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Caregiving: Shaving an Adult

Overview

Shaving may help a person feel good. How often a person shaves can depend on their condition and their preferences.

Allow the person to do the shaving if possible. You can help by gathering the supplies and holding the mirror. If you need to do the shaving, ask if the person wants to be shaved in a certain way.

Getting ready

Start by collecting the supplies you need. You will have to decide if you will use a standard razor or an electric razor. For most people, an electric razor may be the best choice.

Electric razors are less likely to cause nicks and cuts than a standard razor. This is especially important if the person is taking medicines called blood thinners, which can cause even minor cuts to bleed more than usual. Also, using an electric razor may be easier if the person has lost weight, because their face may have more angles to shave around. If you feel comfortable shaving the person with either a standard razor or an electric razor, let them choose which they prefer.

It helps to have the person sit in a chair or sit up in bed. But you can shave a person who is lying down if you need to. Make sure the room has lots of light so that you both can see well.

Shaving with an electric shaver

Place the supplies you'll need in a spot that's easy for you to reach. You'll need a mirror, an electric razor, and a towel to put on the person's lap or chest to catch hair. If the person uses a shave lotion for an electric razor, have that nearby as well.

When you're ready to begin shaving, follow these steps:

  1. Wash and towel dry the area you're shaving. Or use an electric-razor product that's made to clean the skin.
  2. Hold the razor so that the handle sticks straight out from the area you're shaving (at a 90-degree angle). If possible, ask the person how they hold it and ask about any special techniques.
  3. Use back and forth strokes. If you're using a razor with round heads (rotary shaver), move the razor in circles.
  4. Apply moisturizer or aftershave, if the person wants it.
  5. Clean the razor according to the directions on the package.

Shaving with a standard razor

Place the supplies you'll need in a spot that's easy for you to reach. You'll need a mirror, a razor, shaving cream, and a towel to put on the person's lap or chest to catch hair and shaving cream. You'll also need a basin of warm water.

If possible, select a heavier razor. It may help you shave more safely. The weight of the razor helps do the work and may keep you from pressing down too much.

When you're ready to begin shaving, follow these steps:

  1. Wash the face with warm water to soften the hair.
  2. Apply the shaving cream.
  3. Shave with the direction of hair growth. Shaving against it can cause ingrown hairs and can irritate the skin.
  4. Press the razor firmly, but not too much. Ask the person how it feels.
  5. Use short strokes, and be careful around the Adam's apple, mouth, nose, and chin.
  6. Rinse the blade after every few strokes.
  7. Use a warm, moist washcloth to remove leftover lather. Then dry the area.
  8. Apply moisturizer or aftershave, if the person wants it.
  9. Rinse the razor well before storing it.

Credits

Current as of: March 27, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Gayle E. Stauffer, RN - Registered Nurse

 

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