Shaving with a double edge safety razor is a little tricky to learn, but it minimizes razor bumps and irritation when done properly. It’s also more economical and environmentally friendly keeping expensive disposable cartridge razors out of landfills.
- 1 Types of double edge safety razors
- 2 Razor blades
- 3 Advantages of using a safety razor over cartridges
- 4 Shaving with your safety razor
- 5 Cleaning and caring your safety razor
Types of double edge safety razors
There are many varieties of double edge safety razors but the two most common types you’re likely to find are the three-piece and the twist-to-open or the Butterfly razor. But what’s the difference between the two and why should you choose one over the other? Well, the biggest difference is how you put your blade in, but really, it just comes down to personal preference.
The three-piece razor
Twist off the handle by holding the short sides of the razor’s head. This will separate your razor into three pieces. Sandwich the blade between the two plates and then screw the handle back into place and it’s ready to shave.
The twist-to-open razor
You simply twist the base of the handle and the doors on the head will open. Place your blade into the head and twist to close the doors again. There isn’t a huge difference between the two types of double edge safety razors. It really depends on which style you prefer. whichever razor you choose, you may try a combo pack of blades to determine which blade pairs best with your razor and your skin to give you the best shave.
Blades usually come wrapped in wax paper. When unwrapping the blade, always make sure you grab from the unsharpened edges or on the face of the blade. One blade should last you five to seven shaves. This is an average. If it’s not lasting you this long, you can always try using a different brand of blade. When you’re finished with the blade, the safest and most environmentally friendly way to dispose of it is to place it in a metal blade bank. These are great because the blades can’t come back out and the metal container makes for easy recycling.
Advantages of using a safety razor over cartridges
There are many benefits of shaving with a safety razor instead of using a cartridge razor.
- Though initial costs of owning a safety razor are high, but it should last a lifetime.
- It’s very convenient to only have one razor.
- A safety razor is going to give you more control.
- Switching to a safety razor will give you less irritation and less ingrown hair, once you have mastered the skill that it takes, to get the shave done properly.
- The safety razor just glides on the skin without any tugging or pulling. The blade just cuts the whiskers cleanly and leaves you with undamaged well cut shaves consistently.
- Wet shaving is soothing and therapeutic process.
- Safety razors are good for the environment. The razor blades can be recycled as opposed to the plastic from the cartridges that end up in the trash can.
- The razors and blades are interchangeable with unlimited options. Whereas a cartridge is only compatible with one handle.
Shaving with your safety razor
Before you begin shaving, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need in order to achieve a great shave. The things recommended are a double edge safety razor, a razor blade, shaving cream, pre-shave cream, a washcloth, shaving bowl, after shave cream or lotion, alum block and a hair brush. Now that everything you need is in place, let’s go through the steps to properly assemble your safety razor.
Loading a new blade into the razor
If you have a three piece safety razor, start by unscrewing the handle and completely taking off all three pieces. Holding the head of the razor on its sides and firmly gripping the handle, turn the head counter clockwise. Separate the head from the neck of the razor. Remove the razor blade from the wrapper, holding it on its sides as well and slide the razor blade over the three prongs on the head of the razor. Slide the bottom of the razor teeth up, into place and screw the handle back on. Be sure not to over tighten or else you can crack the blade. Under tightening can cause not enough tension for the blade against your face, resulting in a mediocre shave.
Preparing the skin
Use a hot wash cloth or steamed hot towel to soften the beard and to open up the pores. This is one of the most important and overlooked steps of the shaving process. It’s the time to prepare your skin and beard for the shave depending on how much time you have. You can either soak your washcloth in hot water and simply apply to your face or apply standard shaving cream lather to your face. It’s recommended to take a hot shower before you shave, allowing the steam and hot water to soften the beard.
Once the pores are open, it is time to take your hair brush and simply dip it into the shaving cream mixing it into a thick lather using the shaving bowl. Prior to mixing, you may want to soak your shaving brush in warm water to soften the bristles. Do not use very hot water as that will ruin your expensive brush. Now rub some pre-shave balm to your face and neck area. Then apply the shaving cream to your face in short semicircle strokes, covering the face and neck in a thick lather. The brush strokes help exfoliate the skin, get rid of the dead skin cells and lift the hair from the face to make it a lot easier for the blade to glide across the skin and cleanly cut the whiskers off. You may also use horizontal or vertical strokes. The idea is just to get it worked in well and make sure every area is covered.
Taking your safety razor, hold it parallel to your face and then simply turn it at a 30-degree angle. You will feel the teeth guard touch your skin. Pull the skin in the opposite direction you are going to shave whenever possible. This raises the hair follicles on your face and also allows the razor to work on a smoother level shaving surface, creating a cleaner and closer shave. Take small precise strokes in the direction of your beard. In the beginning, until your skin adjusts, it’s recommended to shave with the grain rather than against.
While using your double edge safety razor, remember there are two sides for your convenience. So as you’re shaving and one of the sides becomes less effective due to the shaving cream, simply turn the safety razor over and continue shaving with the opposite side. Make sure you go in short strokes and turn the razor blade often and rinse often.
You can always reapply additional shaving cream for one more pass. Then go lightly against and across the grain to get a closer, more comfortable shave. This is to get hair that grows in different directions. You can even go for a third pass to get even a closer shave.
Post shave routine
After shaving, use a hot towel to soothe the skin. Take your washcloth and soak it in hot water in your sink. Rinse out and apply to your face, removing any additional shaving cream and opening your pores one more time. Then apply a cold towel to close the pores. Now take your favorite aftershave lotion or balm and generously apply to your face and neck area. This will help reduce razor burn, ingrown hairs and will rehydrate your skin.
Alternatively, you may also rinse and rub the alum block on your beard to soothe the skin. In the event of a nick or a cut, tap it on the affected area and it’ll stop the bleeding right away.
Cleaning and caring your safety razor
Your safety razor set and shaving accessories will last you many years if properly maintained. This is why we suggest breaking down your safety razor and cleaning it after every use. Do the same steps as installing the razor blade, but in reverse. Remove the blade and dip the razor blade in hot water to loosen any debris or hair that’s stuck in the razor. Then you may use a soft bristled toothbrush to scrub all the corners and surfaces.
Wash the razor parts in running water and assemble it back with the blade. Dip the razor in alcohol and then shake excess off the razor. Since alcohol is more volatile than water, it helps displace water that is stuck inside the razor. If water sits inside the razor for too long it’s going to corrode the blade and you’ll get decreased performance. Alcohol also helps to decontaminate and disinfect your razor. Now hang it on your shaving stand and let it dry. It only takes a minute, but it will keep your razor blades clean and sanitary as well as maintain that new safety razor look.