You might think it odd that we’re writing this post, because—let’s face it, if you’re 60 or older, chances are you’ve been shaving for quite a while! Why on earth would you need to read up on how to shave, when you’ve been doing it for… oh, four or five decades at this point? Chances are you’ve got your routine down!
Well, you’re probably pretty familiar with the answer: you’re not shaving the same face anymore! The skin you were shaving in your 40s and 50s is radically different than that skin you’re shaving in your 60s and 70s and 80s. And because that’s the case, you have to approach shaving differently.
That change, by the way, is totally natural—and to be expected. When you get a little older, the collagen and elastic fibers in the skin start to weaken a bit—and you get a little wrinkly. Not only that, but the skin itself gets a little thinner, and you might find that you get nicked and cut more—whereas you never used to do that before. And not only THAT, but the act of shaving may dry you out a little more, and leave you with ache-y or taut skin, whereas that never used to happen, either.
This is not to say, however, that your looks have left you! You’re still the dapper, handsome rogue you’ve always been—but you may need to make some changes to your routine so you can get a close shave without suffering.
With that in mind, here are some shaving tips for guys in their 60s and 70s (and beyond!). If there’s something here that helps you, that’s fantastic—and if there’s something we missed, let us know! Jump over to our “Contact” page and drop us a line—we’d love to hear from you!
One quick note before we jump in, because we’ve gotten some email about it: this post is for older gentlemen who will be shaving their own faces—not for folks who need to shave the face of someone else. That’s very common in caretaking situations, but that’s not what we’re talking about here—this post is for guys in their 60s and 70s who are looking for some pointers on shaving their own faces.
Alright—our first tip is something that can help a lot:
If You’re an Elderly Gentleman, Consider an Electric Shaver
We listed this one first, because we’ve found that it can make a HUGE difference: see if an electric shaver works for you. There are plenty of great ones on the market, and some are them are fantastic (and we discuss our favorite electric shavers for elderly gentleman here).
There’s a reason why electric shavers work so well on aging skin, and that’s because the blades don’t actually come into direct contact with the skin—they have a very thin layer of metal with grooves in that guide your whiskers and stubble to the whirring blades beneath it. That’s true for both foil shavers (the kind that have a flat top) and rotary shavers (the kind that have circular heads on them).
That said, we usually recommend foil shavers for older gentleman. Foil shavers have a flat surface at their top and you use it in straight lines over your skin—which can be great if your skin is sagging a little bit. Here’s what a foil shaver looks like:
Rotary shavers have circular heads, and when you shave with them, you shave in a circular motion—which can be problematic if you’ve got loose or saggy skin, because those circular discs can get caught in the folds of your skin. Here’s an example of a rotary shaver:
So if you’re interested in an electric shaver, we’d suggest a foil shaver (and we discuss our top picks for foil shavers here).
If you’ve shaved your entire life with a razor blade, this may feel like a sacrifice—and we get it; this entire site is devoted to how great it feels to shave with a razor!—but it can really be worth it, and the shave that electric shavers can provide can be surprisingly close.
Pay Attention to Skin Care
Younger guys seem to be much more at home when it comes to skin care—and it can be enjoyable to gently make fun of them about that!—but if you’re a Gen X’er or a Boomer, chances are you never really took care of your skin. Sure, you may have used suntan lotion when you went to the beach, or something like that, but… exfoliating? Chances are pretty strong that wasn’t your thing.
But it turns out the kids are onto something when it comes to skin care. Not only can a skin care routine make your shave—and the time after it!—much more comfortable, but it can also be a pleasant event to add to your grooming routine.
So here’s our skin care advice, shrunk into a few bullet points. Keep in mind, we’re not doctors or dermatologists, but this is pretty well-known advice, but it can make a big difference when it comes to shaving:
> Consider a pre-shave oil. These provide a little protection when you’re shaving, and they can smell nice, too. Simply put a few drops of it in your hands, rub it into your cheeks and chin, and go about your shave. Shaving cream can provide some protection, but this is a nice one-two punch that can give your skin some moisture and keep you from getting cuts.
> Consider a moisturizer. A couple of drops of a moisturizer at the end of the day can keep your skin from getting dry and cracked, and that’s reason enough to invest in one. If using a moisturizer sounds a little too wishy-washy for you, use soap with moisturizer in it. That way, you won’t have to add any time to your routine, but you’ll get the benefit of added hydration for your skin.
> Be careful in the sun. You’ve heard this a million times, so here’s Time One Million and One. Sun exposure is really damaging to your skin, and that’s true no matter your age.
Remember That “Shaving” No Longer Means “Your Face”
There’s that terrible old joke that you’ve probably heard: “Don’t worry about losing the hair on your head, because you’ll be getting plenty more of it in your ears and nose.”
It’s not a great joke—and it’s not really that funny—but it’s pretty accurate: the hair on your head may not be as vibrant as it used to be, but the hairs in your ears and nose? Those hairs have never been better!
