A Beginners Guide to Shaving with a Safety Razor

Written by: William Graham



Time to read 29 min

A Beginners Guide to Shaving with a Safety Razor

Embarking on a journey back to the roots of grooming, this comprehensive guide delves into the world of safety razors. From the rich history and types of razors to the nuanced techniques of shaving and blade care, we explore why this timeless method remains a cornerstone of personal grooming. This article is your all-in-one resource for understanding and mastering the art of shaving with a safety razor, embracing its blend of tradition, efficiency, and elegance.

Introduction to Safety Razors

In a world where rapid technological advancements continually redefine our daily routines, the art of shaving has witnessed a remarkable return to its roots. The safety razor, once a staple in every gentleman's grooming kit, is experiencing a resurgence. This rekindled interest isn't merely a nod to nostalgia; it's driven by the quest for a closer, more personal shave, and a growing awareness of the environmental and economic impacts of the disposable razor. Double edge safety razors, known for their singular blade and elegant design, offers a shaving experience that is both luxurious and practical. It's a sustainable choice that caters to the modern individual's desire for quality, efficiency, and environmental consciousness. This guide will take you through the journey of mastering the art of shaving with a safety razor, ensuring that this time-honored ritual becomes an integral part of your daily self-care regimen for a lifetime free of nicks and shaving irritation.

In a world where rapid technological advancements continually redefine our daily routines, the art of shaving has witnessed a remarkable return to its roots. The safety razor, once a staple in every gentleman's grooming kit, is experiencing a resurgence. This rekindled interest isn't merely a nod to nostalgia; it's driven by the quest for a closer, more personal shave, and a growing awareness of the environmental and economic impacts of the disposable razor. Double edge safety razors, known for their singular blade and elegant design, offers a shaving experience that is both luxurious and practical. It's a sustainable choice that caters to the modern individual's desire for quality, efficiency, and environmental consciousness. This guide will take you through the journey of mastering the art of shaving with a safety razor, ensuring that this time-honored ritual becomes an integral part of your daily self-care regimen for a lifetime free of nicks and shaving irritation.

The Timeless Appeal of Safety Razors

The timeless appeal of safety razors lies in their unique blend of history, quality, and sustainability. An invention by King Camp Gillette in the early 20th century, the safety razor revolutionized men and women's grooming by introducing a safer and more efficient way to shave, compared to the straight razor of the past. Its design has stood the test of time, maintaining popularity even in the face of disposable razors, which prioritize convenience over quality. Today, the safety razor is making a comeback, as a growing number of people seek a closer, more personal hair removal experience, along with an eco-friendlier option. This enduring appeal is a testament to the safety razor’s superior shaving quality and its alignment with modern values of sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

Types of Safety Razors

In this section, we delve into the diverse world of safety razors, each type offering a unique shaving experience. From the classic double-edge to the precise single-edge, the adaptable adjustable razors, and the distinct designs of comb heads, we explore how each variant caters to different preferences and needs. This overview will guide you in selecting the perfect safety razor to elevate your grooming routine.

Double Edge Safety Razor

This classic design features two sharp edges on opposite sides of the blade. Preferred for its efficiency, it allows for shaving in both directions.

The most common design  of safety razor is the “3-piece”.  The top of the razor (where the blade goes) is called the head, which breaks into two parts called the cap and baseplate.  Then there's the handle.  

Other common designs include:

  • 3-Piece Safety Razor : as mentioned above, this razor has 3 parts including the cap, baseplate, and handle.
  • 2-Piece Safety Razor: in this type of razor, the baseplate and handle are usually a single piece, and the top cap is separate.
  • 1-Piece and Butterfly Razor: as you can imagine these razors come in a single piece.  Butterfly razors usually have a twisting handle that will open the top cap to allow you to place the blade.  Several single edge razors are “injector type” where you push the blade into the head using a tool that comes with the blades.

