Safety razor shaving dates back to the Victorian era. Shaving with electric shavers then became the “next big thing” and disposables soon took over. In recent years safety razors have come back into vogue. Now many men enjoy shaving just as their grandfathers once did.
Safety razor shaving involves using a double-edged blade within a stylish reusable razor head. The razor head and attached handle have become highly-regarded personal items, much like cufflinks or a treasured timepiece. Many men select their razor to suit personal style and taste, with many opting for safety razors of gold, silver or other metal design.
But shaving with a safety razor takes some practice. It is a sort of timeless art, one that Grandpa made look so easy and efficient, using his foaming cream cup, badger bristle shaving brush and safety razor as part of a morning routine. You can make it look just as easy over time, once you get the hang of it.
What Is Safety Razor Shaving?
Safety razor shaving involves use of one razor blade with double-edged sharpness. The razor has a safety guard protecting skin from all but the razor’s shaving edge, as the name implies. When the razor blade becomes ineffective, it is removed from the razor and replaced. Only the blades are disposable, unlike more modern disposable razors with plastic handles.
Many men of today are choosing safety razors for shaving over disposables and electric shavers for the following reasons:
Replacement blades are inexpensive
Safety razor shaving enables easier shaving of tight spaces like under your nose and in neck folds
Many users believe safety razors result in smoother, closer, more uniform shaving than other methods
Although people enjoy using a safety razor for shaving, it is easier to cut yourself using a safety razor, as ironic as that seems. It also takes awhile to be able to shave efficiently using a safety razor. This means that it may be best to learn to use a safety razor over the weekend or when not in a hurry, so more cuts do not occur and shaving does not upset the morning routine.
Tips for Safety Razor Shaving
When starting to use a safety razor, follow these tips for a smoother transition from disposables:
Ensure you are not under time pressure or other stress, to avoid cuts or other problems. Take your time and pay attention to what you are doing.
Do not apply heavy pressure. Glide the razor gently over the face, not using brute force with quick motions as with a disposable or shaver.
Use short, light strokes with hair growth direction. Do not go side-to-side or against hair growth, to prevent cuts and irritation.
Stretch your skin to reduce nooks, crannies, creases, dips and ripples.
Rinse the blades frequently although you can simply flip the razor around and use the other side of the double sided blade.
Different Types and Designs of Double Edged Razors
Double Edge Razors are a very popular razor for wet shaving and have been for a very long time. Even though straight razors provide a closer shave, the safety feature of double edged razors have made it way more popular than the straight razor. It might have something to do with people not wanting to worry about slicing their neck every time they shave. Cartridge razors may not shave as close as the other two, but they do have their advantages, such as their ease of use and the ability to shave faster without worrying if you will cut yourself. Apart from that, safety razors offer a cleaner, closer shave and are cheaper to maintain than cartridge type razors. There are different double edge razor designs that may be confusing at first for beginners so this article will attempt to explain these differences and offer insight into the world of the double edged razors so you could make an informed purchasing decision.
There are three basic designs of double edge razors and they are named accordingly. The first is the one-piece design, which is also called butterfly, adjustable or silo razor. This razor has a mechanism inside it that allows the cutting head to open with a twist of the handle or the press of a knob. One-piece razors gained popularity because razor blades could be changed easily without disassembling and reassembling the razor. The down-side to these razors are that they are difficult to clean and because they have moving parts, they are more prone to malfunction after being used for many years. The Merkur Futur Safety Razor is an exception to this rule since this high quality German razor is built like a tank and is guaranteed to last for many years.
Two-piece Double Edged Razors
Two-piece razors are razors designed with a removable head which has a long bar in the middle and a screw at the end of the bar that fits into the handle. The head can then be fastened to the handle using a knob on the lower part of the handle or with other methods. Cleaning of a two-piece razor is easier than cleaning of a one-piece razor but changing blades on the one-piece razor is easier than on a two-piece razor. It’s all relative and just depends on which style you prefer.
Three-Piece Double Edge Razor
The three piece double edged razor is similar to the two-piece razor except that the handle can be unscrewed from the base of the head. This makes the bar attached to the top head short as opposed to the long bar of a two-piece razor. The earliest models of the three-piece razor were offered by Gillette around the early part of the twentieth century and they have since grown to become the most popular type of the double edge razor. Their popularity is partly because of the ease of cleaning and also their design which leaves very little moving parts. This made the Gillette’s some of the most durable type of double edged razors available until other brands were released from countries all over the world.
Closed and Open Comb Head
There is another major design difference between razors when it comes to their safety bars. Most razors have a solid safety bar and are called closed comb safety razors. They are the most widely used and are perfect for beginners. The solid safety bar provides an even, tight pressure on the skin and provides protection against nicks. Open comb razors on the other hand have periodic openings along the bar which gives them the look of a comb. They are more suited to people with coarse hair and are considered to be more aggressive razors. We recommend starting with closed comb heads if you are new to wet shaving.
A razor’s aggressiveness is a result of the amount of space between the edge of the blade and the safety bar. The more space there is, the closer the razor can shave and the more aggressive the razor is then said to be. There are basically three levels of classification for razor aggressiveness and they are called mild double edge razor, medium aggressive razor and the aggressive double edged safety razor. These three types of razors are non-adjustable but there is also an adjustable razor whose aggressiveness can be varied.
Straight Bar & Slant Bar Head
The last major difference in safety razor design is also the design of the safety bar. The majority of safety razors have a straight bar design, meaning that their safety bars are in a straight 90 degree angle to the handle. The slant bar design was patented in 1915 and has its bar slanting at an angle different than the 90 degrees to the handle. This makes the razor’s blade able to slice a stubble at a slant which is a more effective method. This feature has been used in the design of the guillotine for example and is appreciated mostly by men with coarse beards and even more appreciated if your skin is sensitive.
Knowing the differences in double edge razor design will enable you to choose the best safety razor according to your skin type, your hair type and your shaving style. Only a straight razor can offer you the closest shave when you compare it to the double edged safety razor but it lacks the safety of the DE razor which is why we do not recommend it for beginners. If you have any questions on the types of double edges razors, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to help.
Shaving with a Safety Razor – How to do it properly
Shaving with a safety razor has always been the standard method of shaving since the early years of the 20th century. Their practicality and safety made them quite popular over the straight-razor. Initially available as single-edge razors, the safety razor slowly evolved into the double-edged razor which hasn’t change much in design since then. Shaving with a safety razor is still basically done the same way today as it was done over 100 years ago.
Since 1974 when Bic first introduced the disposable razor, many men and women alike, have slowly been pushed into using disposable shaving razors. A result of intelligent marketing, the disposable razor has evolved into cartridge-type razors that can today contain up to five blades per shaving stick. But in recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of people who are reverting to the traditional method of shaving with a safety razor. This trend towards the safety razor, as you will see, is for a good reason.
The Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razors
While slick marketing has persuaded many men to adopt shaving with multi-bladed cartridge razors, it has in reality been a counter-intuitive move because shaving with a double edged safety razor is simply the most practical, cost-effective method of shaving. Following are the benefits of shaving with a safety razor as opposed to cartridge razors.
The Benefits of Shaving With a Safety Razor
– Close Shaves
A safety razor provides a cleaner shave than a cartridge type razor. This is because it has only a single blade unlike the multiple blades of a cartridge razor which pull at hair, cut wrongly and scrape the skin thereby causing ingrown hairs, skin irritations and razor burns. In fact, it is only a straight razor that can shave better than a safety razor, but then it comes with a very steep learning curve.
In the long term, shaving with a safety razor is way much cheaper than using cartridge razors. The only problem with safety razors is the initial price of the razor which can cost anywhere from $30 to over $100. But the blades then cost about $0.10 each when you buy in bulk. Given that a cartridge razor handle costs about $10 and a pack of cartridges costs about $6, shaving with a cartridge razor will cost you about $130 in the first year and then about $120 every subsequent year. Shaving with a safety razor on the other hand, will cost about $60 in the first year, assuming you choose a cheaper safety razor model. Subsequent years will then cost you less than $20 if you buy the blades in bulk.
– They Last Forever
Unlike the plastic handles of cartridge razors, safety razor handles are made from solid materials which are so durable that they are normally passed down from father to son.
– Better Access
The slimmer design of safety razors makes them more ideal for hard-to-reach areas like neck crevices and under the nose. They are therefore better for shaping up mustaches and side-burns.
– Manly Accessory
A safety razor looks infinitely more classy and masculine in the bathroom than any plastic shaver ever.
– Better for the Environment
Shaving with a safety razor makes it possible for you to reduce the amount of metal blades you dispose of regularly, plus you do not dispose of plastic at all. Recycling steel blades is also simpler than recycling a plastic and steel cartridge.
– Perfectly Weighted
Safety razors are much heavier than plastic cartridge razors. This makes it needless to apply force while shaving, resulting in a smoother, cleaner shave.
How to Shave with a Safety Razor – A Step by Step Guide
Step 1. You need to wash your face with warm water or apply a warm towel to it. You could also start shaving after taking a bath or a shower, the important thing is that the warm water opens the skin and hair follicles leading to a smoother shave.
Step 2. Generously apply a good amount of pre-shave gel or oil on the skin in the area of your face that you are about to shave. This is necessary to reduce friction.
Step 3. Apply shaving cream or soap as usual. Try to lather your face in a circular motion. This is to ensure that the face is properly lubricated including the skin below beard stubbles.
Step 4. Make sure your razor blade is fresh. It is possible though to use a safety razor blade up to 5 or 6 times, but just make sure you change it regularly, ideally once to twice weekly.
Step 5. Hold the safety razor loosely and gently move your hand, allowing it to glide across the surface of your skin. Do not press it and do not try to force it, just be easy and gentle. It is important at this stage that you try and maintain the razor at a 30 degree angle to your skin because this is the perfect angle to shave with a safety razor.
Step 6. After you are done shaving, wash off the remaining traces of shaving cream from your face using warm water preferably, then splash with cold water to close the pores. All that is now left is to apply a moisturizer or skin food to replenish the skin where you have just shaved and to act as protection. This part is very important to seal your shave in and kick off your day the right way feeling and smelling fresh.
