Safety razors and shaving techniques.

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Campitor
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Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Campitor » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:54 pm

I've always used cartridge razors my whole life. I tried using a safety razors a long time ago and I just cut myself frequently. I figured I'd give it another shot because I'm getting annoyed by the escalating cost of the disposable cartridges which I believe are overpriced. :evil:

So here is what I want to know:
  • What safety razor brand do you own?
  • What's your prefered blade brand?
  • What shaving cream or soap do you use?
  • How thick is your beard?
  • What is the shaving technique used (shave up, down, shave 2x, etc.)?
  • Do you have any prefered shaving paraphernalia (soap brush, aftershaves, oils, etc) to soothe the skin or improve shaving performance?
  • I noticed that some safety razors have "combs" while others are smooth - is there really any benefit of a combed head over a smooth head?
  • Some safety razors seem to be adjustable while others only have a single setting - is the adjustment worth the price and what exactly is being adjusted?

theanimal
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by theanimal » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:25 pm

I started using a safety razor a little over a year ago. I have a Merkur, bought for something like $30 on Amazon. I bought one of the bundles of miscellaneous blades. I think there were 50 (25 different brands)? I have about 15 left. I was writing down my thoughts about each blade until I realized that there isn't much variation and there were only 2 that I really didn't like. I don't use shaving cream or soap, just hot water and no fancy accessories. I shave much shorter strokes than if I were to shave with a cartridge razor. Shaving in a downward motion about an inch or 2, 2-3 times over the area (more if I haven't shaved in a while). In other difficult areas, such as on my neck or above my lip, I shave up or even shave to the side. I don't cut myself very often, maybe once every few times. You don't press as hard as you do with the cartridge blades, these you are barely pressing and letting the blade do much of the work.

Recently, I have been mostly clean shaven but have had probably close to 1/2 in thickness at one point last year and the razor had no problem. With disposables, I'd be switching through multiple cartridges. SO much better if you keep a beard regularly.

Mine has one of the comb heads and is non adjustable. I have no issues, I can't speak to the alternatives.

I will not go back. It takes a little longer but is much, much cheaper and feels better than using the disposables.

Augustus
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Augustus » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:36 pm

Try a bunch of blades with a mix pack, everyones face is different, I like the astra blades. The key concept with safety razor IMO is hair reduction, not hair removal. You are not trying to remove all the hair in one pass, you want a lighter touch, you'll remove a bit of hair with each pass. I have sensitive skin, so I have a very light touch, not much more than the weight of the razor itself, held at an angle. I usually take a shower, blast some hot water at my face to soften everything up, then shave immediately after. I don't use soap or lather or anything, just hot water to dip the blade in and get cut hair off. I used lather/soap before but it didn't seem worth the effort. I've got a jagger de89, and once I settled on my preferred razor blade I bought a 100 pack, that was 5 years ago, I still have at least half of them left. I have to shave about twice a week, I don't care about a little stubble, so I let it slide a couple days, my hair probably doesn't grow that fast. At that rate of spend I'm looking at spending 10 bucks every 10 years. I'm able to get a few weeks usage out of each blade without stropping or any kind of maintenance.

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C40
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by C40 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:05 pm

There are other websites specifically devoted to sharing this information. Read some of those. Watch some videos.

Razor: Get a simple and relatively cheap safety razor. I have a Merkur that cost me, idk, $30 or $40. I think it's the same one that someone linked to in that Gillette ad thread. I like it. As far as I can tell, they're basically all the same design, more or less. I don't know that the actual shaving performance is much different(?). So get one that you like the look of, the materials, weight, etc. When shaving, use a gentle touch. I think you really only need enough pressure to keep the blade in contact with your skin. Pressing into the skin isn't needed for cutting the hair. (Edit - I did notice today that I put quite a lot more pressure than is actually needed, and I don't really ever cut myself). These razors can seem scary or dangerous, but they really aren't.

For blades, but a variety pack containing numerous different brands of blades and try them out. Order a bunch of your favorite.

Personally I haven't found special shaving creams or other accouterments to make much difference. People get into those fancy and expensive brushes using hair from whatever animals, I don't really see any reason why that would work better than using your hand. It's sort of fun sometimes though to use a brush. I think getting your skin all hot and washing it with soap before you shave makes more difference than using some beaver hair brush or french shaving oil or whatever else. (I imagine it's good to use soap that moisturizes rather than dries out, and I like a certain kind of Castile soap that is really cheap at Walmart - "Kirk's". I'm no soap expert, but I believe this is at least as good as any other soap I've used and it is really inexpensive). It's fine to use the soap as your shaving cream. You just need something viscous. I do think/imagine/guess that using cold hair to rinse off the blade while shaving works better than hot. Cetaphil moisturizing cream is very good lotion (put it on after you shave). It can be bought cheaper on Amazon or at Costco. This stuff is also the best lotion for, ahem, that other man activity.
Last edited by C40 on Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

BRUTE
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by BRUTE » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:58 am

Merkur handle with Red Personna blades.

shaving soap, but not any particular brand. in brute's experience, "real" (=non-shaving) soap doesn't actually help with shaving, as it doesn't moisturize and thereby trap liquid, but instead dries out the skin. biggest factor by far is heating up the skin with hot water before, but shaving soap seems to make the shave smoother.

there are typically 2 types of safety razors, "comb" or open style vs. closed style (with a bar parallel to the blade). the bar prevent cutting, but also prevents effectively shaving longer/thicker hair. thus if Campitor wants to shave of a thick, full beard, the comb style works much better. anything under 3-4 weeks of growth is fine with the closed razor style. brute has not needed to "adjust" his razor.

