Plastic cartridge razors are very impressive technological advances in shaving, with the availability of multiple blades on razors. However, they can be rough on your skin, expensive, and far from environmentally friendly. Because of this, many people have now opted to go back in time to a traditional method of shaving: using a safety razor. Not only do they outperform other shaving methods, but they are also surprisingly easy and enjoyable to use.
So, why should you use a safety razor?
8 Reasons You Should Use a Safety Razor
1. A High-Quality Shave
Think about your cartridge razor and how many blades it has. Three? Four? Or even five? Let’s say you have a cartridge razor with four blades and you make three passes on your skin. You’ve just exposed your skin to 12 passes with a blade. Yes, more blades may seem like a better idea, but this results in more overall irritation on your skin.
By using a safety razor, you limit the amount of blade passes on your skin as there is only one blade used. This results in a closer, smoother, and high-quality shave. You reduce the chance for skin irritation, shaving bumps, ingrown hairs, cuts, and nicks. Trust me, your skin will be thanking you later.
2. Cleaner & Safer
Typical multiple blade cartridges can be an unclean shaving experience. The multiple blades which are closely packed together can easily accumulate dead skin and moisture which leads to bacteria buildup. Combine this with pressing against the fresh open pores on your skin and you have a nasty recipe for skin irritation and infection.
A safety razor blade DOES need to be replaced frequently on a weekly basis. The result, however, is a single blade that is cleaner and safer and will not collect a buildup of moisture or bacteria.
3. A Money Saver
One of the best reasons people use a safety razor is the cost-effectiveness. A quality safety razor will cost you only around $15-30. A pack of 100 safety razor blades will cost around $20. This is a very small investment when you compare it with the high cost of cartridge razors which can run up to $30 for just a 12-pack.
Many shave clubs are now promoting yearly memberships that have cartridges sent to your doorstep on a monthly basis which costs from $70-120 per year. This is a very convenient option but hardly cost-effective when you compare it to the overall cost of using a safety razor. Since most safety razor blades are double-edged, you can use each side of the blade giving you twice as much use out of each safety razor blade.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in the early 90’s more than 2 billion disposable plastic razors end up in landfills each year. We can only guess how much that figure has increased over the years. When you change out a plastic razor cartridge you are dumping plastic, which nine times out of ten is not recyclable, that will sit in a landfill for years on end.
By using a safety razor you are reducing your plastic waste and lowering your environmental impact. A safety razor blade is made from eco-friendly materials, such as stainless steel and is completely recyclable. Not to mention, the safety razor itself can last a lifetime.
5. Better for Thick Hair
A safety razor is the better choice for thick hair. Cartridges just aren’t sharp enough to cut through thick hair regardless of the shaving cream you choose. This can lead to cuts, dragging, clogging, and irritation. Spare yourself (and your thick hair) the uncomfortable experience of hacking away at your hair and skin by simply switching to a sharp double edge safety razor.
6. Silky Smooth Legs
Ladies, if you desire truly clean and silky smooth legs, a safety razor will be your best bet! Many women may be apprehensive towards using a safety razor at first, as they see an exposed blade and worry about potentially damaging cuts and nicks to their skin. But when used correctly, the risk of nicks and cuts is minimal. Avoid dragging and applying pressure to your skin as you would with a cartridge razor.
Some safety razors even come with adjustable razor blades which allow you to change the blade exposure to a lower setting. This is perfect for those just starting out into the world of safety razors and wants to have a worry-free shaving experience.
Believe it or not, there was actually a time before cartridge razors with fifty blades and fancy gels and creams. Safety razors have been used for years, and chances are your grandfather and even his grandfather shaved with double-edged safety razors. Shaving with a safety razor does take more time, however, it reflects a time period where simple routine tasks were done with deliberate practice and patience.
It’s also a great tradition to pass on to your children while teaching them an environmentally-friendly way to practice safe personal care and hygiene routines.
8. Easy to Use
When using a safety razor there is a slight learning curve, but with a little patience and practice, it will allow you to have a much more satisfying shaving experience.
The true art of shaving requires more attention but gives you much more precision and control when shaving your skin. You will have to maintain focus on each stroke, angle, and how much pressure you are applying. By taking your time and turning your shaving experience into a ritual, you will look forward to the healthy skincare experience instead of rushing through your shaving routine slicing away at your skin.
A Quick Guide: How to Use a Safety Razor
Here are some quick guidelines for using a safety razor for the first time. These can be used for shaving either your face or legs.
Prep & Lather
You first need to exfoliate your skin. The easiest way to do this is to take a hot shower. This will loosen up your hair and pores in your skin. If you are shaving your legs you can scrub the skin to remove any dead skin cells. Leaving dead skin cells can cause ingrown hairs and skin bumps when the razor pushes dead skin cells into a pore.
Apply your favorite shaving lotion or cream. Use a shave brush, which creates a thicker and richer lather which will further allow your skin to exfoliate.
Shaving is an art. So when starting to use a safety razor for the first time, your focus should be on going slowly. If you cut yourself, don’t blame the blade but instead take it as feedback that you should shave more slowly and carefully.
Maintain a 30-45 degree angle between the blade and your skin. At this angle, the rounded head and tip of the blade should rest easily against your skin. This will give you control and also allow the weight of the handle to guide the razor. Do not hold the blade perpendicular to your skin and drag. This will result in a lot more than just hair coming off on your blade!
Use short gentle strokes as you shave, rather than dragging the razor across a large section of your skin. Shave along with the grain of your hair and not against it for your first pass. Take extra care for all those hard to reach spots on your neckline. For the legs, go carefully around your ankles and behind the knees.
Don’t apply pressure when shaving. A safety razor blade is sharp enough to do the job on its own, so only a light touch is needed. If your skin isn’t too sensitive you can reapply your shaving cream and go for another round to get any spots you may have missed. You can also shave across or against the grain of your hair this time but remember, a slow and steady shaving experience will give you that silky smooth shave you desire.
Wipe your skin with a warm towel and then press your skin with a cold towel or rinse with cold water to close any pores that may be opened. If you have an alum block, you can run it under cold water and apply directly to your skin to soothe and clear out your pores. This will stop any small nicks or cuts that are bleeding but may sting a bit.
Let’s face it, looking at a safety razor can be intimidating! But good skincare and shaving techniques take work. With a bit of patience and practice, you can transform your shaving experience into an enjoyable and meditative part of your day. Check out our other post for reviews on the best safety razors available.
In addition to enriching your shaving routine, you are also doing your part in lowering your environmental impact. No more throwing out your expensive single-use razors or plastic cartridges that will only pollute the environment. And most importantly, you will get the rewarding feeling of fresh and smoothly shaved skin.