Do Safety Razors Give a Closer Shave? (Plus 7 Ways To Improve!)

When searching for that perfect razor, one of the main things to know is whether or not it gives a closer shave than the other options, mainly straight razors, disposable cartridge razors, or electric razors. Do safety razors give a closer shave?

In general, safety razors do not provide the closest shave possible when compared to a straight razor or disposable cartridge razors but you can still get an incredibly close shave with proper technique. Safety razors excel at providing a consistent shave that minimizes skin irritation, razor bumps, nicks, and cuts.

Since we now know that safety razors do not give the closest shave, let us find out how a safety razor compares to a straight razor, a disposable cartridge razor, and an electric razor. Finally, let us go step-by-step on how to get the closest shave with a safety razor. 

Does a safety razor really shave closer?

With so many options available to a shaver, you might wonder, does a safety razor really shave closer? Let us see how shaving with a safety razor compares to a disposable cartridge razor, straight razor, and an electric razor.  

A safety razor does not necessarily shave closer when compared to its counterparts, but it does provide a consistently close shave when using the right razor blade, soap, skin preparation, and technique.

When compared to straight razors, it is a given that a safety razor does not shave closer due to its design. However, with a straight razor, there is a learning curve in how to use it properly. This means that it might take upwards of 20-30 shaves to see consistent results in the closeness of your shave. With a safety razor, the learning curve is negligible, giving you results with the first shave. 

With disposable cartridge razors, you might get a close shave, but the possibility of skin irritation is greater than with a safety razor. Due to the aggressive nature of a disposable cartridge blade, and the common problem of the blades clogging, a close shave comes with consequences. With a safety razor, these problems are non-existent, leaving you satisfied with the closeness of the shave, and the absence of any lingering skin problems afterwards. 

An electric razor is the hardest type of razor to get a consistently close shave with. A lot of factors go into this. Those factors include the battery’s charge, how much hair is stuck in the blade, and the thickness of your hair. If a shaver has thick facial hair, an electric razor is a non-starter as the hair will simply get stuck in the blades, causing it to pull. The amount of work that goes into using an electric razor is far greater than that of a safety razor, with the results far more inconsistent as well. 

Since safety razors provide a consistently close shave compared to other razors, let us find out whether a straight razor shaves closer than a safety razor. 

Does a straight razor shave closer than a safety razor?

When seeking out all of your options, a shaver needs to know whether a straight razor shaves closer than a safety razor. 

A straight razor does shave closer than a safety razor. Yet, the risk factors involved in using a straight razor, combined with the amount of practice needed for a close shave, make a safety razor the better option if a shaver is looking for a hassle-free, consistently close shave. 

Since a straight razor shaves closer than a safety razor, here is a step-by-step breakdown of the best way to get a close shave with a safety razor. 

How do you get a close shave with a safety razor?

With all of the evidence showing that a safety razor provides a consistently close shave compared to other razors, here is a how-to-guide detailing how a shaver like yourself can achieve the best results.

Here are the steps we cover:

  • Preparing your face for the shave
  • Choosing a quality cream or soap
  • Building the right lather
  • Taking a first pass with the grain
  • Second pass across the grain
  • Third pass against the grain
  • Aftershave care

Prepare your skin for shaving

The preparation part is equally important as the act of shaving itself. The best way to prepare your skin is to first, do a dry scrub of your facial hair with a shaving brush. This goes a long way in softening the hair, making it easier to achieve a close shave. 

You could stop there, but hopping in the shower, preferably using hot water, and continuing to scrub your facial hair will continue to soften the hair. Once you are done, your facial hair should be in prime condition for a close, smooth shave. Some prefer to shave in the shower, which only continues to soften your hair. However, this is not required and shaving out of the shower works just as well. 

Product Recommendation: Perfecto Shaving Brush. The Perfecto Shaving Brush offers a high-quality product with durable, yet soft bristles and a sturdy handle that lets men dry scrub their facial hair with ease for a very low price on Amazon.

Choose a quality shave soap or cream

The quality of the shave soap or cream goes a long way in giving a shaver the close shave they are seeking. A thicker soap or cream that has a lot of volume to it will give the best results. A quality shave soap or cream will also help prevent skin irritation. 

One great tip for determining the quality of a shave soap or cream, besides online reviews, is to see how slippery your face is after the first pass. If your face is still slippery, then you have found a quality shave soap or cream. 

Product Recommendation: Palmolive for Men Classic Palm Shave Cream offers affordability and results for $5.50 on Amazon. It lathers up well, has a fantastic scent, and leaves you feeling fresh after each use. For sensitive skin, they also offer a product with aloe vera for a very reasonable price on Amazon. 

Build a nice lather

Building a nice lather is crucial for a close shave.

Be generous.

Do not worry about wasting excess lather as you build it because chances are, you will use all of it. Is there a spot that is being stubborn and simply will not get as close as other spots? Keep applying lather until you get it. Worried that you have not applied enough before starting your second pass?

Apply more.

Having a slippery, fully covered face not only helps with getting the closest shave possible, but it also prevents your skin from unwanted irritation. A good, close shave is next to impossible without a nice lather. 

First pass is with the grain

After you have applied the lather to your face, dip the blade in hot water. Next, begin to run the blade through your facial hair, going with the grain. 

By shaving with the grain, you are reducing the length of the hair. By the time you are on step three, going against the grain, the hair is close enough to the skin that it is no trouble at all to achieve a close shave.

Starting out with this step also reduces the possibility of skin irritation by step three. In turn, starting with the grain is the least painful, and produces the best results. 

Second pass is across the grain

Once the first pass is complete, lather your face once again. Then, dip the blade in hot water and run the blade through your facial hair, this time going across the grain. 

The best way to do this is to slightly tilt the razor until you can hear the noise of the blade cutting the hair, then bring it back down and continue until finished. Going across the grain can often be the trickiest part of this process, but with the right technique, it should be easy. 

This step also helps with hair reduction so that when it comes time to go against the grain, it is easy, smooth, and pain-free. 

Third pass is against the grain

With the first two passes complete, lather your face one more time. Dip the blade in hot water and run the blade through your facial hair, this time going against the grain. By going with, across, and now against the grain, you will get the closest shave possible.

If you are still not satisfied with the results, repeat the process until complete. 

Remember, if you skip over the first two steps in this process, you are opening yourself up to a more painful shave. This can have lasting effects in the form of bumps, irritated skin, or ingrown hairs. 

Apply a quality aftershave splash, lotion, or balm

One of the biggest risks of shaving is skin irritation. By applying a quality aftershave splash, lotion, or balm after you have finished shaving, that risk is reduced significantly. The refreshing feeling of applying these products will make you feel satisfied, and make that close shave worth it when you feel your smooth, irritation free skin.

Product Recommendation: Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Moisturizing Post Shave Balm offers men a soothing balm that has limited sting compared to alcohol-based aftershaves and immediately moisturizes the skin, preventing irritation. A three-pack costs around $15 on Amazon. Nivea also offers Nivea Men Sensitive Aftershave Balm for those with sensitive skin. A three-pack also costs about $150.