March 03, 2021 5 min read
When I decided to switch from using my old cartridge razor to a safety razor, my main goal was to reduce plastic waste. I didn’t realize how much of a better shave I would get from this method and how much more affordable it is. I’m here to walk you through making the switch and offer some advice for shaving your legs with a safety razor.
When I talk to friends and customers about it, I find many people are scared or intimidated by safety razors. You needn’t be! There’s only a slight change in technique when switching from a disposable cartridge razor, so you’ll be a pro in no time.
Give yourself some extra time at first. Be patient, use very gentle pressure, and hold the razor so the handle is at about a 30-40 degree angle from your skin. If you’re nervous around bumpy areas like knees or ankles, keep your old razor handy for those spots until you’ve practiced enough and feel more comfortable. Small nicks are possible, but the worst I've had is like a small paper cut, so don’t be afraid.
Experiment with shaving in different directions. Some folks can only shave with the grain of their hair, but some can shave directly against it. Shaving with the grain is more gentle, but shaving against the grain will get you a closer shave. Experiment, and see what works best for you!
Working at Kent of Inglewood, I’ve had the opportunity to try all sorts of different razors, products, and accessories. Here are the two basic processes I recommend for shaving your legs with a safety razor, including my favourite products to give you the best experience. These also work for shaving faces too, so if you or someone you know needs tips for that, they are easily transferable.
Experiment with shaving in different directions, to figure out what works best for your skin and hair type.
The all-important first step when shaving is to prepare your skin and hair for the process. Shaving dry skin is a recipe for disaster; it can cause all kinds of irritation. It’s best to shave at the end of a bath or shower or to lay a warm, damp towel over the area for a minute before you get going. This will soften up your skin to reduce nicks and make your hair easier to cut.
After my shower, I apply a thin coat of Hoxton Pre-Shave Oil (the Earl Grey fragrance is my favourite). Since I had never used pre-shave oil before working at Kent of Inglewood, I didn’t consider it necessary for my legs — at first. However, when I tried it, the difference it made for my dry skin was noticeable right away. Shaving strips away much of the natural oils from your skin, so adding a bit more oil to the area prevents it from drying out. It also softens your hair, so it’s easier to cut and lubricates the razor to greatly reduce any irritation it may cause. If dryness isn't an issue for your skin, try our Kent of Inglewood Preshave Gel instead!
I follow up the pre-shave oil with some Schaf Shaving Cream. This is a super-convenient product to use when I want to shave quickly or travel light. It’s a brushless formula that goes on much like a lotion. It’s also great to use while you’re learning because it’s not very foamy, so you can really see what you’re doing. Schaf’s formula is unscented and includes hyaluronic acid, making it a great choice for folks with sensitive skin.
Now we’re ready to go. My first razor was a Merkur Chrome DE Safety Razor, loaded with a Kent of Inglewood Mild blade. I recommend this razor to first-timers because it gets the job done well, it can be had for a good price, and it’s simple to use. The mild blades give a close shave but are less likely to cause nicks and irritation, so they’re perfect to start with.
Kent of Inglewood Calgary's Kolese with her favourite razor, the Hoxton Rose Gold
I follow up my shave by rubbing an Alum Block over my legs. This will disinfect the skin and tighten it up, greatly reducing those angry red bumps that can happen after shaving. If you do nick yourself, the alum will stop the bleeding and speed up the healing process. Once I’ve applied the alum, I quickly wipe my legs with a damp washcloth.
Then, I go back to the previously used Hoxton Pre-Shave Oil. This is a minimalist shave, after all. Shaving — no matter how well you do it — is a little harsh on your skin, so moisturizing afterward is important. Hoxton formulates their oils to do double duty; rub a little of this on when you’re done to keep your skin soft and happy!
The more I got into shaving, the more I discovered I could level up my shave and have fun with the process (yes, shaving can be fun!). With every step I added, my skin felt smoother and softer. Itchy and painful irritations became a thing of the past. If you like treating yourself, here’s how to do it.
A shaving brush is one of those things I thought was just for shaving beards. However, I was encouraged to try one out, and now I use it all the time on my legs. Brushes have many advantages:
There's nothing quite like shaving with a fancy brush and shaving cream.
Once I’ve soaked my Kent of Inglewood Badger Brush in some warm water for a few minutes, I’ll start to lather my shaving soap. Truefitt & Hill’s Sandalwood is my personal favourite for its classic scent, plastic-free packaging, and long lifespan. I sometimes build the lather in the wood bowl it comes in, but I like to use a Sosan Fong scuttle in the cold winter months. This acts like a bain-marie to keep your lather warm and keeps goose-bumps at bay. Swirl the brush in the soap until soap-like bubbles start to appear, then move it over to the scuttle and whip the brush against the bottom of the bowl until the soap thickens up like meringue. After applying some pre-shave oil, apply the shave soap by pressing firmly with the brush and repeating the lathering motion on your skin.
When I started to get a little nerdier about shaving, I started experimenting with the Rockwell 6S Adjustable Razor. It has six settings to expose more or less of the blade, which allows me to tailor how gentle or close my shave is. Once I was more confident about shaving, I started using Kai blades because they’re wicked sharp, hold an edge for more shaves, and have a nice rigidity that stands up well to all types of hair.
After shaving and using my trusty alum block, I apply Like Grandpa’s Sandalwood Aftershave Balm. An aftershave balm is a specially formulated moisturizer designed to soothe & heal freshly shaved skin. Like Grandpa’s products are handmade in Edmonton, and they are dedicated to using all reusable and recyclable packaging.
So there you have it, two great ways to shave your legs with a safety razor. As I said, safety razor shaving comes with many advantages. You can cut down on waste, save some money, and have smoother, happier legs. It’s not as intimidating as it may seem to you, and it turns a chore into something way more fun.