How to Shave with a Safety Razor

Do you ever get an urge to live life on the edge? Do you fancy running off to become a pirate on the high seas? Oooh…how about lion-taming? Or maybe you could start a new life as an international art thief?

You know what? Perhaps you don’t need to go that wild. You could just start using a sharper razor, one of those that looks so cool and feels so good when you get a shave from a barber.

Although…despite how sharp the blades are, it’s really not dangerous. You just need to know how to shave with a safety razor. And once you’ve mastered it, enjoying a super-close shave time after time, you’ll wonder why you ever did it another way.

Don’t worry though: people will still think you’re mad, bad and dangerous to know if you casually mention you use a barber’s razor. They don’t have to know it’s actually pretty easy – and leaves your skin smoother than a baby’s bum.

How do you shave with a safety razor?

Getting a shave with a double edge razor from a barber conjures up images with a timeless style. The barber lavishes the thick soap all over your face and neck, then uses an impossibly sharp blade to sweep the soap and hair away with surgical precision. It all looks so professional and practiced, like something you wouldn’t dare to try yourself.

But, if you follow these simple steps, you’ll soon feel like a pro with your safety razor in hand.

Step 1: Prepare your skin

To get the closest shave possible, it’s a good idea to take a shower first, or at least place a hot towel on your face for a minute or two. This softens your facial hair up and opens your pores. It’s like rolling the red carpet out for your razor.

Step 2: Lather up

Next, you’ll need to generously apply some shaving cream or soap. Of course, for the full barber experience in your own home, you’ll want an old-school brush and shaving soap. This doesn’t just add vintage charm: a brush brings hairs off the surface of your skin and gets the soap or cream all around them, making the job of the razor much easier.

Step 3: Straighten your skin out

As odd as it sounds, it’s really important to pull your skin a little tighter in areas with contours or folds (such as along your jawline and around your mouth). With your skin taut, the razor won’t have to negotiate bumps and dips, so you’re less likely to cut yourself.

Step 4: Shave with the grain

All this means is shaving in the direction your facial hair grows – not against it. Going against it is tougher on your skin and can lead to irritation or ingrown hairs. So maybe give that a miss until you’ve had a bit of practice with your double edge razor.

Step 5: Angle the blade

With a safety razor, you only need to apply gentle pressure, so hold it right at the end of the handle, using your thumb and fingertips. Hold it at a 30- to 45-degree angle and then get going with short, slow and straight strokes, rinsing the blade in between strokes.

Step 6: Making a pass

Once you’ve been over your whole face, you’ve made one “pass”. Don’t be tempted to go over the same area without first applying some more shaving soap or cream. The soap protects your skin, so if there’s still some hair left after one pass, rinse your face and then pop some more on.

Step 7: Clearing up

Got all that pesky hair off? Great, now it’s time to give your face a good wash, using cold water to close those pores up. Then you’ll want to apply a soothing, alcohol-free shaving balm. And there you have it: baby smooth skin.

But if that isn’t enough of a reason to try a safety razor, here are three more…

Why shave with a safety razor?

– You can get as close a shave as you want, since double edge razors only need a light touch. And if you’re after a really close shave, they’re sharp enough to deliver it.

– There’s less irritation because each stroke is more effective than it is with other razors.

Replacement blades are cheaper, so each barbershop-style shave will cost you pennies.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up that safety razor and give yourself the shave of your life.