Kick It Old School: The Safety Razor

Though we live in bearded times, many of us can’t or won’t live life with a face rug. For those of us regular shavers, we live in complicated and expensive times. Preposterously expensive razors with 18 blades are commonplace (seriously, when does the blade insanity end?) and even with e-commerce brands rethinking the drugstore blade purchase shaving is still an expensive and subpar experience. That’s why we are here to endorse turning back the clocks to simpler time. A time that involves one inexpensive blade and a superior shaving experience. Let us introduce you to the “safety razor”. Also referred to as a double-edged razor, these classic instruments have been around since the early 1900’s and if they were good enough for your badass Grandpa and The Greatest Generation they are sure as hell good enough for you. As these fine gentlemen knew, less is, more often than not, more. Here’s how to get started down the road to a better shave.

Get Equipped
Double-edged razors utilize a single razor blade with two sharp sides – one on each end of the razor handle. The skin is protected from all but the edge of the razor with a guard, hence the name “safety razor”. There are many reasons men elect to shave in this old-school style -- affordability, sustainability, closeness, style and a bit of self-esteem. In addition to providing a smoother and closer shave, the replacement blades (available on amazon.com) associated with these razors are more affordable, just about 25 cents a blade, and will last you through many more shaves. Some initial start up capital is required however, a proper shaving handle like the ones from Merkur (also available on amazon.com) will set you back about $25 - $40. But trust us, once you hold that finely machined piece of metal in your hands, feel its weight, and experience the exceptional shaving experience you’ll know it’s worth it. Plus, with such a low blade cost you’ll be on your way to saving up some extra beer money in no time.

Get Lathered Up
Finding the right kind of shaving cream is important regardless of what type of razor you are using but in our case it should be given extra consideration. Most drugstore brands don’t offer you much in the way of protection and lubrication since they often contain drying agents like soap and thin lathers that dissipate quickly. We recommend looking into a proper, thick-style shaving cream when using a safety razor. These more traditional formulations will offer a closer, more comfortable shave and leave your skin looking great. Don’t forget to moisturize your freshly-shaved mug post shave too, it's a crucial step.

Get Shaving
Now that you’re well-equipped, let’s talk technique. Safety razors should move across the beard area at an angle of approximately 30 degrees and used with extremely light pressure. Begin slowly and carefully with short, light strokes in the direction of hair growth. Since hair grows in varying directions on every man, make sure to take note of your specific hair growth prior to shaving. Obviously no Sweeny Todd-style slicing or side-to-side motions of any kind. Because there is somewhat of a higher degree of difficulty with this type of razor it’s important to keep your equipment in good working order and take your time during your first few shaves. Using the proper technique, there’s no extra risk involved with these types of razors, they are just as safe as any standard cartridge razor.

Welcome to the safety razor club. Enjoy the ride gents, your face (and those touching your face) will thank you.