Although more modern practices have taken over trimming beards with safety razors, more men are finding the need to adopt this technique for better-groomed beards.
Read on to understand what this technique is and how you can use it to groom your beard.
Table Of Contents
- What Is a Safety Razor
- Benefits of Shaving With a Safety Razor
- How Does a Safety Razor Work
- Pros and Cons of Shaving With a Safety Razor
- Types of Safety Razors
- Tools for Shaving With a Safety Razor
- How to Choose the Right Safety Razor
- How to Shave With a Safety Razor
- How to Maintain a Safety Razor
- When to Not Shave With a Safety Razor
- Does More Spending Mean More Quality
- Do’s and Don’ts With a Safety Razor
- FAQ About Shaving With Safety Razors
What Is a Safety Razor
A safety razor is a sharp shaving tool that men have used since the 20th century. It is also known as a double-edged razor because it has two razors to help you achieve a neat look on your beard.
The safety razor was popularized by King Camp Gillette in the 20th century and was the most used shaving tool during WW1. It was also an excellent alternative for men who couldn’t afford barbering services.
A safety razor has a protective device between the blade’s edge and your skin to give you an injury-free experience as you shave.
Benefits of Shaving With a Safety Razor
A safety razor comes with one sharp blade. While it may take some time getting used to, you will never regret the choice at the end of it all. A safety razor guarantees a close shave every time.
Less Irritation and Drag
Most razors come with 3 to 5 blades in a single cartridge. The safety razor stands strong at only a single blade.
This means less drag when you’re shaving, therefore a reduced chance that the top layer of your skin will come off with your facial hairs.
There will also be less bulk build-up between the blades guaranteeing a safe shave free of irritations.
Ideal for Coarse Hair
Men with thick hair find it hard to use standard cartridge razors since there is too much dragging and irritation.
On the other hand, a safety razor is perfect for thicker and coarse hair as long as you replace the blade after each shave.
Affordable Blade Replacement
If you buy replacement blades for your safety razor in bulk, you will likely spend about 10 to 25 cents on each.
As such, you never have to worry about replacing the blade after every shave to ensure that you always shave with the sharpest of blades.
How Does a Safety Razor Work
The safety razor is the ideal shaving tool; if you like a neat look and want to achieve it yourself, go to the barber.
The razor is sharp and dangerous if you have not mastered the art. However, once you grasp the art of tuning and shaving with the safety razor, you’ll never look back.
The double-edged razor has two sharp blades to give you a clean cut. The blades glide smoothly over your skin to provide you with that clean shave. What’s better, you can replace the blades at home at a minimal cost.
The safety razor gives the best result for a smooth and coarse beard with suitable shaving cream or soap and a nice shaving brush.
Pros and Cons of Shaving With a Safety Razor
- It gives a clean shave, better than other cartridge shavers.
- It is more affordable than other shavers.
- It is durable because of its metallic design.
- Works well with any shaving products such as creams and soaps.
- Easy to clean.
- It has a universal design.
- It is stylish, enjoyable, and tactile.
- It requires you to learn how to use the safety razor.
- The clean shave means it is easier to get cuts and nicks. You need to be extra careful when you use a quality back shaver.
Types of Safety Razors
With Open Comb Heads
The safety razors with open comb heads have the blades exposed, with the comb teeth hidden. They are aggressive and are more reliable for a clean shave. They are ideal for thick beards.
However, these blades come with a warning sign. They are sharp, and the exposed blades can easily cause injuries to the users. You need to learn how to use these blades safely. These blades are ideal for infrequent shavers.
With Closed Comb Heads
Safety razors with closed comb heads are safer for beginners because the blades are hidden with a safety bar. The safety bar protects the skin from the sharp blade. This safety razor also has spikes to guide the hair to the blade.
The safety razors with closed comb heads ensure a clean shave with little or no injury and are ideal for coarse beards.
