How to Shave Your Face with a Double Edge Safety Razor
by Nathan GareauLast updated: July 16, 2021
At Kent of Inglewood, we’re all about making your day better. Whether it's your morning grooming routine or the tools you use throughout the day, we’ve got your back. For many of our staff and customers, that means learning how to have a great shave. I was never taught how to shave properly, and I’m willing to bet you missed that opportunity as well. Worry not! I’ve spent the better part of the past decade mastering my safety razor, and I’m here to help.
I’ve laid out the steps for shaving with a brush and blade in simple terms, and following these instructions to the letter will produce great results. If you plan to shave other parts of your body, these instructions will prove quite useful, but we do have a dedicated leg & body shaving blog here. Once you grasp the basics, feel free to modify this to form a routine that works for your lifestyle. Everyone is different and requires a different routine.
How to Shave Your Face with a Safety Razor
Good preparation is key to getting a close, comfortable shave!
Prepare for the shave by softening your hair and skin with hot water. Spend a few minutes in a hot shower, or run a face towel under hot water and hold it to the skin for a minute. For best results, do both.
Drain the excess water from your brush, and load it with shaving cream or soap. Build a lather by pressing the bristles against the interior of your mug and vigorously swirling the brush in a circular motion. Add more water or more product as needed to create a large, thick lather that resembles whipped cream.
To apply your lather, press the brush into the skin and swirl it vigorously in circular motions. Add additional drops of water to create a lather that won’t dry quickly while you shave.
Shaving with a safety razor is easier than is looks! Make short, gentle strokes and follow the direction of your hair.
Start in an area of the face that is easy to access, shaving in short strokes with the grain (the direction that your hair grows). Pull your skin tight with your non-dominant hand. Use a confident but light pressure and follow the grain carefully. Use additional lather and water to keep your skin from drying out while you shave.
If you desire a closer shave, make a second pass with the razor. Apply more preshave, followed by more lather from your brush. Shave against the grain for an extremely close shave, or perpendicular to the grain for a shave that is less smooth but more comfortable. For the closest shave, make a pass in each of the three directions.
A quality aftershave balm soothes and heals the skin, all while providing much-needed moisture.
Using a face cloth or your hands, rinse thoroughly with cold water. Address any nicks with an alum block.
Apply aftershave. Aftershave splash goes on first and can be applied liberally. Once it has dried, apply an aftershave balm more conservatively. Use one or both based on preference.
Rinse all of your tools and containers with cold water. Dry them well and store them appropriately in-between shaves.
Take a moment to admire your handiwork and pat yourself on the back.
Tips for Shaving with a Safety Razor
Regardless of your razor, the same rules apply. Stretch your skin with your opposite hand and apply a light amount of pressure with the blade. Work in short strokes and small areas for greater precision. On curved areas, use your wrist to adjust the angle of the razor or pull your skin onto a flatter area.
First, shave with the hair's grain (growth direction) to shorten the stubble without irritating the skin. Most folks have two or three passes for a closer shave, although some stop after just one.
Apply more lather between passes, and choose a direction that suits your skin. Shaving against the grain gets very close but can irritate sensitive skin and cause ingrown hairs. An alternative that I prefer is shaving perpendicular to the grain to balance closeness and comfort. Experiment, and do what feels right to you.
When learning a new razor, take your time and keep a familiar razor nearby if you need it. Go easy on yourself as you master your new tool.
Pay attention to the different directions that your hair grows in. The more you map your grain and work with it, the better your shave.
And there you have it! You may not be a master immediately, but these basics steps will get you set on the right path. From there, experiment and have fun! Shaving needn’t be a chore; it can become the best part of your day with a little work. If you'd like to learn more, pay us a visit, shoot us a message, or check out our other articles about shaving. Happy shaving!
A famed cocktologist and axe man, Nathan opened the first Kent of Inglewood store in Calgary, and now spends his days writing most of what you are reading here and teaching straight razor shaving classes. Ask him about his world-famous Three Cherry Manhattan. In his spare time Nathan can be found sharpening his axe, making fermented foods, or practicing his amateur butchering hobby. He doesn't slur his words, he speaks in cursive.