Single Edge Safety Razors

These razors have a single blade edge and are known for their precision. They're often easier to handle and can be a better option for those with sensitive skin or finer facial hair.  Many are “injector” style meaning they have blades that come with a special tool that helps you switch out the blades without risk of touching the sharp edge.

Originating from the early 20th century, single-edge razors have evolved, but their core principle remains the same - a single sharp blade secured in a sturdy handle. The design simplicity reduces blade clogging and makes them easier to clean.

These razors stand out for their cost-effectiveness and eco-friendly nature, as they require fewer blade replacements. The single blade cuts closer to the skin, reducing the likelihood of ingrown hairs and razor bumps, common issues with multi-blade razors.

Some single blade setups utilize a longer blade providing more coverage for an efficient shave.

Adjustable Safety Razors

Adjustable safety razors are a boon for beginners, offering a customizable shaving experience. The ability to adjust the blade gap means users can control the razor's aggressiveness, accommodating various skin types and beard densities.

For newcomers to wet shaving, this adjustability is invaluable. Start with a mild setting to minimize cuts and skin irritation, then gradually increase aggressiveness as your technique improves. This flexibility allows for a personalized shaving journey, adapting to your unique needs as they evolve.

Beyond customization, these razors are also economical and sustainable. A durable, long-lasting option, they reduce waste and ongoing costs compared to disposable razors. Their versatility suits different shaving needs, from daily maintenance to managing heavier beard growth.

In essence, adjustable safety razors blend adaptability, economy, and user-friendliness, making them a top choice for beginners in wet shaving.

Special Options for Your Safety Razor and What They're For

When exploring the realm of safety razors, the choice between closed comb or open comb heads, and straight bar or slant designs, is crucial in tailoring your shave to your specific needs. Each option offers unique characteristics, from the gentle approach of closed combs to the more aggressive nature of open combs and slant heads, suited for different beard types and shaving preferences. This section provides insights into these options, helping you make an informed decision for a customized shaving experience.

When exploring the realm of safety razors, the choice between closed comb or open comb heads, and straight bar or slant designs, is crucial in tailoring your shave to your specific needs. Each option offers unique characteristics, from the gentle approach of closed combs to the more aggressive nature of open combs and slant heads, suited for different beard types and shaving preferences. This section provides insights into these options, helping you make an informed decision for a customized shaving experience.

What does  it mean when we talk about blade gap or aggressiveness when talking about safety razors?

About Razor Aggressiveness:

Blade Gap: This refers to the physical distance between the blade edge and the safety bar or guard of the razor. It's a crucial factor in how the razor interacts with your skin and facial hair. A larger blade gap allows more hair and skin to come into contact with the blade, which can result in a closer shave. Conversely, a smaller blade gap offers a more protective, gentler shave, reducing the risk of cuts and skin irritation. Adjustable safety razors allow users to modify this gap to suit their individual skin type and beard density, providing a customizable shaving experience.

Aggressiveness: This term describes the overall efficiency and feel of the razor during the shave. It’s influenced by several factors including the blade gap, blade angle, weight of the razor, and the design of the guard. An aggressive razor effectively removes more hair in a single pass, often desired by those with thicker or denser facial hair. However, it also increases the likelihood of nicks, cuts, and irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin or less experience in wet shaving. Conversely, a less aggressive razor provides a gentler shave, making it more suitable for beginners or those with sensitive skin.

When talking about the below options, several of these designs are meant to tweak a razor's aggressiveness to the needs of the user.

Closed Comb or Open Comb Head

Closed comb and open comb safety razors are two different designs, each with its unique characteristics and use-cases. Understanding their differences is essential for choosing a razor that best suits your shaving needs and preferences.

Closed Comb Safety Razors:

Design: Closed comb razors feature a straight safety bar with a smooth or slightly ridged surface. This bar is located directly under the blade and runs parallel to it.

Shaving Experience: They provide a gentler shave, making them well-suited for beginners or those with sensitive skin. The safety bar protects the skin by flattening it before the blade cuts the hair, reducing the risk of nicks and cuts.

