All You Need To Know About Using Safety Razors

Beard Trimming
Sander van de BaardmanBy Sander - The Beardmen
Updated on 23 May 2023

After releasing my list of the TOP-5 best safety razors, I thought about writing a blog article about the common questions asked in Google about Safety razor blades. As a beginner slash teenager and someone who has used razors or trimmers all their life, I realize people experience a lot of confusion about these accessories, and understandably so.

Read up on safety razors in this blog article- what exactly they are and why you should use one. 

Furthermore, I will tell you more about how to use them and how often you should replace the blades which is quite important..

What Is A Safety Razor?

A safety razor, also called a scraper, is a razor where the cutting edge is straight on the handle. This is the explanation from Wikipedia and I couldn’t put it better myself. The cutting edge is surrounded by one or two metal elements to protect the skin – called a butterfly or closed comb. 

To use a safety razor you need to buy metal razor blades. These blades are universal, so you can buy them from different brands.

A safety razor is actually the “safe” successor to the old-fashioned razor, which is also called an open razor or the classic razor. This is a razor that has been used since the late 17th century. The blade consists of a handle that you unfold for each shave. You sharpen the razor with a string belt, but today you have many classic razors where you can simply replace the blade. This is how a safety razor works. 

Why Use A Safety Razor?

There are several reasons for using a safety razor. 

  • It is more masculine! Just saying.
  • Cheaper: you pay 10 to 60 dollars for a safety razor handle and use it for years. You do need to buy the blades, which cost an average of 10 to 50 cents each.
  • More durable: a safety razor does not use electricity and, unlike Gillette razors, you only replace the metal blades.
  • Smoother result: thanks to the sharp metal blades, hair is cut short.
  • Less frequent shaving: because of the smooth shaving result, you need to shave less often.
  • More hygienic: the replaceable blades are so cheap that you throw them away after 1 – 2 shaves. You use a clean blade every time you shave, which is not always the case with a razor (we sometimes forget to clean the shaver head) and with razor blades from Gillette, for example.

How To Use A Safety Razor

Using a safety razor requires a bit of dexterity. This will come naturally by practicing often. You will get the best shave by placing the angle of the blade at 30 degrees to the skin. Pull the skin taut with your free hand or use your facial muscles and move the safety user in one movement in the direction of hair growth. Before you start shaving, wet your skin with lukewarm water and use a little shaving cream. 

A few things to keep in mind:

  • As a beginner, it is better not to shave against your beard hair direction. This can cause irritated skin. 
  • Let the blade do the work. Do not press too hard on the skin.
  • Don’t hold the handle too tightly, but “with feeling.”

How Do You Replace A Safety Razor Blade?

The image below explains the steps in installing a new razor blade. I took this image from Oceonics. 

  1. Step 1: Remove the old blade. Grasp the butterfly clasp (= the top piece) on the side so you don’t cut your fingers. Turn the butterfly clasp around and remove the top piece.Take the parts apart and remove the old blade.
  2. Step 2: Insert the “screw” of the butterfly clasp into the opening of the new blade. 
  3. Step 3: Close the bottom of the top piece on the blade by screwing it on.
  4. Step 4: Screw the butterfly clasp back onto the handle.

What Blades To Use For A Safety Razor?

When you buy a new safety razor, it usually comes with a number of blades. Once these run out, you can buy blades from the same brand or from another brand. The blades are universal. The main thing to look for is the sharpness.

The sharper the blades, the longer they last. Sharp blades make your skin less likely to be irritated. Always choose double-edged blades with a safety razor. These blades cut from two sides.

How Often Do I Replace The Blades Of My Safety Razor?

This varies by brand. If you buy very sharp blades you can get 3 to 4 shaves. These blades are typically slightly more expensive. The sharpest and best blades in my opinion are those from Astra, which are also very cheap with a price of 12 cents per piece!

I would like to point out that it is important to replace the blades on time. Blunt blades increase the risk of wounds and irritation and are unhygienic to use for too long. I often throw them away after only 2 shaves!

Do Safety Razors Work?

Most men have good experiences using safety razors. These blades are cheap, hygienic and give the smoothest shave. It does take some practice, but if your father can do it, so can you!

Conclusion: To Buy Or Not To Buy A Safety Razor?

If you have decided to try a safety razor, take a look at my TOP 5 of the best safety razors. Go for the cheapest one (see best buy in my test). It costs a little over a tenner and is suitable to find out if it is something for you.

If you like convenience, a shaver might suit you best. The problem is that you will spend several hundred dollars for a good shaver. Another option is razor blades, but these are expensive to use and are also less durable, as the blades are partly made of plastic.