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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by tonyedgecombe » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:16 am

Campitor wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:54 pm
[*]What is the shaving technique used (shave up, down, shave 2x, etc.)?
I tend not to shave against the grain, so I'l shave down on my cheeks. This doesn't give as close a shave but it isn't so harsh. My dad always has a very close shave and over the years his skin has got very thin around his face.

As per @brutt I always use warm water on my face before I start. I also always shower after my shave as that avoids having to deal with any nicks.

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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by vanishingpoint76 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:56 am

For the same reason as Campitor I also switched from cartridge based blades to a safety razor. The expense of cartridges irked me more and more and always seemed unjustified although I was never unhappy with the results.

I've been using a safety razor for about 8 years now. It is a Gillette branded razor that is older than I am that I got from my grandfather. I picked up a decent shaving brush which should last forever and I buy Wilkinson branded blades by the box off of eBay. These may be factory seconds, Chinese knockoffs or actual Wilkinsons but regardless, they work just fine and are extremely inexpensive. I buy shaving puck soap at less than $2 a pop and use an old coffee mug to store it in (lather it up). One soap puck will last me months.

I have a light beard and only shave twice a week. I also sport a mustache, goatee and sideburns so not a full face shave is necessary. I can make a single blade last a solid month. I always shower first with warm water and then fill the sink with warm water afterward for shaving. I always shave with the grain and take my time. Haven't nicked myself in over a year but I will admit in the beginning it was a bit of an adjustment. A different shaving technique for sure.

I would never go back. I still marvel at the easy cost savings and how I didn't clue in on this earlier in my life.

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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Jean » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:49 am

I will Say again that knife razors a great. I don't remember cutting myself even once. I use soap and apply it with a badger. What is great with knife, is how accurate you are, and how it works perfectly even if your hairs are long. It's Also easier to wash thé hairs off it. It Never Jams. I used it in military as well. It was a Nice way to wake up.

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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by anesde » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:44 am

Perhaps not the advice the OP wants, but I would suggest growing a beard.

I grew one ~4 years ago as part of a gag with some buddies but ended up liking the way it looked as well as the minimised maintenance and cost. I use a #2 setting on a wahl clipper once a week and use the small battery operated wahl trimmer twice a week to clean up my neck and cheeks above the beard.

The wahl full set cost me about $40 at Walmart (I think, I bought it maybe 7 years ago). Comes with all of the settings plus comb/scissors. I also use it when my SO cuts my hair once a month. Essentially zero cost on grooming.

Before I grew the beard I used the wahl beard trimmer to just cut down to stubble for the look + the fact that I have sensitive skin and hated shaving. I suppose it depends on your preference and perhaps any look you might have to maintain for work. Luckily I work in an industry where no one really cares as long as I don’t look desheveled and so many ~35 and younger guys sport beards.

Growing it is a bit of a pain for the first month (plus or minus a week or two depending on how fast your facial hair grows) but I got used to it fairly quickly. I don’t think I’ll ever go back - the thought of putting a blade to my face isn’t very pleasant.

Campitor
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Campitor » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:02 pm

The videos and literature on DE safety razor is multitudinous and conflicting at times. Just watching videos doesn't give me any real feedback since these types of videos are published by DE safety razor enthusiast who are biased towards specific features in DE safety razors. Different enthusiast favor different features and make different recommendations.

I found out why some razor are combed vs smooth - they say the combed razors allow the blade to get closer to the skin and the smooth razor exposes less of the blade - but mileage may vary because each company sets the razor exposure differently. :roll:

I'll just buy the cheapest zinc alloy handle out there with a sample razor blade pack and go from there. I don't want to spend $40+ into a handle until I get some experience shaving with DE razors and find my preference.

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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by jacob » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:07 pm

@Campitor - The Wilkinson Sword Classic is ~$8 with blades. I'm still using mine from 15+ years ago. There is some metal in the handle under the resin/plastic for added heft.

And yes, the combed models are supposed to be more aggressive. Obviously, they also don't clog as easily.

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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:30 pm

I have the Merkur handle and Feather blades I bought several years ago that I'm still going through. I think the trick is to go gentle. If you shave with a multi-blade razor, they're more forgiving if you push to hard, but the safety razors aren't. Just do it nice and easy.

