Safety & Straight Razor Tips & Advice
Choosing the right safety razor or straight razor can be a difficult decision. There are so many options with various features and given that these tools are built to last for years, making the right choice is very important. Enter our quick guide below that outlines the meat and potatoes of double-edge and safety razor shaving with key tips to help you find the right tool for your needs.
Straight Razor 101Using A Straight Razor
Straight razors are the pinnacle of manliness (or so we hear). There’s nothing more masculine than maneuvering a single blade across your face for a smooth shave. Straight razors take more time to master and come with a greater risk of nicks than their double-edge or safety razor counterparts. However, once mastered, straight razors can provide an incredibly close shave. The key is to keep the blade at a 30 degree angle, pull your skin tight with your free hand and maintain short strokes. Don’t be discouraged by the learning curve, stick with it and you’ll feel like a king, a smooth one at that, in no time.Types of Straight Razors
Traditional: The typical razor people first think of. Traditional razors have one blade that is set in the razor and cannot be removed. Instead, the blade must be sharpened using a strop, which is a strap (often leather or canvas) that the blade is slid against against to refine. Since the process to create these razors is more tedious and the blades are much higher quality, traditional razors tend to be more expensive. We have a few options available from Dovo and Parker.
Shavette/Disposable Straight Razors: Often known as shavette razors, these razors have the same basic design and appearance of a traditional razor, except they use disposable blades that are swapped out after a few shaves. These razors are easier to maintain since replacing the blade is a quick and simple process and the price is generally much lower. We offer a few shavette razors by Dovo on our site.
What Type of Shaver Are You?
Depending on your skill level, skin type and shaving goals, there are a lot of different razors out there to catch your eye. We’ve broken it down to the basics so that you can find a razor that fits your needs without feeling overwhelmed by information.
Beginner:If you’re new to double-edge shaving, go with a razor that’s easy to use and forgiving of the inevitable slipups that are part of the learning curve. A closed comb head is your best bet for easing into the new shaving method. Then, choose a handle length that is similar to your hand size so that it feels comfortable as you get started. And, of course don’t break the bank till you know this type of shaving is your thing. You can upgrade later.
Occasional:If you only shave every 2 or 3 days, then you’ll need an open comb razor to mow down that thicket of hair. Be warned though, while an open comb is great for powering through coarse hair, it must be handled with greater care to avoid nicks and cuts.
Sensitive Skin:Go with a razor that will provide more protection. A closed-comb razor will be the best option as it provides the largest buffer and margin for error. Applying the right amount of pressure and proper angle is essential. The razor should do all the work. The razor blade type is critical as well -- as some are a lot sharper than others. We’d recommend starting with a Merkur Blade.
Master:You’re an avid double-edge shaver and you want the ultimate double-edge shaving experience. Grab yourself an adjustable safety razor. These razors are capable of changing the blade angle so that you can decide how close you want your shave – ideal for a shaving aficionado who likes to change up their routine.
How To Use A Safety Razor
It’s one thing to have the right tool, but that’s like having a nice car without knowing how to drive. Here are the key tips for putting that razor into action and getting a smooth shave.
- No Pressure: These razors are not designed to be bullied into the beard or skin. In fact, doing so will undoubtedly lead to bleeding or irritation. Instead, double edges should gently glide across the face.
- 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 (with the grain).
- Less Passes: Make it your goal to use no more than 2-3 passes over each area you shave. By making smaller, steadier passes you’ll reduce the risk of irritation. This becomes easier over time, as you adapt to using the DE razor.
- Stretch The Skin: More so than with multi-blade cartridges, double edge razors do their best work on skin that is held taut. So, when taking passes on the cheeks or neck, use that free hand to stretch these areas.
- Stay Lubricated: Shaving oils, soaps, and gels help the razor to glide over the skin evenly. It also helps protect your skin from the blade. Being well lubricated during your shave will ensure your skin is irritation and nick free.
- Rinse Often: Another benefit of this type 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.
Why Go With A Safety Razor?
Here’s why you should make the leap to a Safety Razor.
- Better Blades: Some cartridge razors are made of inferior steel. This means that they may dull quickly, pick up more bacteria and can cause more shaving mishaps. Double-edge razors are made of superior, single-source stainless steel. This is what helps a safety razor maintain its sharp double edge and cut hair with minimal pressure.
- Better For Your Skin: Contrary to the belief that more blades get any extra little hairs on the face, all you’re really doing is increasing your chances of having razor burn or ingrown hairs. A safety razor eliminates this because you’re just using one very sharp, well-angled blade. You only need to pass over an area 2-3 times, in short, light-handed strokes. Naturally, this reduces your chances of skin irritation!
- Better For Your Wallet: Replacement blades are more affordable than current multi-blade razors and the thinking is that the two sides of a safety razor extend each unit’s lifespan. Saving money is always cool, but shaving money while you also get a great product is even better. Sure, you have to pay more for the initial razor, but you’ll make your money back really quickly.
- Better Access: In many cases, the blade’s slimmer design enables improved access and removal of hair in tough-to-reach areas like under the nose and neck crevices. A patchy shave is an amateur shave.
Pick A Safety Razor Head
The type of head is the most important consideration when choosing a safety razor.
Straight, bar to protect your face
- Pros: Most common razor, the closed comb provides a mild shave which leads to the least irritation.
- Cons: May require a few more passes for an closer shave.
- Most Popular: Merkur 34C Heavy Duty Safety Razor
Openings across the bar to let more hair through
- Pros: Open bar lets more hair in without clogging, for an efficiently smooth shave.
- Cons: Allowing more hair into the razor leaves you more susceptible to nicks.
- Most Popular: Muhle R41 Double Edge Safety Razor
Blade bends for closer cutting
- Pros: Bent blade leaves no stray hairs behind, while still protecting the skin.
- Cons: Can be difficult to get used to.
Blade angle can be adjusted
- Pros: Smooth, sleek design that allows you to alter the closeness of every shave.
- Cons: Typically the priciest razor and it can be tough to get used to the different blade angles.
- Most Popular: Parker 700/701 Adjustable Safety Razor
Still looking for more information on safety razors? Check out our frequently asked questions or reach out to our Grooming Experts. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and help guide you to better shaving.
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