Because it’s so sharp, you may be asking yourself, is there a risk of getting cut while shaving with a safety razor?
The most common reasons for your cutting yourself with a safety razor are shaving at the wrong angle, using a dull or dirty blade, using too long a stroke, a handle that is the wrong length, or a grip that’s hard to keep a hold on. To avoid annoying cuts, choose the right razor for your hand, prep your skin thoroughly, and always clean your razor.
Keep reading for more information about why your safety razor might be cutting you and some great tips on how to maximize your shave (and save your face!).
Why is your safety razor cutting you?
Safety razors earned their name for being a safer option than a straight razor, while still getting the closest shave possible.
That said, safety razors still use a stainless steel razor blade which is extremely sharp to give that close shave and to last as long as possible without replacing immediately.
Many shavers find that their safety razor cuts them occasionally despite having features meant to prevent it. Improper skin preparation, lather, or technique can all cause extra nicks and cuts when using a safety razor, especially if you are in a hurry.
In truth, there could be a number of reasons why your safety razor is cutting you, or there could only be one. It’s important to find a razor that best suits you and will keep you safe during your shaving experience.
If you do end up getting a cut, don’t panic, and don’t fret. Apply the appropriate first aid, and let’s explore why it may have happened so it doesn’t in the future and you can keep getting that immaculate shave.
How to avoid cuts when using a safety razor
Although some cuts are inevitable anytime you shave there are many tips and tricks you can use to drastically reduce cuts.
Here are some tips to make sure you can avoid giving yourself a cut while using your safety razor:
- Take your time
- Double-check that your blade is clean
- Replace or sharpen your blade as needed
- Correct your shaving angle
- Use a quality shaving soap or cream
- Use shorter strokes
- Let the razor do the work
- Consider handle length and grip
- Tighten your skin
- Use pre-shave oil
- Shave with the grain
Let’s dive in!
Be sure to take your time
Many folks, myself included, are usually in a rush when it comes to getting out the door and off to work or wherever.
Shaving with a safety razor can’t be a rush job, however, because you run the risk of getting injured if you move too quickly.
Shaving with a safety razor is supposed to be an experience, so be sure to give yourself the extra time you need to make that happen. Your skin will thank you.
Double-check that your blade is clean
Dirty blades are hazardous because if not properly cleaned they can skip or jump along your skin as you’re shaving.
Not to mention, dirty blades have a tendency to rust, which can collect bacteria and cause the blade to dull prematurely.
After each shave, be sure to at least give your safety razor a good rinse with clean warm water to prevent injury.
Replace your blade or sharpen it as needed
When to replace your blade is a matter of preference.
Some folks like to replace a blade after each shave. Some wait a few days. The best practice is to replace your blade after every second or third shave.
Replacing your blade frequently will prevent rust, but will also be sure you have a sharp blade handy for your shave.
If you’re skilled, it is possible to sharpen your razor blades. There are a number of kits and tools available to do so. Most shavers don’t worry about sharpening individual razor blades because of the cost of sharpening equipment (especially when you consider how inexpensive replacement blades are), the skill and practice required to prevent injury and get a good point, and the time it takes to actually sharpen a razor blade.
Regardless of which you choose, the key thing to remember is to avoid cuts while shaving, make sure your razor blade is sharp.
Adjust your shaving angle
Safety razors have a guard on the head of the razor above the blade specifically to prevent cuts and scrapes while shaving.
That guard is designed to help guide your hand while shaving, but it’s possible to have too shallow or deep an angle while doing so.
Keep your safety razor at a 30-degree angle while shaving to avoid cuts.
Use quality soap or cream
Shave with soaps or creams that are designed to be used for shaving.
Shave soaps or creams typically have ingredients that help moisturize and soften the hair and skin to prep for shaving.
Other hand soaps can be astringent and harsh on the skin, increasing the risk of rubbing and cuts.
Shave with short strokes
As you know, our faces are not flat planes that we can simply shave like a carpenter on a board of wood.
If you’re using long strokes and find it tricky to adjust for the natural contours of your face without getting cut, use shorter strokes.
Using shorter strokes while shaving ensures a more even shave and requires less adjusting mid-stroke.
Let the weight of the head do the work for you
Part of the design of the guard of the safety razor includes a bit of weight.
Instead of pushing or pulling while shaving, use the weight of the razor to do the work for you.
Putting too much effort into a shave with a safety razor could result in injury.
Check if you’re using the right length handle with the right grip
Safety razor handles come in myriad lengths, materials, and designs.
If you can, test your safety razor in person and handle it. Practice a mock shave without a blade in the head. How does it feel?
Pull your skin taut
Because your face isn’t flat, you may need to gently pull your skin taut to avoid cuts.
Take care that you have somewhat of a firm grip so as not to let go mid-stroke.
Use pre-shave cream
Some shavers use a pre-shave prep cream to help loosen up the skin and raise their facial hairs.
Pre-shave creams don’t preclude using shaving soaps or creams, it’s just a preamble to the rest of the routine. If you’re prone to cuts, perhaps using a pre-shave cream can help prepare your skin.
Shave with the grain
Shaving with the grain of your hair is the best way to get a close shave with a safety razor, but it bears repeating if for no other reason than to help avoid cuts.
Shaving against the grain can catch hair follicles at their roots where they meet the skin and could cause injury. Properly applied shave soap or creams will raise the facial hair making shaving against the grain for a close shave unnecessary.