It's true. The Single Edge is the easiest way to begin shaving with a safety razor. However, as with any precision tool, there are important guidelines you will want to keep in mind when using it.
I know - you hate reading instructions. We all do. But the following points are important to getting the best shave out of your brand new razor. So take a lazy Saturday morning to read through them and get to know your new razor. It may take a few minutes to figure out the mechanics, but the amazing shaves will be worth it.
Let's get started:
Tip#1: Install a blade properly
Before you begin shaving, you'll want to make sure that your blade and razor are properly prepared and shave ready. So listen up - this part is important.
Make sure you don't damage your blade when loading it. It's not rocket science, but you do need to pay attention to ensure you're not dragging the cutting edge of the blade against the blade stops:
If the blade accidentally drags against the stops, put a new one in! It's definitely going to be a bad day if you shave with a damaged blade - it's not worth risking it. If you're having a really rough shave (or the razor is not shaving at all), a damaged blade is usually the culprit. Use a new one - they're only 45 cents! Plus, we'll send you a new pack if you're really having a hard time getting the hang of it. Really.
For a quick video tutorial, check out the video below.
Tip#2: Don't apply any pressure
If you're struggling with irritation or nicks while using The Single Edge, there's a strong chance you are applying too much pressure on the razor.
The Single Edge uses a very sharp blade that is effective at mowing down the thickest beard out there. There's no need to press on the razor while using it. Think of shaving as sweeping or slicing the hair off your face - allow the weight of the razor to do the work for you! If you're not getting a close enough shave, pressing will only make things worse.
In the video below, you can watch me, Patrick, shave with the Single Edge. Notice how I'm not pressing at all on the razor. Instead, I'm just sweeping away the hair
Tilt your head to one side and rest the razor on your cheek. Feel that? That’s the most pressure you should use on the razor.
Tip #3: Find the correct blade angle
The angle at which you hold the razor is key to a great shave. If you've used cartridge razors your whole life, you've just swiped your face with that 12 bladed paddle and let the pivot do the work. With the Single Edge, you'll need to find the optimum angle of the blade against your skin. Don't worry - it's easy.
The correct angle to hold the razor is about 10-15 degrees rotated from your skin. But even if you're not good at math, it's dead simple to find this angle with The Single Edge. Just do the following:
- Place the head of the razor flat against your cheek.
- Take a few short, light downward strokes.
- As you take these strokes, begin slowly rotating the handle downward until you find that the razor begins to cut hair.
- You found it!
Once you find the sweet spot, make sure to maintain this angle of the razor around the curves and contours of your face. It will take a few shaves to train your muscle memory, but it will become second nature in no time.
Because you (probably) grew up shaving with cartridge razors, your instinct will be to hold the razor too steeply - like the guy up there that is clearly not enjoying himself. When in doubt, go shallow! An angle that's too steep will result in razor burn - but an angle that's too shallow just won't cut. We'd prefer you err on the "not cutting" side. You can always adjust downward to find the cutting action.
Tip #4: Prepare your face properly
It's hard for most guys to believe, but preparing your face for shaving is just as important to a good shave as the actual act of shaving. Here's a quick breakdown of how to properly prep your face for shaving:
- For best results, shave after a hot shower. If this isn't possible, soak your face in hot water (or better yet, a hot towel) for a minute or two. This softens your beard and prepares it for shaving.
- Lather with a high-quality shaving cream made from natural ingredients. Canned shaving gel or foam contains propellants, alcohols, and harsh synthetic chemicals that dry out your skin and do not protect it adequately.
- When lathering, make sure your shaving cream is a thick, fluffy marshmallow-cream consistency. Too thin, and you aren't protecting your skin properly.
Tip #5: Map your Grain
Hair doesn’t just grow “out” from the body, it grows in a particular direction — which is called the grain. To determine the grain, let the hair grow for a day or so then gently rub the area from different directions. Some directions will feel rougher and some smoother. The smoothest direction is the hair’s grain for that area of your face. You may find the grain changing direction on different areas of the skin, so it is useful to make a map of the area (at least mentally) and note the patterns.
Why is this important? Think of shaving not so much as eliminating hair but rather reducing hair (hey, it’s going to grow back!). You want to make the “bulk” reduction known as shaving as comfortable as possible, avoiding irritation and nicks. The best way to do that is by initially shaving with the grain. If you want a closer shave, re-lather and shave across the grain (at a direction 90 degrees away from the grain). Closer still? Re-lather and shave across the grain from the opposite direction. Some people can shave against the grain, but it should only be attempted after at least a pass with the grain, and I recommend a cross-grain pass before as well.
Tip #6: Begin with the Sensitive Shave Setting
If you ordered the Custom Single Edge, your razor came with three interchangeable settings: Sensitive, Classic, and Aggressive. The Sensitive setting provides a more mild shave that is suitable for sensitive skin. You may find that it doesn't give the closest shave, but that's the point! It shaves close enough to get you looking good, but not so close as to cause razor burn or ingrown hairs. If you want to get closer, simply bump up to the next setting.
Tip #7: Shave in 2-3 Passes
Are you finding that your skin isn't completely smooth after one pass with the Single Edge? Don't worry - this is completely normal.
When shaving with a single blade safety razor, the goal is to reduce your beard growth in 2-3 successive "passes." And remember - a quick re-application of shaving cream between passes is very important.
We recommend the first pass with the Single Edge be with the grain - or in the direction of your beard growth. If it's not close enough for you, re-lather and shave against or across the grain. An across the grain pass will shave closely, but cause irritation for those with sensitive skin or prone to razor bumps.
Tip #8 (Optional): Don't Shave Against the grain
If you are experiencing irritation or ingrown hairs when shaving, we recommend you do not shave against the grain. Your skin may not be as smooth, but it's worth it to avoid razor bumps.
Putting it All Together
It may seem like a lot for first timers, but these tips become second nature in no time. It can take 5-7 shaves for your technique and muscle memory to adjust to shaving with the Single Edge, but stick with it! You'll soon be rewarded with the closest, mot comfortable shaves. Ever.
And if you ever need any help at all, don't hesitate to get in touch. We love hearing from you!