I started shaving with a double edge safety razor back in May of this year. I wrote this shaving technique guide after a few weeks of shaving, but enough time has passed that I thought it was worth an update and some reflection.
Most of my changes were small adjustments. For example, I’ve purchased several razors since my initial write-up, and I’ve discovered that each razor demands a slightly different technique. My current daily razor is a very heavy razor made by Cadet. It features an open comb, which means that it does not have the safety bar found on most razors. This razor takes an exceptionally fine touch, and at points in my shave I use “negative pressure” wherein I don’t let the full weight of the razor drag on my skin.
I’ve also standardized on a blade. After trying many different blade types from different manufacturers, I’ve settled on the Japanese Feather stainless steel blade. The Feather has quite the reputation, and as much as I like finding a great price-to-performance ratio the Feather did the best job on my facial hair.
In regards to shaving pattern, I no longer completely go from foot to head on the first pass of my throat. I shave from my jawline down for the first half of my throat. I shave from foot to heat the bottom of my neck up, except for a 2″ by 2″ strip on the center of my throat. I always run from head to foot here, regardless of pass. I also stopped shaving against the grain on my face, as the Cadet and Feather combo is sharp enough to get the job done with a more comfortable with-the-grain shave.
I’ve added pre-shave oil to my routine, and found that this helps with nicking myself as well as reducing razor burn.
I’ve also removed something from my routine: the warm towel. While it felt very good and was instrumental in getting a nice shave before I started using pre-shave oil, it added time and hassle to my routine. Pre-shave oil made this step extraneous, and it was nice to get a few minutes back in an already long shaving routine. We also cut down the amount of laundry for hand towels.
I still recommend safety razor shaving. It has been fun researching techniques and hardware, as well as learning about the peculiarities of my skin and face. If you’re thinking about trying safety razor shaving, realize that everyone is different, and don’t be afraid to adapt your tools and techniques over time.