It's true. The Single Edge is the easiest way to begin shaving with a safety razor. However, as with any precision tool, there are important guidelines you will want to keep in mind when using it.
I know - you hate reading instructions. We all do. But the following points are important to getting the best shave out of your brand new razor. So take a few minutes to read through them and get to know your new razor. It may take a little time to figure out the mechanics, but the amazing shaves will be worth it.
Tip #1 No Pressure
Straight out of the box, you'll notice that your Single Edge is already loaded with a blade — this blade should last you for about 5-7 shaves. When the blade starts to feel rough on your skin, tugging and plucking your hair rather than cutting it, it's time to load in a new blade.
The Single Edge uses a very sharp blade that is effective at mowing down the thickest beard out there. There's no need to press on the razor while using it. Think of shaving as sweeping or slicing the hair off your face - allow the weight of the razor to do the work for you!
Using the correct angle is also very important for a close, comfortable shave with the Single Edge — it's somewhere between 10-15 degrees rotated from your skin. 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.
Take a look at Patrick's #1 tip in this quick, 60 second video:
If you're struggling with irritation or nicks while using The Single Edge, there's a strong chance you are applying too much pressure on the razor. And if you're not getting a close enough shave, pressing will only make things worse. Make sure you're holding the razor correctly before moving up to the next setting -- you want to be especially confident in your technique before moving up to the Ultra Close Shave Setting.
Tip #2 Prep Your Skin
What you do to prepare your skin for the shave it's about to take on is essential for the best shave possible. Even if your skin isn't sensitive upfront, shaving takes a hefty toll on everyone's skin. This is why it's important to not only have good aftershave lined up, but also to do and use the best to get your skin and hairs ready.
Warm water is your best friend during a shave. It's best to take a warm shower, wash your face or even just use a warm, damp towel to soften the hairs you're about to shave. Our face wash is great for moisturizing and cleaning out your pores while softening the hairs for a shave. Using a shave brush also does wonders to prepare your skin — it picks up the hairs and opens up your pores.
Here's a quick video of Patrick explaining how to create the richest lather using our Shave Cream and Brush:
With the Single Edge, we advise our customers to never shave without a rich layer of shaving cream to protect your skin. Going even further, though, it's best to limit the amount of strokes you take on your bare skin to none — even for a closer cut. You definitely DO NOT want to take repetitive quick, hard strokes in the same spot to get a closer cut — our blades are extremely sharp and this would surely irritate your skin. Instead, take a look at Tip #3 -- specifically, Two-Pass Shaving.
Tip #3 Map Your Beard Grain
Mapping the direction of hair growth is a great place to start if you are new to wetshaving. Building a map will be a great indicator for your unique beard growth and where to begin.
In the shaving community, there are two main ways of shaving: with the grain (close shave, easier on skin) or against the grain (ultra close shave, rougher on skin). If you have not yet mapped out your beard grain, take a look at this quick video for more information:
So how do you get an ultra close shave if you have sensitive skin? Try Two Pass-Shaving. Two-Pass Shaving is the method of going over your skin once, re-lathering, and taking a second swing for a closer cut, including the stragglers that were missed the first time around. If you need a third, just be sure to re-lather! The idea behind this practice is to avoid the blade contacting/scraping your bare skin.
Then optimize this method. Take one pass with the grain, and across the grain the second time. Shaving across the grain is the practice of taking strokes that are perpendicular to your beard grain — but for most, perpendicular means horizontal strokes rather than vertical ones. This will provide a closer cut than shaving with the grain — and isn't as harsh on your skin as shaving against the grain.
Tip #4 Experiment
And we can't stress this enough, experiment with the razor. Trying out different angles, settings, piecing together and dialing in different methods will ultimately help you find the perfect shave you've always been looking for. Feel free to take a look at this video of Patrick explaining why it's so important to experiment with the Single Edge:
A full shave with Supply's Single Edge