Shaving With A Safety Razor
For an alarmingly large number of men, mostly those who don’t pay much attention to their appearance, a disposable, drug store razor is a perfectly acceptable tool in their grooming arsenal. However, this type of razor is usually cheap and only comes with around one or two dull blades that do more cutting and nicking on the skin than actually shaving off unwanted hair. We’re talking about something that’s fresh out of the box here. It gets even worse once you’ve gotten through a couple of uses of it. If you want to get as close of a shave as you possibly can, you should consider using a good, old-fashioned safety razor.
The Advantages Of Using A Safety Razor
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to properly shave with a safety razor, let’s begin by discussing the advantages of using one. First off, as we’ve already mentioned, a safety razor gives you a closer shave compared to a lot of cartridge razors available in today’s market. With the way a safety razor is designed, it can most likely outperform many multi-blade razors. This is true even if you put it up against a three or five-blade razor. You’ll still end up with a cleaner shave if you know how to properly use a safety razor.
Safety razors are also cleaner due to the fact that you need to replace their blades quite often. It’s recommended that you change the blade at least once a week. This, coupled with the fact that there’s only a single blade that comes into direct contact with the skin and hair, means that there are a lot fewer germs and dead skin cells that find their way onto a safety razor. Safety blades are also sharper, which means that they are less likely to cause dreaded ingrown hairs or blunted whiskers.
Multi-blade cartridge razors try to make up for this by using an “indicator strip,” which changes color every time it needs to be changed. However, this method is particularly inconsistent – it takes a month, sometimes two, on occasion. Some people don’t even know how to read these indicator strips. What’s worse is that a lot of men keep using the same cartridge even if the indicator strip is clearly telling them that it’s time to get a new one.
Don’t take that the wrong way though, it isn’t expensive to use a safety razor. Buying a couple of razor cartridges is oftentimes a whole lot more expensive compared to buying even a 100-pack of safety blades. A hundred safety blades cost about $20, which means that if you change your blade on a weekly basis, that single purchase will last you almost two entire years. As a point of comparison, subscription shave services, which have become all the rage recently as they claim to provide some of the cheapest razors you can buy, can cost up to over a hundred dollars a year.
There are also double-sided safety razors available for around the same, extremely cheap price. Seeing as they’re double-sided, this means that you can use them for twice as long before having to get a new one. Just remember which side is old and which one you haven’t used yet. You wouldn’t want to get them mixed up, as it could be unsanitary to keep using an old blade.
Don’t Use A Safety Razor When…
Before we go any further, we should also discuss when it’s not appropriate to use a safety razor. After reading about all of its advantages, you may be thinking about getting one for yourself as soon as possible. However, if any or all of the following criteria fit you, you may want to think twice about that potential purchase. First of all, you shouldn’t use a safety razor if you have really sensitive skin. The sharpness of a safety blade may cause irritation for some. However, you can still use a safety razor if you find one that allows you to adjust the angle of the blade. This will help keep the irritation to a minimum.
If you shave your facial hair daily, the super-close shave that a safety razor provides may also prove to be more of a curse than a blessing. Frequent shaving with such a sharp implement may cause irritation or damage to the skin and pores. Likewise, you should consider other options if your hairs grow in a whorl pattern. Lastly, acne and safety razors don’t go well together. If you’re prone to outbreaks, but stilly really want to use a safety razor, wait until your acne clears up before proceeding with your shave.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can start talking about a couple of tips you can use to have a more effective shave using a safety razor. Remember also that a safety razor isn’t actually that safe, seeing as a lot of people get many nicks and cuts from using one. If you don’t want the same to happen to you, follow these seven important pieces of advice we have to offer.
Prep Your Skin
The first tip is to prepare your skin properly. This includes using a face wash and exfoliator before you put a safety blade to hair and skin, as well as using a good quality shaving cream. Some recommend washing with warm water to open up the pores. Contrary to what your dad or your grandpa taught you, shaving soap isn’t a good substitute for shaving cream. You could use the one from the can or from the bottle, though, or even the one that you need to brush on. A lot of people also recommend pulling the skin taut as you shave in order to get it closer.
Use Fresh Blades
Like we’ve mentioned before, it’s also a good idea to use a fresh blade as often as you can. This keeps your safety razor sharp. It also prevents the accumulation of germs and dead skin cells, as well as rust, which can cause damage to your skin and your razor respectively. A weekly change is advised, but if you have thicker hair, change it immediately after three or four uses. Don’t worry about the price here because these blades are really, really cheap.
Let the Razor Do The Work
You should also let the razor do most of the work. Again, because a safety razor is so sharp, you don’t need to put as much pressure when you shave. This is the complete opposite to what you might have gotten used to if you switched from using multi-blade cartridge razors. It’s also the most common mistake that first-time safety razors make. If you have a heavy hand with this tool, then you’re almost guaranteed to get some unsightly cuts on your face, which could lead to itchiness and redness.
Go With The Grain
Go with the grain if you’re using a safety razor. This means you should shave in the direction that your facial hair grows, especially on the first pass. Your hair may grow in different directions in other parts of your face, so take that into consideration as well. To figure out which direction your facial hair grows, run your fingers along it in all directions. Whatever direction feels the hardest is the direction wherein you’re going against the grain. You’d want to shave in the direction opposite to this in order to get the best results.
Shave At The Right Angle
Knowing your angles is also important when using a safety razor. Some sources recommend going for a 30-degree angle, while others say you should go for something closer to a 45-degree angle. Neither of these has been scientifically proven to be better than the other. However, what this does is it gives you some 15 degrees of wiggle room when you shave. Surely, this is enough of a window for you to keep a steady hand and use the right angle to get a good, close shave.
Use Short Strokes
Don’t buy into advertising that shows men shaving using strokes that seemingly go from one of their beards to the other. Take as much time as you need and use short strokes. Using shorter strokes helps ensure that you shave the right way for each section of your face – using an appropriate amount of pressure at the right angle. It also reduces the chances of you cutting yourself by a lot. Just remember that you should rinse the blade after each swipe.
Treat Your Face Right
Last but not least, you should always treat your face right after you shave. Rinse your face with cold water to close up your pores. This will help reduce the chances of getting ingrown hairs and bumps. If need be, add some styptic to places that are bleeding or showing redness. Putting some aftershave is also a good idea, especially if you have oily skin, as this contains antiseptic ingredients that prevent infections and irritations. If you have dry skin, a post-shave balm could also provide some much-needed moisture.
Now you know how to shave using a safety razor. This skill may take some time to perfect, but it will all be worth it once you get a clean and comfortable shave every time, without any of the cuts.
- Safety Razor Tips for the Best Double-Edge Shave of Your Life, Grooming Lounge
- How To Shave with a Safety Razor, He Spoke Style
- How to Shave With a Safety Razor (and Why You Should Consider Trying One), Men’s Journal