How to Fearlessly Use a Safety Razor

As I mentioned in my last post, the first time I used my safety razor I was far from successful. In fact, It was quite gory, but we don't need to go into those details here. Instead, let's go into detail about how to correctly shave with your safety razor.

On Your Face

  • If you have time, the best way to shave your face is to hydrate and soften your beard first. The easiest way to do this is to shower right before you shave. If you don't have time for a shower wet your face with warm water or a warm towel.
  • Using a good shaving cream or soap is key. My husband uses a foaming shaving cream and I use a shaving bar soap that is infused with bentonite clay, this gently exfoliates and helps the blade glide smoothly over your skin.
  • Hold the blade with a 30-degree angle between the blade and your skin.
  • Do not apply much pressure or pull too hard or swiftly, the weight of the razor head is heavy enough on its own. To help counter the tendency to apply pressure, try holding the razor by the tip of the handle.
  • Shave with the grain to shorten hair rather than removing all of it at once. You will pass the razor over your face several times to gradually remove the hair. Going against the grain or trying to remove all the hair at once will cause skin irritation. Instead, shorten the hair pass by pass until it is fully removed.
  • Rinse the blade as you go.
  • When fished, rinse your face with cold water to close your pores and apply our herbal toner to help reduce any irritation and remove any remaining soap, hair and dead skin. 
  • Lastly, keep your skin and hair hydrated by applying a few drops of our hair and beard oil and rub the excess into the rest of your face. 

On Your Body

  • Exfoliate your skin to get rid of the dead skin cells that would otherwise clog your razor, prevent a close shave and cause ingrown hairs. You can do this using a body brush or a scrub. I make an exfoliant using spent coffee grounds, sunflower oil, and coconut oil. You'll want to catch those coffee grounds before they head down your drain and cause problems.  
  • Be sure to use a good shaving cream or soap. I use a shaving bar soap that exfoliates slightly. This is necessary for the blade to glide smoothly over your skin.
  • Hold the blade with a 30-degree angle between the blade and your skin.
  • Do not apply much pressure or pull too hard or swiftly, the weight of the razor head is heavy enough on its own.
  • When shaving your armpits, legs, toes, knees or other curved or hard to reach areas use short strokes to avoid nicking yourself.
  • Pay attention! I mean it, don’t let your mind wander off when shaving those hard to reach places.
  • Rinse the blade as you go.
  • When finished moisturize or apply oil, I like jojoba and sunflower. Don’t skip this step, your legs have very few oil glands so they tend to dry out, especially post-shave.

Care instructions

Safety razors are amazing but you need to take care of them to keep them that way. After each shave rinse off all of the soap and hair. Shake the razor dry and store it somewhere where it will stay dry to prolong the life of your blade.

Blade Recycling

Many local recycling centers take blades, I recommend contacting yours to find out. If they do, don't just throw them in the recycling bin, we don't want anyone getting hurt. Instead, use a blade bank or place the blades in a can and seal it closed. I keep a tin in my bathroom that I fill up with blades before recycling them en mass. 


After a few shaves with a safety razor, you will feel like a pro. Although I do nick myself every once in awhile—usually because I’m not paying attention—my safety razor has been one of my favorite cost and waste saving swaps.

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Hanna Kohn

Hanna Kohn is the Operations Manager & Marketing Coordinator with Green Life Trading Co. where she has been educating and connecting individuals and small businesses with sustainable products and solutions since 2021. She holds a degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a Sustain Dane Master Recycler and Water Steward. When she's not at the shop, Hanna volunteers at WVMO 98.7 FM - Monona's Community Radio Station where she hosts Playhouse, a weekly broadcast of music including contemporary electronic, synth pop and jazz. Connect with Hanna via email: