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How To Use A Safety Razor & Not Cut Yourself: A Complete Shaving Guide

How To Use A Safety Razor

Shaving with safety razors has become increasingly popular. With benefits such as reduced skin bumps, skin rash and ingrown hair, common with electric or cartridge razors, many people are returning to the classic, built over a century ago. They look great, the function is stellar, or at least it’s supposed to be if you know how to use them. If not, this article is for you – let us guide you on how to use a safety razor.

Shaving with a safety razor demands more finesse and time than a regular cartridge or single-use razor. Even though it demands more effort, it leads to better results, with far less chance for complications than with the modern competition.

If you’re still uncertain about what a safety razor is and would like to know about its benefits and features, you can read more about the topic in our blog post.

1. Apply A Shaving Soap Or Cream

Apply A Shaving Cream
Applying a shaving soap, cream or shave gel is a step you should practice when using any type of razor, but if you’re just starting out on shaving in general, here is what you need to do for a comfortable shave.

After cleansing and rinsing your face with lukewarm or hot water, apply an even coat of shaving cream, soap or gel on the area you intend to shave. 

Make sure you water the shaving soap, and use both your hands to carefully place an amount that covers the entire face or shaving area.

2. Hold The Razor At A 30° Or 45° Angle

Now, despite recommending that you hold the razor at a thirty-degree angle, the angle really depends on the user. Since most users prefer thirty degrees, stating they receive less irritation and a more quality shave overall, we recommend you try it with a thirty-degree angle first.

Still, if you feel like you want greater distance while using the razor, a forty-five degree angle might be for you.

Since safety razors have the razor head protruding past the blade’s edge, you won’t be able to cut your skin easily; all you have to do is keep a consistent angle, regardless of preference.

If you’re afraid of accidentally hurting yourself, try using the razor head as a guide, slowly bending the razor as you move it through your shaving area. That way, you’ll most likely avoid hurting yourself by accident. 

3. Use Short Strokes

Using short and straight strokes of one to three centimeters (or half to one and a quarter inches) length is preferred when shaving with a safety razor.

Shaving with short strokes helps to avoid clogging your safety razor, which can lead to jagged movements and in turn cuts and nicks, as well as hair tugging. So make sure you use short strokes while rinsing every few times.

4. Only Apply Gentle Pressure

Only Apply Gentle Pressure

Applying gentle pressure is perhaps the most important step, as not following it can result in a disaster. When using a safety razor, you’ll notice how much heftier it is compared to a cartridge razor for example, and how the sharp blade effortlessly takes hairs off, even if you have coarse hair like mine.

Cartridge or disposable razors demand you push in to shave off the stubborn hairs, but if you tried pushing a safety razor in the same way to catch an extra millimeter of hair, you’d more than likely hurt yourself, so be careful.

If you find lacking results, it’s not pressure you’re missing, it’s probably your used blade. You’ll most likely need to replace your safety razor blade.

5. Shave In The Direction Of Hair Growth

I know how tempting it is to shave in the opposite direction of hair growth, expecting you’ll get a better, cleaner and faster shave if you do, but that’s really not the case. Shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth can only make your sensitive skin uncomfortable, leading to razor burn.

If your skin is super sensitive, wet shaving can help keep your skin irritation at a minimum.

6. Flip The Razor Over & Rinse

Don’t wait too long to flip the razor over or rinse the clogged razor, so you won’t revert to the problem of clogging.

In this step, it comes in handy to have a double-edged razor that you can easily flip over, then rinse once both ends need a cleanup. Safety razors have great double-edged blade options and since safety razors are universal, any razor will most likely go well with any safety razor blades you choose, but some blades will fit some razors better than others.

If you’re yet to choose a safety razor, click here to check out our top picks.

7. Repeat

You should always take at least two trips to ensure you removed every unwanted hair.

A fresh layer of lather should be applied when going in for round two.

To see whether a straight or safety razor is for you, visit our blog post to find out more about the comparison.

8. Rinse & Let Dry

Rinse After Shaving

The final step is a rather simple one: rinse your shaving area clean, making sure to get rid of all the excess hair and lather off of it. Letting the area dry by itself is great, but you can also use a towel if you’re in a rush.

If you were shaving your face, you should apply a post-shave product, such as a post-shave balm, of course non-alcoholic as it tends to be a major irritant and dry your skin out.

