2017 Update: new reviews and price drops are happening with the new year over at Amazon for these men’s safety razors. Be sure to check the current price before you make a purchase!
So you think you have what it takes to shave with a DE safety razor? There are many reasons why you might want to switch away from the popular cartridge razors but you should know the facts before you make the switch.
In this article we are going to explain the proper way to use a safety razor and show you where to find some of the best safety razors that are made today.
Safety razors have regained popularity so it is no surprise you found this article. It seems to be a common trend these days, consumers reverting back to simpler more natural products as many of the newer products created over the last 50 years cause so many problems. Razors are no exemption!
Safety razor some with 3 parts:
- Head – this covers the blade
- Comb – this holds the blade between the head and handle
The comb has three holes where the screw and the two guide bars fit. When you line these up you can then place then handle up to the screw and fasten the whole safety razor by turning the handle on to the screw until tight.
When you have the safety razor disassembled, place a new razor blade onto the comb lining up the three holes. You can then follow the instructions to close up the razor and you will be ready for your first shave!
Your Pre-Shave Rituals
**If you haven’t shaved for an extended period of time you should use trimmers or an electric shaver to shave down the hair closer to your skin. This will help get you the best shave possible.
You must shower before shaving.
Many people do not even think about this, especially those of you who might be in a rush to get to work in the morning. If you have a thinner beard or don’t really get skin irritation from shaving this might not be on your radar either. However, those with thicker beards or regularly deal with skin irritation will almost always shower first!
There is actually some science behind it. The warm water and steam from the shower opens up your pores, softens your beard and your skin becomes more malleable. This results in a better shave and will help reduce the risk of nicks and skin irritation.
When you are in the shower be sure to thoroughly wash your face to remove dirt and dead skin buildup. You may want to consider buying a facial scrub to help with this process.
If you can’t shower you should at the very least consider washing your face over the sink with warm water.
When your face is clean and you have showered you should then apply a quality pre-shave oil. This step is not necessary but will help the razor glide better over your skin reduce nicks and skin irritation. It not only provides lubrication for the blade but softens your beard as well. You only need a small amount as well, usually about 3 drops is enough to cover your beard area.
Shaving with the DE safety razor
Some men prefer to fill up their sink with warm water for rinsing the blade as you shave but you may also run it under the faucet as well.
Begin by applying your favorite shaving cream or soap. If you are used to shaving with a cartridge razor you may find yourself always using shaving cream from an aerosol can. However, look at the ingredients next time you use this product, you will probably find most of them hard to pronounce.
Just like we mentioned earlier, there is a trend to move towards more natural products. That is why you might see shaving soaps becoming more popular. Do your skin a favor and stop using those aerosol cans!
If you are using a soap you will need a shaving brush which serves for multiple purposes.
The brush is what you will use to lather the soap and apply it to your beard. These brushes are often made with badger bristles or boar bristles. However, they can be synthetic as well.
Besides applying the soap to your skin the brush can help remove excess dead skin cells as well as life your beard hair in preparation for the shave. Using a circular motion you can brush your beard ending with an upward stroke to lift the hair.
Now you are ready to start shaving. Start by wetting your blade, either in the sink that you filled with water or under the faucet.
The trickiest part about shaving with a safety razor is getting the angle correct. The recommended angle is 30º, this will allow the comb as well as the blade to touch the surface of your skin at the same time, which will help not to cut you.
Safety razors have a good amount of weight to them and you will want to let the weight of the actual razor do most of the work. Don’t press or pull the razor too hard. Begin shaving by going in the same direction as your hair with short strokes.
You might see commercials or advertisements of men using cartridge razors taking long strokes. These razors have multiple blades that allow you to do that. The first couple blades lift and pull the hair with the final blades cutting the actual hair.
This may seem like a good thing but this can cause the hair to be cut below the skin surface which leads to ingrown hair or razor bumps as the hair starts growing back into the skin.
Keep your razor clean. You will want to constantly rinse off the blade as you shave to remove and hair, or residue from the cream or soap you are using. This will keep the blade free and clear of anything that could cause you to have an inefficient shave.
Keep your skin tight. Use your lips to pull your skin so it is tight, this will help keep the skin flat as you shave, helping the razor move easily over the area, reducing any nicks you might get.
Go slow over tricky areas. When you are working around your jawline or neck take your time and use even shorted strokes if you have to. This is where you are most likely to get nicked. If you have a prominent Adam’s apple you will want to use even more caution.
You may even need to make several strokes on these areas to remove all of the stubble instead of trying to get it all on the first go around.
Second pass. You may need to go over certain spots again if you did not remove all of the hair on your first attempt. If your face is still wet re-apply the shaving soap or cream for your next pass with the blade.
On this round you may use sideways or against the grain strokes since most of your hair will have been removed on the first pass of the blade. Remember to constantly rinse the blade to keep it unclogged as well as keeping your skin tight and being patient around problem areas to prevent nicks or cuts.
If you desire an even closer shave you can repeat the process again, just remember the closer the shave the more your chances increase to develop irritation and with more strokes of the blade your chances to get nicked increase as well.
Post shave rituals
Now that you are satisfied with your shave it is time to make sure you take care of your skin as well as your razor.
After you rinse off your face to remove any stubble and excess shaving soap with warm water you will want to rinse your face with cold water as well. This will close up your pores to prevent dirt from clogging them throughout the day as well as help any nicks stop bleeding.
