New 5-panel Hats Now in Stock! Click Here to Check Them Out.
June 29, 2017
The head shave, the most challenging part of changing from a cartridge razor to a Safety Razor, is a daunting but achievable feat. In this article, we will touch on the techniques, tips, tricks and skills needed to come out unscathed. The head shave breaks down to 3 major areas of focus and properly handling each area will result in a smooth shave every time. The 3 things this article will focus on are: Prep, Lather and Razor. We will go into the best procedures and tools for the job, and believe me your head is gonna to thank you.
The most important part of any shave is always the preparation. You can’t just take a blade to your face without a little wet work. For head shaving, prep is even more important. If you’ve been shaving your face with a safety razor, you know that the chin is the most difficult area to get right, and the head, is “all chin”, so take it slow and follow the steps here.
Use a hair or beard trimmer to bring it down to a manageable level. Safety razors can handle a bit more length than a cartridge razor and they get clogged up a lot less, but the shorter the hair, the better shave you are going to get. I usually set my clippers to the lowest setting . Takes a couple extra seconds but it’s definitely worth it.
Truing to shave without thoroughly wetting the hair and skin is a sure-fire way to cut yourself and have an all-around uncomfortable shave. Hot water seems to work best, although some people swear by a cold shower and cold water shave. Personally, I prefer hot showers. You can try to use hot towels but a shower tends to take the same amount of time to get satisfactory results. Also, while in the shower use a high glycerin based soap to wash your head and face and it will help with prep by softening the hair and moisturizing the skin.
A little pre-shave oil goes a long way with keeping the skin soft and to keep the lather from further drying your skin. Two or three drops massaged into the scalp is plenty and you should feel the slickness immediately. A good pre-shave oil should be non-comedogenic which means it won’t clog your pores. Using a quality oil will also help with dandruff and dry scalp issues that can arise from constant head shaving. Our Snake Oil is also designed to be used as a hair tonic and a beard oil so you can get some other uses from it. It can also be used in a pinch to oil your electric clippers, but check with your manufacturer before trying this as all clippers are different.
Check out our article about how to lather shaving soap if you want to get a little further in depth, but we will cover the right way to make a protective slick lather from a shaving soap or shaving cream in this article as well. Canned foams, gels and brushless creams need not apply.
Brush choice is not critical to the end result here, but to make your life easier and your shave more enjoyable, I would recommend using a brush on the larger size, maybe a 28-30mm knot in your preference of badger, boar or synthetic. Synthetics have made significant strides in the last couple years and now are as highly regarded as some of the best badger brushes on the market. I like to get my synthetic brush just about dripping wet and load it up on the surface of the soap for about 100 swirls. This makes a bit of a mess but the soap will be well loaded in the brush for the next step. If you are using a cream, add an almond sized dollop to a bowl and use your wet brush to load it into the brush there.
Making lather is just like making whipped cream, we want to add as much air volume to the lather as it can hold. Small bubbles are a good sign that it is ready, and a healthy sheen should develop if it is well hydrated. Add water slowly, you can always add more but you can’t take it away. You can whip your lather up with your brush in a bowl or you can skip that step and work it right on your head and face. Which brings us to the next part.
Don’t be afraid to really work the brush on the skin, it will further enhance the lather, help the hair stand up, and exfoliate the skin. Get good coverage and save the lather on your brush for a second pass by standing it on it’s base or putting it in a bowl or scuttle. You are now ready to choose your weapon.
Your choice of razor and blade combo is tantamount to getting a nick free shave, especially on your head.
I’d recommend something with a head geometry that is on the milder side. We have a Slant razor that I definitely wouldn’t recommend for a beginner here; our SR-71 Guard Bar Razor would be a better candidate for someone starting out. You can check out our article on safety razor shaving here if you want a little more info. So stick with a mild razor, and choose a blade that agrees with your skin.
Choosing a razor with a shorter handle helps with the tight maneuvering and I personally like something with a little heft. Again, our SR-71 would fit the bill as well as some vintage razors. Heavy handles help to allow the razor to do the work
Some blades are known to be sharper or less smooth out of the box. Everyone’s skin is different, so try a few different ones on your face and on your head. I usually purchase sample packs online but many local stores are now carrying Double edge blades. I always toss the blade after a head shave, even though I can get 5-6 face-only shaves from a blade. Headshaving seems to wear blades out much more quickly.
Ok you are now ready to shave. Here’s a couple tips to help it go smoothly.
Get all the easy stuff out of the way. We will tackle the harder stuff afterwards. Seeing what you are doing gives you an idea of what the razor will be doing when you cant see it. This allows you to see how often you need to rinse and how efficient it is cutting.
Make sure you use your other hand. Use it to keep your skin tight and also use it tactilely to feel for areas you may have missed, or need to be touched up.
Shave with the grain for your first pass, relather and then attack it from a different angle. Working across the grain or, if needed, against the grain will be significantly easier if you’ve reduced the amount of hair there. Using your other hand will help you find problem areas.
You are now ready to go tackle the beast on your own! If you need anything mentioned in this article, I have put links to the products into the text and we also sell a starter kit here with everything you need to get started with wetshaving. Good luck and let us know how it goes in the comments!
Comments will be approved before showing up.
March 29, 2016
As we continue to experiment with different shaving soap formulas, we find that high tallow content makes excellent lather. With some free time in the lab, we took a day to render some tallow and get ready to make a new batch of hot process shaving soaps.
March 22, 2016
1. Share with friends and family, but don’t spam them. In fact, the one rule to follow is “don’t spam anyone.”
2. Make use of social media. Putting your Holy Black affiliate link in your bio on InstagraM
March 07, 2016
Believe it or not, Aftershave is not as straightforward as it would sound. What kind should you use? When should you use it? What does it do? I will answer these questions for you and maybe a little extra in this new blog post. Aftershave lotions, balms, tonics and toners are all slightly different but in the same family. We will demystify them for you here