Use-Cases: Closed comb razors are ideal for those who shave daily or have fine to medium facial hair. They are also a good choice for anyone new to safety razor shaving, offering a more forgiving and comfortable experience.

Open Comb Safety Razors:

Design: Open comb razors have a tooth-like structure on the safety bar. This design creates channels that guide hair and shaving cream towards the blade.

Shaving Experience: This type is more aggressive than closed comb razors. The open comb design allows for a closer shave and can handle longer, thicker facial hair more effectively.

Use-Cases: Open comb razors are preferred by experienced wet shavers, especially those with coarse or dense facial hair. They are also beneficial for those who do not shave daily, as they can tackle longer stubble without clogging easily.

In summary, closed comb razors are generally recommended for their gentleness and suitability for everyday use, particularly for those with sensitive skin or lighter facial hair. Open comb razors, on the other hand, are more suited for experienced shavers who need to manage thicker or longer facial hair, providing a closer shave but with a slightly increased risk of irritation. Choosing between the two largely depends on your skin type, beard density, shaving frequency, and experience with safety razors.

Straight Bar Head or Slant

Comparing straight bar and slant safety razors involves looking at their design differences and how these impact the shaving experience.

Straight Bar Safety Razors:

Design: Straight bar razors, often synonymous with closed comb razors, feature a straight safety bar below the blade. This bar is parallel to the edge of the blade and provides a uniform blade exposure across the entire length.

Shaving Experience: They offer a consistent and straightforward shave, making them ideal for beginners or those with sensitive skin. The straight bar design ensures a more uniform and gentle contact with the skin, reducing the risk of cuts and providing a comfortable shave.

Use-Cases: Straight bar razors are well-suited for daily shavers and those with fine to medium facial hair. They are also recommended for people new to safety razor shaving, as they offer a more forgiving experience compared to other types.

Slant Safety Razors:

Design: Slant razors have a twisted or slanted blade exposure. This unique design creates an angled blade edge relative to the skin, similar to the action of a guillotine.

Shaving Experience: The slant design offers a more aggressive shave. The angled blade cuts hair more efficiently and with less pressure, which can result in a closer shave with fewer passes. However, this also means there's a higher learning curve and increased risk of irritation or nicks for inexperienced users.

Use-Cases: Slant razors are preferred by more experienced wet shavers or those with thicker, coarser facial hair. They are particularly effective for people who don't shave every day or for cutting through heavy stubble. While they can offer a superior shave for the right user, they require a steady hand and good technique.

In essence, straight bar razors are great all-rounders, offering a smooth and forgiving shave for a wide range of users. Slant razors, with their more aggressive cut, cater to those with specific shaving needs, like dealing with tough beard hair or seeking an extremely close shave. The choice between the two depends on your skill level, beard type, and personal preference for shaving comfort versus closeness.

Most Common Materials Used in Safety Razors

When it's time to head out and shop for your new razor, one of the things you'll see immediately is that there can be a wide variety of materials your razor can be made from.  These metals often have a large influence on the price.  Here we'll break down some of the most common so you can determine your best fit.


Aluminum as a material for safety razors offers a distinct set of characteristics, influencing both the performance and experience of shaving. Understanding these attributes can help in deciding if an aluminum safety razor is the right choice for your shaving needs.

  1. Lightweight and Durable: Aluminum razors are notably lighter than those made from materials like stainless steel or brass. This lightness can offer a different shaving experience, where the user has to apply more manual pressure as opposed to letting the weight of the razor do the work. Despite their lightness, aluminum razors are durable and resistant to corrosion, ensuring longevity with proper care.

  2. Handling and Control: Due to their lighter weight, aluminum razors provide a high level of control and maneuverability. This can be particularly beneficial for detailed shaving or for those who prefer a more hands-on approach to control the pressure and angle during the shave. However, the need for more manual control can also mean a slightly higher learning curve for beginners.

  3. Heat Conductivity: Aluminum has excellent thermal conductivity. This means the razor can quickly adapt to the temperature of the water or the environment, making for a more comfortable shave, especially when rinsed in warm water.