From here you can apply an aftershave, which will soothe your skin as well as help any nicks heal faster. It also has a cleaning affect which will help keep your pores clean and help prevent acne. However, it can also dry your skin out.
To prevent your skin from drying out you will need to apply a moisturizer. Many men simply use the same pre-shave oil they use to shave. These are usually just natural oils and you only need a few drops to cover your face. Or you can find a face lotion that you like.
Safety razor maintenance
Now that your skin is feeling great it is time to make sure your razor stays looking great. Prolonged water can cause rust on the blade which you definitely don’t want!
The best way to make sure your safety razor dries out is to disassemble the razor completely. Clean it under warm water to remove any hair or gunk from the shave. Shake off any excess water then either dip the parts in alcohol or wet a tissue with alcohol and rub them down. The alcohol will help wick away the water.
After the razor is completely dry you may reassemble the razor so it is ready for your next shave.
Pros & Cons of a DE safety razor
If we haven’t already convinced you that using a safety razor is much better than your cartridge well then here is our second attempt.
You will get a better shave. What we mean by that is using a safety razor can help reduce skin irritation razor bumps. Like we mentioned earlier the multi-blade cartridge razors can pull and tug on your hair causing them to get cut below the skin level which is where you run into problems. If you combine the safety razor with a quality shaving oil you are sure to have great looking, smooth skin after.
A safety razor is actually much cheaper if you take care of it by keeping it clean and dry. You might pay a little more upfront for the actual razor compared to a cartridge razor but let’s take a closer look at the blades.
You can get a 100 pack (yes 100) of safety razor blades on Amazon for around $10 which is about half of what you would pay for 4 or 5 cartridge refills. They recommend changing the cartridges every week so even if you did that with the safety razor you are looking at $4-5/week with a cartridge razor vs. $.10/week with a safety razor. The razor will quickly pay for itself and you can save a couple hundred bucks a year easy!
However, there is a bit of a learning curve. Mastering the angle may take you a couple tries before you get it down. This is a small price to pay for the clean shave you will get without razor bumps.
It also is not as fast as a cartridge razor and doesn’t deal with longer hair as well. Since the cartridge as multiple blades it can deal with longer hair and you can take longer strokes. So if you don’t shave every day or every other day the single or double edge safety razor might not be for you.
Can you use a double edge Safety razor on your head?
Well you can use it a safety razor anywhere you like, just be sure to take the same precautions as we listed for your face. Obviously there are some areas on your head that you can’t see so you may want to make sure you have mastered the technique on your face before you try your head.
Also, please go slow! Especially your first time, take as much time as you need. Again though, if you apply a pre-shave oil and let the razor do the work like we mentioned before you should be fine.
Where can you buy DE safety razors?
DE Safety razors are all over the place online as well as in stores near you like Target. However if you want the most variety and the best prices you should check out Amazon.
Top 5 safety razors on amazon that would make the perfect gift for men!
1,600 2,200 reviews and a 4.8 out of 5 star rating this razor is sure to please. It even comes with a carrying case and 5 blades to get you started. It also has a butterfly assemble for quick blade changing and an additional micro-comb to help prevent nicks.
This is a very popular safety razor on Amazon that has a nice weight to it and is made with a premium Swedish metal alloy. Vikings Blade also claims a 5 second blade change! Not that you really need it but it sounds impressive!
Their patented micro-comb system is said to reduce resistance while you shave. This should help reduce any irritation you might have.
This is Amazon’s choice safety razor. With a slightly lower rating at 4.6 this thing has over 5,000 reviews so you know it is popular. This is razor gives a quality shave and that’s it, no gimmicks. It does not come with blades so be sure to grab some of those.
See our full review on this safety razor here.
This safety razor has a nice dark finish compared to the chrome most of them have. This is still a popular razor with almost 500 reviews and 4.5 star rating and also has a butterfly opening for quickly changing your YingJiLi Blades.
This is not the heaviest or the longest razor you will find but it will get the job done. However, you might find it has a nice control by design.
This has a very mild level of aggressiveness which may be good for beginners. It is even less aggressive than some of the Merkur’s that are usually considered best for beginners.
- 1 Chrome Finished Closed Comb Double Edged Safety Razor
- 5 Complimentary Platinum Steel Razor Blades (Approx 60 Day Supply)
- 1 Bonus Leather Branded Blade Guard for Travel or Home
- 1 Polishing Towel to Keep your Phantom Razor looking New for Years to Come
- High End Packaging which Makes for a Great Gift for the Man and or Woman in Your Life
Another great razor with a 4.5 star rating and over 700 reviews!
This is a great starter kit that is well thought out. The head has a slant bar which putting a slight angle on the blade which will help give you a close, comfortable shave.
The blades are sold separately but it has a chrome finish as you can see with a 3.5 inch handle.
Some customers with sensitive skin have noted this razor has a higher level of aggressiveness than some of the other razors on this list. If you have a thicker beard though this will help you out.
The handle comes apart in two pieces which you might find annoying instead of being able to take the handle off in one piece. This just adds one more step in changing the blade.
Shaving with a DE Safety Razor Wrap Up
If you made this far why are you still shaving with a cartridge razor? Unless you are using an electric shaver, you should make the switch and get a safety razor.
Save some money and get a more comfortable shave.