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How to Shave Your Legs with a Double Edge Safety Razor

There’s a trend right now where men who grew up with cartridge razors are going old school and turning to traditional safety razors for their shaving needs. Probably has something to do with the skyrocketing cost of Gillette’s cartridges!

Even I jumped on the bandwagon and bought one of these Double Edge (DE) razors. And it is pretty cool. But I had to wonder…

How about shaving your legs with one of these razors?

I imagine most guys who are using these razors are doing it to look/feel more manly, so it seems unlikely anyone is using them for leg shaving. I’m not most guys though. I even posted a video of me shaving my legs (where people regularly stop by to make fun of me.) So I went ahead and used my DE razor on my legs!

Planning to do the same? Here’s what you need to know:

 

Don’t Expect It To Be Simple!

Though you may have heard people talk about the ‘simplicity’ of these old-fashioned safety razors, the shaving process is anything but!

Once you choose a razor, you don’t just get a specific blade for it. You choose from hundreds of different blades that will fit it. You also need a good shave soap or cream. Along with that, a shaving brush, because you want it to lather up real nice. And to complete the shave, you can’t forget the pre-shave oil and post-shave balm. It’s crazy!

It’s also a matter of personal preference. Sort of like choosing your favorite energy bar. What works for me won’t necessarily be the best option for you.

OK, with that disclaimer, here’s what is going to be featured in this how-to:

  • Edwin Jagger De89lbl Double Edge Safety Razor
  • Derby Extra DE razor blades
  • Dreadnought pre-shave oil
  • Dreadnought luxury shaving cream
  • Dreadnought shaving brush
  • Dreadnought post-shave balm

You can purchase the same razor and blades and the Dreadnought shave line on Amazon.com.

Want to venture out on your own? Here are some shopping tips:

How to choose a razor:

The easiest way is to choose a popular model from a brand that’s known for good quality. Edwin Jagger, Merkur, and Gillette are all good choices (though you’ll have to search eBay if you want a classic Gillette model.)

How to choose a blade:

This is where things get complicated. You have tons of choices, and the blade is what really makes or breaks your shave.

The best thing you can do is buy a sample pack – this will cost about $20, but you’ll get blades from multiple manufacturers, so it ends up being the most convenient way to find the best blade for your face (or legs, in this case.)

You’ll end up paying 30-50 cents per blade in the sample pack, but once you settle on one you like, you can buy them in bulk to really save money. (Look for packs of 100 blades for $10.)

I have found that Astra and Derby blades are high-quality and work for many people (including myself,) so make sure your sample pack includes both those brands.

How to choose a shaving cream:

As with blades, different creams work better for different people. However, as long as you choose a true shaving cream and not something from the department store, you’ll probably get a good shave.

I’ve been using Dreadnought, but Proraso and Cremo are also very popular.

You also have the option of using shaving soap instead of cream. They’re the same thing, but cream has added water, so it saves you a little time and effort when lathering up. A block of hard soap will last much longer, is nearly as easy to use, and ends up being cheaper in the long run.

A couple good choices include the Palmolive shave stick and the Arko shaving soap stick.

How to choose a shave brush:

When using a true shaving cream or soap, you’ll need a shave brush to whip up a good lather for your face. These things can cost up to $100 for a fancy badger brush, but for most people, a $20 boar bristle brush will work fine.

Actually, for leg shaving, a boar bristle brush would be preferable, since the stiffer bristles help to exfoliate your skin.

A couple very nice brushes are made by Parker and Tweezerman – and each is under $20 on Amazon.com. The Parker even includes its own stand!

Just stay away from the brushes that cost less than $10. There’s a significant difference in quality and ease of use between a $6 brush and a $16 brush!

 

What To Know Before You Get Started!

If you are familiar with the normal leg shaving process, you’re almost ready to get started. A lot of the concepts are the same.

For instance:

  • Shave with the grain for less irritation, and against the grain for a smoother shave.
  • Be especially careful around knees and ankles.
  • Don’t press too hard on the razor.
  • Exfoliate beforehand, choose a quality shaving cream, and use a good aftershave.

However, there are some key differences this time:

  • The razor is much heavier, so you don’t need to apply any pressure – just let the weight of the razor do the work.
  • You get to (i.e. have to) choose the blade angle.
  • The blades are insanely sharp. You won’t even feel them cut you (you’ll just see the stream of blood.)
  • There is no flex from a pivoting head, so even more caution is required around knees and ankles.
  • There’s no “lubricating strip” on these razor blades, so you need a really good pre-shave oil and shaving cream – you won’t want to use regular bodywash as a shaving cream substitute.
  • Smooth metal handles are slippery when wet!

What’s next? Shaving!

 

Watch the How-To Video

Want to see how some DE leg shaving action? Watch as Cassie from Maggard Razors demonstrates proper shaving technique:

Or, scroll down for full written instructions.

 

DE Safety Razor Instructions

OK, here we go, shaving time!

Wash and exfoliate your legs.

First, wash your legs in a hot bath or shower. If possible, you should exfoliate them, too.

Apply pre-shave oil.

Take a very small amount of oil and massage it into your stubble. Your legs will have a nice sheen to them once it’s applied.

Whip up a good lather.

If using shaving cream, get an almond size dollop on your moistened shave brush. If you have a bowl, you can work up a lather in it. If not, work up the lather right on your leg.

