So you’ve got yourself a brand new double edge safety razor and blades… now where do you begin? Before you begin, I feel it’s important to have the other necessary components to achieve a great shave. These items include a shave brush (boar, badger or synthetic bristle), artisan shave soap, alum (or aftershave/astringent), styptic pencil and moisturizer or post shave/aftershave balm. Once you’ve got those fundamental components you are ready, but before you get going with your first shave, here are a few tips and tricks to ensure you are successful.
You don’t have to jump into this with both feet. If you are feeling like it’s all too much, shave once a week with your new safety razor, then switch back to your cartridge razor or current shaving method. Transition into it and then slowly increase your usage as you get more comfortable with the tools and process. [Also see, 6 Mistakes to Avoid with your Safety Razor].
If you are currently using a cartridge razor, I would suggest you start with the Brush, Soap and post shave product such as Alum, Aftershave or Aftershave Balm first with your cartridge razor. [If you need a shaving brush, see Choosing a Shaving Brush]. This way you can get a feel for the soap, practice your lathering techniques and properly close off your shave and tone your skin with the Alum. You should instantly notice the enhanced performance of your cartridge razor because of the natural properties and slickness of an artisan shave soap. You will also notice that your razor cartridges will probably last longer, as there are no acids in artisan shave soaps unlike some of the canned shave creams.
2-3+ DAYS GROWTH
Grow your hair out for a few days. This will allow you to carefully study your growth patterns, as facial hair doesn’t grow in one direction. This way you’ll be able to see in advance where your challenging areas are.
Practice making lather a few times before you have your first shave. This way you’ll get a feel for the soap, brush and required water to make a great lather. Remember this can be done anytime and doesn’t need to be done in conjunction with a shave. Artisan shave soaps seem to last forever and are relatively inexpensive, you’ll hardly notice the loss of product, so go for it. [Also see, Lather Tips].
Shave on a Friday night or Saturday to give yourself focused and uninterrupted time to shave. This will also give you some recovery time if you cut or nick yourself, as that can happen from time to time. Giving yourself ample time for your shave will remove pressure and prevent rushing through it.
30 DAY COMMITMENT
Like anything you are mastering, you have to commit to the process and do lots of practice. I recommend you commit to using your new gear for 30 days. This will give you enough time to practice, refine your process, see what razor blade brand or lathering method you prefer. You might like your first shave with your safety razor… you might even love it! I suggest you give yourself 30 days, surrender to the process and see what happens.
The perfect shave can be achieved with the correct preparation, tools, techniques and practice. This should be fun, not a chore and in no time you will begin to enjoy shaving. If you’d like to see my personal wet shaving process, feel free to check out my 7 steps to a great shave.