How to Shave with an Adjustable Safety Razor

By Jean Alfonso / April 7, 2019
How to Shave with an Adjustable Safety Razor

A lot of men still get cut while shaving. Sometimes this is due to the poor quality of the blades but sometimes it’s the poor technique. 

Adjustable safety razors pretty much guarantee a safe clean shave every time. They don’t come with a steep learning curve but there are some general guidelines you should know.

This article will explain how safety razors work, who they’re for, and how to use them properly depending on your facial hair type.

How do Safety Razors Work

First of all, safety razors have been around since the dawn of the 20th century. They’re nothing new although the design has vastly improved over the decades.

If you want to know how to shave with an adjustable safety razor you need to understand its mechanics. So here goes.

The safety razor comes with an additional protective device or safety guard that acts as a barrier between the blade and the skin. Unlike using a traditional barber’s straight blade, a smaller portion of the actual blade comes in contact with your skin.

It’s still enough to give you a clean shave but there’s less risk of pushing the edge of the blade into the skin. Safety razors were not designed because of a specific need but more as a luxury.

Using a safety razor takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation. These days it also saves you a lot of money and time spent on the road and in the chair at the barbershop.

Besides, most men don’t go to the barber for a professional-looking shave anymore. Most go for the experience. A bit of flair, a facial massage, those are things you won’t get from using a safety razor in the comfort of your home.

How to Shave with an Adjustable Safety Razor

Razor Designs

Most safety razors work on the same principle and although models may look different, they’re not that far apart. The most popular safety razors these days are adjustable safety razors.

What makes adjustable safety razors interesting is that you can tinker with the height of the blade or the blade exposure. This is usually done by twisting the handle until you get the desired. Some razors feature full measures and others go even further and support half measures.

How to Shave with an Adjustable Safety Razor

First things first, you need to properly assemble your safety razor. This usually means you have to put the razor blade between the head and the safeguard, or comb, and ensure that everything lines up. There should be two posts that secure the blade in place. At this point you should secure the razor blade between the handle and the head. This may differ depending on the model. Generally, it means screwing together the head and the handle tightly.

Now, safety razors work with multiple brands of blades. For instance, thick beards need very sharp blades. If you have very little facial hair, you might get away with a more low-cost blade.

If you’re going for maximum efficiency, Feather blade are widely considered the best in the industry.

When it comes down to the actual shave, there’s no real right or wrong number of passes. If you don’t want a super clean shave, you can perform just one pass. Adjust the blade to the desired exposure level and go gently with the grain.

Yes, with adjustable safety razors it’s best to go with the grain on the first pass. If you hear the hair being cut, it means you’re doing it right. You should hear a rugged scratching sound.

If you want to do a second pass, you can adjust the dial to a lower number. You should also apply some more shaving cream at this point. Don’t be as generous as you were the first time. A thinner layer will do just fine.

On the second pass you can go against the grain. If at first you were using a downwards motion this time you can go upwards. Or, some recommend that you go from the back of the head towards the nose. It’s more across the grain than against it.

Two passes should be enough for most men. Depending on how thick your beard is, you can even get a close shave with a single pass.  

If you have an adjustable safety razor, you should make sure to clean it well after you’re done. And that doesn’t mean just rinsing as you would between small shaves. Disassemble the razor, take out the blade and wash everything so that no hair, exfoliated skin, or shaving cream is left behind.

Be very careful when disassembling an adjustable safety razor. It’s best that you take it apart with dry hands. Otherwise, it’s easy to cut yourself in the blade as you’re twisting the head.

If you’re still wondering how’s this different from regular cartridge razors, it involves more razor maintenance, a slight learning curve, and prep work, that’s all. Again – how do safety razors work? They put a protective barrier between the skin and most of the blade to prevent you from cutting yourself.

Final Thoughts

Although it seems easy to master shaving with a safety razor, mastering shaving in general involves more than learning to work the razor. If you want to get the best clean shave every time and avoid cuts, blisters, and rashes, you need to put a lot of effort into skin conditioning.

Wash your face and soften the skin before you start cutting the facial hair. Use a quality shaving cream while you work and put on a good skin-care lotion after you’re done.

One more tip – Just because safety razors eliminate the guesswork doesn’t mean you should rush it. A slow steady motion is preferred. Keep in mind that you can still injure yourself. The extra weight of most adjustable safety razors should be enough pressure when going with and against the grain. You don’t have to force it.

About the author

    Jean Alfonso


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