How To Use A Safety Razor

How to get the best possible shave

Achieving an ivory-smooth shave and a well-groomed look can take some practice. You’ll need to master your technique and refine your routine with safe and reliable tools on hand in order to properly tame your stubble.

Although cartridge razors are popular for offering a shortcut to daily shaving routines, they, unfortunately, have the tendency to wreak havoc on your skin, causing irritation, razor bumps, and ingrown hairs. In addition, cartridge razors can bite significant chunks of cash from your wallet in the long run when compared to their more cost-effective counterpart, the safety razor. For instance, safety razor replacement blades cost only a few pence each, whereas cartridge razors set you back approximately £2 per cartridge. Annually, you are likely to spend a whopping £58 or 28p per shave while using replacement cartridges, whereas, for the safety razor, you’ll be spending less than a quarter of that amount – roughly £12 annually, or 6p per shave. 

With double edge safety razors, you are guaranteed a high-quality authentic wet-shaving experience that is not the only kind to your skin and pocket but also plastic-free and kind to the environment. Unlike cartridges, safety razor blades are a fully recyclable green solution. This allows you to achieve the professional shave you desire without contributing to environmental pollution. 

Take your shaving experience to the next level with a shaving brush. Shaving brushes work to gently massage and exfoliate your skin while prepping and softening your facial hairs for easy shaving and a smoother finish. Our unique plastic-free shaving brush (with grass-based bristles) is perfect companion to our plastic-free double edge safety razor for any gentleman keen on achieving an impeccable shave with no environmental impact.

In this article, we offer you a step-by-step guide for creating the most efficient shaving routine that will keep you looking dapper on a daily basis.

How To Assemble Your Double Edge Safety Razor

The double edge safety razor is made up of three parts:

  1. The head – this is what covers the razor blade and makes it safe for use
  2. The comb – this piece fits between the head and the handle
  3. The handle – this is what you hold while you shave

To set up your razor:

  1. To unlock all three parts of your razor, hold onto the head and comb of the razor while unscrewing the handle.
  2. Next, place a recyclable razor blade between the head and the comb. Ensure that the three holes in the head, the razor blade, and the comb are all lined up.
  3. Finally, secure the razor blade between the head and the comb by screwing the handle back onto the head. Tighten the razor blade to its anchor between the head and the comb, and you’re all set to begin your grooming ritual.

Create An Effective Pre-Shave Ritual

Preparing adequately for a shave does a lot to streamline the entire grooming process by ensuring that your skin is well-protected, and your facial hairs are in their most cooperative state. Some may opt for an elaborate routine as part of their quest for the ultimate and most luxurious grooming session. But even if you don’t have time to fuss and need a fast and easy approach to achieving the ideal, smooth shave, the following simple steps are essential for an effective routine:

  • Wash Up

A warm shower is the best way to soften up your skin and hairs naturally before you shave. The warmth opens up your pores and allows excess oils and dirt to be washed away as you wash your face, leaving your skin fresh and clean for the next step of your routine. If you find that you’re out of time for a shower, washing your face with warm water is also an acceptable option. Otherwise, you can place a moist hot towel over your face for similar results.

  • Exfoliate

Over time, dead skin cells tend to accumulate on the skin. Use a facial scrub or exfoliator to remove the layer of dead skin and other particles that may clog your pores. This gives you a better shave by allowing your razor to glide effortlessly over your skin. Some men opt for glycerin soap, which both removes dead skin and smooths out the skin beneath without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

  • Use A Pre-Shave Tonic, Cream, Or Oil

Pre-shave products are the cherry on top for a truly exquisite shaving experience. They often contain glycerin, which, as mentioned earlier, prepares your skin surface for the shave. Men with thicker beards should go for pre-shave tonics, which have a thinner consistency and are less greasy. If your beard is shorter and sharper, pre-shave creams and oils are a better option. Some men even use baby lotion as a pre-shave to help prevent any irritation.

  • Lather Up With A Shaving Brush

A new generation of men is leading a renaissance of sorts when it comes to using a shaving brush. Some may opt for a quick blob of shaving cream from a can, but the more deliberate groomer would relish in the luxurious massage obtained from using a well-made shaving brush to apply the lather to your face. Our vegan shaving brushes are perfect for this as they ensure that the lather penetrates and softens every inch of your skin for optimum results.

