An Introduction to the Double-Edged Safety Razor

Shaving.  All men have some experience, and for a good number it is a daily ritual.  Men have been shaving for centuries, and it is only in the past few decades that the service has not been done with a simple single razor blade, with plenty of people eschewing that for the cartridge razor for safety and convenience.  If you are one of these men, you are cheating yourself.  The single blade razor still offers the supreme shave.  As with many things in modern life, we have sacrificed perfection and satisfaction for convenience.  It is time to bring back the Safety Razor.


As with most things, you can spend as much or as little as you desire, from this superb item from Muehle to a perfectly functional yet more cost effective item from Parker.  Speaking of cost effectiveness - see how many razor blades you get for the price of a packet of cartridges!


If you feel daunted with the thought of starting to use a single bladed razor, fear not. We have a few tips to get you started in this article.  We will be following up with further, more detailed tips


First, a shaving brush is a must, and Badger hair is the best - silvertip ideal. A good brush gives a good lather and lifts the bristles allowing the razor to nick them off closer to the skin.  you can find a high-end brush from Thater here, and a good quality one from Parker here.


Second, get some good shaving soap.  Please do not try to use the commercial aerosol gels and foams - they simply do not work so well with a brush as a traditional shaving soap.


Third, you want your bristles to be as soft as possible.  I find it best to shave after a shower for this reason.  Also to this end, lather with piping hot water.  Apply lather with your brush thoroughly to your face, (you are after a fluffy white beard) and you are ready to start with the razor.


Fourth, the shave. Keep your razor at about 30 degrees and gently shave with the grain of your beard for the first stroke.  A good razor handle will have some weight in it - use this weight to apply the pressure, you don't need to press any harder.  If necessary, another (light - be careful here) stroke against the grain of your beard will result in an excellently smooth and very satisfying shave!


This is a fairly lengthy process compared to using a cartridge razor, so you may want to keep one of those in your kit for times where you are in a hurry.  However, as morning rituals go, the safety razor shave is one of the most satisfying - and produces truly excellent results.


Andrew Wilberforce

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