When mastering a new tool, it’s always recommended you take the time to practice it to achieve perfect results. When it comes to shaving with a safety razor, some people are lucky and have great results their first try and others like myself have to work at it… and some have found success by watching YouTube videos or reading articles and blogs.
I have spent several years on my wet shaving journey and have made many mistakes along the way. If you are new to wet shaving or wanting to refine your techniques, here are six mistakes to avoid with your new double edge safety razor.
THE WRONG ANGLE
A safety razor is designed to optimally shave when held at a 30 degree angle. It can be difficult to maintain the 30 degree angle when shaving in different directions or patterns, but remember practice makes perfect. If you need some extra practice with the correct angle, use a safety razor with no blade and practice holding it up to your face and walk through your shave pattern. See and feel the razor on your face at the desired 30 degree angle on each area of your face and neck.
HOLDING THE RAZOR INCORRECTLY
You want to ensure you have a good grip on your razor, the knurling of the handle will help prevent slippage. The important thing is to hold the razor at the balance or fulcrum point, which is typically closer to the head. The easiest way to determine your razor’s balance point (as they are all a bit different) is to balance it on your index finger. It’s that simple, that’s where you should hold it.
TOO MUCH PRESSURE
Too much pressure is a quick way to get razor burn. I have found that people that have used cartridge razors in the past are most likely to use too much pressure when shaving with a DE razor. Safety razors aren’t as forgiving in the pressure department as cartridge razors. I always suggest you let the tool do all of the work. You are there to simply guide it… You are Yoda and your safety razor is Luke Skywalker…. But DO NOT use the force Luke! … Remember you are Yoda.
ONE STROKE JOHNNY
I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen that commercial or print advertisement of the one stroke shave guy. While I’m sure you could probably do that with a cartridge razor with no consequence, I wouldn’t recommend you do that with your safety razor. I recommend taking small, gentle, slow strokes that slightly overlap at about a 1/2″ per second stroke pace.
It’s very tempting to go back and retouch an area that you’ve missed that now has no lather. Even though there is slickness there, DON’T DO IT! When shaving with a safety razor you typically take 2 to 3 passes for a shave, so be patient and get it the next time around after you re-lather. Remember the lather is the protective aspect of the shave and it can be risky for some to shave without it.
USING THE WRONG BLADE
Not all safety razor blades are created equally. There are different degrees of sharpness and not every safety razor blade works with every person’s skin or razor. If you are having consistent problems, try switching to a different brand of blade. I have tried many different brands over the years and I have determined that the Feather brand works best for me personally. They work in all conditions of my facial hair growth, are extremely sharp and are consistent. This is something you have to experiment with and don’t forget to take notes as you go.
The safety razor is a fantastic and effective hair removal device that can take a bit of time to master. I always recommend that new wet shavers use a phased approach. Shave once a week with your new safety razor and then work to transition into more frequent usage as you get more comfortable with the process. Take your time, have fun and don’t forget to practice.