How to use a safety razor
Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

The Art Of The Safety Razor Shave (The Best Way To Do It)

Your technique is everything when it comes to using a safety razor. The basic principles to guide you include these three steps:

  1. Shave with the grain
  2. Shave across the grain
  3. Shave against the grain, in that order.

After you’ve lathered up your face with shaving cream, dip your double edge safety razor in hot water and angle it at a position of thirty degrees to your skin. This position is best for safeguarding your skin against lots of nicks and cuts.

Now it’s time for your first pass. This is when you want to shave with the grain. This means you are shaving in the same direction in which your hair grows. It takes off less hair but is much more forgiving than shaving against the grain on your first pass. For a first-time shaver, it may take you a little time to familiarize yourself with the direction of your beard growth. It differs from man to man and even changes based on the position of the hair on your face.

For best results, you should unclog your razor by dipping it into warm water frequently and swirling it around. Also, use small strokes while you shave and avoid pressing down onto your skin with the razor. Allow the weight of your razor to do most of the work – a light touch is key. Ensure that your blades are always sharp so that you do not need to apply extra pressure for a good shave.

For easier, more efficient shaving, hold your skin taut to allow the razor blade to glide smoothly over the surface.

Pay close attention to any problem areas. These often include contoured areas of the face, such as beneath the jawline, above and below the lips. Take your time in these areas and opt for several passes rather than attempting to clear the area in a single pass. This will save you from having to deal with any redness and irritation in these sensitive spots.

Next up is the second pass. The purpose of this step is to clear away any remnants of stubble without cutting or irritating your skin. Before you start, wet your face and apply a second coat of shaving cream. You may use a thinner coat this time around if there isn’t much hair left to clear. 

This is when you shave across the grain, and then afterwards, against the grain. This must be done very carefully. Be sure to lather over any targeted area for optimum lubrication.

At this point, you can decide how many times you want to repeat the process based on the level of closeness you prefer. Take note, however, that each extra pass will increase your likelihood of nicking or irritating your skin.

Create An Effective Post-Shave Ritual 

Your post-shave ritual is just as important as the shave itself. It helps soothe your skin to prevent irritation and redness and leaves your skin looking healthy and revitalized. 

  • Wash

First, you’ll have to wash off the shaving cream or foam with cold water. Remember that warm water opens up your pores. Coldwater, on the other hand, does the exact opposite and seals them off to help tighten your skin and prevent ingrown hairs. You can go a step further by gliding an ice cube over your skin or using extra cold water from the fridge. 

  • Pat Dry

Next, you want to gently pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Avoid rubbing your skin with the towel as this will alter the direction of your hairs and press them down, leading to an increased risk of having ingrown hairs. 

  • Aftershave

Afterwards, apply an aftershave to your skin. This helps to tone, hydrate and nourish your skin while soothing it at the same time. There is a wide range of aftershave products available which may come in the form of thick balms or lighter moisturizing creams. If you’re up for it, you can even make your own aftershave!

Aftershave products may either be alcohol-based or witch hazel-based. Alcohol-based aftershaves tend to be more affordable but have the tendency to sting and dry out your skin. Witch hazel-based aftershaves, however, do not sting but are less capable of toning the skin than the alcohol-based variety. They also have antiseptic properties for more sensitive skin types. Whichever kind you choose, you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic scent to top everything off.

  • Moisturise

Finally, finish off your routine by applying a moisturiser, especially if your aftershave leaves your skin feeling dry. 

  • Clean Up

Don’t forget to clean up your tools after completing your grooming routine. Rinse your razor head and consider dipping the blade into rubbing alcohol briefly. This gets rid of excess moisture on the blade to prevent rusting and prolong the lifespan of your razor blades before they need to be discarded. Only place the blade back into the razor after it is dry.

Rinse your shaving brush under cool water as well to get rid of any excess soap or foam and store it in a well-ventilated area.

Safety razor

Shaving Sensitive Skin With A Safety Razor

Anyone who has sensitive skin is fully aware of the kind of problems it can bring. One minute, you’re done with a good, clean shave and loving your reflection in the mirror – with a wink and a corny smile. The next minute, red razor bumps are invading the shaved area of your skin and ‘photobombing’ your reflection in the mirror. And as if that’s not all, your skin feels uncomfortable with the stinging effect of your aftershave. Although it can be very frustrating sometimes, you cannot swap your skin with someone else. So, what do you do? 

First, take a shower before you shave. This prepares your skin for a good shave. Shaving without taking a shower first is like trying to fry some fish without first removing the scales. A nice warm bath will open up the pores in your skin and make it easy for the safety razor to glide gracefully over the surface of your skin with very little resistance. Shaving cold-turkey-style (or unscaled-fish-style, if you like) is the first no-no.

