Proper Techniques to Hold a Safety Razor

When it comes to using a safety razor, proper technique, particularly how to hold the razor, can drastically impact the quality of your shave, the longevity of your supplies, and the overall experience. Wet shaving with a double edge safety razor can provide a close shave that leaves your facial hair and skin feeling smooth and refreshed. It can also reduce skin irritation caused by cartridge razors and give a more comfortable shave.

The basic grip of a safety razor involves holding it lightly between your thumb and your first two fingers and maintaining a correct shaving angle. However, more factors come into play to ensure a close and comfortable shave while minimizing nicks and irritation. Using shaving cream or shave soap and applying a pre-shave oil can also help achieve a better shave.

How to Hold a Safety Razor: Gripping Positions

Light TouchHold the razor handle lightly with your thumb, index, and middle fingers.
Razor AngleMaintain an optimal 30-45 degree angle between the blade and your skin.
ControlKeep other fingers free to control the shave, applying light pressure. Lock your wrist.
Adjust as NeededChange your grip as needed to ensure comfort and control.

1. The Light Touch

The first concept to understand about holding a safety razor is that it requires a light touch. Because the handle contributes to the overall weight, there’s no need to press too hard. In fact, too much pressure can lead to nicks, cuts, and skin irritation.

Instead, hold the razor lightly between your thumb, index, and middle fingers. The rest of the fingers can curve lightly around the handle, ready to adjust your grip if necessary.

This is why the length of the razor is important, as it can impact your ability to achieve the optimal angle. Choose a razor with a handle length that is comfortable for your hand size and allows you to maintain the necessary shaving angle.

2. The Angle of the Razor

The correct angle between the safety razor’s blade and your skin is crucial to a good shave. The general rule of thumb is to hold the razor at a 30 to 45-degree angle to your skin. At this angle, the blade can cut the hair at its base without scraping or damaging the skin.

However, note that maintaining this angle requires careful control and may take some practice to master, especially around the neck and jawline areas. It’s a good idea to watch yourself closely in the mirror as you shave to ensure you’re maintaining the correct angle.

3. Control

Maintaining good control while shaving is key to avoiding cuts and achieving a close shave. It’s better to guide the razor rather than try to push or pull it forcefully. For this, using your ring finger, pinky, and palm can help provide the necessary balance, support, and steadiness while shaving.

We find that locking your wrist and allowing your arm and shoulder to guide the razor’s movement can also contribute to better control. This technique ensures fluid and even strokes, which can be particularly beneficial when shaving areas with contours, such as the jawline and chin.

4. Adjust as Needed

Don’t hesitate to adjust your grip as needed when you are shaving. For instance, when shaving the tricky areas or contours of your face, adjusting the grip can help maintain the correct angle and control. You might need to switch hands or adjust your holding position slightly to reach certain areas effectively.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. It might take several tries to find the right grip that works for you. You can try different gripping techniques, but always remember to keep a light touch and control your razor carefully.

Demonstrating the Proper Grip

Here’s a video demonstrating the proper grip of a safety razor:

About the author:

John Miller is a passionate wet shaving enthusiast, a pastime he has been devoted to for the past 7 years. A veteran of the trade, he has earned the reputation of being an meticulous advocate of traditional wet shaving. When John first got into the hobby, he read and researched the techniques extensively, often trying new blades and techniques, and now has an unparalleled knowledge of the best products, techniques, and tools available.

John is widely respected in the wet shaving community and is a trusted source of advice and reviews. He also contributes to several wet shaving forums, often discussing the finer points of traditional shaving.