How to shave with a safety razor

Switching to a safety razor can be daunting, which is probably the main reason why it's still at the bottom of your list of things to change in your low waste lifestyle.

Even though I was super excited to get my safety razor, I was also terrified. You may have even heard a few squeals coming from the bathroom before I took a deep breath and finally took the first shave. That was 7 months ago and I couldn’t be happier and more comfortable with it. But it’s not always smooth shaving… hehe, see what I did there… anyway… I defiantly had my fair share of cuts and still do, but that’s not so different to me using a plastic disposable razor.

The key for first timers is taking your time and being a bit more tentative than usual. The blades on these bad boys are sharp and the technique is not quite the same as a conventional plastic razor. In this how-to guide, I’m sharing what personally works for me and some tips based on the research I have done.

Getting ready to use your Safety Razor

There are a few types of shavers, I use a butterfly razor and this is the same style we have on the store, this is because I think it’s more user-friendly than the two or three piece razors.

Adding the blade

  • Hold the shaft of the razor with one hand and twist the bottom with your other hand.
  • The top will open up like butterfly wings, revealing a bar down the centre.
  • Carefully remove the blade from the paper packaging, only holding the short sides.
  • Place the blade into the top of your razor, lining up the bar with the opening in the centre of the blade.
  • To close, twist the bottom of the razor. Make sure you twist it tightly to stop it from coming loose while shaving.

It doesn’t matter which way up or down the blade goes as it’s the same on each side.

Now you are ready to shave.

How to shave with a Safety Razor Zero Waste New Zealand

Shaving with your Safety Razor

For me, I like to shave in the shower. Having warm and wet legs helps avoid goosebumps and razor rash. If you have goosebumps you may risk the chance of cutting off the tops (I have yet to have this happen to me but have heard of this happening to others).

  • Lather up your legs using a soap bar, bodywash, shampoo, conditioner or shaving soap, whatever is your preference (and ideally something you already have).
  • Have your shaver on a 30/35 degree angle, this is the best angle to avoid cuts and getting all those hairs. 
  • Shave in short strokes, this makes it easy to adjust the angle and control your razor.
  • Use little to no pressure, the weight of the razor will provide enough pressure.
  • Pay extra attention to the areas around your knee, ankle bone and the back of your ankle. These areas are the danger zones!

This applies to any length razor whether its short or long handle.

Extra tips

Ankle – Start from either side of your ankle bone (the flatter areas of your ankle) moving the razor up, scoop around and across the top of your ankle bone, use this method to shave the back of your ankle too. This is a great way to avoid nicking yourself.

Knee – I save this for last. You should be fine shaving your knee with a straight leg, alternatively, you can pull the skin on your knee slightly tighter and shave in small sections. Starting with the base of the knee, the side then the top. For the middle of your knee, I find it is best to have a straight leg and shave in short strokes.

My key piece of advice is to take your time and get used to the curves of your body and make modifications to your technique to suit you – don’t expect this to be as easy as normal razor straight of the bat. If you’re still unsure, feel free to send me a message if you have any questions.

How to shave with a safety razor zero waste bathroom nz

Caring for your Safety Razor

Safety razors are built to last, but to take extra care of them and to make your blades last extra-long we recommend the following.

  • Rinse well after each use
  • Dry both the shaver and the blade with a towel (be careful with the blade)
  • Put the safety razor back together
  • Store in a dry place

If this sounds like too much effort, then at a minimum make sure you remove your shaver from the shower and store in a dry place.

Travelling with your safety razor

The last thing you want to do is cut your hand on the razor blade when rummaging in your toilet bag. There are many ways to protect yourself and your blade without having to buy a fancy travel case.

  1. Use an old sock and wrap it around the top of your razor
  2. Keep in a reusable fabric drawstring
  3. Tie or wrap it up in a scrap piece of fabric, you could also use a hair tie to tie it on.
  4. Use a container you have around the house

How to Shave with a safety Razor Travel NZ Zero Waste

Helpful YouTube videos

Here are a few helpful videos with demos on how to shave your legs and underarms should you need a little extra help or assurance.  

Living the life you love

How To Use A SAFETY RAZOR | Legs & Under Arm Demo | Zero waste/Low Impact Movement

https://youtu.be/DcZRRxP_2vY

Maggard Razors

How to shave your legs with a Safety Razor

https://youtu.be/60QrO05EVMg (The shave creams & foams used in this video are not a must have, however she does have very good techniques )

Eco Goddess

How to Use a Safety Razor » + SHAVING DEMO

https://youtu.be/aDghgX2bzY0 (This video uses the technique of shaving with your hair, I have yet to try this but is still a helpful video on how to shave with a safety razor.)

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