So you’ve made the leap and bought your first safety razor. Good times. Welcome to the best shave of your life. Now it’s time to put it to the test.

First, you need to prep the razor. This is the fun part. Double edge razors need to be screwed into the handle. Fit a blade into the unit lining up in between the comb and the head. For thicker, more rugged beards, you want to use a sharper blade. Overly dull blades can tug at the beard, irritating you without actually doing any technical “shaving” work.

Take a warm shower or put a hot towel on your face for a few minutes. Heat and humidity help the hair swell and plump for the shave. You could also gently (emphasis on gently) scrub your face to ensure a super close shave. This step reveals the smallest hairs that are just beneath the surface of the skin. 5 o’clock shadow be gone!

Once your skin is prepped, apply a pre-shave oil to prep the hairs to be shaved. Along with softening the hairs, pre-shave oil lubricates and nourishes the skin. The result is a smooth razor glide and reduction of razor burn.

Now it’s time to lather up. We recommend a shave soap (old school, but awesome) or a shave cream (versatile and convenient.) Please avoid gels. Gels typically have a high alcohol content and alcohol tends to dry out the skin. If you opt for a shave soap, you will need to use a shave brush to create a lather. Applying shave soap to the face in a circular motion with a brush allows the hairs to be lifted allowing for the closest shave. If a shave cream is your choice, apply the cream in a circular motion to lift the hairs. A shave cream can be applied to the face using fingers or brush, hence the convenience. Just know that the brush gives the closest possible shave.

Now let the shave cream rest on your face for just a minute. This allows the shave cream to further soften the beard. Softer beard = smoother shave.

hairBefore you begin the shave, wet the blade under running water or standing water (mug or bowl.)

Now that you have prepped your face and your blade, shave at approximately a 30 degree angle to your face, so that you get close enough without cutting your face. Do not use too much pressure. A sharp blade should easily glide across the face

Your first pass should go with the grain. Allow the hefty, heavy razor to do some of the work for you. You don’t have to force the razor; let gravity assist.

Along those lines, use slow careful strokes as opposed to long sweeping strokes. Safety razors are not like disposal razors that you see on TV. If you try to do long, languid strokes, you will cut yourself.

Now shave against the grain. If time permits, re-lather. If not, simply spread the remaining, excess cream across the area you are shaving. Re applying the cream will ensure the smoothest shave.

After shaving with and against the grain, it is time to take care of the trouble areas. Angle the blade to take down the individual remaining hairs.

Be delicate (in a manly way). Take extra care of areas that you know tend to be problematic for you.

Consider pulling on your skin to smooth out the geography of your face and make the shave cleaner and smoother.

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Inspect and rinse the blade often. Hairs and product on the blade can get between you and a close shave. If you are shaving a few days growth or more, the razor could get clogged up pretty quickly.

There are a couple of ways to clear a clogged razor. The top of the razor can be submersed and agitated in standing water. If the clog remains, simply unscrew the razor slightly from the blade, rinse the hairs out of the razor, re-tighten the razor and you are back in action.

After you’re done, apply aftershave. No matter how many steps you take to protect your face, shaving removes a microscopic layer of skin, leaving it vulnerable to the environment. Aftershave helps to heal this damage. The astringent nature of aftershave protects from bacteria, returns the pH of the face to the normal level and closes up the pores. That momentary stinging sensation is worth it to revitalize the skin and prevent possible infection.

After a great shave, moisturize your face. Take care of your skin and apply the moisturizer of your choice. This is a great opportunity to treat your face with a formula loaded with antioxidants and ingredients to protect and heal the skin. Now your skin is healthy and prepared for the next shave.

Finally, clean up the area, so that your in-laws (or your hot nanny) do not find themselves repulsed by your sink when they use the WC.

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