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How to Shave with a Safety Razor

Why pay your barber when you can do it yourself?

CraveOnlineby CraveOnline
Photo: Hero Images (Getty Images)

Traditionally, the act of shaving was always considered something of a rite of passage. Boys take the razor, shave off some sporadic hairs on their face and become men. While there’s no doubt that you’ll make some mistakes when shaving for the first time, it gets better with time. If you’ve never shaved before and don’t know how to do it without cutting yourself up, here’s a little guide on how to shave with a safety razor which is probably your best option besides the electric one. So, let’s begin.

Choose Your Shaving Kit

The first thing you need to do is choose all the elements of your shaving kit carefully. When it comes to a safety razor, you have quite a lot of different types on the market. The idea is that more blades it has, the smoother the shave will be (although some claim that around three blades are the optimal number, everything else is a commercial exaggeration). Most of them are disposable and inexpensive, as there’s no need to spend too much money on them. Another important element you’ll need is a shaving foam or gel, whichever suits you best. Try to choose something that won’t irritate your skin, possibly something with aloe vera or other soothing agents. Finally, you’ll need an aftershave. Again, what type you’ll choose depends solely on your skin type. Most of them contain alcohol, which can agitate your skin even more.

The Shaving Process

Start with the plain old tap water and wash your face. It has to be at least moist for the shaving foam to spread properly. Using circular movements, rub the foam in so that you cover all the parts you want to shave. Be generous with the foam because it lubricates your face and reduces the risk of cuts. Proceed to take the safety razor and shave your face with gentle, short strokes, always going with the grain. Some experts suggest going against the grain but, while that gives you a much closer, cleaner shave, you’re also more likely to irritate the skin and cut yourself. In case you have a big beard, you can first use some scissors to shorten it and make it easier to shave. Once you’re done, wash your face and remove the remaining foam. It’s best that you use lukewarm water because if it’s too hot or too warm, it can damage your skin. Finally, dry your face with a clean towel and apply aftershave lotion. It will soothe the skin, hydrate and soften it up.

Dealing with Cuts

No matter how many precautions you take, there is always some chance that you’ll cut yourself, but that is nothing to worry about. Most of the time, these are just minor cuts that can be sanitized immediately and won’t leave long-lasting traces on your face. The most important thing is not to panic and to calmly finish your shaving. You can’t stop if you’re more than halfway there. The same process applies – you wash your face, apply the lotion (preferably with a little bit of alcohol on the actual cut to sanitize it). Take a really small piece of toilet paper and just place it on the cut. It will stay there until the blood coagulates (in a couple of minutes) and dries up. For somewhat larger cuts, you might need to hold a little bigger piece of paper until the blood stops. You should always keep the aloe vera gel at hand as it seals the wound fairly quickly and is completely natural.

Shaving with a Straight Razor

Now, back in the days, before the invention of much safer and easier safety razors, people used straight razors for shaving. A straight razor is basically a huge, sharp knife that offers you an extremely clean shave, but is a lot more difficult to use. Unlike safety razors, a straight razor doesn’t have any protective parts between the blade and the skin. Your strokes need to be as slow as possible, especially if you’ve never used it before. Don’t press too hard on the razor or you’ll have to live with a nasty wide scar for quite a while. As you get better at it, you’ll see that shaving like this is both therapeutic and super precise. Above all, you’ll feel like a real man. Just don’t rush it. You’ll get better with time.

Do you know how to shave with a safety razor? Do you prefer a straight razor instead? Let us know why.