Finally, you can see that shaving with a safety razor is an enjoyable ritual of manliness that gets better with time. Practice makes perfect, therefore with time, even a beginner will be able to effortlessly and comfortable shave like a pro.
The DE3D14BL from Edwin Jagger is a very classically designed safety razor that offers you a firm grip while shaving. This ensures that your razor does not slip out of your wet hand. This is also one of the most popular designs from Edwin Jagger of England and can be quite fitting for any beginner.
The chrome and black safety razor from Merkur is one of the lowest priced safety razors from this German manufacturer. Despite its low price, this razor is of high quality. The soft rubber offers a nice grip and is also perfect for wet hands. With its price and quality, this razor makes shaving with a safety razor even more cost-effective.
This safety razor is the one to get if you really love style. This gold plated beauty will not only enable you to perform clean shaves, it is also an object of beauty that will give your bathroom a true masculine touch.
The DE86811GBL from Edwin Jagger is a beautifully made safety razor in a classic design. It features gold plated parts with a faux ebony handle. The octagonal shape of this beauty puts it in a class of its own and it will both offer you a clean shave and be as well a prized possession.
– Can i shave my head with a safety razor?
Yes, it is possible, but you must be extremely careful not to cut yourself. You must follow the same procedure mentioned above for the most optimal results.
– Can i shave my groin area with a safety razor?
You better not, because you will definitely cut yourself. Women on the other hand can have more luck given the differences in anatomy. There are other solutions such as trimming with a beard trimmer or scissors. You can alternatively use hair removal creams such as Nair.
– What is the best shaving angle?
The best angle to keep the safety razor at while shaving is 30 degrees. Don’t get frustrated if you aren’t able to perform the perfect shave on the first try. Wet shaving with a safety razor is an experience and art which could be perfected over a lifetime. Just have fun with it!
– Can i fly with my safety razors?
No, due to the rise in terrorist attacks, safety razor blades, amongst other items, have been banned by many countries and most airlines from being taken aboard an aeroplane.
– Can i buy double edged razor blades in bulk?
Yes, and they can cost as low as just pennies a blade. In the beginning, it might be better to buy a few different brands from different manufacturers. After testing them out, you will know which blade brand is your brand that you will stick to.
Contemplating if a safety razor is the right choice for you? You are not the only one. Many people have considered switching to a safety razor from their standard razor for a number of reasons which includes but is not limited to price, shave closeness and the enjoyable factor. So what is it about a safety razor that has men and women all over the world curious about? Read more to find out some of the reasons you should consider switching from your current repetitive shaving routine to a satisfying wet shave experience.
To begin, let’s just come out and say it. It’s just darn cool to shave with a safety razor compared to cheap disposable razors. Sometimes price doesn’t matter because you just want to make that boring daily duty an exciting wet shaving experience filled with solid, excellent performing safety razors in addition to some of the best shaving essentials brought to you from manufacturers all over the world. Phew… That was a LONG sentence but you get the point. Picking up a beautiful safety razor such as the Polished Chrome Merkur Futur will put a smile on your face and transition the daily shaving duty to an experience you look forward to.
Once you decide on the safety razor of your choice, the rest is a piece of cake. Razor blades for safety razors end up costing cents which you could factor into your shaving budget since most people see the long term gain/save of shaving with a safety razor. Let’s do some simple math shall we? Safety blade razors such as the Astra 5 pack are approximately 50 cents a razor which is astronomically lower than other shaving cartridges. With the common use of 3 to 5 shaves per razor, this ends up being one of the most affordable ways to shave while always enjoying a razor sharp blade.
So why is wet shaving so much fun? Well think about your regular “I’m in a hurry” routine of shaving. You grab your current disposable razor, slap on some butane filled shaving cream and start stroking up and down as quickly and safely as possible to ensure a decent shave on the run. This might be your “once in a while” scenario but there is a better way to experience daily shaving.
Think about the alternative for a moment. You hydrate your face with water and possibly wrap a warm towel around your shaving area for a few minutes. You then start to run warm water over your high quality badger shaving brush to ensure it soaks up the needed water. After drying your brush, you apply a small dime size amount of shaving cream to your shaving bowl and start up your lathering process. This whip up process is the fun you need to kick off an excellent shave! After creating a nice lather by entering droplets of water as needed, you are ready to apply the butane free shaving cream to your face. Working the brush up and down, side to side until the hairs on your face are hydrated and ready to be shaved, you kick off your safety razor shave. Depending on what you want to experience from your shave, you could perform a single run, multiple runs, cross shaves and much more. After you complete your shave and have stored your shaving tools in the appropriate location for next time, you are ready to take on any obstacle your day brings. The best part is, 5 O’clock means nothing for your face since it will still be smooth as butter even at 8pm…
If a safety razor is not for you or you aren’t ready to switch, we understand. Original Shave Company carries luxurious wet shaving tools for other shaving tools such as the Mach3 or Fusion razor as well. Take a look at our products and let us know if you have any questions or special requests we could assist with.