Any women (or any gender) using a double-edge razor to shave their body?
June 30, 2018 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm not a woman (and I don't shave my body), but my partner is, she's looking for advice/recommendations, and she doesn't have a MeFi account, so I'm asking on her behalf. Details inside.

She currently shaves with various standard popular "ladies" versions of multi-blade cartridge razors. I've been shaving my face with a double edge safety for years and she's recently expressed an interest in making the switch, largely due to being increasingly concerned about disposable plastic waste.

I was wondering if there were any women or other people who routinely shave legs etc. here who could comment on how easy the switch is and give any advice?

Her general skin/hair:

• She has, in general, fairly thin/light hair which shaves easily and isn't prone to either ingrowing or obvious stubble.

• She does, though, have very pale, sensitive and easily marked/irritated skin. Also she's one of those people who tends to be allergic/sensitive and brought out in a rash by loads of products. Unfortunately no specific ingredients we've been able to nail down to avoid, she's just a delicate flower.

Her routine:

• Underarms potentially daily (not always but probably so in summer weather when she's going sleeveless)

• Legs probably every other week at most (at absolute most, probably far less - she has very fine/blonde hair there so really only bothers at all in weather hot enough where she won't be wearing tights (pantyhose, for you USians) or trousers (pants, again for USians, but I reckon you knew that one))

• Ladygarden pretty infrequently and then only the probably least sensitive "bikini line" bits around the edge (other parts being either ignored because we're both too familiar and comfortable to give a shit, or dealt with by other methods if the mood calls for it).

Specific questions:

• First up any recommended handles which are more suitable for body shaving rather than facial? I'm aware that traditional "ladies" versions of DE razors tend to have longer handles, is that necessary/recommended by people with experience?

• For people who have made the switch, how easy was it? I'm aware that it took me a while to get used to using a DE on my face and I still have to pay more attention than I did when using a cartridge razor, I'd imagine it's even more different when shaving parts you aren't necessarily looking at in the mirror.

• What's the best preparation setup? I'd never use standard shave gel/foam since switching to DE (strictly brush and soap/cream to work up a lather) but that's not much more of an imposition if you're shaving standing up over a sink. She'd usually be shaving in the bath/shower using either just the lather from the shower gel/soap she's already using or maybe some sort of ladies version of shaving gel/foam. Is this tenable at all?

Any advice/experiences greatly appreciated, thanks.

(To head off at the pass anyone who has questions based on the fact I'm a man asking this for a woman, please believe me when I say that I would not give one single shit if she never shaved or groomed a damn thing again, and she knows that, but this level of grooming is what she feels comfortable with.)
posted by Dext to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: 1. Cishet woman here who made the switch upon the recommendation of my boyfriend who is pretty serious about his shave routine. He bought me this razor handle, which I recommend because it’s a comfortable size and weight, and functions smoothly.

He also bought me a multipack of different types and brands of blades, so that I could try them out and decide which one was best for me. Some razor blades are more aggressive than others. Some tend to result in agitating the skin no matter how gentle you are; others feel weak and require multiple passes to fully remove alll hair, which is inefficient. I, personally, prefer Feather blades.

2. Pre setup: So, I shave my legs and underarms. I find it’s best to get my leg hair fully damp with very warm to hot water for several minutes, before I begin shaving. There is a culture of folks who do cold water shaving but I haven’t explored that, personally.

For a shave lubricant, I use either Dr. Bronner’s soap, or Cremo Cream.

Big emphasis on *don’t* press hard with the razor. The weight of the razor handle itself, and a quality razor blade, should be sufficient to remove the hair with one to two passes. I hold the handle with a light grip in such a way that it shifts and moves against my hand as I make each pass; in turn, the blade shifts gently with the curve of the area being shaved. This is not only how you get a more efficient shave but also avoid razor burn. Of course, depending on skin sensitivity levels, YMMV.

I tend to make two passes, once with the grain of the hair and once against the grain of the hair. The former is a better method than the latter; again, less skin agitation.

The above methods all work well for sensitive areas like underarms and bikini line. I like to do the deodorant trick (the one everyone says they learned from an exotic dancer friend, but I just learned about from the internet) and even use it on my legs to help with razor burn. What actually works best are the “bump stopper” balms that you’ll often find marketed to men of color. It’s inexpensive and works well. I am not loyal to any particular brand, but just generally find that whatever is used in these products is more effective for post-shave, smooth, unirritated skin what’s in the ones marketed to cis white women.

Always dry your razor blades by patting with a clean hand towel. I replace my blade every other shave. To dispose of them safely, I tend to keep an empty altoid tin and throw the used ones in there until full. Then wrap the tin with duct tape to secure and toss.

I hope this helps!