  4. Aesthetic and Design: Aluminum razors often have a modern, sleek look and are available in various anodized colors. This process not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but also adds a protective layer to the aluminum, enhancing its durability.

  5. Environmental Consideration: Aluminum is a recyclable material, and choosing an aluminum razor can be a more environmentally friendly option compared to some plastics.

  6. Affordability: Generally, aluminum safety razors are more affordable than their heavier counterparts like stainless steel, making them a good entry point for those new to safety razors or looking for a budget-friendly option.

In conclusion, aluminum safety razors offer a unique combination of lightweight design, durability, and affordability. They are suitable for those who prefer a lighter razor and enjoy having more control over the shaving process. However, the lighter weight might require a period of adjustment, especially for those used to heavier razors.


Brass and bronze safety razors, known for their classic and vintage appeal, provide a distinct experience due to the unique properties of these materials. Here's an overview of their characteristics and how they influence the shaving experience:

  1. Weight and Balance: Both brass and bronze razors are heavier than aluminum ones, offering a substantial feel in the hand. This added weight can aid in the shaving process, as it requires less pressure to be applied manually, allowing the razor's weight to do most of the work. This can lead to a more comfortable and less irritating shave, especially for beginners.

  2. Durability and Longevity: Brass and bronze are known for their excellent durability. These materials resist corrosion and can withstand the rigors of daily use. With proper care, a brass or bronze safety razor can last for many years, even generations, making it a potentially heirloom item.

  3. Aesthetic Appeal: Brass and bronze razors often have a classic, elegant appearance. Over time, these materials develop a patina, a natural tarnish that can add character and vintage charm. For those who appreciate the aesthetic of traditional shaving tools, brass and bronze razors are an attractive choice.

  4. Maintenance and Care: While brass and bronze are durable, they require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. Polishing and occasional cleaning are needed to maintain the shine and prevent excessive patina, which some users might prefer to avoid.

  5. Heat Retention: These materials have good heat retention properties. Warming up a brass or bronze razor in hot water can provide a soothing, warm shave, adding comfort to the shaving experience.

  6. Environmental Consideration: Brass and bronze are also recyclable materials, aligning with eco-friendly practices. Choosing a razor made of these materials can be a sustainable choice over disposable options.

  7. Cost Considerations: Generally, brass and bronze razors are more expensive than aluminum ones but are often less expensive than high-end stainless steel models. The cost reflects their durability, quality, and the craftsmanship often involved in their production.

One important note, not all razors labeled as “Brass” actually have a brass finish.  Many razors use brass as the main structural component but then coat it in chrome or another finish.  These razors have the same heft as a regular brass razor but will carry a different finish and won't patina the same way.

In summary, brass and bronze safety razors are excellent for those who appreciate a heavier razor with a classic aesthetic. They offer a comfortable shave with the added benefit of longevity and durability, though they require more maintenance than some other materials. Their timeless appeal and robust construction make them a favored choice among traditional shaving enthusiasts.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a highly popular material for safety razors, appreciated for its combination of durability, performance, and aesthetic appeal. Here's an in-depth look at the characteristics of stainless steel safety razors:

  1. Robustness and Longevity: Stainless steel is renowned for its exceptional strength and resistance to corrosion and rust. Safety razors made from this material are built to last, often outliving their owners. This durability makes them a one-time investment, eliminating the need for frequent replacements.

  2. Weight and Handling: Stainless steel razors are typically heavier than those made from materials like aluminum. This weight provides a sense of sturdiness and can help in achieving a closer shave with less effort, as the razor's weight applies the necessary pressure against the skin.

  3. Premium Shaving Experience: The heft and balance of a stainless steel razor contribute to a stable and smooth shave. The weight aids in maintaining consistent pressure, which can be particularly beneficial for achieving a close shave without irritation, making it a suitable choice for both beginners and experienced users.