Taking a shower presents the perfect opportunity to exfoliate, and yes, it’s not for women only. There is a reason why it is a part of the pre-shave ritual, and that’s to also prevent shaving issues. People with sensitive skin tend to have a lot of trouble with ingrown hair covered by dead skin and complemented by razor bumps. Using a simple shaving brush to gently work on the surface of your skin (where you want to shave, of course) will also do a lot to get rid of the dead skin and prepare your skin for a good shave.

Opt for a mild shave that limits the amount of exposed razor blade. This offers a less aggressive shave, with very little damage to the skin. And always ensure that you only use a fresh or sharp razor. An old and dull razor blade will not only fail to cut well, but it will also increase the chances of having ingrown hair. 

What To Do About Shaving Cuts

Sometimes shaving cuts can be inevitable, no matter how skilful you are or how well your razor is angled and glides over your skin. At some point, your blade will decide to give your skin a little bite. So, what can you do about it?

We have already made mention of the need to always use fresh or new razors, as they are sharper. This is not the time to be frugal. Contrary to what most people think, the sharper the razor, the lesser the chances of getting a cut. This means that your dull razor will not only cause an uncomfortable and rigorous shave, but it will also possibly leave you with more cuts. So, start with a sharp blade – to glide easily over your skin. And do not forget to go through your pre-shaving ritual.

But what do you do when you nick your skin? Although sticking a piece of toilet paper on the cut can be a very quick solution, you will only end up looking like a faux-mummy. And the last thing you need is something else competing with the red razor bumps to ‘photobomb’ your face. Plus, don’t underestimate the possibility of you leaving the bathroom while forgetting to remove the pieces of toilet paper from your face, only to be notified by someone you have a crush on. That will suck.

So, you will have to go a bit professional with your solution. You can select from a wide range of products available in your local pharmacy or online. They range from blams to antiperspirant aftershaves. Keep in mind that most of these products are for minor cuts. In case of a deep cut, then ensure to apply pressure on the cut surface to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding continues, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Razor Rashes And Bumps, And How To Avoid Them

Again, don’t go all cold turkey into your shave. Take a couple of minutes to get a quick shower. A warm bath is the most effective as it will help to open your pores and prepare your skin. Next, yet again, always use a sharp razor. You can never be sure when it comes to an already used razor blade. Sometimes just one previous use is enough to make the blades dull. This is why it is always a good idea to stock up on your safety razor blades, so you wouldn’t need to dash off to the store after starting off with the old blade. You never know whom you might run into. 

However, if your skin continues to experience irritation, even after going by everything we have already mentioned in this article, then it is best to consider using a product like pre-shave oil before you shave. Now, before you feel like you’re betraying your testosterone with all these products, think about your skin looking like a landmine. Pre-shave oil is specially formulated for those stubborn skin types that have equally stubborn facial hair that seem to be constantly predisposed to razor burns, rashes, and aftershave bumps. They work a very simple form of magic on the skin. 

First, they help to lock in the moisture and moisturise the skin while softening it. All you need to do is to apply the pre-shave oil and gently massage it into the skin and hair before shaving. After shaving, you will probably end up wondering why you had never used pre-shave oil before. 

Once you are done shaving, remember to finish up with an aftershave – preferably one that is also a moisturiser. Don’t worry; you won’t be losing your masculinity. You will only be losing those rashes and bumps. As mentioned, be sure to avoid an aftershave or post-shave balm that contains alcohol, abrasive ingredients, or any other ingredient that you cannot pronounce. One option to consider is products with all natural formulas.

What Causes Ingrown Hairs, And How To Avoid Them

Just as the name suggests, ingrown hairs grow into the skin instead of rising up or growing from the skin. They are caused by two main factors – dead skin and curly hair. 

With dead skin, what happens is that it can clog, cover or block a hair follicle and force it to bend or grow sideways under the skin instead of growing up and out. The second factor is cutting down curly hair too short. Curly hair does not grow straight – obviously. And when it is cut down too short, the sharp end of the hair usually ends up curved into the skin. It can either pierce the skin surface or bend into another skin pore and continue to grow in a downward direction into the skin.

An ingrown hair follicle usually leaves behind a raised red bump that looks like a pimple, or a boil-like sore that comes with itching and some discomfort. The bumps may contain pus, and when you look closely, you may see the exposed end of the culprit tiny hair follicle, with the other end ‘buried’ under the skin. If you are able to find the exposed end of the hair follicle, you can pull it out of the skin with the help of a clean needle. 