Tools for Shaving With a Safety Razor
To achieve excellent results on your beard when shaving with an adjustable safety razor, you must accompany it with supporting tools.
One of the tools you need is the safety razor itself. You can get one from antique stores or online shops such as eBay. At most, an antique shaving razor should cost $10.
If you prefer a new shaving razor, look up some companies that still produce them. You’ll need at least $40 to buy one.
A shaving brush is one of those things you don’t want to ignore if you’re shaving your beard with a safety razor.
You’ll use the brush to lather your shaving cream or soap and spread it on your beard. A brush does a fantastic job by ensuring that every beard strand gets enough lather for smooth shaving. ‘
There are two types of shaving brushes in the market:
- Boar brush
- Badger brush
The boar brush is stiff and does not hold a lot of water. It is also much cheaper than the badger brush. However, invest in a badger brush if you want an incredible shaving experience. It holds more water and is more comfortable on your face.
Soaps and Creams
If you want that clean, smooth shave with your safety razor, you should invest in a good shaving soap or cream.
The lather from the soap or cream helps your safety razor to glide smoothly over your beard and minimizes the chances of getting cuts and nicks.
You can either go for the traditional shaving soaps with natural ingredients or buy a convenient shaving cream from your local store.
How to Choose the Right Safety Razor
The make of your safety razor should tell you whether it is right for you. There are two types of safety razors:
- Three-piece safety razor
- One-piece safety razor
The three-piece razor has a handle, a base plate, and a top cap. Sometimes the baseplate and handle are conjoined. These are easy and inexpensive to manufacture.
The one-piece razor is, also known as the twist to open or butterfly safety razor is more complicated to manufacture and use. However, it is more convenient for changing blades.
Skin Guard Design
A safety razor can either be an open or closed comb. The open comb design has the blade exposed and is more efficient in clean shaving. However, the open blade leaves you prone to cuts and nicks.
On the other hand, the closed comb has a safety bar to shield the skin from the blade. This type of safety razor is more appropriate if you’re learning how to use safety razors.
Your razor’s head design determines how your beard will look after the shave. For instance, you’re more likely to get a clean shave if the blade is exposed.
If the blade is hidden, you can trim your beard without going bald. Buy a safety razor with an excellent build and design of shaving scuttles.
Weight and Handle Length
If the safety is too heavy on your hand, you’re likely to injure yourself because you cannot control the glides properly.
The handle should be the right length according to the size of your hand and how far you intend to shave your beard.
Getting a safety razor with the right weight and handle length will make your shaving experience more enjoyable.
If you want more than a basic safety razor, you can opt for the more advanced options in the market. For instance, you can get adjustable ones or those that shave while slanted instead of being head-on.
You can also go for an exotic piece made by artisans or one that has a pivot, like a cartridge razor.
Grinding or Sharpness
Get a blade that is not too sharp for your skin. Get a blade that won’t injure you if you have a soft beard.
The coating on different safety razors determines their non-stick functions, lifespan, and aesthetics. Experiment with the different variations in the market until you find your perfect match.
Different razors are coated with metals and alloys such as stainless steel, tungsten, and carbon steel. You can say goodbye to razor burns, thanks to alum blocks.
Note: If you intend to shave your legs with your safety razor, buy the tools needed for leg shaving.
How to Shave With a Safety Razor
Step 1 – Pre-shave routine
The first thing you need to do before shaving your beard is a shower. Showering before you shave helps soften and moisturize your facial hair, making the shaving process easier ensuring fewer cuts and nicks.
Cleaning, softening, and moisturizing your skin also helps prevent razor burns, ingrown hairs, and folliculitis.
Step 2 – Apply pre-save cream
Work a small amount of quality pre-shave cream into your facial hair to soften it. The cream also helps prepare your skin for repeated contact with the blade.
Some men use baby lotion, which reduces irritation and ensures that the razor glides softly across the skin.
