Shave like a Gent: the safety razor

Over the last two decades, men have been subjected to a series of (often unnecessary) "upgrades" in cartridge shaving.  Two blades became three, three became five, and so on.  Despite the fact that men have been shaving for thousands of years, these cartridge systems do not necessarily represent an improvement and some of the newest ones with more than three blades have been shown to remove not just hair, but skin.  That being said, you may have a subscription with Harry's or Dollar Shave Club and be very satisfied.  But - there's not just a cheaper and more traditional way to shave, there's a lost art: using a safety razor.

It's called a "safety" razor because all but the sharp end of the blade is covered up.  That's right - it's a single blade - which might make those of us used to shaving with cartridges suspicious - how is it going to get the job done?  Well, you have to, in a way, re-learn to shave.  Here are some tips to prevent you from hurting yourself and your face:

  1. Let the razor do the work.  The best safety razors are properly weighted so that you don't have to apply pressure.
  2. Go parallel, then adjust.  When you bring a safety razor up to your face start with the handle parallel to the floor then slowly bring it to a 30 degree angle, which is ideal.  As you move through the different parts of your face keep adjusting in order to keep this angle.
  3. Short strokes, and take your time.  Our society is starting to rediscover mindfulness and taking the time to enjoy a cup of coffee or even a single meal.  You have to shave frequently, so why not enjoy it?  Don't rush the shave and use small strokes, especially when you first begin to use safety razors.  It will take a bit longer than a cartridge razor shave, but it will be worth the effort.
  4. There's pre and post work necessary.  Cover the area you want to shave with a great shave gel, cream, or butter you prefer.  When you finish make sure that you dab with something cold in order to close your pores.  You can then apply an after shave gel or cream.  We carry some great choices which you can peruse on your next visit to one of our locations.
  5. Reap the savings.  The secret of disposable cartridge razors is that they are packaged as convenience, but in reality, they are simply a great revenue model for those companies.  Safety razors, on the other hand, use razor blades which can cost nickels when bought in bulk and are never over $1 even when bought in small quantities.  The original investment you'll make is in buying a good razor, and possibly a brush and stand, but by the end of a year, at even a moderate pace of shaving, you'll be ahead against the cartridge model, to the tune of hundreds of dollars a year.

Safety razors aren't for every gent - but even just giving them a try will link you to your grandfather and how he probably shaved himself.  If you need a last nudge of encouragement, check out this great video from the gents over at The Art of Manliness.

One of our signature services at The Gents Place is our razor shave service, which uses, of course, a single razor rather than a cartridge.  Let us know what kind of razor you use and receive a one-time 35% coupon off any of our shave services.

Ben Davis

About Ben Davis

A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.

Great article. A few years ago I found a Gillette razor that caught my attention. The feature I most enjoy is the fact that it’s battery operated. 1 triple A battery lasts next to forever. Once you turn it on it vibrates and makes the shaving a much easier, smoother operation. Now, I wear a beard, yet I still shave 3 to 4 times a week to keep everything looking top shelf. My dad was a barber when I was young and I do appreciate a lot of the ‘old school’ practices. I have his straight razor and have seriously given consideration to getting that dusted off and sharpened up. I may well slow down a bit and go with a good safety razor first. In this day and age we all seem too rushed to enjoy much of anything anymore. I think the song from the Broadway musical ’70, Girls, 70′ may some it up best. ‘Coffee in a Cardboard Cup’

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