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Grooming: Shaving

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Shaving promotes comfort, hygiene, and well-being. Most people prefer to shave on their own, but as a nursing assistant, you will come across clients that will require your assistance. Keep in mind that religious, ethnic, and personal preferences are a factor, so always ask the client about what they want before assisting them in shaving.

Now, to shave a client, you need clean gloves, bath towels, washcloth, tissues, wash basin, shaving cream, electric razor, disposable or safety razor, and aftershave lotion. A mirror can also be provided so the client can check their appearance after shaving.

Before you proceed with shaving, ask if the client has their own shaving supplies. Also check if the person has fragile skin. Always ask the nurse to see if they’re taking any medications that could cause their blood to be thin and check with them for the type of razor to use.

Individuals at risk for skin infections or who are more prone to bleeding should use an electric razor instead of disposable or safety razor. Don’t get the electric razor overly wet and make sure to practice electrical device safety.

If there’s an increased risk of electrical sparks, for example, if the client is on oxygen or if a client has electrical implants, such as a pacemaker, you should avoid using electrical razors.

Before you continue shaving, make sure that there’s no rust, nicks, or cracks on the razor. Next, prepare your working area by covering the overbed table with paper towels and placing your equipment. Make sure you’ve washed your hands and put on gloves.

Raise the bed to a height comfortable for you and the client and lower the side rail on the side of the bed that you are standing. Place a towel under the client’s chin to protect the clothing. Fill the wash basin with warm water and check that it’s not too warm or cold.

The client should also check to make sure the temperature is suitable for them. Soak the washcloth in the wash basin and apply it over the client's face for 2-3 minutes. This will make the beard softer and easier to shave, but it also helps prevent shaving injuries.

Apply a ¼-inch thick layer of shaving cream or soap, and smooth it evenly over the cheeks, chin, and under the nose. Hold the razor in your dominant hand and position it at a 45-degree angle to the skin. Use your non-dominant hand to pull the skin taut to prevent cuts and discomfort.

Shave by using short strokes. Start from the ear and bring the razor across the cheek towards the chin. Ask the client to tilt their head back so that you can shave their chin, and finally, ask them to tighten their upper lip so that you can shave the area between the nose and the upper lip. As the shaving cream accumulates, make sure you dip the razor in the wash basin to rinse it.