Have a shaving stick? Just rub it into your stubble, then use the brush to whip up a lather across your leg.

What’s important here is to only do one leg at a time! More specifically, one half of one leg. It’s a complex process, so don’t plan to do a whole leg at once.

Shave.

Once you have one section lathered, it’s time to grab your razor and remove the hair (finally!)

Remember what I said about blade angle? Unlike cartridge razors, where the blades are lined up already, you get to choose the angle at which this blade moves across your skin. It’s going to be tricky.

To get the feel for the right angle, start with the razor at 0 degrees (which is where the top of the razor touches your skin.) Now, gradually move the handle towards your leg and slowly slide it along until you can feel the blade cutting the hair.

It’s probably going to be somewhere between a 20 and 45 degree angle. Keep practicing, because this is the most important aspect to getting a smooth shave. You’ll need lots of practice and time spent with your particular razor and blade combination to see what’s best for you.

As you start to shave (ideally an easy area like your shin,) let the weight of the razor do the work for you. The blade is so sharp, it doesn’t require extra pressure to cut your hair. Though if you do choose to apply extra pressure, it will gladly take off a layer of skin!

Using short strokes will help you to focus on proper technique.

And I’ll say it again, be super careful! You’ll quickly notice that there’s no flexing or pivoting, like you get with a cartridge razor. The safety razor will NOT contour around your body, so getting around knees and ankles is immensely more difficult.

Repeat.

Repeat the lathering an shaving on the second half of that leg, then do your other leg.

Rinse with cold water.

When you’re all done (a long while later,) rinse your legs with cold water.

Pat dry.

Apply post-shave balm.

Finally, apply post-shave balm to your legs. This should feel good!

Clean up your tools.

But wait, you’re not done! Now that you’re using real shaving tools, you need to treat them with care. (If you do, they’ll last for years, if not a lifetime.)

Rinse your razor with hot water and pat dry.

Rinse your brush in warm water and gently squeeze the bristles to remove excess water.

Then hang your razor and brush on your shaving stand and go enjoy your day!

(Even if you don’t have a shaving stand, rig up some type of hanger so that you can hang your shaving brush upside down. You don’t want the moisture from the bristles dripping down into the handle.)

 

Getting The Best Shave Possible

Here are three last tips to help you get the best shave possible (eventually.)

Make sure you use a proper lather.

Getting a good lather is part art, part science. You need both good hand movement and just the right amount of water on your brush. Not to mention, just the right ratio of soap to water if you’re using a shaving stick.

See this step-by-step photo gallery from the Straight Razor Wiki page for an excellent guide.

Change blades often.

Though I can use a blade for about one week when shaving my face, I replace the blade each time I shave my legs. Why?

Just think about how much shaving is involved! Going by my surface area estimates, one leg shaving session is like shaving your face 4-5 times.

Blades are only 10 cents each, and they’re recyclable, so don’t get stingy here!

Keep a shave log.

As you’re learning, it’s a good idea to keep a shave log (it’s like a training log for your leg shaving.) This can be a simple spreadsheet listing the razor, type of blade, blade age or number of uses, shaving cream, and notes on how it went (smoothness, comfort, closeness, etc..)

This is especially important when you’re going through your variety pack of blades.

 

My Final Verdict Is…

Overall, I think my safety razor is super cool, but I don’t really recommend doing this. It’s like these razors weren’t made for leg shaving.

Seriously, it’s dangerous with the metal handle. It gets slippery (especially in the shower) and is hard to hold upside down.

Between the non-flexing blade and the slippery handle, that extra time really adds up when shaving your legs.

I can see the allure of using a DE razor on your face, or just owning one because it makes your bathroom look manly, but I like the ease and time savings of a cartridge razor (Gillette Mach3, Schick Hydro3, Dorco FRA1000, etc.) for leg shaving.

The Dreadnought Shaving line is excellent though, no matter what razor you choose!

 

Are you using a DE safety razor on your legs? Or do you plan to start?

 

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2 Comments
  1. Hmm, my husband has been using safety razors for a long time, however, I have not used it to shave legs – I guess it is time to try this =)

  2. A couple of additional tips:

    I’ve shaved dozens of women’s bikini areas (I was in the adult business and shoots often required the woman to be completed shaved). I frequently encountered women, especially if they had very fair skin, who would get terrible razor burn and bumps, some that looked mighty painful. I had a 100% success rate following this procedure:

    – Always soften skin/hair with warm-hot water. Soaking in a tub works best.

    – Submerse the razor in very warm water for at least three minutes before starting to shave. A blade that’s too cold will drag and cause razor burn, a blade that’s too hot will warp and will cut inconsistently. During shaving, rinse blade in very warm water to maintain the temperature of the blade.

    -For very sensitive skin, always shave with the grain of the hair, and most importantly, DO NOT MAKE A PASS OVER SKIN UNLESS IT HAS SHAVING CREAM ON IT! EVER! We’ve shaved our legs thousands of times. Most of us make at least one pass over skin that has already been shaven, so the shaving cream is gone. This is a no no if you’re shaving a sensitive area.

    I’ve seen girls break down and cry because they couldn’t get a decent shave or because the shave they’ve given themselves has created a house of horrors. Follow these steps and anyone can get a great shave on any part of their body.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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