  4. Low Maintenance: Unlike brass or bronze, stainless steel does not tarnish or require regular polishing. This low maintenance aspect makes it a practical choice for those who prefer a hassle-free grooming routine. Its resistance to water and common bathroom products ensures it remains in excellent condition with minimal care.

  5. Aesthetic Appeal: Stainless steel razors often feature a sleek, modern design. Their polished surface not only looks sophisticated but also feels smooth in hand, adding to the overall luxury of the shaving experience.

  6. Environmental Aspect: As a durable and long-lasting material, stainless steel aligns with sustainable practices. Its longevity reduces waste, and the material itself is recyclable, further supporting eco-friendly choices.

  7. Cost Factor: Due to its superior qualities, stainless steel safety razors are often on the higher end of the price spectrum. This can be compounded based on the finish of the razor.  Polished/glossy finishes require more labor and will usually be more expensive than the machined/matte look.   However, considering their durability and the quality of shave they provide, many find them to be worth the investment.

In summary, stainless steel safety razors offer a blend of durability, low maintenance, and a high-quality shaving experience. Their weight and balance make them suitable for a wide range of users, and their sleek design appeals to those who value both functionality and style. While they are an investment, their longevity and performance often justify the initial cost.


Titanium is an exceptional material for safety razors, offering a unique combination of properties that distinguishes it from other metals like stainless steel, brass, or aluminum. Here's a detailed look at titanium safety razors:

  1. Strength and Durability: Titanium is known for its remarkable strength-to-density ratio. It's incredibly strong and durable, yet lighter than stainless steel. This combination ensures that titanium safety razors can withstand the rigors of daily use and last for many years, potentially a lifetime, without succumbing to corrosion or wear.

  2. Lightweight and Easy to Handle: Despite its strength, titanium is notably lightweight, making these razors easier to handle and maneuver. This lightness can be advantageous for detailed shaving and for users who prefer a lighter touch. It also reduces hand fatigue, especially during longer shaving sessions.

  3. Corrosion Resistance: Titanium is highly resistant to corrosion, even more so than stainless steel. This resistance to rust and tarnish makes titanium razors particularly suitable for wet environments like bathrooms. They maintain their appearance and functionality over time with minimal maintenance.

  4. Biocompatibility: Titanium is biocompatible, meaning it's non-toxic and not rejected by the body. This property makes titanium razors hypoallergenic and an excellent choice for users with sensitive skin or metal allergies.

  5. Aesthetic Appeal: Titanium has a distinct, often matte or slightly lustrous appearance that sets it apart from the shinier look of metals like stainless steel. This unique aesthetic, combined with its resilience, makes titanium razors a favorite among those who appreciate both function and form in their shaving tools.

  6. Thermal Conductivity and Comfort: Titanium has lower thermal conductivity compared to metals like steel, which means it doesn’t get too hot or cold quickly. This can provide a more consistent and comfortable temperature during the shave.

  7. Price Consideration: Due to its superior properties and the complexity of working with the material, titanium safety razors are often more expensive than other types. However, for enthusiasts and those seeking a top-tier shaving experience with a lightweight, strong, and hypoallergenic razor, the investment can be well worth it.

In summary, titanium safety razors stand out for their strength, lightness, corrosion resistance, and hypoallergenic properties. They are an excellent choice for those looking for a durable, lightweight razor, particularly if skin sensitivity is a concern. While they come at a higher price point, their longevity and unique characteristics make them a valued addition for any shaving aficionado.


Alloy materials are commonly used in the production of safety razors by many brands, offering a versatile and practical solution that balances quality with cost-effectiveness. Here's an overview of alloy safety razors:

  1. Composition and Versatility: Alloys are a mixture of two or more metals, often combined to capitalize on the desirable properties of each component. Common alloys used in razors include brass alloys, zinc alloys (such as Zamak), and stainless steel alloys. The specific blend of metals in an alloy razor can vary, providing a range of characteristics like strength, corrosion resistance, and aesthetic appeal.

