SHAVING GUIDE 2

Hi guys!

I'm Emer, the owner of Aphrodite Razors. Thank you so much for choosing to read this guide. I've put this together specially for you! I wanted to compile all my shaving tips, hacks and how tos as well as compare a safety razor to the more generally used plastic razor. I hope you find it helpful!

If you're reading this guide, you probably suffer from ingrowns, irritation or razor burn. Maybe you dread shaving and put it off as long as possible. You might be fed up of spending so much money on disposable or cartridge razors or sick of constantly nicking yourself and are looking for simple tips to help improve your shaving game. 

Maybe you also are looking for small simple changes you could make to help out the environment. Like me not so long ago, maybe you've become much more plastic aware. I remember looking around my bathroom in horror at just how much plastic I was constantly surrounded by.

You may have seen a figure banded about online - "2 billion razors and cartridge refills get tossed out in the US every year". However this figure dates back to the Environmental Protection Agency's website in 1990, the EPA now says it does not track the impact of disposable razors on the environment and has no update on the figure.

If 2 billion disposable and cartridge razors were thrown out in 1990 alone, can you imagine how much this figure has risen in the over 30 years since? And this figure is for the US alone, the true number of plastic razors thrown out worldwide is still unknown.

Plastic can take up to 500 years to degrade. That means every piece of plastic you've thrown away still exists right now, including all those disposable or cartridge razors you've used during your life time.

In 2020 in the UK, an estimated 5.45 million people used disposable razors, while 13.36 million used refillable cartridge razors. Imagine the impact if all of these people made the switch away from plastic razors!

I'm not saying this to freak you out, shame you, condescend to you or make you feel environmental guilt. I just want you to consider it if, like me once upon a time, you never have before. 

I personally switched to a safety razor to reduce plastic waste but was blown away by how much better my shaves were with it. There's definitely a learning curve, don't get me wrong, but all the ingrown hairs, itchiness and irritation I previously experiended constantly was no longer as big of a problem. I'm not going to lie to you and say I've not experienced any ingrown hairs from the day I made the switch, but the difference really has been noticable. And now I don't dread shaving at all! It's become part of my sacred self care ritual and leaves me feeling smooth, relaxed and pampered!

I'll be honest, the first time I used a safety razor I was pretty intimidated. I had this ridiculous image of immediately slicing my leg open, a really deep and painful cut. Which in reality, is pretty much impossible! Safety razors use double edge blades, but most have a closed comb head. This means they provide extra protection for the skin with a safety bar that runs underneath the length of the razor blade. Basically, cutting yourself with a safety razor is the exact same as cutting yourself with a regular plastic razor. Not ideal, but also very superficial - pretty much just a paper cut. I'm going to give you all the guidance possible in this guide to avoid cuts completely, but I wanted to put your mind at ease first. This may seem obvious to some people, but it's a pretty understandable concern if you've never shaved or even really looked at a safety razor before.

Well, I have the best solution for pretty much all of the above. Still not convinced? Let's compare!

Safety Razor vs Plastic Razor

one sharp blade vs combination of multiple blades some blunt some sharp

100% recyclable and plastic free vs plastic that ends up in landfill

lasts a lifetime vs used a few times, then has to be thrown away

zero pressure needed vs pressure needed

luxurious and heavy vs cheap plastic

costs as little as 20p per blade vs a cartlidge refill can each cost £3

no moisture strips vs bacteria ridden chemical filled lubricating strips

  

not to be biased or anything, but safety razors are also much more luxurious and beautiful than their alternatives, they can be displayed on a shelf for the perfect bathroom jewelry.

 

 

Benefits of Switching to a Safety Razor

If you're about to use a safety razor for the first time let's go over all the benefits you're about to experience. Or if you haven't made the switch yet, why you should!

Let's start by gonig over some of these comparisons between safety razors and plastic razors.

You're more likely to irritate your skin with disposable razors. They're designed so that the blunted first blade presses into the skin while the sharper blades behind cut the hair. Unfortunately this means the hair is often cut below the surface of the skin, resulting in the hair curling back on itself as it's unable to push through the skin as it grows. This of course leads to ingrowns. Safety razors don't have this problem. They use just one sharp blade and with no pressure used, cut the hair at the surface of the skin every single time.

