A good shave is hard to come by these days. Cheap, plastic razors are packaged to get your attention and promise results they don’t deliver. For instance, razor companies promise less irritation, closer shaves, and better lubrication built into each new razor they release. However, by design, plastic razors will always fail to deliver in full on these promises.
While some people experience less irritation and a closer shave by switching razor brands, the improvement is still a far cry from the perfection and precision of a classic double edge safety razor. You can try all the cartridge razors on the shelf and you’ll never get the close, precise, and pain-free shave your grandfather regularly enjoyed.
Perfect edges are only possible with precision tools
Have you ever tried to get a clean edge with a cartridge razor? Attempting to shave a perfectly clean edge with a cartridge razor is like trying to find a unicorn. It takes a ton of effort and you’ll have to settle for less than perfect results.
Edging with a cartridge razor is difficult because you can’t see the blade and have to guess where it is while you shave. If you can’t see the razor blade against your skin as you shave, you won’t create a perfect line.
You need a single, sharp, unobstructed blade to get a precision line while shaving. That’s exactly why the double-edged safety razor is making a comeback. Unlike cartridge razors, you can place the blade against your skin precisely where you want your line. A safety razor provides perfect visibility to shave precision edges. As you shave, the sharp blade will cut your beard hair exactly where you want – every time.
Single blades are necessary for long or curly beards
If you have long or curly beard hair, you probably shave your beard down with an electric razor before wet shaving to avoid ripping the hair out of your face with your razor. This practice is the unfortunate effect of a generation raised on plastic razors.
For men with curly beards, wet shaving with a multi-blade razor is entirely off-limits because the extra blades snag the hair and rip it out. When you need to shave a long or curly beard, an open comb safety razor is ideal for a smooth and painless shave. Unlike multi-blade cartridge razors, the single blade of a safety razor won’t tug on your beard hair and give you irritating ingrown hairs.
Any safety razor will be painless compared to cartridge razors, but an open comb design will expose more of the blade, which will prevent even the slightest bit of tugging and pulling.
Don’t fear the learning curve – it’s not that sharp
Shaving with a safety razor requires specific skills you won’t develop by using a cartridge razor. The learning curve isn’t as steep as it might seem; getting it right requires a proper blade angle, very little pressure, and plenty of slick lather. For many men, getting the right blade angle is easy while creating perfect lather takes some work.
Shaving with a safety razor is 50% blade angle and 50% lather
Getting a painless, precision shave with a safety razor requires a different technique than shaving with a cartridge razor. The perfect blade angle is about 30 degrees and is surprisingly easy to master. Most importantly, you don’t need to apply pressure. Safety razors are intentionally made heavy so that the weight of the razor does all the work. Pushing the blade into your face is not only unnecessary – it’s a guaranteed way to cut yourself.
Once you’ve got the right blade angle and shaving technique, your results will depend on your lather. Although you could use canned shaving cream with a safety razor, you’re better off making your own lather from shaving soap. Canned shaving cream is full of harsh chemicals that dry out your skin.
On the other hand, high-quality shaving soaps are full of humectants that add moisture to your skin. Good shaving soaps are made with natural oils that are good for your skin and create thick lather like coconut oil, jojoba oil, and palm oil. Some shaving soaps are made with bentonite clay to provide more slip so the blade will glide easily over your skin. Slip is essential for getting a clean, close shave and you can control this by making your own lather.
Switching to a double-edged safety razor means you’ll need to develop some new skills. However, getting a closer, cleaner shave with perfect edging makes it a skill worth learning.