Step 3 – Draw water in the sink
Draw warm water in the sink before you begin shaving. This will help clear away gunk and stubble from your razor between passes.
Step 4 – Apply shaving cream
If you have shaving cream, this is the point where you build a nice lather. Applying shaving soap will also help. Use a badger-hair brush, preferably if you are using shaving soap.
Step 5 – Mastering the shave
Place your safety razor on the skin, with the handle perpendicular to your skin. Don’t press down, so you don’t injure yourself.
Bring the handle down for the blade to touch your skin, which should be 30 degrees off the perpendicular.
Shave in the correct direction (with the grain), but this is not strict. You can shave in whichever direction you’re comfortable with.
Make short overlapping movements on the flattened areas of your skin while maintaining the angle between the blade and your skin.
You should learn how to manipulate the razor. Lock the wristband use your arm as a unit to maintain the angle. Rinse your face and repeat the process.
If you’re not satisfied with the result, you can reduce the stubble by re-lathering and shaving against the grain, 90 degrees away from the direction you just finished.
Step 6 – Post-shave routine
Clean your skin after the shave with warm water, and apply a great aftershave to keep your skin and beard healthy.
How to Maintain a Safety Razor
Step 1 – Rinse and dry the razor after every use
Your safety razor will collect a lot of gunk when you are shaving. While you will rinse it between passes, cleaning the razor after use ensures that it lasts longer.
Step 2 – Store it safely in a dry place
When you are done shaving, never leave your safety razor in the shower or tub where it will be exposed to too much humidity. Since safety razors are mostly made of metal, they can rust easily when left in damp environments.
Also, after shaving, it would go a long way if you dried the razor completely after shaving. Use a clean towel and dry both the body and the blade.
Step 3 – Thorough cleaning once in a while
Disassemble the razors and clean the razor thoroughly once in a while to remove hidden dirt and germs.
Soak the razor in warm water and add white vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda. This method helps clean the razor and remove any rust that may have buildup in the parts.
When to Not Shave With a Safety Razor
Don’t use a safety razor if you;
- Need a quick shave
- Are on blood-thinners
- Don’t have a reliable source of water
Under such circumstances, you may need to use other shaving alternatives.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
More factors than its cost determine the quality of a safety razor. Some of the issues to consider are the materials used, the availability of spare parts, and the suitability of the blade to your needs. If you focus on these items, you’ll get yourself the world’s best safety razor.
Do’s and Don’ts With a Safety Razor
- Do learn how to use a safety razor before using it.
- Do clean your razor after every shave.
- Do store your razor in a clean and dry place.
- Do sterilize your razor to kill germs.
- Don’t leave your razor in unsterilized conditions.
- Do not use an open comb razor if you’re a beginner.
- Don’t use a safety razor if you need a quick shave, are on blood-thinning medication, or don’t have a reliable source of water.
FAQ About Shaving With Safety Razors
Is it better to shave with a safety razor?
A safety razor is your best option if you want a clean shave.
How to start shaving with safety razors?
Learn how to use a safety razor, buy one appropriate for your needs and start shaving!
For how many shaves is a safety razor good?
As many shaves as you need until the blades wear out.
Can I use every day my safety razor?
Yes, you can as long as you use shaving cream and soap and shave the right way to avoid irritations. Also, use a sharp razor every time.
How is the safety razor technique different from using a cartridge razor?
The blade is sharper and does a better job than a cartridge razor.
What angle do I use with a safety razor?
Shave at 30 degrees off the perpendicular angle between the blade and your skin.
Is shaving with a safety razor worth it?
Yes, it is worth it. A safety razor guarantees a closer shave free of irritation, cuts, and nicks.
Using a double-edged razor is one of the beard shaving practices ruled out by modern shaving practice. However, men are rediscovering the practice and learning how to trim their beards. If you’re in this category of men, learn how to use the razor and get the most appropriate one for your needs.