How to shave with a safety razor

How to Shave with a Safety Razor

You may consider a safety razor to merely be a relic of the distant past, as those types of razors were created in the late-19th century. Nowadays, however, they have come back in style, so you may want to learn how to shave with a safety razor! There is now an incredibly wide variety of safety razors to choose from, and many people are choosing to revert to this tool, as it is cost-effective and helps prevent skin irritation. So while many may dismiss this kind of tool as an outdated item that reached its peak during the mid- to late-20th century, learning how to use this tool may be the way to go.

So, if you’re convinced, here’s how to properly shave using this tool.

1. Consider buying a weighted razor

A silver safety razor surrounded by a white background

If you are looking for an easy and well-balanced shave, it’s important to invest in a weighted razor handle. Compared to a plastic handle, using a weighted one requires less additional force and gives you much more control over the shaving process. While it is not a necessary splurge, the comfort and ease that it brings to the process make the buy well worth it, particularly for beginners. 

2. Prep the skin

Before shaving the skin with a razor, it is necessary to properly prepare the skin. First, you must apply warm water to the skin and hair to soften them up. Then rub the skin with a pre-shave oil to further prepare the skin for a shave. If you don’t have pre-shave oil but want an identical effect, it is possible to substitute it with soap or shaving cream. Before pushing the razor against the skin, make sure to raise the hairs to further smoothen the shaving process. This is best done with a large shaving brush.

3. Pull the skin tight 

While shaving, it is important that you make sure not to apply any pressure to the skin with the razor. However, it can be quite easy to lose your grip while shaving, which can lead to that unwanted pressure (and maybe even a cut). In order to prevent this, make sure to pull against the skin to create a smooth surface for shaving. This will prevent you from creating unwanted bumps as you shave.

4. Angle between 30 and 45 degrees, and start slowly

A man shaving with a blue razor just cut himself and is touching his face in pain

If you have already decided to purchase a weighted handle, there’s no need to press the razor blade into the face. Because the blade is so sharp, the handle creates sufficient pressure on its own. As you start shaving, try and start slowly, and make sure to avoid any mistakes. Also, try to keep the razor at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees from the skin. Make sure not to hold the razor at a 90-degree angle from the skin — that will form cuts in the skin.

5. Follow the grain

Look carefully at the hairs on your face. Feel them if you must. In what direction do they grow? Once you determine this, you will want to shave in this direction. This way, you do not run the risk of pulling follicles and causing ingrown hairs and serious irritation of the skin. Be warned: it’s likely that your facial hair grows in different directions. You have to keep this in mind while shaving with the grain. 

6. Apply the razor using consistent, abbreviated strokes 

When using the razor, maintain strokes that are both steady and short. Before each swipe of the razor, rinse the blade with cold water. After swiping over a small area of skin, avoid using the blade to re-shave the same area in order to avoid causing excessive irritation. If you use proper shaving techniques, one shaving pass should be able to sufficiently shave off the selected area of hair. During this process, you are allowed to use both sides of the razor if you so choose.

7. Repeat steps 3 through 7 to improve the shave 

This step is completely optional. Once you are done shaving, thoroughly rinse your face using plenty of warm water. Look in the mirror. If you are satisfied with how the shave turned out, you can skip this step. If you are not, however, re-apply your pre-shave oil and lightly shave once again, making sure to both stay with the grain and maintain the correct angle.

8. Use water to rinse the shaven skin and apply a post-shave balm

After you are done shaving, rinse over the skin with cold water. Afterward, if your skin is dry, make sure to put on some post-shave balm onto the shaven areas. This adds protection to the skin, which is always a little sensitive after shaving. The balm helps cool the skin down and drastically lowers the chance of infection and irritation. However, if you have oily skin, use a dime-sized amount of liquid aftershave and apply it over the skin instead.

How to Shave With a Safety Razor: Conclusion

You’re now done! These steps are all you need to shave both safely and properly using a safety razor.

Written by Daniel Ong

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