Double Edge Shaving
Shave like a real man; Double Edge Shaving
Now we are right on the cusp of Movember as I am sure you are aware, and it’s that time of year again where for many of us wet shave for perhaps the first time in nearly a year! So read on, and for Double Edge Shaving Tips and Goodness!
They say that trends repeat themselves and you may be surprised to know that shaving also has trends. In recent times there seems to be three of these; beard trimmers, electric razors and cartridge razors but one trend is making a serious comeback in the world of wet shaving, double edge shaving with a safety razor.
In the ten years or so that I have been shaving, the only options known to me were disposable Bic razors, cartridge razors such as the Mach 3 (4, 5, 6 and whatever next!) and electric razors. During these years the number of blades in a cartridge has increased and so has the price, we are up to six blades now and the truth is that these are just not good for your face or your bank balance. You have to press hard, dragging multiple blades across your skin multiple times which causes irritation and still not leaving the best possible finish. On top of that you are paying more and more for a cartridge which seems to last less and less shaves, and thankfully there is a much cheaper alternative out there.
Double edge shaving seems a near forgotten trend but I have no idea why, it beats cartridge razors for a wet shave in all areas that count:
- Skin irritation
- Ingrown hairs
- Shave closeness
- Feeling like a real man
- Cuts (ha only joking!)
With this knowledge, why would anyone choose a cartridge razor? Let us take a closer look.
Skin irritation / Ingrown hairs
I find that for a cartridge razor to actually cut through my facial hair I have to really apply pressure and go over an area a few times to get it smooth. Each time pressing 5 blades into your skin inevitably leads to razor burn and irritation, this is something you can reduce with double edge shaving. When using a safety razor there is only ever one blade at a time and it is so sharp that you don’t need to apply any pressure to have an effective shave, the weight of the razor does all the work, and coupled with good preparation you can achieve an irritation free shave which is closer than a cartridge razor. This obviously becomes more even more apparent when shaving against the grain of your hair growth, which you can do much easier than with a cartridge.
To get a decent close shave with a cartridge type razor I find myself going over every patch of my skin in all directions multiple times. A double edge blade won’t take everything off with one pass but will be consistent in shortening all hairs each time, allowing you to get closer and closer with each pass until you have a baby smooth feeling after your shave. With the extra control you get using a safety razor, you can get definitely get a closer shave even before perfecting your technique.
Double Edge Shaving Cost
Replacement blades for a cartridge razor are expensive; to pick up a four pack of Gillette fusion pro glide power blades will cost around £13. A pack of ten double edge razor blades from a quality manufacturer will cost around £3. If you multiply that into a year’s worth of shaving there is a big saving to be had. Say that I shave just once a week and being generous a cartridge will last for three shaves, which means a four pack will last twelve weeks or three months which gives us a total of £52 a year. The same amount of shaves with a safety razor and you will use approximately 16 blades for the year and twenty blades will cost just £6! A whopping £46 difference in just one year and I have blades left over to throw at my enemies or make a Halloween costume as I see fit (please don’t do either!!)
Put that into context of having a real job and needing to shave every day. Your blade may last a week (if you’re lucky), that’s 52 blades over the course of a year and £169 or 6 packs of 10 double edge blades at £18. You can even buy double edge blades in packs of 100 and the price comes down further still.
Feeling like a real man
I’m not sure what it is, the feeling is really hard to describe but shaving with proper shaving cream/soap, a shaving brush and super sharp double edge razor really is a completely different experience to a cartridge razor. It is almost more of a hobby than a chore and certainly makes you feel like a proper old fashioned gent which is a good thing!
Given these points, you must be wondering two things; why am I wasting money on cartridge razors and what is the catch?
Now there are two main barriers to entry with regards to double edge shaving which probably deter many a non forward thinking gent; initial equipment cost and the learning curve.
Cartridge type razors are a bit like printers, offer the main unit cheaply and charge you the earth for refills to make their cash. You can spend around £10 and get a razor complete with cartridge and some cheap shaving foam in a can. In contrast to start double edge shaving you really require a safety razor, shaving brush, shaving cream/soap and some razor blades, you can pick all these up online for around £20 – £30 if you want to go cheap or most online shops will do starter kits from around £35 upwards which should have everything you need. While this isn’t a huge price gap, it certainly is enough to deter a teenager on a tight budget; you will make this money back though with the savings on razor blades in no time at all.
There is a learning curve to using double edge blades and despite them being in a ‘safety razor’, you are putting a super sharp blade onto your skin and without great care you will cut yourself more than with a cartridge razor. However, given the situation and sharp implement against your face, the learning curve is pretty quick, and with concentration you should pick it up in no time.
Taking extra care and developing technique for both shaving and lathering up your shaving cream/soap does mean that your shaves will take quite a bit longer when starting out. This is definitely something that reduces with time along with the effectiveness of your shaves, getting closer and with less irritation.
For me and any logical person, the benefits to DE shaving clearly outweigh the negatives and you will not regret taking the plunge. I will give one warning though; DE shaving is addictive and can become more of a hobby, I have spent numerous hours reading various blogs, forums, reviews and shopping for different brushes, creams, soaps and the like. I am also currently shaving more than ever as I look to try new things and improve my technique (and I don’t even have facial hair!! – Joe).
Here are the top five things I have found which are common between all the blogs and guides:
- Everyone is different, what works perfectly for your friend may not work well for you.
- Preparation is key; softening the hair and face with hot water and pre shave products will make the whole experience easier and smoother.
- Don’t apply pressure to your razor, have a loose grip and let its natural weight do the work.
- Don’t change more than one thing at a time; experimenting is natural when starting out but if you change multiple things at the same time you won’t know which made your shave better/worse.
- Look after your equipment; giving your razor a quick clean with a scrubbing brush after each shave and washing your brush out thoroughly will help prolong them for years of use.
To help you get started, wehave supplied some great resources below which have helped me, and I am in no doubt will help you as well. As Movember comes and goes, your journey as a gentleman may well continue well on into December and beyond.
Double Edge Shaving Blogs / Forums
Double Edge Shaving Online Shops
Double Edge Shaving Instructional videos
Let me know how you go, give me a shout on twitter @mjflatt or our usual channels… Twitter, Facebook, or if you are really geeky, Google+.