The thought of drawing a relatively exposed blade over your skin is not an attractive proposition for most blokes. Most men have conformed to the relative safety of an electric shaver or a disposable razor.
It’s becoming more widely recognised that not only can a safety razor give a superior shave, but it can help combat the razor burn, shaving bumps and ingrown hairs often associated with shaving.
So you’re clutching your brand new double-edged razor in your fist…now what? How do you use a safety razor?
Undertaken by millions of men in the past and present, the correct use of a safety razor is a well tested process. Although you can slap on some chemically-laden shaving gel, the process and the end result will not be pleasurable.
The art of shaving with a safety razor is not just a matter of the shave itself, but it encompasses what you do regarding your face preparation, as well as how you take care of your visage afterwards. In this article, I won’t be outlining every single step in your pre-shave and post-shave operation, however I will leave a number of handy links to posts I did previously, which dive into these processes and other tips in much greater detail.
By following a few basic steps and recommendations, your shaving regimen will be enjoyable, comfortable and effective with each and every shave.
Sadly, preparing your face properly for shaving is not considered all that important by most blokes. In saying that, those men who devote an extra couple of minutes to preparing their face correctly, will reap the rewards throughout the rest of their shave.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
This great quote from President Lincoln eloquently reminds us, that good preparation is the solid foundation to many of our life’s successes.
Click on the link below for my easy seven step pre-shave routine.
Now that we have the preparation out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the actual shave itself.
Even before you begin your face preparation, make sure that you not only have your chosen blade loaded into the razor, but make sure it is aligned correctly. You should be able to see an even amount of blade exposed on both sides of the head.
Wet The Razor
Regardless of whether you want to shave with hot or cold water, dip your razor in the pre-filled basin or place it under running water. Either way is fine and just a matter of personal choice.
Start At The Sideburns
You can really start shaving wherever you want, but I’ve always found my sideburns an easy and convenient place to begin.
Find 30 Degrees (Approximately)
With your razor’s handle sitting perpendicular to your face, slowly move it down until the razor head is tilted at roughly 30 degrees from where you began. This will be a good starting point for you.
With experience, you’ll naturally find the angle that will deliver you the best results.
When using a double-edged safety razor, the idea is not to capture every single hair with your first pass. Classic shaving is more about gradual reduction with subsequent passes. In saying that though, some gents find the results with one pass sufficient and don’t require further attention.
The first pass should be with the direction of your whiskers. This will vary from man to man, but in most cases it will be straight down.
Remember the head of your safety razor doesn’t swivel, so regardless of what area of the face or neck you’re shaving, you’ll need to maintain that 30 degree angle throughout your shave.
Let the weight of your razor do the work. There is absolutely no need to apply pressure as you shave. This will also result in less nicks! 😉
Your safety razor is double-edged for a reason. Make sure you use both sides as evenly as possible. I do this by using one side of the razor for three or four strokes. I then rotate it and do likewise with the other side.
Keeping the cutting plate clean will make your shave far more effective. Be sure to rinse away any soap and whiskers after a few strokes of both sides of the razor.
Don’t Double Dip
Although it’s not easy, resist the urge to shave over the same area repeatedly in the first pass. Shaving un-lathered skin can lead to unnecessary irritation.
I know this point is pretty self explanatory, but make sure you’re well lathered with your favourite shaving soap or cream in between passes.
Hopefully you are now familiar with the various directions your hair grows on your face and neck. If you have a heavy growth or thick beard, you will want to shave across the grain. Once again, applying no pressure as you shave.
I’m lucky enough to get away with two passes. However if you need a baby smooth face, do a third or fourth pass, shaving against the grain.
Once your shave is done and you’re admiring your silky smooth face, you need to start thinking about caring for and protecting it.
There are a number of great post-shave products to choose from. Visit my link below to see my quick two minute – six step post shave routine.
If you are new to classic shaving, I hope I’ve given you a clearer understanding of the processes involved in using a safety razor.
As always, if you have any thoughts or questions, I welcome them in the comments section below.
Time to get your shave on! 😉