  2. Widespread Use in Razor Manufacturing: Many razor brands opt for alloy materials due to their balance of quality and affordability. Alloys allow manufacturers to produce razors that are durable and perform well, while keeping the costs more accessible than premium materials like titanium or high-grade stainless steel.

  3. Durability and Weight: Alloy razors typically offer good durability, though this can vary depending on the specific metals used in the alloy. They often have a balanced weight—not as light as aluminum but not as heavy as solid stainless steel or brass—making them comfortable for a wide range of users.

  4. Maintenance and Longevity: While alloy razors are generally durable, their lifespan and maintenance needs can depend on the type of alloy and the quality of the plating or finishing. Some alloys, particularly those with a higher zinc content, might be more prone to corrosion over time if the outer plating wears off, so proper care and storage are important.

  5. Aesthetic Options: Alloys can be crafted into a variety of finishes and colors, offering a range of aesthetic choices for consumers. This flexibility allows brands to create distinctive designs and styles that cater to different tastes and preferences.

  6. Cost-Effectiveness: One of the most significant advantages of alloy razors is their affordability. They provide a cost-effective option for those looking to experience the benefits of safety razor shaving without the higher investment required for premium materials.

In summary, alloy safety razors are a popular choice among many brands due to their versatility, balanced properties, and affordability. They offer a good combination of durability, performance, and aesthetic diversity, making them suitable for a wide audience, from beginners to experienced wet shavers. While they may not have the same premium qualities as razors made from more expensive materials, alloy razors still provide an excellent shaving experience at a more accessible price point.

A Note About Razor Blades

The blades are a pivotal yet cost-effective component of the safety razor experience. They represent the epitome of efficiency in traditional shaving, providing a consistently close and smooth shave. Despite their modest price, these blades play a critical role in the overall quality of the shave. The ease of replacing them ensures that every shave is as effective as the first, making them a practical and economical choice for anyone seeking a superior shaving experience.

Everyone is different, so finding the perfect blade for yourself can be a difficult but rewarding journey.  The good news is that you'll be able to try several brands at a fraction of the cost it would be to do the same with cartridge razor refills from the supermarket!

Choosing Your Safety Razor

Choosing the right safety razor is a crucial step in ensuring a comfortable and effective shave. The two main types are single-edge and double-edge razors. Single-edge razors, using a single blade edge, are often favored for their precision and ease of use, making them a good choice for beginners or those with sensitive skin. Double-edge razors, on the other hand, offer two cutting edges and are celebrated for their versatility and efficiency in providing a close shave.

When selecting a safety razor, consider your skin type and beard texture. For sensitive skin, a razor with a closed comb and a mild blade gap can reduce irritation. Those with a coarser beard might opt for an open comb or an adjustable razor to handle tougher stubble more effectively.

Popular brands in the market each offer unique features at a huge range of price points for any budget.

 In conclusion, the choice of a safety razor should be based on personal grooming needs, skin type, and shaving preferences. Exploring different brands and their unique offerings can help in finding the perfect match for an individual's shaving routine.

The Shaving Technique

Mastering the shaving technique with a safety razor is key to achieving a close and comfortable shave while minimizing the risk of nicks and cuts. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Preparing for the Shave

Preparing your skin for a shave is a crucial step in the process, especially when using a safety razor. The key is to clean and soften the skin and hair. This can be achieved by washing the face with warm water and a gentle cleanser, which removes excess oil and dirt, providing a clean surface for shaving.

Pre-shave products, such as oils or creams, play a significant role to some shavers. They provide an additional layer of protection between the skin and the razor, reducing friction and minimizing the risk of razor burn, nicks, and cuts. Pre-shave oils are particularly beneficial for those with sensitive skin, as they can help in softening the beard and hydrating the skin.

The use of hot water and steam is also beneficial in the preparation phase. A warm, damp towel applied to the face, or shaving after a hot shower, can open up pores and soften the hair, making it easier to cut. This step ensures that the hair is primed for cutting, which can lead to a smoother, closer shave with less irritation. Remember, proper skin preparation not only enhances the shaving experience but also contributes to the health of your skin.

