We get a lot of questions about the history and usage of Double-Edged/Safety Razors. So… we wrote this little ditty…
Double-edged or “safety razors” have been around since the early 1900s, but during the last couple decades, their usage has been mostly limited to a small contingent of shaving purists. That said, long-time dual-edged devotees have gained some brethren of late, as more and more mainstream men have taken a liking to the retro razor’s regalness and results.
So whether you’re a long-time user, a recent convert or just a curious cat, here’s some skinny on the tool, its history and tips for how to use.
The Basics Of Safety Razors
WHAT IS A DOUBLE EDGE RAZOR?
Double-edge razors, often known and referred to as safety razors, utilize a single razor blade with two sharp sides – one on each end of the razor handle. The skin is protected from the all but the edge of the razor with a guard, hence the name “safety razor” (clever… huh?). These tools, while once the mass standard, have been largely replaced as of late by the “easier-to-use” multi-bladed razor blades.
WHY USE A DOUBLE EDGE RAZOR?
There are many reasons men elect to shave in this old-school style:
· Affordability: Replacement blades are more affordable than current multi-blade cartridges and the thinking is that their two sides extend each unit’s lifespan.
· Better Access: In many cases, the blades slimmer design enables improved access and removal of hair in tough-to-reach areas like under the nose and neck crevices.
· Closeness: Many feel these blades provide a closer and smoother shave than multi-blade counterparts
Of course, there are some drawbacks to such a razor. Chief amongst these concerns is the increased likelihood for cutting oneself, as well as the additional time it takes many non-experts to shave – as there’s a learning curve to getting such a shave nick- and irritation-free.
TIPS FOR USAGE
The beginning and ending of a double edge shave should be conducted just as described in our Guide To “Getting The Greatest Shave Ever” article. However, change arrives when double edge hits skin – and here are some techniques and guidelines to make certain it’s an enjoyable experience.
· No Pressure: These razors are not designed to be bullied into the beard or skin. In fact, doing such will undoubtedly lead to bleeding or irritation. Instead, double edges should gently glide across the face, and even with light pressure, will adeptly remove stubborn stubble.
· Change The Angle: Double edge razors should move across the beard area at an angle of approximately 30 degrees. Shaving should commence slowly and carefully with short, light strokes in the direction of hair growth. Since hair grows in different directions on every man, make sure to take note of your specific hair direction prior to shaving. That said, obviously no slicing or side to side motion.
· Stretch The Skin: More so than with multi-blade cartridges, double edge razors do their best work on skin that is held taught. So, when taking passes on the cheeks or neck, use that free hand to stretch these areas.
· Rinse Often: Another benefit of this ilk of razor is that having two sides enables the user to flip the blade over before rinsing. That said, running the blade under water between major passes is recommended.