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How To Wet Shave With A Double Edge Safety Razor

-Prepping the skin for the shave.

One of the biggest reasons why wet shaving results in a better shave is because attention is paid to preparing the skin to be in the best condition possible to receive blade contact. This begins by getting the pores of the face to open up. When the pores are open the whiskers essentially have a little more wiggle room to move. It is such a miniscule amount that it would be hard to measure but this gives the whiskers a feeling of softening up. That is opposed to when the pores are closed and the whiskers are constricted of any movement. When the pores are closed the whisker hairs retract back ever so slightly below the surface of the skin. When the pores are open it allows just a very small almost insignificant length of hair to rest above the skin. This explains why it is a critical step to get the pores opened up to achieve a closer shave. Heat is what encourages the pores to open up.

You will first soak your brush in warm water. Badger hair has the ideal structure for trapping heat and moisture. This heat trapped within the bristles of the brush will transfer to your face to open up your pores while you are applying the lather. Once your brush is sufficiently soaked you can now use it to pick up soap and start whipping up your lather.

For detailed instructions on creating a lather click here.

Use your brush to spread lather on your face in circular motions. Don't be afraid to get aggressive with the brush because this will help to lift the whiskers up from the skin. The lifted whiskers now have a higher profile and so therefore are easier to eliminate with a pass of the razor.

Now that you have done the work to get your skin in the best condition possible for your shave let's break out the real star of the show...the razor!

-The Shave

Our instructions will focus on the double-edged safety razor offered for sale on our website. However, any part of the wet shaving process is also relevant to the coveted barbershop style straight edge razor. There is a very steep learning curve to mastering the straight edge razor. The guys that shave with this are an elite bunch and we salute you! For the rest of us, let's get started.

The double edge safety razor is just as the name suggests. There is a sharp edge on both opposing sides of the razor making it more maneuverable. It doesn't matter if you are right or left handed. The double edge safety razor gives you more versatility and control. Feel free to flip the razor over to use any side needed to get to all those hard to reach spots.

You can start your shave on whichever part of the face you prefer but most guys naturally start at the top of the cheekbone on the same side as the dominant hand. Hold the razor perpendicular (90 degrees) from your face. Slide the razor over your face with the grain of the hair. Experiment by moving the angle of the razor slowly until it starts to cut the hair...this is your angle! It will vary depending on the individual razor and coarseness of the hair but typically it will be somewhere between 45 and 30 degrees. This process may be particularly awkward at first for the guy that has only used cartridge razors in the past. That is because cartridge razors come preloaded at an angle that cannot be adjusted and therefore no attention would have ever been given to the angle against the face. Removing the whiskers should be effortless when the right angle is found. With a little trial and error you will find your sweet spot!

 The correct angle to hold a safety razor

 Now let's talk pressure. Let the weight of the razor dictate the pressure. Double edge safety razors are made of durable metals, which make them much heavier in comparison to cartridge razors constructed of cheap plastic. This difference makes it unnecessary to press and push the razor against the skin. Let the weight of the razor do the work!

One of the most important parts of a proper shave is understanding the directional growth patterns of the facial hair. Your skin will thank you when you learn to execute your razor strokes in the correct direction.

It is recommended to NEVER take more than 3 passes of the razor over the skin. Every time the razor comes in contact with the skin there is always some degree of friction and therefore potential to irritate the skin. Imagine a  cartridge razor with 5 pass over the skin actually equals 5 passes of blade to skin contact. Now imagine taking that 5 blade cartridge over the same area of the face twice. You now have 10 passes to one area! This is the number one reason why this form of shaving causes aggravation to the skin for so many guys!

3 passes with a single blade safety razor will be extremely effective! You will never have to do more than 3 and quite often 2 passes done correctly is perfectly sufficient for most guys.

First pass- With the grain.
Second pass- Across the grain.
Third pass- Against the grain.

This is a quick summary of the correct shave strokes to take, but before proceeding with you your shave please:

Click here to read more explanation on face mapping and hair growth patterns.

Understanding the directional growth patterns of the hair is key to unlocking the best shave possible!

Very important tip: When you are first starting out with wet shaving remember to take smooth singular strokes. Fight the feeling to do multiple small strokes over the same area. This will likely cause irritation. You will get the leftover hairs on the next pass.

Last step is to clean up and rinse off with warm water. Followed by a quick splash of cold water to close the pores. If you like the feeling of the aftershave burn then go for it! This is not a necessary step if you use our Gentleman shaving soap because they have been formulated to leave the skin with an amazing post shave feel. The moisturizing and conditioning benefits will carry on throughout the day. We are aware that many guys enjoy the aftershave as a way to top off the whole experience so we are currently developing products that will be available shortly.