The Perfect Lather

Creating the perfect lather is essential for a smooth and comfortable shave with a safety razor. When choosing between shaving creams and shaving soaps, consider your skin type and preferences. 

A great shave can be had with either a soap or a cream, so it really comes down to preference.

If using a soap, wet your shaving brush in warm water and swirl it over the soap to build up a creamy lather. For creams, apply a small amount directly onto the brush or into a shaving bowl. Using circular motions, whip the cream or soap with the brush, gradually adding water until you achieve a thick, creamy lather. The consistency should be similar to that of whipped cream, providing enough cushion and glide for the razor.

Shaving brushes not only help in creating a rich lather but also exfoliate the skin and lift facial hair, preparing your face for a closer shave. They distribute the lather evenly and soften the hair, making it easier for the razor to cut through. For best results, choose a brush with soft bristles that feel comfortable against your skin.

Angle and Grip:

It's a good idea to start by holding the razor at about a 30-degree angle to your face. This angle can allow the blade to cut the hair effectively without being overly aggressive on the skin.  That said, shaving angle can come down to the razor and your preference, so don't be afraid to practice with different angles to see what works best for you.

Use only light pressure. Let the weight of the razor do the work. Pressing sharp blade too hard increases the risk of cuts and can add to irritation.  If you feel like you need to apply significant pressure to make the blade cut, there's likely an issue with the technique.  Practice makes perfect!

First Pass - With the Grain:

Start with gentle, short strokes. Shave with the grain (the direction your hair grows). This reduces irritation and the potential for razor burn.  Take your time!   Shaving with premium products is an enjoyable experience.  Give your products time to work and you'll definitely recognize the benefit from slowing down and focusing on the experience.

Second Pass - Across the Grain:

For a closer shave, you can do a second pass. This time, you can shave across or against the grain. Shaving across means if one side of your hair grows downwards, shave from left to right or right to left.

With this pass, you should be able to touch your face and recognize that your skin is extremely smooth after the pass.  For many folks, a 2nd pass is all you need!

If your skin can handle it, or you find your face isn't quite finished yet, you can move to the optional last step.

Optional Third Pass - Against the Grain:

If your skin isn’t too sensitive, a third pass against the grain can provide the closest of a close shave. However, a 3rd pass isn't for everyone!  This pass increases the risk of irritation and should be done cautiously.

Remember, shaving is essentially scraping a sharp object against your skin.  The more you do it, the angrier your skin gets!  This is also why many say a single edge razor is better for your skin.  When you shave with those plastic 4 or 5 blade cartridge razors… think of how many passes that is when you add up all the blades!

Repeat (as needed) and Touch Up

Rinse the blade often to clear hair and shaving cream buildup faster.  As you shave, run your fingertips over the area you've shaved to ensure you've reached the correct level of smoothness.  It's not unusual to need to “touch up” a few spots.  As you become more experienced, you'll learn to recognize these problem areas and checking them one last time before finishing up the shave will become second nature.

Post-Shave Care

Post-shave care is vital in maintaining healthy skin after using a safety razor. Applying aftershave products helps soothe and moisturize the skin, preventing irritation and dryness. Opt for natural, alcohol-free options which are gentler and hydrate the skin without causing stinging or drying effects. These can include balms or lotions with ingredients like aloe vera, witch hazel, or essential oils.

Maintaining your razor is equally important. After each use, thoroughly rinse the razor under warm water to remove any residue. Dry it with a towel and store it in a dry place to prevent rusting and prolong the blade's sharpness and longevity. Regular cleaning and proper storage not only ensure a better shave but also extend the life of your razor.

Common Mistakes and Solutions

Common issues in safety razor shaving include razor burn and ingrown hairs. These problems often arise from improper technique, such as shaving against the grain or using a dull blade. To prevent them, ensure your blade is sharp, shave with the grain, and use light pressure. Regular exfoliation can also help prevent ingrown hairs by keeping the skin clear of dead cells that can trap hairs.