I go down first then, using the same side of the razor with the shave gel on it, back up. Then do the next area with the other side of the razor, then loosen it a bit and rinse it off. I change the blades after a few shaves, and scrub off the Merkur with a toothbrush while I'm at it.

Campitor
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Campitor » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:48 pm

@Jacob - I appreciate the feedback - thank you! :D

I found the Wilkinson Classic for $8.98 with 5 blades but I also found a QSHAVE Adjustable Double Edge Classic Safety Razor for $19.97 with 5 blades.

I think I'll go with the Q5 only because it's adjustable so I can tune it to my beard and face. I saw 1 review of the Wilkerson blade and they said the blade exposure was very non-aggressive and it was a good starter razor but it could lead to bad habits. How can it lead to bad habits? The reviewer didn't elaborate. I guess you were right when you said this could lead me down a rabbit hole of optimization.


If anyone has the Q5 please share your shaving experience. I'm in no rush to make a purchase since I still have a few disposable cartridges left.

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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by jacob » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:58 pm

I don't know about bad habits though I'm quite sure I have them. I approach shaving the same way I approach lawn care: Set on high and just enough effort to keep it down. Perhaps, the reviewer meant that non-aggressiveness leads to sloppy technique. You really have to make an effort and jam it into the skin to spill blood, so if you switch later... ?

Campitor
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Campitor » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:29 pm

I purchased the QShave and used it twice. There is a significant difference in the shave quality compared to the Gillette Fusion cartridge razor. The QShave gave me a smoother shave and my skin didn't feel raw aftewards. I believe the post-shave rawness after a cartridge shave is the result of the multiple blades and the design of the cartridge blade head.

There's a frame around the 5 blades which is 0.5 millimeters in height. This small difference in frame versus blade depth probably leads to using greater pressure while shaving. And a single pass from a 5 blade Fusion is equivalent to shaving 5x with a DE razor. I've always had to shave 2x with the Fusion which means I was shaving my face the equivalent of 10x. :o

The QShave requires much lighter pressure since the razor weighs more than the Gillette Fusion. And the better feedback from DE razor shaving was a pleasant surprise. The DE blade provided a crisp sound when shaving against the grain; the Fusion does not. The sound signaled I was shaving in the right direction; the result was a baby smooth face.

And I'm glad I bought the adjustable model. The QShave has a 1 to 6 shave depth settings; the 1 provides the shallowest blade exposure. I found 1.5 to be the best setting for my face. The challenge now is to use the 25 remaining Fusion cartridges after the DE razor experience.

Question - what do you guys do in regards to DE razor maintenance? Do you disassemble the razor after every shave to rinse and dry or do you just rinse it without taking it apart?

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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:22 pm

You really went from one extreme to another. 5 blade razor - those heads are three bucks each!!! That's what they sell the teenagers :lol: :lol: :lol:

I went all in on wet shaving years ago - Merkur safety razor, Feather blades, Moss shaving scuttle, multiple synthetic brushes, proraso shaving cream, truefitt and hill shave cream, etc.

No question the shave was better, but I got sick of all the BS. Accidentally cutting myself, shaving too close, keeping the shaving cream warm while I whip it into peaks, blah blah blah.

I dumped it and went back to scraping gel across my face with a two blade disposable. I spend like 50 cents a month, I'm done in a minute or two and it's impossible to cut myself.

Yet I keep coming back to this thread and looking at the superior QShave razor...

Campitor
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Campitor » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:56 am

I have zero plans to get a brush, bowl, and shaving soap. It's going to be the DE razor and Barbasol all the way.

OTCW
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by OTCW » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:14 pm

I disassemble my safety razor, rinse, and towel dry after every shave. Keeping them dry keeps them from dulling. I have used one blade an entire year, but 'splurge' now at two a year. I use barbasol and shave right after I get out of the shower. I don't remember ever nicking any skin.

Incidentally, my theory on the variety pack blades people buy when they first start safety razor use is that it takes about 3 weeks to get one's skin accustomed to the change from cartridge razors, and beginners change blades out about once a week, so the third or fourth blade they try is the one they swear by.

Campitor
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by Campitor » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:34 pm

@OTCW

How do you dry the razor blade? Sounds like an opportunity of getting cut if done frequently enough. I shave daily so the probability of that occurring seems high. I image the safest way to dry a blade is to lay it on a towel while grasping it from the non-cutting edges and then flipping it over.

OTCW
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Re: Safety razors and shaving techniques.

Post by OTCW » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:46 pm

Campitor wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:34 pm
@OTCW

How do you dry the razor blade? Sounds like an opportunity of getting cut if done frequently enough. I shave daily so the probability of that occurring seems high. I image the safest way to dry a blade is to lay it on a towel while grasping it from the non-cutting edges and then flipping it over.
I hold it between my thumb and finger with a towel in between and wipe it dry with another part of the towel. I don't let it touch my skin until it is dry and I am ready to drop it back in the razor. I hold it by the ends for that.

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