Safety razors are taking the shaving world by storm, and many women are now challenging the so-called social norm that only men can use them.
Shaving, after all, is a unisex activity. For those that choose to shave, there have been few options in the past, and most people use disposable razors or razors that use replaceable cartridges. Shaving machines and epilators have their place but come with their own drawbacks.
This is a woman’s guide to safety razors for women.
Table of Contents
Safety razors have two main parts:
- The handle
- The razorblade
The handle is reusable. You never replace it. It’d be really hard to break, and if you look after it, it could easily last forever.
The difference between safety razors and normal razors is in the blade. Safety razors use standard razor blades. They do not require special cartridges with 3, 4 or even 5 or more separate blades. Instead, the handle houses one single ultra-sharp razor blade.
But isn’t more blades better?
In a word, no. The New York Times recently touched on this, as have many other news and magazine articles. It’s tempting to think that more blades in your razor equal a better shave, but in reality, there’s very little that 5 blades can do that one blade can’t.
Think about it like this; most typical hairs are extremely thin, usually just 50 micrometres, or 0.05 mm. Why on earth would you need 5 razor blades to cut something so thin?
But then, people think that if one blade misses the hair, the others will, resulting in a quicker shave. This also isn’t strictly true, as the blades are so close together that by the time one passes over a hair, it’ll flatten or break the hair off, which means the other blades probably just rub over it or tear it further. You still need to do several passes with multi-blade razors. This results in more friction, more razor burn and more ingrown hairs. Safety razors are well-known to reduce redness, razor burn and ingrown hairs for this exact reason.
And aside from all that, the blades of commercial disposable razors and cartridges are generally low-quality and blunt.
In contrast, safety razor blades are ultra-sharp, and there is just one single blade. This is an advantage, not a disadvantage, as that single razor blade is all you need to shave beautifully.
These razor blades are also much cheaper and are easy to recycle. More on that shortly.
There are two parts to a safety razor; the handle and the blade.
To set up a safety razor, you simply load the blade into the handle, and you’re good to go. It’s really easy to insert and remove blades. Always ensure that the blade is properly installed into the handle and that it’s straight and secure.
Be careful of the edge when inserting the blade!
Many people switch to safety razors because of the environmental benefits and stay with them because of the shave.
There are many benefits to safety razors, though some are less obvious than others:
The health and beauty industry is a massive contributor to global waste and pollution and disposable razors are one of the worst culprits.
Many common estimates suggest that we collectively throw away 2 billion disposable razors every year. For every square kilometre of the ocean, there are some 42,000 pieces of plastic. Disposable razors and razor cartridges are wrecking the environment. While some leading manufacturers are offering recycling services, they aren’t always easy to access and involve other material and energy costs, e.g. packaging and sending the blades to the manufacturer.
Safety razors are totally different. As mentioned, the handle is reusable and can last for life. The blade is replaceable with standard steel razor blades which are generally easy to recycle – they are just steel after all. Read our guide on recycling razor blades here.
By using a safety razor, you’re reducing your environmental footprint and contributing to building a zero-waste society.
Whilst this might seem like a marketing slogan, safety razor users will swear that it’s true!
There is genuine rationale behind why this is the case, though. Firstly, safety razors put more control into the hands of the shaver, which allows them to shave in a way that is much more effective at cutting hairs – more on how shortly.
Also, safety razor blades are generally much sharper and more durable than disposable and cartridge razors. They cut through hairs more efficiently and require less effort to do so, which results in a closer shave.
Because safety razors have just one blade, they cause much less friction to the skin whilst shaving. As a result, users report making fewer passes with less contact, meaning an efficient shave without razor burn.
Also, because the angle of contact is slightly steeper than a standard razor, safety razors are more likely to cut hairs cleanly, preventing ingrown hairs.
If you struggle with ingrown hairs and razor burn then your disposable cartridge razor might be to blame – consider making the switch and see if it makes a difference!
It’s firstly important to prep your legs. You’ll probably be able to do your normal pre-shave routine, so wash and moisturise your legs well to ensure that follicles open up. Washing with warm water also helps the hairs stand up. Ensure your legs are free from excess soap when you shave as the soap will get into the follicles. Pat dry your legs rather than rubbing.
Then, exfoliate. Pumice stones are a good choice. After that, it’s time to apply shaving soap or cream. Safety razors generally need more lubrication than normal, but you can also use our Eco Warrior soap shaving bar.
Do you need a shaving brush for legs?
It’s a good question. Many people do use their shaving brushes for their legs and there’s nothing wrong with this, male or female. If you want a perfect shave, then give it a go!
Clear Confidence’s bestselling shaving brushes are available from the shop and none use animal hair.
Firstly, you’ll want to check the blade and ensure it’s loaded in the handle properly. After that, you can run the blade under very hot water or wash it with an antibacterial hand gel if it’s been lying around for a long time (obviously be very careful!)
When shaving legs with a safety razor, you’ll probably want to go in at around 30 degrees at first. You don’t really need to go beyond 45 degrees. If you feel that it’s too aggressive, slacken the angle.
While it’s tempting to do long, smooth strokes, it’s definitely better to do smaller strokes of some 10 to 15cm. You really need to keep the razor straight. Control and consistency are key.
Don’t apply much pressure, just let the blade glide itself. Once it gets gunked up, wash it and reapply cream if needed.
Do I shave with the grain or against the grain?
It’s recommended to go with the grain first, then against the grain for your final strokes. Build up confidence by going smoothly with the grain.
What about the bikini zone?
You might want to use one hand to pull your skin taut as you shave the bikini zone. Make the strokes extra-short.
What about under the arms?
Many women find that safety razors are easier to control under the arms because they’re shorter and more flexible regarding the shaving angle. Just be slow and patient and it’ll be fine!
Once you’re finished, wash your legs well with warm water to get the soap out then quickly apply cold water to ‘seal’ the pores. Some people use freezing water or ice cubes. This will also reduce inflammation and stem the bleeding from any nicks.
Then, moisturise thoroughly. Choose your standard after-shave moisturiser. Rub it in well and massage your legs in the process (make sure your hands are dry).
Make sure to wash your razor properly and store it in a dry place, preferably somewhere warm and sunny so it can dry thoroughly. You can disinfect it with antibacterial gel or rubbing alcohol, but make sure you rinse and dry it thoroughly afterwards.
Safety razors are awesome for women, men and any and all genders!
A razor is a razor – it’s a tool. The gimmick-free design of a safety razor is naturally unisex and the shaving performance is exceptional. Many women switch to safety razors because of the eco-friendly appeal and stay because of the superb shave.
Using a safety razor on legs, bikini lines and under the arms achieves an above-average shave. It will take some practice, but it’s well worth it. Millions of people are using safety razors these days – they’re popular for many good reasons!
Clear Confidence’s plastic-free sustainable safety razor will get you off to the flying start with your exciting new safety razor journey!