Since their invention, Safety Razors have been the gold standard in shaving. Time after time they deliver the most incredible shaves, which has led many people to put down their mainstream Gillette Mach 3's and convert to the old school.
Safety Razors appeal to a wide range of people- those looking for a super close shave, those who consider shaving an art, and even those who experience terrible rashes/bumps/spots/razor burn and have tried all other options.
The fact that Safety Razors can be totally customised to fit a specific skin type or person makes them second to none. You can get different blades that will shave harsh or gently and razors that can be angled to shave super close or finely. Teamed with a shaving brush, shaving soap and HOT water, you'll quickly find perfection.
There are many different brands to consider, some more expensive than others. However the most well known, trustworthy and quality are definitely Merkur razors- a German company that quite literally creates perfection.
Shaving with a Merkur razor is definitely not a chore. It's an art, and you should feel special to be doing it. If you strive for a perfect shave, you can't go wrong with a Merkur.
Shaving with a Safety RazorBefore you go anywhere near a bathroom, you'll need to insert the blade into the razor. With most razors, especially Merkur, you unscrew the bottom, lift off the top, put the blade in and replace the parts. When you tighten it back up, the blade will bend- this is normal, so don't worry.
Now you're ready to shave. Generally it's better to shave after taking a shower, as this will soften your whiskers and open the pores on your face- making a closer shave within your reach.
First make sure you have the following things to hand:
2. Shaving Brush
3. Shaving Soap
4. HOT Water
7. Cold water
Let the razor and brush soak in hot water for a few minutes before use to heat up, this will help open your pores further.
Lather up the soap with the brush and apply to your face- you want to get a thick lather on your whiskers to provide good lubrication. Looking like Santa is your preference.
NEVER press a safety razor down onto your skin. Let the razor do the work.
Always make sure you wet the razor before and after a stroke. Shave WITH the grain, using small strokes to get a good first shave. You can repeat the previous steps to get a close shave as many times as necessary. It is possible to shave against the grain, but this is only recommended if you don't have super sensitive skin.
After shaving, splash your face with cold water to close the pores. This will prevent irritation and spots occurring from build up of soap or oil.
Apply moisturiser to your face after closing the pores to get some life back into your skin. You'll look and feel great, and the moisturiser will mean your clean shaven face shines through.
Always clean your razor fully after use, and make sure little/no moisture is on it otherwise it could rust.
Furthermore you should change your razor blade regularly- after 5 shaves is the recommended time. If you don't change blades, it will become dull and performance will seriously be decreased. It can also become dangerous, and start cutting your skin. When it comes to safety razors, sensible is best.
Buying a Safety RazorSafety Razors are all pretty similar, and most work with the same blades. Merkur razors work with pretty much all blades, so are well worth looking at. The most common colour is silver, but you can get lovely gold plated ones for slightly more money.
Unless you are looking for a specific model, or have extremely sensitive skin, a Merkur will do you proud.
When looking at blades, once again Merkur are great to look at. Generally speaking, blades coated in Platinum deliver a better shave, as they are sharper and are able to last longer. If a blade doesnt have platinum, don't avoid it, try it! You never know how good a blade will be unless you see for yourself.
You can buy packs of 5, 10 or even 20; it's best to buy a pack of 10 so you can see which blades provide you with the best shave. Your skin will take a while to get used to a new blade, so don't let 1 bad experience put you off.
Some specialist blades include Feather DE blades. These are Japanese made and the sharpest blades you can buy. Using the same technology as when making Samurai swords, these will shave you so close you won't need to shave again for a week. Be warned, they are very sharp.
Other great brands to check out include Shick, Wilkinson Sword and Personna. Again, each blade will have a different character, so experimentation is the key.
Buying a Shaving Brush
A shaving brush can be as important as the razor you use. A great shaving brush will produce a good, foamy lather on your shaving soap, and this will help you achieve a close shave.
When shopping for a shaving brush, you should aim to get a Badger Hair brush. These are of exceptional quality as the badger hair is strong and ridgid, which means you can really work a lather into the whiskers and skin before shaving. Although more expensive than other brushes, badger hair brushes are simply the best.
If you are a keen shaver, but cannot afford a badger hair brush, don't worry. There are many other great brushes available on the market. Although they won't give you the standard of lather a badger hair brush would, they still enable you to have a great shave.
Buying a Shaving SetShaving sets are great because they have everything you need to get shaving right away. Most come with a great razor, blades, a brush, soap and a nice stand to put it all on.
Although expensive, it's actually cheaper to buy all the gear this way than seperately. Besides, it's a one off investment that will last you forever. Unlike a Gillette Mach 3, you won't be changing razors every week. A safety razor really is for life.
Whatever you buy, you'll find out 1 thing. Shaving with a Safety Razor is an amazing experience and will leave you with the closest shave you've had in years. You'll feel like a million pounds, and will look it too!