Grooming Essentials: The Safety Razor
A safety razor is a simple, cost effective, and classic shaving option.
When it comes to shaving, guys have no shortage of options. Razors come in many different forms, including electric, disposable, multi-blade cartridge, and straight. But of all the shaving options there are to choose from, one definitely stands out for its simplicity, cost effectiveness, and classic style: the safety razor. Consider the following.
Cost Effective. While the initial cost of a safety razor like the Merkur Classic ($35-$50) might seem exorbitant compared to a Gillette Mach 3, for example, it is an investment that pays for itself—and fairly quickly. While you can definitely feel a huge difference in the quality and heft of a safety razor like a Merkur, the biggest payoff comes in terms of the blades. As a comparison, you can pay $15 for a pack of five Mach 3 blades or the same $15 for 100 Shark double edge safety razor blades. Some quick math tells the story there. Let’s say you change your safety razor blade once a week. Even if you were to stretch a multi-blade cartridge to two or three weeks—not recommended—you would still end up paying way more in the long run. Multi-blade cartridges are the high interest credit cards of the shaving world.
Simplicity. Two pieces and a double edge blade. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. You could argue that a disposable razor is simpler since it is just one piece, but there is definitely no comparison between the two in terms of quality. A safety razor also fits neatly into your Dopp kit.
Tips for Shaving with a Safety Razor
Hold the Razor at an Angle. If you have ever shaved with a straight razor, you know that the blade should be held at a 45-degree angle to your skin. The great thing about a safety razor is that that angle is locked in once you tighten the blade down. The other key is to tilt the head of the safety razor so the blade does not come into contact with the hair perpendicularly, but at an angle as well. This makes for a closer and more comfortable shave.
Use Short Strokes. Forget what you see in the commercials with guys taking one long stroke across the jawline with their razor. It’s a visual gimmick to make shaving with whatever company’s product seem easy and effortless and doesn’t work, especially with a safety razor. Taking short strokes with your razor is key. It’s easier on your skin and if you rinse your razor between every few strokes, ensures that you are getting the full benefit of the blade.
Let the Blade Do the Work. Double edged blades are sharp. And if you are transitioning from a multi-blade cartridge shaving system, you will probably cut yourself. You can decrease the chance of this happening by letting the blade work for you. There is no need to apply much pressure to the skin at all when shaving with a safety razor. A very light touch will do. Let the blade lift and slice the hair—don’t force it.
Shave with the Grain First, Then Against. The best and closest shaves with a safety razor require two passes. At first this might seem more time consuming than what you may be used to, but trust me, with a little practice you will be just as fast as you were with whatever shaving method you are transitioning from. Know which way your beard grows and always shave with the grain on the first pass, and against on the second.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
He Spoke Style