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How to Shave with a Safety Razor

10 Sep 2019

Are you a new to traditional shaving or are you curious but hesitant because shaving with a safety razor seems difficult? Don’t worry: after a brief learning period, it’s fast, enjoyable and easy!

Quick guide to traditional shaving with a safety razor

Shave in the morning.

The skin is often more sensitive at the end of the day.

Wash your face with hot water before shaving.

By rubbing gently with a facecloth, you release hairs that may be stuck in the pores of the skin as well as those that may be stuck to the skin.

Use a pre-shave cream if you have sensitive skin.

It will help the hair stand up before shaving, soften it and open the pores of the skin, which will make shaving easier. It also provides an additional layer of protection from the blade if you have very sensitive skin. Spread it on your skin, then allow it to work for a minute before applying your shaving cream.

You can find pre-shave products here.

Use a good-quality shaving foam or cream.

Less expensive shaving creams are sometimes good quality, but more often they contain chemical ingredients that dry the skin, making it more difficult the next time you shave as well as causing discomfort in between shaves. Be especially wary of self-foaming gels that contain specific drying ingredients.

Our shaving products, including several that are natural and gentle on the skin, are available here.

Spread the shaving cream on your face. 

Apply it with your hands or with a shaving brush and hold the skin with one hand while shaving with the other. Some enjoy the slight exfoliating effect of the shaving brush, which helps to properly position hairs for shaving, but it is not a requirement.

Shave with the grain for the first stroke.

Don’t worry if an area seems poorly shaved: you will come back to it later. Shaving is like painting, it is better to make several delicate strokes rather than trying to do it all in one fell swoop!

Go over it a second time at 90 degrees. 

Once you have shaved your entire face (or the entire area you wish to shave) with the grain, re-apply shaving cream and go over it a second time, this time perpendicular to the direction of hair growth (if your beard grows from top to bottom, shave from the left to right, or vice-versa).

Go over it a third time in the opposite direction in areas where the hair is the most visible and easiest to shave.

The hair around the throat often grows in every direction. Be extra careful in this area and go over the cheeks, moustache, etc. a third time. 

Wash your face with cold water. 

This will tighten the pores of the skin and reduce irritation. This will also move the blood away from the skin’s surface, allowing small cuts to close more easily.

Apply a good aftershave.

It will help your skin recover faster and be less sensitive the next time you shave. Good aftershaves generally contain natural healing and disinfecting ingredients, thus reducing the risk of blemishes or ingrown hairs from appearing after shaving.

Our aftershaves are available here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shaving with a Safety Razor

Does it take longer to shave with a safety razor than it does with a drug store razor?

Like everything that requires a bit of practice, the first few times you shave will take a bit more time. But after a week, it will take you no longer than it normally does! You will quickly become a pro. 

Can I use the same shaving products I normally do?

Yes! If you like your shaving cream and aftershave, you do not have to change them in order to use a safety razor. However, we do recommend that you consider using shaving products that are natural and good for the skin.

How long does a blade last?

Safety razor blades last as long as the 3, 4 or 5-blade razor cartridges sold in pharmacies. Generally speaking, you can shave 5 to 10 times with one blade. We recommend storing your unused blades in a dry location to avoid oxidation. So, the bathroom is not the ideal place for your boxes of blades!

A Few Shaving Tips

Regarding the angle of the razor

Don’t worry too much about the precise angle of the razor. Shaving at a 30-degree angle is recommended, but after just a few strokes, you will discover the angle that works best with your razor, your blades, and your sensitivity level. If you go slowly, there will be no harm done.

Avoid making large strokes with the blade and instead opt for smaller motions.

Also, rinse your razor regularly to dislodge the accumulated cream and hair. To avoid having to rinse after each time you make a stroke with the blade, use both sides of the razor: hence why it has two sides! 

Do NOT press down on the razor.

The weight of the razor’s head should be enough, and it is better to do a second stroke in the same spot after re-applying shaving cream than to press down.

Yes, you will cut yourself in the beginning.

This is normal. It happens when we are distracted or when the blade gets stuck between two particularly tough hairs. Don’t be scared! There are alum sticks or blocks to take care of this. If the cut is very small, a good cold water rinse and a few bits of tissue applied for 5 minutes should suffice.

Sensitive skin is often prone to forming ingrown hairs.

These then turn into small bumps that often cause irritation and cuts when shaving. The best way to avoid them is to reduce irritation after shaving… and to carefully use a traditional razor with good, chemical-free aftershave products.

Care for your razor.

After shaving, slightly loosen the mechanism that holds the blade in place and thoroughly rinse your razor under hot water to dislodge the oil, cream residue and hair that is stuck. Let it air-dry in this position, but don’t forget to tighten it again before your next shave!

Once or twice a year, you can clean your razor with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to dislodge shaving cream residue that may accumulate in the nooks and crannies of the mechanism and act as a nest for harmful bacteria.

There you have it... Are you ready to take the leap?

You can find our safety razors here, as well as a traditional shaving kit for beginners, which contains everything you need.