the nose, around the jaw, up the cheekbones, etc, etc.

A Teen's First Shave

Coordinating the shave from a mirror reflection

Coordinating the shave from a mirror reflection

The Final Touch to a First shave for a teen

Teaching a new skill takes patience

Teaching a new skill takes patience

How to Shave Steps 4-5

4. Give your son plenty of encouragement and keep the criticism out of your voice. This is not the time to make the young man any more nervous handling a razor to his sensitive skin. Comments about the mess in the bathroom, ruining your clean towel, etc, need to be tabled. There is nothing in the room that cannot be replaced-unless it is the previously mentioned nose.

5. Some men like to splash a little aftershave or cologne to their cheeks for a refreshing end. This decision will have to be up to your son. But, it is a wise woman that teaches less is more.


Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on December 01, 2012:

Vinaya, that's cute. I'm sure every guy (and gal) has faced similar 'cutting' experiences. Thanks for sharing your experience here. :)

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Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on December 01, 2012:

I still remember when I shaved for the first time. I had cut in many places, and my face was swelling. I did not face my sisters and mother for three days.

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on September 25, 2012:

Richard, I'm sure it will be a very long time before this young man will master shaving in the shower! 1. He HATES taking a shower probably more than he hates shaving. 2. he won't shave unless prompted to. 3. he won't shower unless prompted to 4. his coordination with any task is always a bit challenging-can't imagine him shaving without looking in a mirror. Thanks for reading-I enjoyed your comments. LOL

Rich from Kentucky on September 24, 2012:

Denise -

I know teaching the opposite gender how to do tasks such as shaving are difficult, but remember, males do not shave under the arms or the legs. lol The kids would never forgive you for that. Actually, another place to shave is in the shower. I've done it for years and actually find it awkward to stare in a mirror and shave now. Plus, it saves time, even though it uses a little more water.

Great Hub! I don't envy your task at all!

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on August 13, 2012:

Hi Augustine-it's interesting how this hub provokes 'first time' memories. I'm not sure if my dad taught my brothers to shave, either. I'll be heading to a family reunion soon and will have to ask my oldest bro. Thanks for reading.

Hello Aubrey-wow, 7 girls! and you & your brother, haha. That must have been wild! Thanks for reading and sharing your experience. I appreciate the vote up and comments.

AE Williams from Atlanta, GA on August 13, 2012:

This is awesome!! I never got to learn to really truly shave because I was raised by my grandma. I guess this hub could be a prediction about how she felt about raising two boys (my older brother and I). She had seven girls... so I don't think she knew much about "manly" things. Though she did her best. Funny, awesome, voted up!! Thanks a lot Denise for sharing this! :)


Augustine A Zavala from Texas on August 13, 2012:

I can't remember how I learned how to shave. My dad didn't teach me, I think I learned from a friend.

It is supremely important to learn how to do it right, because if you don't then you will suffer with razor burn and ingrown hairs. Outstanding!

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on May 14, 2012:

Hi Kelley-thanks for your comments and vote up! :)

kelleyward on May 14, 2012:

Hi Denise Handlon, with three boys of my own I definitely need this skill. You did such a great job presenting this. I'm bookmarking it! My boys love to play like they are shaving in the shower! It's so cute. Voted up and useful! Take care, Kelley

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 27, 2012:

Thank you, theraggededge, for your comments. Have fun! :)

Bev G from Wales, UK on April 27, 2012:

Sooo useful. What a great idea to turn it into a ritual. I have a 13-year old (boy!) with a very hairy upper lip - it's nearly time to bring on this 'first ritual of manhood'!

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on May 04, 2011:

Hi Eiddwen-I understand completely. I'm guilty of it myself. It's easy to get away from reading others when life is demanding and our own work is calling us. I've completed two hubchallenges and am now in my third: January-successful; April-short by 8 and hopefully May will be successful. add to that family and a job and well...everyone does his or her best. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Eiddwen from Wales on May 04, 2011:

This is so very well presented and unique.

I have to apologise Denise I seemed to have lost track of my hub reading but I am catching up slowly but surely.

I away now to read you daughter and sister's hubs.

If they take after you they will be brillaint.

Take care


Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 29, 2011:

Hi fundu-I'm glad you stuck with the article and didn't bypass it based on your first impression of the title. Thanks for reading and commenting.

thefundu from India on April 29, 2011:

When I looked at the topic first, it sounded funny but my mind changed after reading it. It's a difficult situation for mothers to teach her boy how to shave and you've tried to taught her in a good way...

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 28, 2011:

Pararudalf-thanks for reading and commenting

PhilipA-You're welcome-glad it was helpful.

philipandrews188 on April 28, 2011:

Thanks for the step of this articles it can make easy to follow.

pararudalf from India on April 27, 2011:

Awesome good work here.

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 26, 2011:

@Raven-Thanks. Nice to meet you.

@ The WriteWay: OUCH! Sounds like the first adventure my youngest daughter had with a razor. Went to a friends house, who happened not to be well supervised, and got into her mothers razor. Came home with a huge bloody gash on her leg. I didn't rub it in the old: mother knows best. She was about 8 and way too young for such things. Glad all ended well for you. Thanks for the comments and welcome to hubpages.

The Write Way from Ireland on April 26, 2011:

I attempted my first shave when I was 7 or 8 and split my lip open. It was very painful as i recall. When I was 15 or 16 and actually needed to shave my parents wouldn't teach me because they thought my skin was too sensitive and spotty and I'd ruin my face. I did it anyway and all was fine. If only they'd had this guide it would have gone smoother hehe nice hub :)

ravenlt04 from Atlanta, GA on April 26, 2011:

Cool and unique hub!

