Making the leap to a safety razor is a big step in your shaving journey. Gone are all the gimmicks of lasers, vibrating and pivoting razor heads and the need for a half-dozen blades. The single blade in a safety razor provides a much more elegant shaving experience. To make the most of your first time (and avoid a few cuts along the way), here are some tips you need to follow.
Prep the Skin
The thing about a safety razor is it isn't all that "safe." It's an exposed blade running along skin. It takes more control and finesse than those disposable razors, but the shaving experience is far superior in the end. Due to using the blade against your skin, you need to properly prep it.
Prepping starts with washing and exfoliating. This softens up the skin and opens up your pores, making it easier to shave. Ideally, shave right after you shower. If this isn't an option, use hot water on your face and neck to warm it up.
With disposables, you can use older blades, it just pulls at the hair. However, that is not what happens with a safety razor. When shaving this way, the blade does all the work. You'll put next to no pressure on the razor. Due to this, if the blade is dull you'll feel inclined to push harder, which increases your chance for a cut. Instead, trade out the blade every few shaves. If you feel any resistance at all with a current blade, trade it out. Thankfully, you can get a set of replacement blades for only a few dollars.
This is realistically the biggest difference between cartridge blades and safety razors. It's also why you need to go slowly as you become accustomed to the shaving style. The blade in a safety razor is far superior to your cartridge blades. Due to this, you need next to no pressure on the blade. Let it glide across the face.
Get to Know How Your Hair Grows
You'll want to shave with the grain your first time through. Naturally that means shaving down, right? Not necessarily. While yes, most of your hair probably grows down, play close attention. You might be surprised as to where the hair actually grows up in a few places.
Short Strokes With the Grain
Your first time through, use short strokes. Don't try to use the elongated strokes you see in advertisements. Short, slow and simple wins this race. Go with the grain your first time through.
Straighten the Skin
Going on the underside of your jaw bone and around the neck is a bit nerveracking your first time. Do what you can to keep your skin straight and taught. This will mean arching your neck to straighten the skin out as you get down around the jawline.
Now Short Strokes Against the Grain
Now that you've finished going with the grain, later back up and go against the grain if you want that extra fine shave.
Once you're all done, rinse your face out with cold water (this closes your pores back up and helps prevent ingrown bumps). Toss on some after shave and you're good to go.
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