Employing The Right Technique
While we talk a bit about the proper shave technique and whether you should shave with or against the grain in this article – here are just a few of the key highlights.
Before you ever touch a razor blade on your face, you want to make sure that you study how your hair grows in.
A technique that may have worked for your father or favorite YouTuber may not necessarily work for you.
Therefore, be sure to pay careful attention to the grain growth as it can make a huge difference in razor performance and ultimate comfort.
Secondly, when shaving with a double edge safety razor, if you want to get that ‘baby butt smooth’ shave, then you will want to make sure you run the blade across your skin in three passes:
- With the grain
- Across the grain
- Against the grain
Each pass will cut the whisker lower and lower eventually delivering smoother results.
Lastly, when it comes to making the appropriate pass with the razor blade, you want to have the blade at the optimal cutting angle of 30 degrees.
If you are coming from a disposable or cartridge based razor background – this is something that you never had to think of as the manufacturer had always set these blades at the optimal cutting angle for you.
For better or worse, you must hone in on this key cutting angle to get a close and comfortable shave time and time again.
Too open or close of an angle will cause severe irritation, or worse, nicks and cuts.
Will The Best Double Edge Safety Razor Mean It Will Also Be The Sharpest?
Not exactly, when deciding on the best double edge safety razor blade for your skin, the results can vary wildly as we will outline in the reviews below.
Blades tend to be either sharp or smooth.
A sharper blade doesn’t necessarily mean it will deliver the best results every time. A sharper blade will increase the chances of delivering a nick to your skin. Even the most seasoned experts may experience nicks with sharp blades.
Of course, with sharper blades, you will likely need less passes as the blade is going to be much more aggressive. This means that you might be able to achieve a baby butt smooth shave with only a pass or two (largely dependent on all the other factors in your shave).
Contrary to sharper blades, there are smoother blades.
What does ‘smoother’ mean?
Simply that the cutting angle isn’t as extreme and therefore takes more effort for the blade to cut the hair follicle.
With more effort exerted by the blade, smoother blades may decrease the likelihood of a nick, but conversely increase the chance of irritation.
Therefore, when selecting a razor blade that’s suited best for you, its largely a game of give-and-take to hone in on the perfect one.
Generally speaking, if you have coarser or thicker whiskers then you will want to gravitate to blades that handle this hair type better (i.e. Feather, KAI, etc.) as opposed to blades that are smoother that are more applicable for men with thinner whiskers (i.e. Gillette 7 o’clock, Astra, etc.)
Beyond blade sharpness, metal grades can also vary wildly and there is no exact science behind what will work best for you – this is why we so heavily recommend starting with the variety pack if it’s your first foray into experimenting with blades.
However, in our reviews below, we will try to be as explicit as possible in order for you to make the selection on the best safety razor to match your skin type.
Is Your Razor Too Aggressive?
Beyond the smoothness and sharpness of the razor blade, an incredibly important consideration to take into account is the actual double edge safety razor handle you are using.
Whether you are using a Merkur Futur or an Edwin Jagger DE89Lbl, the blade exposure on the head can vary wildly. Even in the comparison above, the Futur is an adjustable razor that can change its blade exposure on the fly.
Why does this matter?
Well, an overly aggressive blade exposure may save time on your morning shave by cutting the hair lower, however, may be compromising comfort leading you to long term discomfort.
Therefore, if after you try out a few razor blades below, and find that your shave comfort isn’t improving, yet your shave technique is on point, then you may want to take a look at replacing your double edge safety razor in order to get one that might be more or less aggressive.
A Brief Look At Other Shaving Products To Enhance Your Shave
While we eluded to this earlier, the biggest impact on the overall comfort of your shave beyond the razor blade and handle itself will be the supporting products that you are using.
If you have the top of the line razor blades, handles, shave brushes, and pre shave oil – it will mean nothing if you are using a canned shaving cream.
At Tools of Men, we often state that if there is one product that will ‘move the needle’ so to speak on your shave comfort – it’s going to be the shaving cream.
Shaving cream plays a pivotal role in retaining both heat and moisture when applied to your skin.
This ensures that your whiskers remain soft after exiting the shower, but also shave cream will ensure that your pores remain fully open.
This is key in attaining an incredibly smooth and close shave – time and time again.
Beyond just the comfort that a quality shaving cream can deliver, higher end shave creams will work to moisturize your skin rather than dry it out. Unfortunately, many of the canned shaving creams you find on store shelves are loaded with cheap ingredients like alcohol which will completely dry out your skin.
If you are looking to pick up a shaving cream that isn’t from one of the big brand manufacturers that comes in a can – then we highly recommend checking out a cream like Taylor of Old Bond Street.
How Often Should You Swap Out Your Razor Blades?
Generally speaking, a razor blade should last you anywhere between 3 and 5 shaves.
When first testing out a new box of razors, some wet shavers may tend to test out a new blade for every shave for a week so they can study how it interacts with their skin.
This practice, while a bit costly, will give you the opportunity to measure the aggressiveness of the blade.
Reviews of The 8 Best Safety Razor Blades For Your Double Edge Safety Razor