For a barbershop quality shave, there’s only one way to go: the safety razor.
But here’s the sad truth: most men are scared to use a double-edged safety razor. They don’t know how to shave correctly and make stupid mistakes that lead to cuts and irritation.
Thats when it happens. They start using the shameful electric razor and forget what a truly close shave feels like.
Don’t be one of those guys. Today, I’ll help you learn how to use a safety razor effectively, so you can start shaving like a real man.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Preparing Your Face For Shaving
- Lathering Up Your Beard
- Shaving At The Right Angle
- The Correct Pressure For Your Razor
- Shaving Against The Grain
#1. Preparing Your Face For Shaving
Knowing how to shave with a safety razor without cutting yourself isn’t easy. To be successful, you have to do it right from the start.
That’s why careful preparation is the most crucial stage of any good shaving routine.
Correct shaving preparation is easy, yet many guys do not put time into it. I get it; a stylish man’s schedule can become swamped very quickly. Cutting thing short here and there is sometimes unavoidable.
However, do not cut any time out of your shaving routine. You will regret it.
Human facial hair is strong, so it needs to be hydrated and softened before shaving. To achieve this, wash your face and neck with warm water for at least 5 minutes.
Warm water opens up your pores which increases sweat and oil production. Skin oil is a natural lubricant that helps prevent razor burn and cuts from developing.
Using a natural pre-shave oil is also a good idea for added lubrication and smoothness.
#2. Lathering Up Your Beard
Understanding how to shave without cutting yourself with a safety razor is all about the amount of shaving foam you use.
That’s why a thick lather is so essential. It provides lubrication that helps the blade glide without causing skin damage.
It’s not rocket science. You can achieve a thick lather in less than a minute with good shaving soap and a quality brush.
For brush types, you can choose from the following:
- Badger brush
- Boar brush
- Synthetic brush
The Badger brush is widely popular as it retains more moisture than the other two types.
Regardless of brush type, there are various methods for creating a thick lather. Yet, the simplest of these are the dry and wet methods.
The Dry Method
Wet the brush with hot or warm water for 2-3 minutes so it can absorb moisture and soften up.
Then hold the brush with the bristles facing down and squeeze out any excess water. The strands should be damp, not soaking wet.
Next, dribble a few drops of water into the shaving soap tub and coat the bristles with a circular motion. The lather should become thick, dense, and heavy.
Wet your whiskers with warm water and apply the lather.
The Wet Method
The wet process is similar to the dry method. In this case, the shaving bristles should be almost soaking wet.
Fill the wet bristles with shaving soap in a swirling motion. The lather should look frothy and bubbly.
You can also turn the shaving soap tub upside down to allow the mixture to settle deep into the bristles.
Doing this can be messy, so be mindful of any excess lather spilling over.
Applying The Lather To Your Face
Perform a “Figure of 8” stroke pattern with your brush until lather covers your cheek.
Move down to the neck on the same side until you’ve covered the middle jaw and middle neck.
Do the same thing with the other side.
For the septum and lips, do a horizontal, perform a back and forth stroke.
#3. Shaving At The Right Angle
If you don’t angle your razor correctly, you’re in for a world of trouble.
Tilt the blade too deep, and you could cut yourself. If the edge is too shallow, it won’t shave anything.
The correct angle? 30 degrees.
Finding this angle with a disposable/cartridge razor is easy. These razors feature a pivot system that does the work for you.
However, finding the 30-degree angle can be challenging when using a safety razor.
Unlike cartridge razors (which pivot and adjust to the contour of the face), a safety razor has a fixed head.
In short – this means you need to work the angle out for yourself.
One trick is to place the safety razor’s head to the skin at 90 degrees and then gently roll it down to 30 degrees. You should feel the hair cut in one continuous glide.
Do not pivot the wrist; keep it locked to maintain proper orientation at all times.
#4. The Correct Pressure For Your Razor
A lot of guys are guilty of this.
Applying several high-pressure strokes will only damage your skin and risk severe irritation.
You might be the manliest guy around, but your skin isn’t tough hide or strong leather. Human skin is very vulnerable to nicks and cuts.
Hold the razor against the skin and let the handle’s weight do the rest. Your hand should support the safety razor, not drag it.
Apply light and short strokes about an inch in length.
Pro tip: once a section is clear of lather, proceed to the next area. Don’t go back to the un-lathered area unless necessary.
#5. Shaving Against The Grain
Knowing how to shave with a safety razor without cutting yourself isn’t just about the blade. It’s also about shaving with the grain of your facial hair.
Grain means the natural growth direction of your hair.
To identify your grain, stroke your facial hair in one direction and then the other. It’s easy to feel for yourself which one has the smoother touch.
We call the opposite direction “against the grain,” which is rougher and harder to shave.
Between the two, shaving with the grain is preferable. There is less resistance and surface tension this way.
Yet, many prefer going “against the grain” for close shaving. This method shaves the hair close to the root, giving a cleaner shave.
Warning: this method is more likely to result in cuts and irritation. Do not attempt to shave against the grain until you’re confident with your safety razor.
In either case, always remember to lather up and rinse the skin with warm water after each shave.
Shaving isn’t tricky – but knowing how to shave with a safety razor without cutting yourself can be hard.
Our fathers teach us how to do it as young boys, and we practice weekly until the day we die. Yet, it’s essential to know how to do it properly – no one wants to suffer cuts and irritation after every shave.
Are you suffering from a few shaving cuts? No problem – check out my guide on stopping shaving cuts from bleeding.
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