Face Shaving Tips

How to Shave with a Safety Razor

How to shave with a safety razor | Gillette UK

When shaving, it can be easy to stay in your comfort zone and stick to what you know; resulting in better shaving methods being overlooked.

Until a few years ago, safety razors were only seen in old Hollywood films. However, with over a century of history, they are no longer only of interest to older generations and enthusiasts but instead are a tool that could help to elevate your existing shaving regime, particularly if you’re partial to edging.

To learn all about this innovative razor design and its grooming benefits, our Gillette experts have compiled a comprehensive guide to shaving with a safety razor.

What is a Safety Razor?

Created by Gillette’s founder King Camp Gillette in 1901, the first safety razor revolutionized personal care for men.

Before the launch of the safety razor, men relied on visiting the Barbers or using a ‘cut-throat’ straight razor at home if they wanted a clean-shaven look. Featuring interchangeable blades, the innovative design of the safety razor made it accessible and safer globally than razors used previously.

Safety razors take their name from the safety device positioned between the edge of the blade and your skin. This feature helps towards a cut-free shave by reducing the amount of skill required by the user.

Unlike cartridge razors which have multiple blades encased in a housing, safety razors have a double-edge blade, commonly referred to as DE. Both edges of the blade can be used to shave, increasing the longevity of the blade and aiding razor manipulation.

The Benefits of a Safety Razor

While it’s easy to dismiss safety razors in favour of their modern counterparts – cartridge and electric – there are considerable benefits to grooming with this timeless tool:

  1. A very close shave. Keeping the single blade flush against your skin can take some practice, but you can achieve a very close shave once mastered.
  2. Greater visibility. The single blade helps you see exactly where the blade is when shaving. This can be extremely useful for edging facial hair.
  3. Less dragging. Only having one blade in contact with your skin reduces dragging and the risk of irritation.
  4. Thick hair. While a cartridge razor can take multiple strokes to capture coarse, thick hair, a safety razor tackles them with ease.
  5. Price point. Blades for safety razors tend to be cheaper than cartridge options, ensuring you can always shave with a fresh, sharp blade.
Which Type of Razor is Right for Me?

Shaving Science

Which Type of Razor is Right for Me?

2021-05-19 09:00:37By Gillette

How to Use a Safety Razor

Getting to grips with a safety razor can be daunting at first but we promise it’s worth it.

With a little practice, you will not only have a smooth, clean shave but an appreciation for King Camp Gillette’s iconic razor design.

The Prep

Before beginning your shave, it’s important to prep your skin.

Start by washing your face with warm water and our King C. Gillette Beard and Face Wash. Creating a lather will help to soften the facial hair and remove dead skin cells for a smoother shave.

How to shave with a safety razor | Gillette UK

After rinsing and drying your face, apply a shaving foam or gel. When shaving with a safety razor shaving cream creates a slick surface allowing the razor to glide over the skin, while minimising the risk of irritation.

The Shave

The modern-day evolution of King Camp Gillette’s very first design, our King C. Gillette Double Edge Razor is the natural choice for your first foray into the craft. Consisting of four parts: the handle, the head made up of the cap and guard and the razor blade, this razor retains the durable and authentic design of the original safety razor to provide a high-quality shave.

Make sure your King C. Gillette Double Edge Razor Blade is box fresh. If you need to replace the blade, simply unscrew and dispose of the old blade before screwing in the new one.

When using a safety razor, the angle between your skin and the blade is crucial. Hold the blade at a 30-45° angle and keep your skin taut for the blade to glide across smoothly. Be careful not to apply pressure and shave with the grain.

Use small strokes and be careful not to go over an area already shaved. A slow and steady approach will minimise the risk of nicks and cuts and prevent dragging, which can cause irritation.

As with cartridge shaving, rinse your blade between strokes to keep the blade clean and sharp. Avoid tapping the razor against the sink as this can blunt the blade and impact the efficiency of your shave.

Top tip: Your hair doesn’t grow in the same direction, so – when ‘shaving with the grain’ – pay close attention to avoid accidentally going against it.

The Aftercare

As with any form of shaving, aftercare is important. After shaving, wash off any residue with cold water and gently pat your face dry with a clean, soft towel.

Once you are happy with your shave, apply King C. Gillette Face & Stubble Moisturiser to soothe the skin. Formulated with vitamin B complex, this moisturiser also helps to relieve signs of dryness and irritation.

having with a safety razor aftercare | Gillette UK

If you opted to just edge the lines of your beard, ensure the remaining hair isn’t neglected by applying a beard balm. Our King C. Gillette Beard Balm has a lightweight, non-greasy consistency that deeply conditions to keep your beard soft and nourished.

Shaving with a safety razor can take some practice, however, once you have the technique mastered, shaving with a piece of history can be incredibly satisfying.

Whether for a clean-shave or to tidy up beard edges, using a safety razor will elevate your shaving routine into a grooming ritual to look forward to every day . To help you create a refined routine, our double edge razor kits have been expertly curated for the ultimate shave.

Gillette Shaving Subscription

Make sure you never run out of blades for your King C. Gillette Double Edge Razor with our Gillette Shaving Subscription.

At a frequency you set, our King C. Gillette Double Edge Razor Blades can be delivered to your door and make sure your shave is always executed with the sharpest of blades.

Gillette's Shave Club: How Our Shaving Subscriptions Work


Gillette's Shave Club: How Our Shaving Subscriptions Work

2019-03-29 12:13:38By Gillette

The Difference Between a Safety Razor and a System Razor

Safety razors and system razors essentially do the same thing: cut hair.

With a system razor, the blades are permanently installed into the razor head and have been positioned at the best angle to achieve a close shave (typically around 30 degrees). This therefore means that system razors require less practice than their safety counterpart as you don’t have to maintain the angle of the razor blades yourself.

System razors also have up to five blades installed, making for a much quicker and easier shave than provided by the one blade of a safety razor. However, for those that prefer nostalgic ritual over modern speed, the safety razor provides an incomparable option.

Ultimately, it’s up to you which razor you choose. If you are unsure, try out both and decide for yourself which is more comfortable and best placed for your grooming routine. Start your journey towards a better shave and explore our range of high-quality razors today.

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Writer and expert