Defying conventional wisdom

May 28, 2019
Perth, Western Australia

The repeated dogma of the wet shaving community as I've seen it is as follows:

3 passes. WTG, XTG, ATG.

Your razor, brush and soap choices are up to you but the above methodology is the one that is promoted and universally recognised.

I seek to contest that.

Today (31/05/2020) I started with a 3 day beard growth and went straight into a south to north ATG pass. To my surprise I was delighted with this. It was so close to being in a state I could be happy with I almost stopped. I would go so far as to say if I only had time for a single pass I would have accepted it for what it is. However I had the time and I like it smooth. Went with a second pass south to north ATG pass. As always I had to buff my resistant areas and I was BBS.

I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks now and have cemented the methodology for myself. I am not going back to a traditional 3 pass shave. Not only is there no need the amount of irritation and redness I get for going twice ATG is less. So I’ve saved time and have increased the quality of my shave.

As with everything YMMV but I do suggest you give it a go.


...when the General talks
Staff member
Site Moderator
Grand Society
2016 Sabbatical Fail
2018 Charity Auction Winner
Apr 26, 2011
Well @Trapezoid I'm really glad that you have found what works for you - and I'd encourage others to do the same!

I think that beard mapping helps in doing that BTW, knowing the direction of growth for your beard.

Personally I cannot recall the last 3 pass shave I did. My routine is North -> South, then the reverse, then an East -> West and back at the jawline.

The North -> South and reverse are each a combination of with/against the grain across different parts of my face.
Sep 9, 2018
The three pass conventional technique is a sensible starting point for beginners, but once you know what you’re doing I suspect most people have tinkered and developed their own formula. I can’t remember my last three pass shave either. Two is enough for a DFS as follows:

1. North - South WTG
2. South - North ATG everywhere except my chin, where I do XTG West-East on one half and East-West on the other.


Active Member from afar
2018 Sabbatical Fail
Aug 23, 2012
Depends on the beard growth.
If it's soft enough, then directions matter less.

If I go straight into even across the grain, I'll get irritation and in growns. I must remove the bulk with the grain and then across and against (+ touch ups).
Oct 5, 2016
I've done it quite a lot. With the right razor / blade combo it works OK in the short term but the results, in terms of BBS and low irritation, are not the same for me in the long term. I generally end up going back to the easy N-S, S-N routine with my aggressive razors, or a 3 pass WTG/XTG/ATG with the milder razors for a BBS with less irritation. Love my BBS...


organises many group buys
Staff member
Site Moderator
State Convenor - SA
Grand Society
Group Buy Caporegime
Charity Auction Team
Nov 14, 2014
Doesn't work for me either...


from Lanolin
Feb 7, 2019
My shillings worth. From experience pet grooming esp. horses and dogs I was always taught to go with the grain and have carried this over to shaving technique.
I would go 3 passes WTG before attempting ATG. If I do not get DFS after WTG/XTG the razor and blade combo are not efficient enough.
Admittedly I do not have as thick or coarse stubble as other members that have to go ATG :watching: @astinus4
May 26, 2018
I can get a BBS with two passes on 1-2 days growth if I use a very sharp blade (e.g. Bic Chrome Platinum) and:
  • My first pass WTG is with a slant such as Ikon 102; and
  • My second pass ATG is with a mild razor such as Rockwell 6C on R2 or R3.
With the above combo my shave is irritation and nick free. BTW, I don't change blades, I have a blade in each razor.
Jun 14, 2020
Ballarat, Vic
I'd say really depends on a razor (sure no one expected YMMV statement?).

Recently acquired YAQI Grill, which is ridiculously aggressive, surprised me with the ability to get almost into BBS with a single pass ATG. It also shaves much smoothly ATG for whatever reason.
Aug 26, 2018
I have attempted to change the traditional WTG, XTG and ATG passes into many things, even straight ATG.. never really worked out and i always get the best shave and post feel results from doing all three in the said order