How to shave with a safety razor

If you’re wondering how to shave with a safety razor, we’re glad you asked, because doing it right is the difference between the closest, most comfortable shave you’ve ever gotten and lacerations at the level. of Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The learning curve is steep. Why, then, is it called a “safety” razor? Glad you asked. At the time, this name was intended to distinguish it from a straight razor, essentially an extremely sharp folding knife. Safety razors are only safe in relation to this.

The main competitor to safety razors these days are cartridge razors, the usual multi-blade offerings at drugstores. Cartridge razors do a great job, although they also reinvent the wheel, given that the single blade razor was delivering smooth results for almost a century before the cartridge arrived. But there’s a reason cartridges are so popular – and certainly what you learned to shave with. They have a great, easy-to-learn design and feel a lot less dangerous. They became less and less expensive to replace and to receive in the mail.

But there are two big reasons to shave with a safety razor. The first is price: you can score a year’s worth of safety blades for around $10. The second is comfort, especially for men prone to ingrown hairs. And it’s hard to beat a better shave for less money. To find out more, we spoke with Darius Davie; he is a men’s hairstylist and owner of Groom Guy, which is both a grooming encyclopedia and a one-stop men’s salon at Yours Truly Hotel in Washington, DC.


The benefits of shaving with a safety razor

1. Safety razors give a closer shave

This sharp blade is flush with your skin. So be careful, but if you’ve mastered the craft, you’ll never look back.

2. Less drag means less irritation

A single blade means less drag on the face and less chance of your top layer of skin coming off with the hair.

3. They are better for thick hair


If you have thick hairs that just won’t move under the lightness of a standard cartridge shave (or if the hairs are too thick and lead to streaks, clogs and irritation), then a safety razor is the way to go. obvious.

4. Blade replacement is cheap

Safety razor blades are maybe 10 to 40 cents each when you buy in bulk. You’ll never hesitate to throw them away after just one use, meaning you only use the sharpest, cleanest blades every time.

5. You are responsible

Shaving requires more attention and precision, but it gives you more control over the process. You need to think about each stroke and the amount of pressure (ideally none) you apply, plus the angle. Yes, it’s a process, but your skin shouldn’t be something you manage and manicure on autopilot. Take your time, make it a ceremony, and you’ll be relishing the safety razor diet every other day.

How to shave with a safety razor

1. Get a good razor

A weighted razor handle will give you the right amount of balance and strength for shaving, for a process that requires no extra pressure. It’s not something you should buy cheap, so please put your money in the razor’s handle.

Davie gave us his three current favourites:

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Rockwell Razors 6S Adjustable Safety Razor

“This razor reigns supreme,” says Davie. Unlike most razors on the market, it is highly adjustable to control exactly how much blade sticks out.

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Viking Godfather Safety Razor

This one has a relatively “soft” head, which means it’s less likely to cause irritation, ideal for men with sensitive skin.

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Because the mass of the razor is what presses against your skin, weight is an important variable. Davie says this relatively heavy razor is perfect for head shaving and anyone who prefers a bit more pressure.

2. Find your perfect blade

All safety razor blades are suitable for all razors, but some razors work better with certain blades. Davie recommends buying a sample pack online to start with to try out a range of options, but these are his personal favorites.

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Personna Lab Double Edge Safety Razor Blades (200 Pack)

Affordable and consistent, this is a great starter option.

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Wilkinson Sword Double Edge Safety Razor Blades (100 Pack)

Another good starter option, these German-made blades are relatively soft, ideal for men with sensitive skin.

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Feather Double Edge Safety Razor Blades (50 Pack)

Famous for its sharpness – often preferred by guys who have a bit of safety razor experience under their belt. “A household name among barbers,” says Davie.

3. Start with a new blade

Replacement safety blades are so cheap that there really is no reason to reuse them. Simply unscrew the head, throw the used blade in the trash (perhaps wrapped in toilet paper to avoid any accidents).

4. Prepare the skin as usual

Preparing for a safety razor shave is no different than preparing for a cartridge shave. You should soften the skin and whiskers with lukewarm water, then apply a pre-shave oil to nourish and condition both for shaving.

5. Tighten the skin

Here’s where we come into the actual shave. First, keep the skin taut while you shave. You don’t want the razor to slip, lose your grip, or accidentally apply pressure. You can do this by maintaining a smooth, stable surface. So turn your face, tilt your neck, maybe open your mouth and stretch your skin.

6. Maintain a 30-45 degree angle, without applying pressure

The weighted handle should give you all the strength you need to shave cleanly and evenly – no extra pressure is needed once the blade is on your face. You want to hold it about 30-45 degrees from the skin.

7. Shave in the direction of the hair

Follow the direction your hair grows. You should shave with this grain, not against it. You may need to study your growth patterns before you shave or shave with a translucent gel or oil. Your hair doesn’t all grow in the same direction either, so be careful.

8. Use short, straight strokes

You want to shave in small, even strokes, rinsing in between. Minimize slippage. Make a single pass over a small patch, then lift and resume with the patch underneath. You can rinse and switch sides of the blade, but do your best not to shave a single area of ​​skin again to avoid irritation.

9. Rinse with cold water and apply aftershave balm

On the other side of shaving, it’s business as usual: after shaving, close the pores with a little cold water, then apply a refreshing, cleansing and protective layer to the skin, in the form of a after shave balm. . It will cool and soothe the skin and prevent further irritation and infection.

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Claus Porto After Shave Balm

Shea butter, allantoin, essential oils and a classic barbershop scent.

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Anthony After Shave Balm

Allantoin and aloe make things really easy for dry and/or sensitive skin.

10. Dry the razor with a towel and store it in a cool, dry place

Depending on the material used in your safety razor, you may need to towel dry everything immediately after use to prevent rust, wear and other deterioration.

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