Daily Living

My Foray into the World of the DE (Safety) Razor

I had been contemplating a switch over to the old-timey DE razor for some time. I have shaved with cartridges my entire life. I shave both my face and my head so I can go through blades quickly. I’ve been using Mach 3 cartridges for years and, even though they provide a great shave, I was shelling out far too much money on blades. Blades for the DE razor—even really great blades—are far less expensive.

I had heard that, if used properly, the double-edge razor can provide a much better shave than even the best cartridges. I was skeptical of course. My Mach 3 does a great job after all. I decided to do bit of research on safety razors. I visited a lot of websites and even watched a few YouTube videos on proper techniques for razor use, and building a good lather with shaving creams/soaps.

I finally bit the bullet and decided to invest in some new shaving accessories. I figured that I would go for good quality since, in the long run, I’d end up saving tons on blades. For my DE safety razor I went with the Edwin Jagger DE89L. For my brush I went with the Edwin Jagger Best Badger, medium. For my soap I decided on D.R. Harris Windsor Shaving Soap in a wooden bowl. The razor came with Derby blades, but I also purchased some Feather blades because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I also got a Bloc Osma alum block and a stand for my new razor. I purchased all of my items from West Coast Shaving (www.westcoastshaving.com) and they arrived within two days after I ordered. Fast!

I have to admit that I was pretty excited when my new shaving gear arrived in the mail. I never would have thought that I would actually be excited to shave. Shaving, over time, had become a dreaded chore. But now, there was something new and electrifying on the horizon! If everything I had heard and read were true, I was finally going to have an amazing shaving experience!


First Shaving Experience with the DE Razor

To be perfectly honest, my first experience with my shiny, new DE safety razor was a total nightmare! At completion my face looked and felt as though I had spent some quality, intimate time with a cheese-grater. I had only one minor nick, but my face and neck were bright red and burning. To top it all off…it wasn’t even a close shave. Not a close shave at all! I had to pull out my trusty Mach 3 and shave my face again. When I was finished I used the alum block which intensified the burning for a second or two, but then really soothed the irritation.

Admittedly, my excitement might have caused me to rush through my first shave a bit. I used the Derby blades that came with the razor because I was still quite leery about the ultra-sharp Feather blades at this point. I was able to build up a very good lather with the shaving soap. I loaded up my badger brush, covered my face, shaved, and then repeated the entire process. I shaved my entire face twice and there were still hairs everywhere! At this point, I did not even attempt to shave my head. To be perfectly honest, I was too terrified to even try it.


The Second Time Around

I’m not one to give up easily so I was determined to give it another go. I had waited a couple of days to give my face and neck some time to recover. This time around I was going to take my time and concentrate on doing a better job. I set my fears aside and switched over to the Feather blades. I’m sure the Derby blades were just fine, but in my mind, sharper blades meant a better shave (possible life-threatening injuries aside).

The second time around wasn’t much better than the first. I had a couple of minor nicks this time around; one nick on my face just under the nose and one on my neck. I shaved my entire face twice again. The shave wasn’t much closer than it was the first time and I once again had to finish with the Mach 3. My face fared much better, but my neck was once again bright read and on fire.


Third Time’s a Charm, Right?

So this time I was going to attempt to shave both my face and my head. I thought to myself, “If I’m going to do this whole DE razor thing then I’m going all in.” I shaved my entire face twice. The shave was closer this time around, but it was not a close shave. There were far less hairs left over and, even though my neck was still red and burning a bit, it wasn’t as bad as had been previously.

My head fared much worse in the closeness department. I followed the same process and shaved my entire head twice. There was no irritation when I had finished, only one small nick on my head, but it was still a forest. So once again, I pulled out my trusty Mach 3 cartridge razor and shaved my face and head a third time.


Keep on Truckin’

Fast-forward a few weeks. Each time I shaved got progressively better. I was getting closer shaves every time on my face with less irritation. I still wasn’t getting as close of a shave as I did with my Mach 3, but at least it was getting better. I was still having a lot of problems with my head. I just couldn’t seem to get a close shave and always wound up re-shaving my head with the cartridge razor.


It’s All About the Angle

Fast-forward about another month: (early July 2015). So, it’s been just over two months since I started using the DE Razor and things have gotten much better. I was experimenting with holding the razor at different angles and have discovered the best angles for the different areas of my face and my head. I still do two full shaves on my face and head each time. My face shaves have gotten just as close as I used to get with my Mach 3. I’m still working on my head, but I can get a pretty good shave and only have to use the cartridge to smooth over a couple of rough spots. I’m fully confident that I’ll get the whole head thing down with a little more practice.

At this point in time I am very pleased with my decision to switch over to the DE safety razor. I’m really starting to enjoy my new shaving ritual! I shave my face two to three times per week and shave my head once per week. I’ve continued to use the Feather blades since day two and, once I feel I have mastered the DE razor, I will experiment with different brands of blades. I absolutely love the D.R. Harris Windsor Shaving Soap! It smells incredible and it’s very easy to produce a great lather with it.

I will continue my foray into the wide world of DE shaving and post again in the not too distant future. Thanks for reading and God Bless!

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