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 24, 2011:

Hi Nikomia, Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

nikomia on April 24, 2011:

I would rather use electric shaving machine. There's no risk of cut, pimples, rough skin, whatsoever.

I learned shaving myself at the age of 12 and remember having my lip cut by the razor's sharp edge. Ouuuuuccchhhhhhh!

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 23, 2011:

Hi John, thanks for reading and commenting. I suppose one never forgets their first shave. :)

John Orton on April 22, 2011:

Interesting post, when i use to shave for the first time my dad told me how to do :D

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 19, 2011:

Thank you Surfraz. I appreciate your comments.

Surfraz from India on April 19, 2011:

Good advices for single parent. By such hubs i could feel the situation how hard it would be for them and how easy to tackle. a very nice hub..

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 18, 2011:

Hi Steven-thanks for reading and commenting. I didn't realize that about the moist, hot towel, although it makes sense. And, I do recall seeing that in the old barber shop films. Thanks! OK, Steven, amended. Thanks again.

Stevennix2001 on April 18, 2011:

Pretty good advice Denise. Although, you might want to include that it helps applying a hot towel over your face before applying the shaving cream onto your skin. It kind of helps the razor glide onto your skin better. At least, that's been my experience. To be honest, nobody ever taught me how to shave as a child, as I was kind of forced to figure it out for myself. Luckily, I've seen a lot of old films that had guys shaving in the past, so I kind of just mimiced what I saw. lol. Good thing I didn't screw it up though for my first time. Otherwise, that might've been...(gulps)..PAINFUL. LOL. Anyways, thanks for the great read Denise. I'll definitely be sure to rate your hub up on this one, as you offer some very good advice here. :)

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 16, 2011:

Thank you for stopping by V.

Vinod from Hyderabad, India on April 16, 2011:

Hi Denise! Well written, of course, and I can imagine, useful too!

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 14, 2011:

Hi Beth, thanks for visiting and commenting. I hope you are well and not too busy, LOL

Beth100 from Canada on April 13, 2011:

Wonderful Denise!! So many single parents are in the situation of teaching their child something that they have never done before or never thought of. I love how you have reminded us to be sensitive on all accounts.

One thing I am grateful for is the internet!!! A wealth of information at our fingertips! :)

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 12, 2011:

Hi Kath-had to chuckle when I read the 'band-aid wrappers'. Isn't that true of all new shavers? Thanks for leaving your comments.

Credence-you are most welcome. :) Opening that portal is a sweet experience sometimes. Thanks for reading and commenting. My nephew is 17. He has just started shaving and I just think, "late bloomer".

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 12, 2011:

You know, I never really thought about the fact that I had to learn this at some point, but had forgotten under what circumstances. Puberty is happening at earlier ages these days, as I really did not have to deal with the shaving issue until I was 18. I guess, I just picked a razor and started thru trial and error, eventually getting it right.

Recalling the time when I was involved with this brings back rich memories of a simpler time. Thanks for opening the portal.

Kathy from California on April 11, 2011:

I wish I had your guide when my son was learning to shave, band-aid wrappers filled the sink instead ;-) What a great how-to idea! Very useful Denise!

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 11, 2011:

Simone-LOL I love your comment AND your unborn/never to be born son's name, LOL Thanks for reading.

Hi viryabo-wow, thanks for sharing this info with your friend. I appreciate your comments.

Hi B-yes, my 'little' guy is getting to be a big guy-he is a whopping year older since the photo was taken, but I don't live near them so the time is slipping away so fast. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

b. Malin on April 11, 2011:

what a Wonderful Hub read and guide for either parent to follow. Thanks for sharing and I Loved the pictures of the little guy...brought back memories of my own two boys at that age.

viryabo from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 11, 2011:

Good guide and easy to follow instructions. Just shared this with my single mom friend, whose son (my Godson) is getting to that age.

Great advice.

GodBless Denise.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 11, 2011:

This is such a fantastic guide!! Voted up and useful! If I ever have a son (which will never happen... but if it does, his name will SO be Atticus), I shall know how to teach him!

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 11, 2011:

Hi Carrie, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have a great week.

carrie450 from Winnipeg, Canada on April 11, 2011:

Very good advice Denise.

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 10, 2011:

Ann-thanks for the boost. REally needing it...:)

Cara, LOL OMG you are funny. But, all joking aside, just do what you can and don't think 'perfectionism'. Love you.

Shogan-thank you for your feedback and good luck with that job, LOL I hadn't even considered the electric razor! It's good practice for him anyway (that's my nephew in the photo that I care for-the older one. The younger boy is my grandson).

shogan from New England on April 10, 2011:

What a cool idea for a hub, Denise. I wonder how many people teach boys to use electric razors these days? It doesn't have the same allure, but that's what I'm planning to do when my son gets older. :)

cardelean from Michigan on April 10, 2011:

I know what you mean Mom, I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to do this now that I'll be back to work. And I commented BEFORE church!!!

annmackiemiller on April 10, 2011:

Well done! and this after a night shift? wow - keep 'em coming

Denise Handlon (author) from Michigan on April 10, 2011:

Good morning, daughter. How are you? and why aren't you in church? LOL Thanks for reading. Yesterday I took 9 hrs (interrupted but you get the pic) writing the butterfly symbol hub. Today, I come home from midnight shift and crank this one out. But, I'm still very behind.

Take care and thanks for reading it. YOu're #1! LOL (no really!) I'll talk with you later, I'm going to bed.

cardelean from Michigan on April 10, 2011:

It is very true, many parents are forced to face teaching their children about things that they may not always be comfortable with because it deals with the oppposite sex. Great tips to help with this stage of life.

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