How to Wet Shave with a Safety Razor 

In this article we are going to offer you some advice on how to wet shave with a safety razor. For most of the contributors and writers here at the Shaving Emporium, this is by far, our favourite method of shaving.

Yes, it is classed as an old style of shaving, and many men refer to it as the traditional method of shaving. The DE safety razor and the cutthroat razor have certainly been around for a very long time, and they remain a popular choice for all wet shavers out there.

The electric shavers were initially brought into the market for convenience and speed. When first introduced, they were what are classed as "dry shavers." In other words, they could be applied directly to the skin without the need for any lather.

That did make shaving faster and removed the risk of getting any cuts and nicks. They do however tend to leave the skin dry and for anyone with sensitive skin, can also leave it red and itchy. Thankfully though the main shaving manufacturers have now introduce wet/dry electric shavers, which now allow you to have a wet shave.

Wet shaving on the other hand, when done properly, does away with the problems of dry skin, and rashes.

What Do You Need for a DE Razor Wet Shave?

The good news is that you don't need that many items to get the perfect wet shave with a double edged safety razor. All you need is:

Some men prefer to use a shaving soap rather than a cream.

Shaving Cream vs Shaving Soap

Different people have different preferences and some guys will use a shaving cream, whereas others, like using a soap. So the question really to answer is what is the difference.

Shaving Cream

  • This is by far the most convenient method of applying a lubricant to the skin
  • It can be applied using the hand or by using a shaving brush
  • It is slightly more expensive than shaving soap on a like for like basis
  • It is fast as you don't need to create a lather and as such ready to use instantly

Shaving Soap

  • This is by far the most convenient method of applying a lubricant to the skin
  • You do need to use a brush to get a good lather
  • It is slightly cheaper than buying a shaving cream
  • It is more time consuming as you have to build up a lather
  • Many users prefer this traditional method

The choice really does come down to personal preference. Many men start out with a cream and then decide to try shaving soap. To use soap you will need to invest in a good quality shaving brush of which there are many to choose from, and you will need something like a shaving mug or bowl to whip the lather in.

Step by Step Method for Wet Shaving with a Safety Razor

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Wet the face - The first step is to wet the face with hot water. Now, ideally you should actually use something like a hot towel to soften and raise the bristles. That is what a barber will do, but in reality most of us just don't have the time to do that every morning. The best time to wet shave is just when out of the shower as the steam will have helped soften the bristles. Whatever method you use, the starting point is to wet the face and get it ready for the next phase.


Apply the shaving cream - You should now apply the shaving cream, and you do not need to use a lot of cream. It can be applied by hand making sure all of the beard is well and truly covered. Small circular motions work best. Ideally though a shaving brush is much better as the bristles on a brush also help work on the skin below and will soften the hair faster.


Shave using the safety razor - You can now shave using a sharp razor blade on your safety razor. A razor blade is good for about 5 shaves and after that it should replaced. Hold the razor at an angle of 45 degrees to get the best shave and shave in the direction that the hair grows.

What Do You Need for a Cutthroat Wet Shave?

There is very little difference in wet shaving with a cutthroat razor, in terms of the actual process. The only obvious difference is the shaving tool that you are using. The cutthroat is of course the most traditional method of wet shaving and it goes back many years.

It is however a harder thing to master, and if you are a beginner using one of these, you do need to exercise a bit more care. We would never recommend going straight from dry shaving to using a cutthroat, also known as a straight razor.

Anyone moving to wet shaving from dry shaving will need a little time for their skin to adjust.

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We would always recommend using a DE razor first for a few months before trying out a cutthroat. The DE safety razor has the word safety in it for a reason. The blade in a DE razor is held between combs which is what offers some protection to your skin.

With a cutthroat that protection is simply not there. The skin is exposed to the blade. A similar technique is used in terms of using a cutthroat, but the comb protection is gone, so by using a DE safety razor first, the technique learned there makes using a cutthroat a great deal safer.

There are two types of cutthroat, the fixed blade and the replaceable blade (this uses razor blades). It doesn't really make any difference to the shaving technique which blade you prefer. However, should you decide to buy a fixed blade type, you will also need to buy a honing strap to keep it sharp.

What Do You Need for an Electric Wet/Dry Shaver?

Once again the preparation is the same as for any other form of wet shaving. You wet the face with hot water and apply either a shaving soap, cream or gel. With a wet/dry electric shaver you can now use the electric razor to have a shave.

There are plenty of choices for these available on the UK market. All the leading manufacturers make these in a few different models, that will have slightly different features.

Hopefully this article has helped you out. If you want more detail about all the various wet shaving supplies, then you should check out our article on wet shaving supplies. In that we cover all of the products that are available for all types of wet shaving.

The most popular form of wet shaving is to use the DE safety razor, and hopefully this guide has helped you out if you decide you want to give that type of shaving a try. It is a very cost effective method and it gives you a really close clean shave.

Enda McLarnon

Thanks for visiting the Shaving Emporium website. This is a shaving website aimed at readers in the UK and Ireland. We have included lots of information about shaving and grooming, and we have also completed detailed research that helps us write our product reviews. We like to have our information as up to date as possible.

Enda McLarnon

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