How to Shave with a Safety Razor

safety razor on table

If you’re anything like me, you were probably taught to shave using a razor with anywhere from three to five blades. After all, that tends to be the standards these days. The more blades there are, the better the shave, right?

Wrong!

Many people have put down their go-to cartridges or even the electric razors to use a safety razor, which only has one very sharp blade. 

If you haven’t heard the benefits of using a safety razor yet, don’t worry – I’m happy to educate you. Some of you might know these benefits already but aren’t sure how to use this kind of blade. You shouldn’t worry either; I’m here to help you learn how to shave with a safety razor

The Benefits

The more you know, right? There are five distinct reasons to swap your old razor for a different method. Take a look – this list might sway you to join the dark side of shaving. 

Closer Shave

What more could a man want than a nice, clean, close shave? That’s what all the brands promote to sell their product: the idea that no razor in the world can compete with the closeness you’ll get from their blades.

Safety razors use one blade that presses firmly against your skin for an extra-close shave. Of course, this fact can be a bit intimidating to someone who’s never used a safety razor before. Let’s face it: none of us want to be sticking tissues to the cuts on our face. 

But once you get a little careful practice in and get the hang of it, you’re in for one of the closest shaves of your life. 

Less Irritation 

You may be thinking that having three to five blades in your razor gives you more coverage, and thus takes care of more hair. However, more blades also mean more drag and resistance, which can cause irritation and razor burn.

It’s true that safety razors only have one blade, but it’s a high-quality, very sharp, durable blade that gets the job done. With only one blade, you have way less drag, fewer blades collecting hair and getting clogged up, and less contact with the metal. 

All in all, your face will thank you for switching to a singular blade. 

Cheaper

Have you noticed the costs of replacement blades for the popular men’s razor brands these days? In my opinion, they are one thing: ridiculous. 

Safety blades are exponentially cheaper than cartridges with three to five blades in them. In fact, some guys can even justify using their safety blades just once before tossing them, meaning that they use a fresh new blade every time they shave.

While I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to change out your safety blade after just one use, it is nice to know that even then, they are still the cheaper option. 

Stronger

Some men have to deal with very thick and coarse facial hair. And truth be told, cartridge razors can’t always handle big jobs like these guys. They either can’t bust through the coarse hair, or they clog up super quickly. 

Not only does this lead to more irritation, but it takes much longer and more frustrating effort. 

Safety razors are strong and cut through thick hair with ease. And since they are cheap enough to replace every time you shave, you’re guaranteed to use a new, sharp razor constantly. 

More Control

Learning to use a safety razor requires high amounts of precision and attention to detail. With that comes greater control on your end. Rather than placing your beard and face in the hands of a popular razor brand, you get the opportunity to have all the power.

It may seem like a bit of a process to have to think through every stroke, but in the end, you’ll be left with extra smooth and soft skin, no irritation, and no cuts. You won’t be tempted to rush through because you can’t if you want the best shave. 

How to Use a Safety Razor

Hopefully, by now, I’ve convinced you that a safety razor is the best way to go. Now that we’re here, I’m going to walk you through step-by-step on how to use this precise and manly tool.  

Always Go with Quality

The first step in the shaving process is buying the products. When it comes to safety razors, you should never sacrifice quality – no matter how good the discount is. Razors like the Bevel, Baxter of California, and OneBlade are all reliable options that give you good results.

In that same breath, you need to make sure you buy extra blades of equal quality. Your best bet is to stick with the brand of your razor, and you’ll never go wrong.

Because the blades are so inexpensive, most people won’t reuse them. All you have to do is unscrew the head, throw out the old blade, place the new blade in, and screw the head back on. It’s a straight forward process that you can complete every time you shave. 

Prepare Your Skin

Using a safety razor is just like using a standard razor in that you still need o prepare your skin for shaving properly. We all know what happens when you try to get away with the bare minimum: you end up with dry, itchy, irritated skin covered in razor bumps and burns. 

Don’t take the easy way out just because you’re using a safety blade. Use warm water to soften up your skin, then apply some pre-shave oil. The oil – if you haven’t used it before – conditions your skin and nourishes it before shaving. 

You can also use a shaving cream or gel, and some guys are even okay with just using regular soap. Whatever you choose, make sure you use something. Trust me. 

Shaving Technique

Here’s where we get into the actual logistics of shaving. Remember that we mentioned earlier, shaving with a safety razor is a delicate and precise practice. You should take great care while shaving with this single blade.

Start by pulling the skin on your face taught. Doing this will give you a flat, even surface to work with, rather than letting your skin move naturally with the blade. It prevents you from dragging the razor or applying too much pressure.

As your shaving, try to maintain a 30 to 45-degree angle from your skin. A quality razor will have a weighted handle, which makes it easier to keep this angle as you move. It also should serve to give you just as much force as you need, so don’t push it. 

Remember to shave with the grain, not against it. This means that you need to figure out which direction your hair is growing and shave with that direction. Your hair will grow in various directions across your face, so pay attention. Shaving against the grain can cause painful ingrown hairs.

Finally, implement short, straight strokes. Don’t try to tackle everything in one long stroke; that will only end in pain and frustration. Take it slow and do small patches at once. Once over should do the trick, and feel free to rinse your blade as needed. 

If you need more of a visual, check out this video to learn how to shave with a safety razor

Post Shave

Post-shave care can be as vital for some men as the actual shaving part itself. As for shaving with a safety razor, your post-care is basically the same as with any other razor.

Close up your pores by splashing some cold water on your face. After you dry off, you can use your favorite aftershave lotion or balm. These products soothe your skin and keep it from getting irritation as well as prevent infection and leaving a nice, cool feeling to finish you off. 

Final Thoughts

Shaving is inevitable for most of us men – you can’t escape the deed if you want to stay looking your absolute best. However, it doesn’t have to be a chore, nor should it be something with irritating (literally) results. 

By using a safety razor, you can eliminate the hassle of clogged blades, irritated skin, and expensive replacements. This cheaper, higher-quality option delivers a smooth shave that gets up close and personal. 

With just a little bit of practice, you will be ready to hit the ground running and upgrade your grooming habits. I’m no expert, but I know if you stick to these tips, you’ll be just fine. 

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