Read time: 6 mins
Learn how to shave with a safety razor with this beginner's guide! We provide helpful tips and a short video to help you make the switch.
Achieve the perfect shave
The video above is a great introduction for those new to using a safety razor, and covers the key techniques to achieving a smooth, comfortable shave. If you'd prefer to read about it instead, we've summarised it for you below.
1. Understand the direction of hair growth
Face stubble generally grows in a downwards direction, however, areas like the neck and chin can sometimes grow sideways, or even in spiral patterns. Before shaving, take a moment to understand the direction of your own hair growth patterns.
2. Apply a quality shaving cream or soap
Shaving creams and soaps play an important role in helping the razor glide across the skin, as well as helping to soften the stubble for a smoother shave. Having a good quality lather means a more comfortable shave with less irritation and redness.
3. Hold the razor at a 30° angle
Safety razors – as their name implies – have a built-in safety mechanism to avoid accidental nicks and cuts. That is, the razor head protrudes out past the edge of the blade, which prevents the blade from making direct contact with the skin.
When the razor is held at about a 30° angle to the skin, this protective bar is angled out of the way, exposing the blade to the stubble and allowing the razor to work effectively. Much of the learning curve when learning to use a safety razor is in getting used to keeping the razor at the correct angle while shaving.
4. Use short strokes of 1-3cm in length
Rather than long, sweeping strokes of the razor, it's best to use short strokes of around 1-3cm in length. Doing so will help to prevent nicks and cuts, while also preventing tugging of the hairs and clogging of the razor.
5. Let the razor do the hard work
Safety razor blades are very sharp, and don't require effort or force on your part to easily slice through stubble. When using a safety razor, it's important to let the weight of the razor do most of the work, and only using gentle pressure to keep the razor head against the skin.
6. Shave in the direction of hair growth
Shaving against the grain, or against the direction of hair growth, is one of the leading causes of irritation from shaving. Shaving with the direction of hair growth greatly reduces the chances of irritation, while still providing a close shave.
7. Flip the razor over as it begins to clog, then rinse clean
One of the benefits of double edge safety razors is that there are two sides to the razor. That means less frequent rinsing under the tap while shaving, as you can simply flip the razor over and continue with a fresh blade.
8. For a closer shave, complete a second pass
After shaving with the direction of hair growth, some people like to complete a second pass for an even closer shave. This second pass should be across the direction of hair growth, and a fresh layer of lather should be applied.
9. That's it, you're done!
After rinsing the face clean of shaving lather, pat dry with a towel. You can either finish here, or apply an aftershave lotion or balm to soothe and moisturise the skin. As a bonus, many of them smell great!
It may take a few shaves before you're comfortable shaving with your safety razor, so be patient and you'll be rewarded with great shaves for years to come.