Rockwell R1 double edge razor with butterfly open mechanism.
Shaving, it's a rite of passage for any guy. No matter how popular facial hair is, a young man's first shave is, for most guys, an experience they will always remember. Like most aspects of life, shaving is one that has become increasingly commercialized, especially in recent years. Lots of brands are out there hoping you'll get hooked on their monthly delivery of 4-5 blade cartridges that, let's face it, build up with gunk and rust after a shave or two. We want to let you know that there is a better option - Double edge shaving. Double edge shaving provides you with a better shave, at a cheaper price. Here's how.
One sharp, clean blade
When you shave using a double edge safety razor, you use a fresh blade each time. Replacements come individually packaged, so when you are ready to shave, you unveil a sanitary blade to work with. You wouldn't let a doctor poke and prod you with a needle that's been used and left out on a damp counter for weeks, would you? This makes double edge shaving more sanitary, and more effective. The blade is at its sharpest. Cartridge razors dull over time, becoming less effective as you continue to use them.
YOU DON'T NEED 5 BLADES TO GET A GOOD SHAVE. That's right - One blade is enough, provided that it is SHARP. When you shave using a cartridge razor, the bottom most blade or two do all the work. As you make a pass down your face, the lower blades cut off lots of hair, while the upper blades pass over already shaved skin, causing irritation. If you take extra long strokes, you experience tugging/pulling, as cut off hairs clogging the lower blades don't allow for an even cutting edge. This is the first advantage of double edge shaving, your blade is sharp and clean. As you make a pass down your face, take short, straight strokes, washing your razor in between passes. This will give you a smooth shave with minimal irritation. When you're done, toss the blade, preferably into a sharps container.
Cost is king
Price is the most important factor to most shoppers. And where price is concerned, you just can't beat double edge shaving. Once you're set up with a razor, your only costs are the shaving cream of your choice, and razor blades. Get this - double edge razor blades can easily be bought for under 10 cents per blade. Imagine that, under 10 cents per blade! So even if you shave every single day, your cost on razor blades will be under $2.50 per month. no subscription service can beat that. Add in the better shave experience, and this is starting to sound like a no brainer.
If you want to elevate your game a bit, pick up some accessories that will make shaving a bit more enjoyable. A razor stand, sharps container, alum sticks or a styptic pencil. These are long term investments, not entirely necessary if you don't want to spend the extra coin.
Shave like your grandpa
You may have seen the #shavelikeyourgrandpa movement on social media. We're big fans. Double edge shaving is the sort of shave that was the mode in previous generations. Masculine, effective, and cheap, it's the sort of shave every guy should experience. One of the best ways to get the highest quality shave is to start using a shaving brush. Shaving brushes come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, though they all provide you with the same benefits. When you apply your shaving cream using a brush, the bristles exfoliate your face, loosening up the dead skin that might otherwise be clogging up your cartridge razor. Remove this layer of dead skin, and you're on the way to a smoother shave.
The Gentlemen's Shaving Brush
A second added benefit (other than feeling like Don Draper), is that shaving brushes lift your hairs, making them easier to cut off. Here's the thing, you don't want your shaving cream sitting on top of your facial hair. You want it to come into contact with your skin, getting beneath and around all the hairs. When you achieve this perfect application, your facial hair stands upright in what's known as the matrix of the shaving lather. When your hairs are at attention, the sharp, clean blade effortlessly cuts the hairs off with minimal irritation.
Tips and tricks
Once you decide to make the switch to double edge shaving, expect a bit of a learning curve. Remember, you've got an incredibly sharp blade there, and it can cause some nicks if you're not using it properly. Take straight, short strokes, and allow the weight of the handle to do the pulling. Don't apply too much pressure with your hand or wrist. As far as the angle goes, everyone has their own preference, and many double edge razors come with interchangeable plates that position the blade at different angles. Start around 30 degrees, and go from there.
With the grain or against? For the smoothest shave, with the least possible chance of getting ingrown hairs, always shave with the grain. This may not give you the closest shave, but it is good enough, especially if you shave often. Another way to minimize irritation? Prepping your face for a shave. That means shaving after a shower, or after applying a hot, steamy towel to your face for about 30 seconds. This opens up your pores, allowing the shaving cream to penetrate into your skin, while freeing up your hairs to be more easily manipulated and cut.
After you're finished shaving, splash your face with cold water to let your skin know we're finished. The cold water will seal your pores up and tighten your skin. Pat dry with a towel (rubbing a towel on your skin can irritate!). Some guys prefer a traditional aftershave, while some prefer a moisturizing balm. It's really a matter of preference, though try to find an aftershave product with a minimal amount of alcohol. Alcohol can dry out and irritate your skin. What you want to do is soften up and moisturize the skin after a shave, which will further reduce irritation and itchiness, especially in sensitive areas like around the lips and the neckline.