A familiar question that well kept Founders Natalie and Emilie get asked often is: how to shave with a safety razor, quickly followed with comments such as, “I’m scared!” or “I’m nervous!” They get it, they were too! But, according to the BFF's here’s the secret… there is no secret. It’s easy! You literally shave the exact same way!
That being said, below they share a few of their tips and tricks that will help you get the best shave possible:
1 – take your time
This holds true whether you’re using a safety razor or your old multi-blade cartridge razor. You’re most likely to nick yourself if you’re in a rush. Instead of trying to shave as quickly as possible ten minutes before you head out the door, consider shaving as a mini self care ritual. I like to have a long steamy shower, exfoliate thoroughly, massage shave oil into my skin, then methodically shave being sure not to miss anything (there’s nothing worse then crawling into bed and realizing you missed a one inch strip on the back of your calf!).
2 – steam & exfoliate
I’ve already mentioned it, but here it is again: for your best shave, make sure your skin is warm and exfoliated. I like to shave at the end of my shower after thoroughly exfoliating. Think of exfoliating as a mini massage and don’t skimp on it. Not only does it unclog pores and soften hair, it also feels amazing!
3 – apply shave oil or soap
I personally prefer to use shave oil as it moisturizes simultaneously, but everyone’s different! I know lots of people who prefer soap, figure out what works best for you. Either way, this is the time to apply it. I usually focus on one area at a time rather then trying lather up all areas I plan to shave at once. I rub my shave oil in, then quickly rinse my hands with soap to make sure I can get a good grip on my razor handle.
4 – don’t apply any pressure
well kept safety razors are made of solid brass and have a beautiful weight to them. This means that all you have to do is gently glide the razor over your skin and let its weight apply the pressure for you. You’ll find out what works best for you in terms of how you hold the razor, but a good rule of thumb is to position the razor at a 30 degree angle.
5 – go with the grain
At least to start! Shaving against the grain is much harsher and can cause serious irritation and razor burn particularly where skin is thin and sensitive (bikini line, I’m looking at you!). Depending on how close you get with your first pass, you can do a second with the grain, across the grain or against the grain. It all depends on the area you’re shaving and your particular skin and hair.
What works for me:
- legs – I go against the grain right off the bat. The skin on my legs isn’t particularly sensitive and I find I can get a really close shave with just one pass.
- armpits – I go with the grain on my first pass, then pull skin taught and do a second pass against the grain applying ZERO pressure.
- bikini area – First pass with the grain and a second pass going across the grain rather then against it.
6 – keep razor clean
Every few passes I like to rinse out my razor head. I like to grasp the razor head from the top and bottom and loosen it a half turn. I then either run it under the shower or swish it through a small bowl of water to make sure I remove all the buildup (hair, skin, oil, gunk, etc). Keeping your blade clean and sharp is key in avoiding irritation.
7 – keep blade sharp
When I ask people how often they change their razor blade they usually answer avoiding eye contact at all costs. This is for one of two reasons, either they’re lying, or they know the timeframe they’re giving me is totally outrageous. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to doesn’t change their razor blade often enough, but as of know I want you to change that. Keeping your razor blade sharp is INTEGRAL to avoiding razor burn and in grown hairs. One of the best parts of using a safety razor is that the cost of blades is so negligible you really have no excuse! When purchased in bulk, the blades can cost as little as $0.10! Bonus, you can collect the blades in a small tin and recycle them.