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  • Low & No Water Grooming, Beard Care, & Shaving Tips

    by Nathan Gareau Last updated: June 21, 2024

    If you’re in Canada, chances are you’re familiar with the ongoing water crisis here in Calgary due to multiple large feedermain breaks. While the city is working hard to repair the damage, we Calgarians are all doing our part to reduce water consumption to sustainable levels. Ideally, we can do so without looking and smelling terrible, which is why I’m here to help!

    Low water shaving

    Typically, I shave after I shower to ensure my stubble is soft, but a damp, warm towel works just as well. Start by pressing said towel to your stubble for 30-60 seconds. While you’re at it, soak your shaving brush in an inch or so of warm water.

    Dip your brush into your shaving cream or swirl it along your soap to load the bristles. Then, lather directly on your face, saving the water in your shaving bowl for later. Dip the brush tips into the water to add a little moisture to your lather. Shave, lather, repeat. Instead of rinsing your razor under the tap, swish it around your shave bowl to remove the built-up shaving cream and stubble. Now time for the cleanup!

    With a wet hand, wipe off as much shaving cream and hair as you can. Use the damp towel from before to give your face a quick rinse, them follow with the aftershave of your choice. Rinse your brush and razor as needed, but keep it quick. Voila, a clean shave with very little water! If it was good enough for your grandfather in the trenches, it’s good enough for you. Truth be told, I almost always shave this way, and it feels just as good as any other shave I’ve had!

    No Water Beard Care

    One of the best ways to cut down on shaving is to grow a beard! While you should wash your beard regularly, you really don’t have to often and can do so during your regular 60-second shower or 4” bath. Most of the time, I simply rinse my beard, and once a week, I’ll give it a wash with a beard & body soap.

    Beyond washing, beard care just comes down to moisturizing and brushing, neither of which requires water. If you use beard oil and find it left over on your hands, simply rub it into your hair or hands as a moisturizer rather than washing them!

    If you’ve just started to grow a beard, you can keep your lines clean once a week with the low-water shave method above, an electric trimmer, or just let it go wild (tell everyone you’re going authentic cowboy this stampede). Fresh beards do get mighty itchy, so simply wash your face as you would normally, then use a leave-in beard cream to moisturize your skin and hair.

    Low-Water Hair Care

    If you have shorter hair, this one is a lot easier. Stick to light products that don’t need to be rinsed out. Creams, clays, and powders are the way to go. Stay away from traditional greases or sticky water-based pomades, and embrace messy looks. I used the 2020 lockdown as an excuse to grow my hair back out, maybe this is your opportunity to try a different style! If you’ve got long locks like myself, you know you can only go so long wearing it down without a wash. I’ve been embracing my inner Baba Voss, played by Jason Momoa in underrated Apple TV series SEE, and rocking a messy top-knot. Either way, both long and short-hair folks will hugely benefit from a healthy dose of dry shampoo during these trying times.

    Low-Water Skin Care

    While washing your face daily is ideal, I’m sure I’m not the only person who only does it a few times per week. It’s easy enough to sneak in a quick face wash during your shower or bath time, but you can also wash your wash with a damp towel, using almost no water at all! Even a quick spritz of skin tonic or toner has a great cleansing effect. Just be sure to always moisturize afterwards!

    In addition to these steps, here’s some basic tips that can hugely reduce your water consumption:

    • When possible, wash with a cloth rather than running water. I swab down after my morning run, it feels great, and it makes a huge difference!
    • Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth (seriously, who does this?)
    • Wet your hands, turn off the tap, soap up and lather, then turn on the tap to rinse.
    • Try a shallow bath instead of a shower. A soak, even a shallow one, feels very refreshing, and a half-filled bath uses the same amount of water as a 5-minute shower. You can wash up, shave, and wash your hair all in the same place! I find a container to scoop water over my hair for rinsing really helps.
    • Only flush when you ‘need’ to.
    • Reduce the frequency of water-intensive tasks. Shaving, flushing, and showering half as often means half the water consumption!

    I hope this helps, thank you for doing your part!

    Nathan Gareau
    Nathan Gareau

    A famed cocktologist and axe man, Nathan opened the first Kent of Inglewood store in Calgary, and now spends his days writing most of what you are reading here and teaching straight razor shaving classes. Ask him about his world-famous Three Cherry Manhattan. In his spare time Nathan can be found sharpening his axe, making fermented foods, or practicing his amateur butchering hobby. He doesn't slur his words, he speaks in cursive.

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