When a single mother must give a shaving lesson

By Drum Digital
15 March 2014

When must he start shaving? How do I teach him? Relax, it’s easier than you think.

It seems to happen overnight. One day he’s still an angel-faced primary school boy and the next the signs of his approaching manhood are showing on his cheeks. At first the hair is light and fine, but before long there are more of them and they’re longer and darker.

Then you as a single mother have to answer the question: When must he start shaving? You may have a question of your own: How do I teach him? Relax, it’s easier than you think.

Is it time?

There is no such thing as a right or wrong time for that first shave. Boys’ development during puberty, and their beard growth, differs a lot. One boy may have to shave for the first time in Grade 8 while another may need to take this step only in Grade 11.

Boys’ own views on the matter differ, although it’s a big event for all. One boy may be so proud of that new, dark hair breaking out on his upper lip that he cherishes it as long as possible as a sign of his newfound manhood. Another boy might be so excited about shaving that he starts immediately he observes the first hair.

Be led by your son – and the headmaster of his school, who would never tolerate a teenage moustache.

Choose your weapons

When your son has decided it’s time to start shaving be a good mom and accompany him to the shops so he can buy shaving equipment. What he chooses doesn’t really matter because that soft beard won’t offer much resistance to even the cheapest disposable razors. But if you want to make an occasion of his first shave and buy him a durable razor that will have sentimental value for years to come, you can take him to a specialist men’s boutique and spend a few hundred rands.

Then you move over to the shelf with those rows and rows of shaving cream. It’s his first time so let him choose something he likes. For first-time shavers the smell that comes from the can is usually the deciding factor. It’s only later, when your son’s beard hardens, that he might like to experiment to find out which foam or cream works best for him. This choice varies from person to person.

If he’s one of those unfortunate teens with a skin problem, it would be better to buy an electric razor that won’t cut his pimples.

On your marks, get set . . .

Okay, this is how you go about it. Get your teen to wet his face well with warm water. This is the most important lesson your teen can learn. When facial hair is good and wet it swells by up to 30 per cent, which makes it easier for the blade to do its work.

Next, he must apply the shaving cream to his face with circular motions. The massaging motion helps the skin absorb the nutrients and moisturisers in the cream or foam. Your son will find out soon enough that his shaving strokes should be from top to bottom, in the direction of the hair growth and not against it, but tell him anyway.

After shaving he should splash warm water into his face to wash the remaining cream or foam away. He should also rinse his razor before putting it away.

Tell your son about the importance of an after-shave lotion. No, its purpose is not just to make you smell nice. A razor removes up to two layers of skin when you shave; the ingredients in the after-shave lotion help repair this damage.


Sooner or later your teen will cut himself shaving. It happens; accept it and don’t be upset. The veins in the facial skin are close to the surface, which makes it easy for a razor to draw blood. It happens when there is too much pressure on the razor or the shaving strokes are too quick.?Your son should be careful and take his time with that weapon in his hand – these are the two of the most important tips a mom can give her son.

When your son cuts himself lightly he should wash off the blood with water to stop the bleeding. There are special facial plasters available for deeper cuts where the blood doesn’t clot by itself.

- Jaco Hough-Coetzee

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