How To Not Cut Yourself

Despite the similarities in appearance among razors, the safety razor process is not at all similar to the usually quicker processes of single-use or cartridge razors, which is why a lot of caution is necessary when you use a safety razor.

1. Take Your Time

Despite the name, a safety razor is not as safe as its modern-day counterparts. You cannot be in a rush when shaving with a safety razor; if it’s a double-edged safety razor, you should be even more careful not to rush things. Safety razor blades are extremely sharp, so take your time, and make sure not to push it forcefully onto your shaving area like you would a cartridge or single-use razor thinking it would shorten your time – it won’t and will only lead to injuries.

2. Make Sure Your Blade Is Sharp

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, having a fresh blade without a dull edge can help you prevent cuts. The biggest reason behind prevention is that you won’t need to apply any pressure to achieve your desired result. Safety razor blades are quite cheap and can cost as much as just twenty cents per blade, so it should be no problem for most.

This will not only prevent the need to apply pressure or repeat shaves, but also lessen the chance of ingrown hairs when shaving with the razor.

3. Take A Shower

Take A Shower

Taking a shower with lukewarm or hot water before shaving will soften your hair and skin, making it a much more risk-free experience when shaving. The hair will fall and split more easily and the blade will much more likely just slide across the softened skin. After a lukewarm or hot shower, the skin also soaks in hydrating ingredients such as any kind of lather with far more ease.

If you’re unable to shower, dampen your face or shaving area with a hot towel to soften hair and skin before using a safety razor.

4. Apply Good Shaving Cream

Applying good shaving lather or cream can make or break your chance of a cut. When it comes to the protection which causes the blade to slide instead of cut, the lather is the primary protection against such a thing happening. You want the pre-shave to be warm and to have a high glycerin base, because both of those things will assist in protecting the shaving area.

After going through the shaving area once, you want to make sure to put the lather on again before your second trip, preventing the chance of hurting yourself during the second trip.

Zero Waste Shaving

Zero Waste Shaving

Zero waste shaving is an interesting topic because of the current climate crisis plaguing our planet. With the rampant misuse of natural resources and plastic rubbish occupying oceans and land at a grand scale, these older, less mass manufactured pieces of technology are becoming more popular in daily use, and for a good cause.

The pristine razor handles made of steel that last decades are becoming popular as a zero-waste shaving option. Having a device that only demands a blade replacement once in a while makes for a nice green option, not to mention that you can purchase a vintage safety razor in mint condition for a fraction of the price, and you’d be saving money, as well as saving the planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can shave your legs with a safety razor by following these steps. After exfoliating and putting your pre-shave on for the closer shave, it is best to use the razor at a forty-five degree angle, and with short and gentle strokes. If you have concerns about cutting yourself, a few brands offer safety razors with “Beginner settings” which make it even harder to damage your skin.

A razor blade lasts differently depending on what you use it for and how dense or rough your hair is. When it comes to thin hairs you’d see as a woman performing a closer shave, you can probably get anywhere from five to seven shaves easily. If you’re a man with a thick beard you shave only once in a while, three shaves is a maximum. For a normal person, five shaves is the most average amount of shaves you’ll get before your blade begins dulling. 

You should change safety razor blades once every five to seven shaves, if you only use them for light shaves. When you shave with a safety razor, the best advice is to just wait until your blade becomes dull, and for most people, five is the number of times an average blade lasts before dulling. When you use a safety razor it is immediately noticeable when you need a replacement, so make sure to have one ready at all times.

The benefits of using a safety razor are a cleaner, better-looking and more consistent shave. Another great benefit is the cost. After purchasing the razor handle once, you just have to keep replacing the razor blade, which is far from costly. Even though buying the razor itself is expensive, its quality, feel and durability make it a worthwhile investment. Also, when you shave with a safety razor, there is a smaller chance for skin irritations and ingrown hairs. On top of everything, it’s a better option for the environment.

Safety razors cause ingrown hairs at a far lower rate than any other razor types on the market. The biggest reason it rarely happens with this kind of razor is that it never cuts the hair below the surface of the skin. Since there is generally less irritation with a razor of this kind, there is less likelihood of complications as well.


After you’ve learned how to use a safety razor, you’ve no doubt come to love the razor’s perfect and consistent results. The results you receive with a safety razor are well worth the effort it takes to master. We’ve listed out all the steps necessary for a comfortable shave, and if you stick by them, your skin will be grateful.