So be sure to give yourself a trim in those areas you were able to ignore for so long: the eyebrows, the ears, and the nostrils. As men, we have a tendency to focus on the big picture and miss the details, and if you see a lot of guys your age with a lot of extra hair in those regions, that might be why—so when you’re in front of the mirror doing your grooming, slow down a bit, and take a close look at those areas.
And, by the way—that’s another reason why we recommend electric shavers for older gentlemen and elderly guys: a lot of them have a “pop-up” trimmer that you can use to trim your eyebrows, shave any ear-hairs you have, and get in those nostrils, as well. A good electric shaver can not only shave your face, it can also shave all those other parts of your head that now need shaving, too. Some are better than others, but most electric shavers have some really capable trimmers, and you can get a barber-grade shave on most of those areas.
Skip Some Shaving Days
Remember how we mentioned above that your skin gets a little drier as you get older (making the act of shaving a little bit more difficult), and it heals a little more slowly (meaning it takes a little more time for all those nicks and cuts to heal)? There’s good news and bad news about that:
1) It happens to everyone—literally every man with a face and skin on it—as they age, so it’s not anything you did wrong; and
2) It means an everyday shave might not be the best idea anymore.
It’s sad but it’s true—as you get older, shaving every single day can really do a number on your skin, and you may want to skip a day here and there.
So we’ve got three bits of advice:
1) Plan your shaves around big events. Look at the next few days, and if you’ve got a big event coming up—a wedding, a party with friends, or anything like that—skip shaving a few days before it, and then shave on the day of the big event. After all, on all those days when you’re just loafing around the house or doing errands—who cares if you’ve got a fresh shave?
2) Switch up your gear. We talked above about making the switch to an electric shaver, and those can be gentle enough for you to keep up a semi-regular shaving routine (especially foil shavers, as those are a little more mild). But also consider your other shaving tools—maybe your shaving cream is drying you out, or maybe that chock-full-of-alcohol aftershave is the problem. Take a good look at your gear and consider some changes.
3) Enjoy it! Let’s be honest: we love, love, love shaving. We created an entire website about it! But haven’t there been times in your life when you got a little tired of it? The day-in, day-out routine of it? Well, here’s your chance to take a little time off! Enjoy the break!
One Pass with the Grain is Your Best Bet
We talk a lot on this site about traditional wet-shaving, wherein you take three passes across your face: one with the grain, one across the grain, and one against the grain. This is a time-tested way to get a REALLY close shave, and we LOVE doing it, writing about it, and promoting it. It’s our bread and butter, really.
But… well, as you can imagine, it can be brutal on the skin!
So we’re going to admit something here that we don’t often admit, because a lot of guys would want our heads for it, but… a single pass with the grain is probably fine for most guys. For a lot of guys in their 50s, and most guys in their 60s and 70s, your whiskers are a little more sparse and a little more salt-and-pepper… if not mostly pepper! You don’t NEED a super-close shave anymore. And, as we mentioned earlier, shaving with a well-designed and well-chosen electric razor can do the job, without doing a number on your skin.
So see what happens when you shave a single pass—chances are strong you’ll look great.
Consider a Beard!
We get a lot of younger guys who visit the site because they want to grow a beard and can’t. For the most part, there’s nothing wrong with them—they’re just too young to grow a beard. In fact, most guys aren’t really capable of growing a real beard until their late 20s or early 30s.
But if you’re here, and you’re reading this post, well—you’re in your “prime” beard years!
So what have you got lose? You might really like the way you look, and if you don’t like it, you can grab your razor or electric shaver and chop the whole thing off.
And if you like it, well—then you don’t have to shave anymore!
And that’s related to our last bit of advice:
Remember That You Probably Look Great
Here’s why we say this: a lot of guys just need a compliment every now and then. And while we don’t really know you, we can only say you probably look good—but if you’re shaving and grooming, you definitely look better than you did a few minutes ago.
But there’s another reason we say this: we’ve all heard ladies complain that men get more handsome as they get older, and there’s some truth to that. If you’re an older male and you’re aging, well… you’ve made it this far, and that’s saying something! And while we may be losing other things—such as teeth, knees, and a whole slew of other parts—there is something in the idea that we get more attractive as we get older. We can certainly grow more dignified, and just about everybody finds dignity attractive.
So, remember that, if you’re feeling a little blue when you’re standing in front of the mirror! Aging gets all of us, but there’s grace and stature in good grooming, and that’s especially true as you age. Just the routine of grooming is an exercise in self-respect, even if your looks aren’t what they once were. A good shave makes every man look better, and just because you’re older, doesn’t mean your shave needs to suffer. You just need to figure out what works for you—ironically, just like you did when you were a teenager!
“Remember That Age is Just a Number”
Whenever I hear from one of my kids that “age is just a number,” I have to chuckle, because I always think, “Yeah—just a really high number!” But what can you do? Age gets all of us. Here’s to whatever your number is, and here’s to your next shave!
Michael Morris is the head writer here at Rough and Tumble Gentleman. He's got a ducktail beard and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's married to the woman of his dreams and lives in Brooklyn, NY.