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Men deal with facial hair in various ways. Either you want to shave off what you have, or you want to trim it through slick manscaping. Electric razors can be annoying–loud, hard to clean, and hard on the wallet. Safety razors are great, but they don’t give the close shave of a double-edge razor blade. Should you start using double-edged razor blades? That depends on a lot of things. Do you have sensitive skin? Are you going for full facial hair removal, or do you just need a trim? And, what is your price range? Let’s get to the best shave for you, nick free.

Guide to Double Edge Razor Blades

What is a double edged razor blade?

The double edged razor blades has been around for centuries. They are still here, despite the marketing hype for cheap disposable razors, because they give a perfect shave minus the nicks or cuts. They are perfect for sensitive skin because of their smooth glide over the skin. They also prevent ingrown hairs. People who shave with double edged blades have less of them, partly because using a brush to lather the face pulls up the hairs, and partly because the blades are so precise they cut the hair without irritating the skin.

Double edged blades are called DE, or safety razors. Double-edged razors are called safety razors because you can use them at home without slicing yourself, something not so feasible with the straight razors barbers used–and still do. You don’t know what you’re missing if you haven’t treated yourself to a barber’s shave–get one before a special occasion like a fancy party or wedding, or just for the amazing experience. Ask the barber about disposable or electric shavers–you’ll get an earful! Double edged razor bladess serve a dual purpose. They give you an ultra-close shave that trims or eliminates even coarse or stubborn hair, and they don’t cut your skin while they’re at it.

Why should I use a double edged razor blade?

First, the disposables seem cheap until you realize they are…disposable. You buy them again and again and again. Electric razors are messy and expensive. Also, for 8 of the “best” Mach 3 turbo cartridges, you’ll pay over $22. For a third of that price you can buy 100 double edged razor blades for a top notch quality brand. Also, electric razors need batteries, over and over. All these expenses add up over time. Also, all those cans of foam can clog pores and are not good for your skin, they are messy, and they clog. What is even in those cans? Shaving soap is much cheaper, and the brush used to put it on your face raises the hairs so they are cut cleanly, causing far less irritation, and provoking fewer ingrown hairs.

Yes, shaving this way is not for everyone. It takes a little more time, but the extra effort makes you look and feel fantastic, and gives you an edge. It becomes part of a ritual that builds you up every day. Confidence is a great deal of the battle when going out into the world, and how others perceive you is part of it, too. Remember, a real shave is like wearing a great suit in terms of what people notice about you. Indulge yourself! Treat yourself to the best, raise your confidence level, and expect to do and receive the best from your day.

Why is sharpness important?

The sharper the blade, the better the performance of the blade. That being said, some people like a super-sharp blade and some people prefer a smooth blade. Dull blades can irritate your skin and give you razor burn. Razors that are too sharp may nick you. The sharper the blade, the more precise the cut. Sharp blades just glide over the skin.  Get the more smooth ones before graduating to the ultra-sharp blades. You want to get your technique correct so you don’t nick yourself. Sharp blades cut down on ingrown hairs, shaving bumps, and skin irritation. You also probably want one with a coating of chrome or platinum. They are super-smooth and give an amazing shave every time!

How are they packaged, and how long do they last?

They generally come wrapped in paraffin paper. They come in tucks–packs–of 5. One blade may last up to week. Those with chrome, platinum, or other coatings will probably last a few days longer, as long as you don’t wipe them down with a towel, which removes the coating. So, 100 will last more than a year! That is extremely cost-effective, when you compare them to disposable and electric shaving systems.

What soap should I use?

That stuff out of a can doesn’t lubricate well and is non-comedogenic–it can clog your pores. Shaving soaps are much cheaper, they don’t come in cans that get clogged and gunky, and they lubricate your skin far better. You can find them hiding in the back in drugstores, but it is far more convenient to order it online at the same time you buy your razors. Try Van der Hagen, Col. Conk’s Bay rum, or there are many more.

What about the handle?

Parker, Gillette, and Merkur all make handles you can use. Most blades fit with most handles. Get one that fits your hand and isn’t too heavy. Be careful–it is just as easy to go too cheap than to go too expensive. You want this handle to hold up over the years. You can buy the super-expensive ones if you like, but there are very good ones for $30-$50.

