I recently surveyed people via instagram about their shaving issues and queries. I was instantly overwhelmed with responses. If you’re plagued with ingrown hairs, razor burn, and small unidentifiable bumps, or are unsure how to reach certain areas, unable to shave regularly due to uncomfortable irritation and are generally frustrated with the chore that is shaving, know that you are DEFINITELY not alone.
As I’d mentioned on social, I don’t consider myself an expert, but given I’ve been researching and testing all things shaving for five years now, I definitely have a lot of knowledge worth sharing (heck, I might even be able to throw the term expert out there in certain circles...). Given the sheer volume of questions, I’ve opted to answer them in journal posts and stories over the coming month. The questions were varied and, often, very specific so I decided to start at the very beginning: why the single blade?
First off, multi blade razors are a recent invention–Gillette launched the first model in 1971 to a society that was primed for convenience. Multi blade razors were marketed as cutting more hairs in a single pass increasing the ease and closeness of your shave. Since then it’s been an arms race of sorts. Seemingly every year more blades were added to new and improved models. The sentiment: “the more blades the better” reigned supreme. It was until recently that people began to stop and question how many blades a razor required to actually produce the best shave…
Here’s the thing, speed and ease are great, but if that convenience is quickly followed by irritation is it worth it? A brief explanation of how your standard multi-blade razor works:
the first blade pulls the hair taut, the next blade cuts the hair at a sharp angle, subsequent blades can cut the hair even shorter or, depending on the amount of pressure applied, remove a thin layer of skin.
You know that slight tugging sensation while you’re shaving? That’s most likely your skin. Have you ever applied a bit of extra pressure while shaving with a blade that’s probably long past its prime? Again, the subsequent resistance is your skin. As you can imagine this causes many people, particularly those with sensitive skin, both irritation and inflammation. Furthermore, when the hair is cut below the skin, it can easily curl back on itself and become an ingrown hair. That initial smooth feeling you might get after using a multi-blade razor is, for most, fleeting.
So what’s the alternative? Go back to something that was developed for efficacy rather than convenience. The single SHARP blade employed by a safety razor cuts the hair in one pass. The weight of the razor allows you to gently glide over your skin without applying any pressure which helps users avoid removing thin layers of skin unknowingly. Hair is cut at surface level rather than below ensuring it will grow back normally (above the skin).
If you suffer from ingrown hairs, razor burn, small white bumps, inflammation, etc, using a safety razor could be your answer. I know for me the results were immediate. I suffered from unsightly red marks on my underarms from daily shaving, ingrown hairs on my bikini line that would set up shop for what felt like the entire summer, and could often be plagued by razor burn on my upper thighs. While the first couple shaves took a bit of getting used to–I accidentally nicked those very bumps and sores I just mentioned–I soon saw less of them. That made subsequent shaves progressively easier. I was doing all of this while doing HEAPS of shaving research so I found that soon, my safety razor combined with all of the tips and tricks I was acquiring, led me to be practically irritation free!
I know it seems a tad convenient that my first shaving tip is to switch to a safety razor (our staple product…), but know that I came to this honestly. In fact, well kept first launched with a wooden multi-blade razor. It was through research and testing that we settled on the safety razor. I swear I shaved more in that first year than most people do in a lifetime!
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