At the end of this article is a comprehensive FAQ that we'll continue to update with the most common questions received from the community.


Mastering the art of shaving with a safety razor is a journey back to traditional grooming practices. It's a skill that offers a closer, more satisfying shave while being kinder to your skin and the environment. With the right tools, technique, and care, safety razor shaving transcends being a mere routine, becoming a ritual that celebrates the essence of classic grooming. Remember, the secret to a perfect shave lies as much in the preparation and aftercare as it does in the act itself.

Frequently Asked Questions About Safety Razors

Is shaving with a safety razor better?

A: Shaving with a safety razor can be better in terms of providing a closer shave, being more cost-effective in the long run, and being environmentally friendly. However, it requires a learning curve and proper technique, making it a personal choice based on individual preferences and shaving needs.

Why did safety razors lose popularity?

A: Safety razors lost popularity primarily due to the convenience of disposable and cartridge razors, aggressive marketing by major brands, and the perceived ease of use of newer razor types. The fast-paced lifestyle of modern consumers and the economic incentives for manufacturers to sell more profitable cartridge-based systems also contributed to the decline.

What is the point of a safety razor?

A: The point of a safety razor is to offer a close and efficient shave with a single blade, reducing skin irritation compared to multi-blade cartridges. It's also cost-effective over time, as replacement blades are cheaper than cartridges. Additionally, safety razors are eco-friendly, with less waste and plastic use compared to disposable razors. They are designed to provide a high-quality shaving experience with greater control over the shaving process.

Are safety razors good for pubic hair?

A: Yes, safety razors can be effective for shaving pubic hair. They offer a close shave with less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs compared to multi-blade razors. However, caution and proper technique are essential due to the sensitive nature of the area. It's important to use a sharp blade, shave carefully with light pressure, and prepare the skin adequately before shaving to avoid cuts and irritation.

Are double edge razors better?

A: Double edge blades are often considered better for several reasons: they provide a closer shave with less irritation, are more cost-effective since they're cheaper to replace than cartridge blades, and are more environmentally friendly with less waste. However, "better" can depend on personal preference and shaving needs. Double edge blades require a certain level of skill and technique, making them a preferred choice for those who enjoy traditional shaving methods.

How many times should you use a double edge razor blade?

A: Typically, a double edge razor blade should be used for about 3-6 shaves before replacing it. This can vary depending on the blade's quality, the coarseness of your hair, and the length of each shave. It's important to replace the blade when it begins to feel dull to ensure a close, comfortable shave and to avoid irritation. After you've been shaving with them for a while, youo'll learn to recognize when they're getting dull.

What is proper shaving technique?

A: Proper shaving technique involves softening the hair with warm water, using a quality shaving cream or soap, shaving in the direction of hair growth with gentle strokes, and rinsing with cold water afterwards. A sharp blade and a good safety razor are essential. Remember to avoid pressing too hard and to rinse the blade often. For a comprehensive guide on effective and safe shaving practices, especially with safety razors, please review our detailed article on this topic above!

How much does a safety razor cost?

A: The cost of a safety razor can vary widely, typically ranging from $15 to several hundred dollars. Basic models are more affordable, while premium razors made of higher-quality materials like stainless steel or titanium can be more expensive. The price depends on the brand, material, and design features of the razor. Remember, while the initial cost may be higher than disposable razors, safety razors are more economical in the long run due to the low cost of replacement blades.

How do I fix irritation or redness from using a safety razor?

A: To reduce irritation or redness from using a safety razor, ensure you're using a sharp blade and shaving cream or soap to protect your skin. Shave with the grain of your hair growth, not against it, and avoid applying too much pressure. Proper preparation of your skin with warm water before shaving and using a soothing aftershave balm can also help. If irritation persists, consider using a razor with a less aggressive blade or adjusting your technique. Remember, you're not alone! This is a common issue and will take practice to resolve.

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