How to Shave with a Safety Razor

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Safety razors are venturing out of the antique shop and are making a come back in a big way. Many men that I speak to at the farmer’s market tell me that they still have their grandfather’s safety razor, but most keep them on hand as a conversation piece or for the sake of some manly nostalgia.

Safety razors are more environmentally friendly than your typical cartridge refills and are far more economical. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences, but for those men and women who are looking for a change, here are my tips for venturing into the world of safety razors.

If you’re ready to make the switch, please visit me at the South of the James Farmers Market in Richmond, VA, or shop online at my Etsy store.

Happy trails!

How to Shave your Face with a Safety Razor

  1. Warm up your face: If you don’t shower before shaving (which I, as a busy guy, recommend), use a warm washcloth to soften your facial hair and open up your pores. This will help you to avoid cutting yourself and ingrown hairs. If you want to really get in there, get some exfoliating scrub to loosen things up further. A washcloth works almost as well.
  2. Fill up the sink: You’re going to need to rinse off your razor during this process, so put some warm water in the sink or in a mug/jar. Basically, your best bet is to keep everything warm, just like you would with your normal shaving routine.
  3. Lather up: You’re going to want to slap some shaving cream or soap on your face before you start. I highly recommend checking out Britt Hayes’ collection at Cricket Cove Soap Co for some great, local, options. Less is more! You can always reapply if you need more.
  4. Get down to business: 30-degree angles are your friend. Go slow, especially when just getting started. Shave with the grain for the first few passes, and make sure to rinse your razor in the warm water frequently. Hold your skin to keep it ship shape and tight. Let your razor do the work. The weight of the razor will take care of most of your business and you’ll avoid unnecessary pain by letting the blade take the wheel.
  5. Repeat until your face looks like it’s Catholic school dress code approved.
  6. After you’re clean (you filthy animal): Splash your face with cold water. Close up those pores before doing anything else. Clean your razor with some alcohol (dip it in a cup), or at least give it a good swirl in hot water. Apply some aftershave and hydrate your face. If you’re like me, just steal your significant other’s face lotion, or treat yourself to your own. Whatever floats your boat. Lotion fills in your pores with good stuff, rather than grease and/or sawdust in my, personal, experience. Store your safety razor in a dry place to preserve the blade.
  7. To finish up: Go out into your brave new world of hipster status and get ready to fight everyone in Richmond who uses a straight blade. Tryhards (but really, they aren’t round, Black Cat Woodworking can’t help you with those, unfortunately).

How to Shave (elsewhere) with a Safety Razor

You can shave anything with a safety razor, with a little bit of practice. Slow and steady wins the race when learning not to give yourself some fancy scarification, and the extra 5 minutes your first time will save you money and help you to do your part for the preservation of the environment.

  1. Follow everything I just said, with a focus on that 30-degree angle and using shaving cream.
  2. Keep your strokes short: This is just from personal experience, but my wife makes a game out of how long she can make her strokes with a cartridge razor. That doesn’t work with safety razors.
  3. Let the razor do the work: Like I said before, these razors will do most of your work for you. Don’t give yourself carpal tunnel syndrome when these guys are eager and willing to help out.

How often should I change the Blade?

Once a week is recommended, and you can even sharpen these cheap little guys for continued use. I find my blades at Target and Walmart!


Where to find these Magical Razors

While I can’t help you with the learning process beyond this post (ask your dad, make a day of it), I CAN help you with the safety razor itself. Visit my Etsy shop, message me on Facebook or Instagram, or come on down to the South of the James Farmers Market where I am situated every Saturday from 8 to noon. If you have any questions I am full of answers and my wife ditches me so I can use the company.

Be good to yourself, to the environment, and folks around you.

Steven, Black Cat Woodworking



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