Here are some tips you can try to help you avoid ingrown hair problems. Rub your face with an exfoliating scrub or a wet washcloth. Do this in a circular motion on a daily basis. This will help to tease out ingrown hairs before they get the chance to grow deeper. Also (like we have mentioned a couple of times already), shave with a sharp razor. A single-blade razor is preferable in this case. We have also mentioned the need to take a warm bath before shaving. If having a full bath is too much work for you, then you can use a lubricant gel. 

Alternatively, you can also wet the skin with warm water for a couple of minutes before shaving. Others have found rubbing the skin with a very warm towel for a number of times before shaving, to be very effective. Do not only shave against the direction of your growing hair and shave with as few strokes as possible where necessary, as explained earlier. Make sure to rinse the blade with clean water after every stroke. Also, avoid applying pressure to the razor and shaving too close to the skin.

Shaving Gels, Soaps & Creams – Which One Is Best For You?

Many people that do not have to deal with sensitive skin can get away with using just a dab of water before shaving. The point is, you should use what works best for your skin. Sometimes, you may need to try all three options – shaving gel, soap, and cream – before finding out which one is right for your skin.

Shaving cream may not always be necessary when shaving. Some people find shaving soap a better alternative as it lathers well and gives more control over their shaving experience. Plus, it helps stay true to a traditional, artisan product. However, using a shaving soap takes longer finish. So, if you are pressed for time and need a quick shave before work or for that special dinner with your crush (which you obviously are running late for), then your best bet would be a shaving gel. 

The most important thing is to know what kind of skin you have and what option is best for it. However, you should always make it a point to moisturise your skin after shaving in order to avoid any form of skin irritation. Also, ensure to use a sharp razor and follow the other tips already given in this article. 

FAQs

Can I Use Both Sides Of A Safety Razor?

You can use both sides of a safety razor. This is the reason why it is referred to as a double-edged safety razor in its entirety. Also, because of its double-sided design, you are not only able to extend the life of the blade, but you are also able to save a lot of time when shaving. This is because all you have to do is switch to another side without needing to rinse after every stroke. Using a double-edged safety razor can also help to save cost.

How Many Times Can I Use A Safety Razor Blade?

Usually, most people connect the number of times they can use a safety razor blade to how long the safety razor blade can last. On average, it is recommended that you change your safety blade razors at least once every week. Many prefer a fresh blade every shave. As the blades are so cheap and recyclable, this may be the best option – especially if you have sensitive skin. 

What Happens If I Shave Every Day?

For most people, especially those with sensitive skin, shaving on a daily basis increases the risk of skin damage, skin irritation, as well as other forms of skin blemishes. However, the key lies in having a detailed routine complemented by the use of proper products in order to help avoid skin damage and keep your skin free of all manner of blemishes. When not done properly, not only will shaving every day leave your skin with so many damages and irritation, but it will also slow down and lengthen the healing time significantly.

You can absolutely shave every day with a safety razor as long as you’re using a high-quality razor – such as our plastic-free double edge safety razor – and sharp, high quality blades. Our safety razors are designed to give you the quality, smooth shave you desire on a daily basis.

What Is The Best Pre-Shave Oil To Use?

There are countless excellent options. Pay attention to the ingredients list for things like avocado oil, jojoba oil, walnut oil, safflower oil, tocopherol (which contains Vitamin E for its anti-ageing effects) and other natural and essential oils. Avoid products containing more than 5% of Isopropyl Myristate, which is a synthetic oil that can clog your pores.

Is It Better To Shave In The Morning Or At Night?

The answer to this will depend on your schedule and preference. While most will advise shaving as part of your morning routine, some argue that shaving at night may be a better option. Their reasoning is that while you sleep, your head stays horizontal for at least six to hours, allowing fluid and blood to accumulate and leave your skin puffy. However, as you go through the day, this excess fluid drains back over several hours. Therefore, by shaving just before bed, you’re working with skin that is much less puffy, allowing you to achieve a smoother shave. If however, you need a completely clean-shaven look, shaving in the morning is your best bet.

To summarise, shaving does not have to be challenging, and with the right help, it won’t be. Shaving issues have a lot to do with several different factors coming together – a dull safety razor blade, lack of proper preparation before the shaving session, bad aftershave habits, not changing razor blades as often as recommended, not using the right shaving products, not using the right shaving technique, and so on. Hopefully, this article has shed a little on how to get it right and say bye to those annoying razor bumps, ingrown hair, skin irritation, and other safety razor shaving issues.