n this part of my Men’s Grooming Essentials series
, I want to talk about the best way to shave your face with a safety razor aka double edge razor. It is also commonly called wet shaving. Not only is it cheaper, better for the environment and gives you a much better shave than modern shaving, but frankly, I find it quite sexy watching my man shave with his safety razor and the baby-smooth result speaks for itself, too. Since he’s been shaving with a double edge razor for 10+ years, I asked Dorian to help me with this video/article.
Before we get into it, first of all, if you’re completely happy with your current shaving routine, then definitely stick to it. But I would invite you to see if there’s any ways to make it better or less wasteful, since it isn’t all just about the razor. If you’re unhappy with your current routine, though, then it’s time to change to the best way to shave that’s been around for many decades now.
Benefits Of Safety Razor Shaving
Before we go over the steps and best products, when I asked Dorian why he started wet shaving with a double edge (de) razor, he said he found it:
- Gives the best and closest shave he’s ever had.
- Is just as convenient as using a modern razor.
- Is much less wasteful than modern razors.
- Allows him the opportunity to take a little extra time for himself and enjoy the ritual, as opposed to it just being another thing to check off his to-do list.
Why use a safety razor over…
The modern, multi-blade and disposable razors are good if you need a quick shave with slightly less fuss than a safety razor. The major downsides are that they’re really expensive in comparison, don’t give you the best shave possible and they’re really, really wasteful and environmentally unfriendly.
Straight razors or Cut Throats
While these are great for the same reasons as a safety razor, the issue is that they’re not easy to use and upkeep of the blade is time intensive. Dorian has his great grandfather’s straight razors and gave it an honest try for a few months to get the hang of it and he said he now knows why the safety razor was invented – it gives all the same benefits without the hassle of constantly stropping and sharpening the straight blade.
How To Shave With A Double Edge Safety Razor
1. Make a Beard Map
As mentioned in the video, you’ve got to first understand the direction the hair grows on your face. Without this step, you will never realize the full benefits of safety razor shaving. Seriously, it’s that important.
Go to the link below and spend a few minutes in the mirror creating your beard’s map.
2. Gather Your Tools
While the cost is definitely more than your standard modern razor to start, the razor and brush could last you for many decades, if not the rest of your life. So when you consider the cost on such a long timeline, it’s significantly cheaper than any other form of shaving.
If you don’t want to mix and match options from below and just get all your tools in one shot (minus a shaving bowl or scuttle) – get this Maggard starter kit for $30.
Dorco PL602 – $7
If you’re wanting to give wet shaving a try, then this plastic razor will give you a really good idea of what you’re dealing with without the larger investment. Don’t let the material fool you, it still gives a great shave and it also comes with some razor blades, too. As a bonus, since it’s made of plastic and lighter, if you want to upgrade to a metal razor later on, it’ll still be great as a travel razor.
Merkur HD 34C – $35
This is the razor Dorian started with that still works great after 10 years of constant use. It’s an excellent razor that could easily last you for the rest of your life.
iKon X3 Slant Razor – $65
When Dorian upgraded from his Merkur last year, this is what he went with. The slanted angle of the head allows for an even closer shave, although some claim that it’s not any better than a standard non-slanted razor, he said it lives up to the hype.
Parker Variant Adjustable – $57
An adjustable razor allows you to adjust the angle that the blade cuts the hair to exactly what you like. While it might sound complicated, it really isn’t and will work well for a new wet shaver all the way up to a veteran shaver. For other adjustables, there’s always the Rolls Royce of adjustables – the Rockwell 6s – and if you’re more adventurous, you can go the vintage route and get a Gillette Slim, Fat Boy or Super Adjustable.
As mentioned in the video, if you’re just starting out or haven’t explored many blades, definitely pick up a sampler pack to see what works best for you and your razor. You’d be amazed at how much a difference changing the razor blade makes. Also, you’ll need to carefully dispose of the razors, so pick up a disposal case for the blades, as well.
Razor Disposal Case – $5
Razor blade sampler pack – $10
There’s 3 main types of shaving brushes: Badger, Boar, Synthetic. There’s also horse hair, but we’ll skip those since they’re not as popular. They’re all great options for beginners all the way up to more experienced wet shavers.
You will not go wrong with any of these choices, so use whatever fits your budget or your preferences. Dorian said he likes synthetic and badger brushes best.
Maggard 24mm Synthethic Brush – $14
Same as the one on their website, just minus the tax and shipping charges.
Synthetics perform well and have the added benefit of not shedding as much as some of the lower-quality natural brushes.
Omega Professional Boar Brush – $11
Boar brushes tend to be a little stiffer and take some time to break in (up to 12 shaves). But once they’re broken in, they’re great.
Stirling Badger Shave Brush – $40
Badger is the classic shave brush, but a well-made one can last you for many decades. This is a great, reasonably-priced badger brush.
Shaving Creams & Soaps
Dorian said he prefers creams for beginners because they’re much easier to lather and provide more lubrication, but if you’d like, you can also try shaving soaps, which tend to last longer, but can also be a little more drying on your skin and provide a little less lubrication during the shave – but some people swear by them!
Lots of different sampler packs of creams and soaps – $3 to $30
Go nuts and try out as many different soaps and creams as your heart desires.
Taylor of Old Bond Street – Jermyn Street – $17
One of Dorian’s favorite, sporty scented creams.
Nancy Boy Replenishing Shave Cream – $19
Dorian’s favorite shaving cream of all time. They also make a smaller travel size.
Shaving Bowl or scuttle
To make your lather, you’ll need some sort of shaving bowl or a bowl specifically made for wet shaving called a scuttle. Dorian uses a big, ceramic coffee mug that he found for a dollar. You can go any route you prefer, just make sure the bowl has a wide wide enough opening so you can get a good lather going.
Double layered stainless steel shaving bowl – $7
Classic wet shaving bowl – $15
It you nick yourself, you can use an alum block to stop the bleeding almost instantly. Luckily, I recommended a deodorant that’s just a alum block in a different shape in my best men’s deodorants article/video. So you get to save yourself some money and use it for both scenarios.
Crystal Body Deodorant Stick – $12
Gentleman Jon Alum Block – $8
Aftershave or moisturizer
Nancy Boy Replenishing Aftershave Gel – $19
Taylor of Old Bond Street Jermyn Street Aftershave Lotion – $27
Sisley Sisleyum Anti-Age Global Revitalizer – $142
3. Execute AKA Shave
Instead of writing out what is a very visual thing, check the video at this link below that shows you how to put all your tools together to shave:
4. Clean Your Tools Off
Once you’re done shaving, you’ve got to clean and dry off your razor and brush.
- Run the brush under warm water while swirling it against your palm until the water runs clear, then shake out as much excess water as possible (it will be a little damp still).
- Run the razor under warm water and tap the non-razor blade side against a towel to dry. Do not tap the razor’s edge against the towel, as it’ll dull the blade quicker.
5. Apply Aftershaves & Moisturizers
If you’re shaving in the morning, apply your daily SPF moisturizer or moisturizer followed by daily-wear SPF.
If you’re shaving during the night time, then just go about the rest of your night time skincare routine.
That’s it! You’re officially wet shaving now using a double edge safety razor!