How do I use a double edged razor?

First, get a brush. Badger hair is the best, with boar a good second. Soak it in steaming water. A brush lifts the hairs and gives you a little massage every morning. Shake the excess water out of the brush, dip it in the soap, and apply the soap to your face until you look like Santa Claus.

Angle the razor at 30 degrees. Pull straight down with the grain of your beard. The weight of the handle will apply all the pressure you need, so don’t dig into your skin. Remember, have a light touch. These blades are sharp. Then, if you have coarse hair, make a pass against the grain, but watch out for ingrown hairs! Don’t go against the grain on the sensitive throat. Then, pull straight down again. Keep going until you have covered your face. Rinse carefully, rinse the blade, shake it out, and put it away. Don’t dry it with a towel if you have a coating like chrome or platinum on your blade. Rinse then pat dry your face. Be sure to get off all the soap. You can use an aftershave or lotion if you so desire, but double edge razor blades often make this unnecessary.

This is a skill, exactly like any other. You can learn this skill, but it takes a week or two to get it down right. This is not a quick process, so if you are late getting up and rushing around, then use a cartridge razor. But, once you have used a double edged razor, you will have trouble going back to a regular razor. The exception is when you haven’t shaved for a while, like when you go on vacation. Use a regular cartridge razor until you have trimmed the hair or removed the facial hair. If you haven’t shaved in a while, the pull and tug of a double edged razor is painful. Remember, YouTube has lots of videos to help you if you get nervous about how to shave with a double edged razor! Watch one, shave, and watch it again on the second and third day, until you get comfortable around the fourth day, if you have any trouble with the technique. Practice makes perfect–and makes you feel great about yourself.

Features to Look For

Go for a not-as-sharp blade until you have practiced with a duller blade. Then, go for the extra-sharp version in order to get a super-close shave without nicks, cuts, razor bumps, or abrasions. Most double edge razor blades are made of high-quality stainless steel. Some blades are coated with titanium, chrome, or other substances for an extremely close shave that doesn’t irritate even sensitive skin, and a super-durable blade that lasts longer. Shake these ones out after the final rinse, and don’t dry them, to preserve the coating. They are cheap, so you can order more several brands for testing purposes.

What style is the best one for me?

You want to start with one that is not ultra-sharp until you get used to the technique, then switch. Get ones that are stainless steel coated with chrome or platinum for the ultimate in a smooth shave without bumps, nicks, or scrapes. Change them out every four days at first, and add a day as you go along, until you find the exact day that particular brand starts to get dull. Dull is not good with double edge razor blades. Get one brand if you feel strongly about your choice, or two brands. Razors are a personal experience for everyone.

Why should I go to all the trouble of starting a new shaving system?

Do you want to stop your dependence on expensive electric shaver heads and batteries? Do you want a real shave, close as close can be? Do you have sensitive skin, especially on your neck? Do you have a coarse beard? Do you want to treat yourself well every day? Do you want a perfect shave? Double edged safety razors do the trick. They give an ultra-close shave for a low price, and the blades last anywhere from four days to a week. The brush and soap raise the hairs and the stainless steel blades give a perfect, smooth, close shave.

How do I learn how to shave with a double edge razor blade?

Take it slow. First, get the kit–shaving soap, which is much cheaper and far less messy than foam, a brush to soap you up and lift the hairs, a razor, and double edge razor blades. Watch a YouTube video to get the technique on your cell phone before starting. Use a very light touch and shave straight down. Keep going until you have covered your entire face. If you want, order blades from more than one manufacturer and switch off every four days. The blades are cheap enough for you to try this to find the perfect blade for you.

Shaving is a ritual. It doesn’t have to be a boring one. You can treat yourself to the best shave of your life. Or, you can stick with expensive electric shavers that need batteries for life, or disposable razors that don’t really get close. If you want less nicks and cuts, ingrown hairs, abrasions, and razor bumps, go with a double edge safety razor. They are much cheaper (packs of 100!), and much better for those with coarse beards or sensitive skin. Shaving this way is how you treat yourself better, and this helps you put your best face forward.

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