Why You Should Switch To Safety Razors

The old-fashioned safety razor is one of those things that took me literally years to get the courage to try out, just like the menstrual cup. I was afraid it would be cumbersome and expensive, that I would cut my legs and fingers, and somehow it seemed too masculine for me. I'm also really squeamish around razor blades -- maybe due to all the weird movie scenes or due to my father strongly admonishing me to never the blades as a child.
I finally took the plunge. I'm surprised I didn't try it sooner. I so wasn't expecting to like it, but I'm a convert.
Shaving with a safety razor leaves the skin really smooth! I don't think I have ever had such as close shave before -- my skin was smooth to the touch on the second day (which never happens with regular disposable razor, my hair grow really really fast). On the third day my legs were prickly to the touch but still looked smooth. I didn't get razor burn and I didn't even nick myself. Why haven't I switched sooner? Also, I didn't nick myself even once.

What makes safety razors better than disposables?

Safety razors are old-style razors which you can unscrew and then switch out the blades. They shave much more closely and the single blade means they irritate the skin less. Two reasons that make these blades kinder to the skin are: the blades can be easily cleaned during and after every shave;  and are so cheap so you can switch them out every 5 shaves or so even if you are broke.  Generally they cause much less little razor burn and ingrown hair. You can use a safety razor for all body parts -- legs, bikini line, armpits -- I've done it all.
Shaving with a safety razor is customisable. Depending on how thick your hair is and how sensitive your skin is, you can combine the right blade sharpness with the right amount of razor aggressiveness, which will give you the smoothest shave with the least irritation.
Finally, safety razors are much more environmentally friendly than disposable razors. You don't throw away the entire razor, only the blade (and metal is usually recycled here).

What do you need to get started?

Not much. I found a basic safety razor model in the Müller which had decent reviews on Amazon -- the Wilkinson Sword Classic. The nice thing about this model is that the metal in the handle makes it heavier and easier to use. Also it has a guard -- this means that if it is lying on the counter than the blade does not touch the counter. It set me back around 8€. I have heard that the blades that come with it are not the best ones, so when I need new ones I'll be trying out different brands.
A basic inexpensive model is what you should start with, though if you can lay your hands on a vintage disposable razor you're lucky! Although there are a couple of scenarios where you need to research before buying -- like if you have very sensitive skin. Or if you have problems handling small stuff you might want to look for something with a longer handle.

You don't need any fancy stuff to shave with a safety razor -- though if you want to you can go check out the interesting products shaving geeks buy or diy. I just spent too much time down that fascinating rabbit hole, even though I only use olive oil soap.
Just like for shaving with disposable razors, you need to shower before shaving so to soften the hair. I like to use hair conditioner, oil, oil-based soap or shower gel to provide slip while shaving (make sure they are free from sulphates and synthetic perfumes, as both can irritate the skin). Some people prefer to make foam with a soap and a shaving brush, but the only advantage of this is that you can clearly see which parts you have already shaved. To shave, you need to hold the razor at a 30°-ish angle against your skin (sounds complicated, but you'll learn fast). Move the blade steadily over the skin in the direction of the hair growth and then against it. Don't apply any pressure! The weight of the razor should be doing all the work. Once again -- angles, and no pressure. Rinse the razor under running water or in a bowl. At the end dry it with a towel. Moisturise your legs with a perfume-free product.

Any downsides to safety razors?

Not really. Switching the blades is easy, the whole set-up is cheap and easily available. The only time I will still be using a disposable razor is while travelling, because they are lighter.

Any fans of disposable razors out there? What do you use and recommend? I remember that it was one of you who first brought safety razors to my attention.

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