Information Guide: How to Shave With a Safety Razor
What's in this article...
When people think of wet shaving, what they normally think of is the style of shaving that their grandpas used way back in the world war days. The idea of shaving that way today, is a concept that most people can’t grasp. Shaving seems so simple today, you could literally hack at your face with a disposable razor or do a quickly with an electric shaver, and you’ll trim up nicely. However, I assure you that you are missing out on many positive benefits, and wet shaving is by far the superior method if you are intending to perfect the way your face looks. Although it isn’t for everybody, we listed them here.
If you have decided that you want to throw your hat in the ring however, and give wet shaving a shot, you are typically left pondering, how exactly do I go about doing it? Well, there are two methods. One method, is using a straight razor, which involves using an unguarded blade to shave. Check out our guide on how to use a straight razor, although I wouldn’t advise using one, until you have at least learned to use a safety razor. If you have decided to use a safety razor, than you’ve come to the right place. Read on…
What You Will Need
Wet shaving requires quite a few items, in order to perfect, but it all comes down to the razor, and the lather, so don’t skimp on those items, even if that is all that you use.
Straight razor: In the end, its all about the razor, and you should purchase a premium blade. The first time that you swap out your old disposable razors, for safety razors, would be the equivalent of swapping out an old 30″ LED television, to a 60″ plasma. A safety razor is a work of art, not a flimsy disposable piece of junk, and you can tell right away that you are messing with something serious due to the weight.
There are many brand named double edged razors out there, such as Merkur and Parker, and you really can’t go wrong with any of these. However for shaving your face, go with the “heavy duty” blade, because they are shorter, and more compact, which means they have more maneuverability.
Blades: Over the course of your wet shaving lifespan, you will save a ton of money on blades. This is because the blades are considerably cheaper, and because there are two sides to each blade, which means double the use, and little waste. If your looking for premium quality blades, you can check out Dovo, or if your new, you can try American Personna Blades. Each blade has unique qualities, including sharpness and cutting ability, so experiment to see which you like.
Shaving Brush: Most of us new generation kids, have never had the chance to experience the joys of using a shaving brush. A brush is used to hydrate your face through the use of shaving soap or cream. This produces a nice lather, which ultimately results in smoother, better shaves. These brushes can include many types of animal hairs, including boar and badger hair, but can also be made out of synthetic materials. Badger hair brushes overall however, are considered the nicest shaving brushes, if you want to splurge and get the best shaving brush that is soft but produces nice lather.
Creams and Soaps: At this point you’ve probably caught on, you aren’t going to be using the same aerosol can that the average dude uses to shave their face. The creams we use today are chemically based and smell like alcohol, and they aren’t that great overall. Traditional soaps and creams on the other hand are slap full of natural ingredients which not only helps to vitalize your face, but create a great lather which you’ll need when shaving.
The Ultimate Technique, Step by Step
Step 1 – Your Beard: This preparation is what defines wet shaving. Have you ever sat in water for entirely too long, to the point that your skin shriveled up and became soft? Your skin becomes much more susceptible to cuts and bruises, well, your hair use to be skin, and it works the same way. You have to prep the whiskers on your bear just right, by softening them so that the razor cuts easier. You can do this by either taking a hot shower, or using a wet shaving brush and hot towel combo.
Step 2 – Lather Up: You can either use the shaving soap that you’ve bought and lather it up, or a dallop of traditional cream, and smoothly gather it onto the end of your brush. You don’t need a lot. You apply the lather onto your beard with swift, swirling motions, until your entire face is covered.
Step 3 – Shaving: Here comes the hard part. Shaving is an art form, and requires a lot of practice. While you can just hack your face with a disposable razor, do that enough times with a safety razor and you’ll pass out from the blood loss. There are four keys to shaving with a safety razor.
First, apply as little pressure as possible. You’ll have to practice to get this just right, but it helps to get a razor which is comfortable and short. Second, point the blade away from your face while shaving, that way if you hit a snag, it doesn’t dig into your skin. You can practice finding the proper angle by lining up the razor head almost directly next to your cheek. This puts the blade parallel to the floor, so on each cut you will miss your skin and just hit whisker. Ultimately, a proper angle will be somewhere in between a 30 and 45 degree angle.
Third, go with the grain, not away. Your hair has a natural way in which it grows, make sure that direction is the way in which you are cutting, as it will give the least resistance. You may be tempted to cut against the grain, because it will provide for a smoother feel, however this isn’t advised, especially when starting out. Instead, pass the razor over the area more than once, which will provide you with the perfect cut. Finally, cut small chunks at a time. Don’t try and shave your entire beard at once, instead focus on a particular section. This will help you focus and you’ll have a natural stopping point between times that you need to wipe the blade. In addition, there will be considerably less skin irritation.
One additional tip to keep in mind during the entire process. A safety razor is much heavier than a disposable razor, there is little need for you to apply pressure, the weight of the blade will almost do that entirely on its own.
What to Do After the Shave
Your done with your safety razor, however, your not done shaving. Whether you have sensitive skin, are prone to acne, or have no issues at all, your going to need to rinse your face off properly. Get a nice after shave for your face, there are lots to choose from, and there isn’t a huge difference in my experience between their effectiveness. Just pick one that smells nice, but using an after shave is a must to reduce irritation and clear pores.