Poll: Do you use short strokes?
 06-29-2014, 09:14 AM
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Most 'beginners tips' mention that one of the techniques that you can use to get a great shave is to use short strokes with the razor. Of course, as many of us improve our technique, we adapt the type of strokes we use to our own preferences. Still, I think it's important to at least be cognizant of the advantages of using short strokes.

The way I see it, there are a few logical reasons that short strokes work:

1) Short strokes don't allow you to build up a lot of blade speed, allowing adjustments to be made to the contours of your face.

2) They also help you control the pressure you use. One thing I've noticed is that the resistance to the blade goes up with increased length of the stroke, this means that you'll use more pressure to make it through the stroke, increasing the likelihood of razor burn.

3) Finally, they're useful to allow you to adapt easily to new (to you) razors (a common affliction on this forum).

As I mentioned, once you've figured out your implements and the contours of your own face, you can deviate from short strokes without causing yourself any discomfort.

So, do you use short strokes? What are your thoughts on short strokes as a learning aid - or just as a technique to help get good shaves?

BTW, if you use a mixture of strokes through the shave, do you use long strokes mostly on your cheeks, reserving the short strokes for the areas of greater curvature (jaw line, etc)?

I assume that's so, but I sometimes use short strokes throughout the shave and can't say I regret doing that.

37 1,743
 06-29-2014, 09:22 AM
  • SRNewb
  • Senior Member
  • No. Va, USA
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I think they are definitely beneficial, for all the reasons you mention. I use a combination, depending on the razor I use.

2 1,716
 06-29-2014, 09:30 AM
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The brief explanation is great. I think short strokes are useful for both education and at times for experienced shaving. I generally use longer strokes with razors and blades with which I am familiar. The exception is that I use short strokes sometimes for the first shave with a new blade, especially if it is a type that I have found to be relatively "rough" for me. I also tend to user shorter strokes if I am in a meditative mode and shaving slowly.

214 12,707
 06-29-2014, 10:25 AM
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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When I used a straight razor they were all short strokes for all the reasons you listed above.

Using a DE, Injector, or Cart, I do long strokes on each side and the neck, and short strokes on the upper lip and chin area.

180 24,752
 06-29-2014, 11:58 AM
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Long strokes on the cheeks, middle to short strokes everywhere else.

3 5,466
 06-29-2014, 12:11 PM
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I use both, depending on the area of the face. However, when using a straight and doing an ATG pass on my chin or upper lip, I always use short strokes.

52 7,704
 06-29-2014, 02:29 PM
  • Jack
  • Old School
  • Long Island
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Short overlapping stokes

0 171
 06-29-2014, 02:39 PM
  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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I tend to use long strokes with razors and blades I "know", which is most of the time. When using a new razor or blade, I tend to be more cautious and use shorter strokes. My vote was for longer strokes because those are what I use most of the time.

2 11,211
 06-29-2014, 02:48 PM
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Long strokes above the jawline, medium to long strokes on the neck, short strokes on the jawline.

31 1,800
 06-29-2014, 03:16 PM
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First run is mostly 'long'. Last run ATG is pretty much 'short'.

2 546
 06-29-2014, 03:25 PM
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Short strokes on shorter surfaces (chin, upper lip) Longer stokes on larger surface areas. (Cheeks, neck)

45 4,458
 06-29-2014, 04:16 PM
  • Mouser
  • Senior Member
  • Forest City, Florida U.S.A.
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I was taught and had it reiterated by my long ago barber, the thicker/heavier the beard, the shorter the stroke.

8 2,485
 06-29-2014, 05:09 PM
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Mixture for me.

89 21,190
 06-29-2014, 11:02 PM
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(06-29-2014, 02:29 PM)Jack Wrote: Short overlapping stokes

Same. I didn't start that way but that's how it ended up, maybe subconsciously while dialing in my technique I found that works best for me.

12 848
 06-30-2014, 12:17 AM
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I mainly use short strokes under my nose...

8 949
 06-30-2014, 01:00 AM
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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Overall I'd claim to use short strokes (IMO shorter strokes are best), however some areas receive shorter strokes than others and directly proportional to the area being shaved...

101 18,029
 06-30-2014, 10:51 AM
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I use a mix of both

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0 4
 06-30-2014, 11:07 AM
  • Gago
  • Active Member
  • Rio de Janeirto
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Wow, i use a mixed short/long strokes and tought i was a weirdo... what a surprise to see the results Biggrin

4 447
 06-30-2014, 12:40 PM
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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I use both short and long strokes, depends on what part of my face I am doing. If "the Gillette slide" means moving down and across in one stroke. I do that too. This is with both straights and DEs.


0 1,693
 06-30-2014, 12:50 PM
  • BSWoodturning
  • Co-Owner, Brad Sears ShaveWorks
  • Maryland Eastern Shore
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It depends. When I shave every day, I generally use long strokes on the cheeks, but short strokes everywhere else. If I let a day go by, it's short strokes everywhere.

4 724
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