One thing I will add is that it takes time, patience and practice to get used to a wetshaving routine if you’ve only been using Venus or other disposable razors up to this point. I still keep some Venus razors around if I need a quick shave but it’s not ideal.
posted by nightrecordings at 11:08 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have made this switch and would definitely recommend it to others. My reason was mostly because I flat out refuse to continue paying the ridiculous amount they charge for disposable razors, and the financial savings have definitely proven worthwhile. To answer your questions:

-Having purchased just a generally-recommended-by-the-internet basic razor, I will say I wish I had a longer handled version. It can be pretty slippery at times and more area to grip would be really helpful. It’s not problematic enough to make me purchase a new one, but if I was recommending it to a friend or replacing it eventually, I would say go long-handled if you can.

-I gave myself plenty of learning time, just to be cautious. I practiced once while sitting in the bathtub, going super slowly and gently. But honestly, I think within a week I was back to my regular routine, shaving in the shower like it was no biggie. Two related caveats: (1) I still choose to use a disposable to shave my bikini area because (2) when I do slip accidentally or drag the razor the wrong way, the cuts/injuries are more serious/deep and that is a more difficult area to shave. Her mileage may vary. Just go slow, don’t put a lot of pressure on the razor (let the weight of the razor do the work),and replace the blades often (they’re cheap so it’s easier to do that).
-My routine is still just using shaving cream or hair conditioner to shave (though this causes some of the slipping issues, to be fair). I plan to someday look into a shaving soap, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
-I feel like I have less razor burn

I do recommend giving it a try - I am happy with the decision to switch!
posted by carlypennylane at 11:12 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Never able to make the switch, so I've used some of these techniques to reduce plastic waste.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:09 PM on June 30, 2018

Has she tried a good electric trimmer/razor? I have sensitive skin to shaving and remove various body hair as the temperature and mood dictates, and generally do better with them than anything with a blade.
posted by Candleman at 1:08 PM on June 30, 2018

I gave Mrs unix my old DE razor when I wanted a new one. She uses the same blades I do but getting a sample pack of different blades is an excellent idea.

I don’t remember any issues when she switched.
posted by unix at 1:22 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

No issues switching for me, either. I use an old Gillette Fatboy, which I love for its weighty, short handle, and Derby Extra blades. You can use a new blade every time you shave and it will still be cheaper than buying cartridges.
posted by zoetrope at 1:43 PM on June 30, 2018

Best answer: Has she tried a good electric trimmer/razor?

I'm a trans woman on estrogen (so I probably have equally soft/sensitive skin as OP's partner, but I may have denser hair some places).

I find a good electric shaver is gentler and more thorough but also more time-consuming than a razor on my legs. I can't ever seem to get the hang of using one on my armpits, though — something about the concavity, I think. Double edged razors work fine for me in both areas the few times I've tried them, as do disposables.

So this might be a thing that varies according to your own personal flexibility and armpit topography.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:56 PM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

tl;dr The US brands (Gillette, Schick) are a complete ripoff. Look at the cheap imports (Dorco, Dollar Club? Harry's?) which are just as good and not a ripoff. (Unless the new tariffs have changed that.)
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:49 PM on June 30, 2018

Yeah I have, it was easy. Just used regular shave gel and warm water in the shower with a Jagger double edge razor. The only thing that took getting used to was to not push hard at all and getting the right angle. Legs don't have as many angles as faces so they're actually probably a lot easier to shave, just more area.

I did have to try many different blades before finding ones I liked that didn't irritate my skin.

I did this for about two years and overall I preferred it to standard razors; it was cheaper and gave a much better shave. The issues I had were that it did take me a lot longer to shave and ... I was lazy and left the razor in the shower until it eventually rusted shut and I could not get it open again to change the blade. You aren't supposed to do that. You're supposed to take it apart and dry it in between shaves. I was usually in too much of a hurry to do that, especially given how long the shave took in the first place. I regret this now but I also haven't replaced the razor yet.
posted by Polychrome at 5:38 PM on June 30, 2018

I've been using a safety razor for several years now and MUCH prefer it to my former Gilette Venus razor. This piece in (the now sadly defunct) XOVain is what made make the switch in 2014 after being super annoyed by the poor quality shave offered by the super expensive blades for so many years. I have this one and have had to get blade refills like twice in the four years I've had it (I rarely change my blades). It is economical as heck. I use a cheap drugstore conditioner to shave with.

I shave my armpits pretty much every day and shave my legs around once a week. I shave my bikini line regularly in the summer. Compared to my previous razor, I find the safety razor does a much better job and that I get much less razor burn, even in sensitive areas. It is good at getting in to most tighter areas.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:10 AM on July 3, 2018

« Older Post-hysterectomy pain management   |   What is this grid of red dots on my chin? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.