1. The Blade
Shaving with a damaged or dull blade will almost always ruin your shaving experience — sometimes with not close or patchy shaves; other times with cuts and irritation. So listen up, this part is important.
Inserting a Blade
Loading your blades incorrectly is the top for reason for damaged and/or dull blades. It's not rocket science, but you do have to pay attention to a few things to ensure you're not dragging the cutting edge of the blade against the blade stops — this will almost always compromise the blade.
- Check your blade pack to make sure all blade packs are aligned and even in the pack. If the blade looks crooked in the pack, it will more than likely insert crooked — damaging the blade.
- When you inject your blade pack's key into the head of the razor, make sure there is a clear, straight pathway for the new blade to slide straight in, pushing the old blade out.
- While inserting the blade, go slow to make sure that the cutting edge is not dragging against the stops. If it does, you're definitely going to want to get that blade swapped out.
Note: Do NOT inject a new blade into an empty razor head. If you have no blade in your razor and need to put one in, insert the blade manually.
If the blade your Single Edge came pre-loaded with is giving you trouble, it's more than likely dull. Insert a new blade, ensuring the blade doesn't drag against the blades as mentioned above, and you'll be ready to shave with the Single Edge.
Dulling is also a good indication that your blade's life is over. If you feel the blade shaving unevenly, irritating, or tugging — it's time for a fresh one.
2. The Angle
Using the correct angle is also very important for a close, comfortable shave with the Single Edge. If you've been using cartridge razors your whole life, you've been hacking at yourself with multi-bladed paddles with a pivoting feature that does all the work, while digging into your skin. The Single Edge is different. You'll need to find the optimum angle of the blade against your skin for that smooth, even shave. Don't worry - it's easy.
The correct angle to hold the razor is somewhere between 10-15 degrees rotated from your skin. And even if you aren't good at math, it's dead simple to find the perfect angle for you. All you have to do is the following:
- Place the head of the razor flat against your cheek. The cutting edge should be pointed at the floor.
- Take a few short, light downward strokes. The blade shouldn't be making any contact with your skin - at first.
- As you take these strokes, slowly begin to rotate the handle downward (slowly letting the blade make contact with your skin) until the razor starts cutting the hair.
- You found it!
You're going to want to experiment a bit in this range to find the sweet spot. Once you do, be sure to maintain the angle of the razor around the curves and contours of your face. It will take a few shaves to train your muscle memory, but it will become second nature in no time.
3. The Setting
Within your first few shaves, you might think that the Single Edge doesn't really provide a close shave. This is because the Sensitive Setting (one dot), attached to razor out of the box, was designed for those with sensitive skin. It also serves as a great tool for beginners — leaving room for mistakes and adjusting to the razor.
That being said, if you're looking for a closer shave (and aren't experiencing cuts or irritation), it may be time to turn it up to the Comfortable Setting (two dots). And if you're really confident in your technique with the Comfortable Setting, but still are not receiving the close shave you're looking for, move on up to the Ultra Close Setting (three dots).
Do NOT bump up from the Sensitive to the Ultra Close Setting unless you're absolutely sure of your technique.
Two Pass Shaving is also a great practice to include with your technique for the best results with the Single Edge. This approach follows the idea of building a rich lather, taking one (and only one) pass, re-lathering your face, then coming back for a second pass to remove any stubble or stragglers.
We strongly recommend using this method with the Single Edge — once with the grain, once across. Shaving across the grain is the practice of taking horizontal strokes instead of vertical ones for a closer cut than shaving with the grain — and isn't as harsh on your skin as shaving against the grain. If you can, it's best to avoid shaving against the grain with the Single Edge because it leaves your skin more vulnerable to cuts and irritation.