Safety razors are designed to last you years. Unlike their plastic alternatives, that are designed to be thrown into landfill after a handful of uses, safety razors are made solely from high quality metal (no plastic here) and use 100% infinitely recyclable stainless steel blades. Zero waste vs tonnes of plastic dumped over a lifetime. No brainer, huh?

Get ready to save some dough. Safety razors use universal double edged razor blades that are readily available to buy from pharmacies, vv, and bb and cost as little as 20p per blade. Whereas disposable razors can cost around £1.50 and the more expensive cartlidge heads can be bought for over £3 EACH. Imagine how much you could save over years!

Strip free. Disposable razors often have a nasty 'lubricating strip' that is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. They can contain harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients that don't benefit the skin and can instead contribute to drying it out. Safety razors, on the other hand house one blade only, are strip free and are best paired witha high quality natural shaving soap or balm. They also can be cleaned easily with soap and water.

 

First Time Using a Safety Razor?

First of all, congrats on making the switch to a more environmentally friendly shaving routine! I know shaving with a safety razor can be daunting the first time, but once you get the hang of it, you'll never look back. It can always take a bit of time to get used to a new routine so be patient with yourself as you learn.

I'd recommend to set aside some time for your first shave as it's not advisable to shave for the first time under time pressure.

 

How to Assemble Your Aphrodite Razor

It's best to change your blade out of the shower or bath, never handle razor blades with wet hands.

1) Twist the handle to unscrew the head, then remove both plates and separate them.

2) Unwrap a brand new blade, being careful to hold it by the short side so as not to cut yourself.

3) Place the blade in the top plate then replace the bottom plate (so the blade is sandwiched in the middle). When assembled correctly, you'll see the ribbed lines facing upward.

4) Reattach and screw in the handle, making sure it's tight. Now you're ready to go!

 

The Basics

No Pressure - My number one tip is to use absolutely NO pressure. If you're used to a plastic razor you probably are also used to pressing in as you shave. This is a big no no with a safety razor, which is a lot heavier than it's plastic alternative. Instead, let the weight of the razor guide you as it glides across the skin. This will decrease your chances of cuts and grazes. 

Short Strokes - Unlike plastic razors, safety razors do not have a flexible head so it's important to use short strokes to get all the hairs. To control the angle of the blade as you shave, keep the razor at about 30 degrees relative to your skin. 

Warm Bath - It's best to shave at the end of a warm shower or bath. This will soften the hair, making it much easier to cut. It also expands your pores so the hair follicles are closest to the surface of your skin, making shaving much easier.

Sharp Blades - Sharp blades will give the closest shave, while dull ones increase your chance of cutting yourself or causing irritation. Each blade should last 3-5 shaves, though this is often dependent on how coarse your hair is. You'll know when it's time to change the blade as you'll feel it dragging on the skin and you won't be achieving as close a shave as usual.

 

Shaving With a Safety Razor

Time to get Silky, Smooth Legs

To get your best shave possible, I'd recommend exfoliating the legs beforehand to remove dead skin cells, oil and dirt. Focus more on extra dry areas. Exfoliating first also lifts the hair up making a closer shave easier to achieve. You can use your favourite body scrub, a loofah or a body brush. I love to use our Rose & Cardamom Body Scrub.

Making sure your skin is clean but damp, apply a layer of shaving soap or balm. This acts as a lubricant for your razor to glide over. Without it, you won't get the same silky smooth shaving experience and it will increase your chances of nicks, cuts and irritation.

Starting from the bottom of your leg, shave using short, smooth strokes. Any areas where the skin is loose, gently pull it tight if necessary. If at all possible, try and move your muscles to tighten up certain areas instead of pulling, eg. flex the foot to tighten up the back of the leg. 

Be delicate over bony areas like shins, kneecaps, and ankles. Make sure you're using zero pressure and are holding your razor at a 30 degree angle. Add more shaving soap or balm to tricky areas and go over them slowly and with super short strokes. 

When you're done, rinse your legs with cool water to tighten and seal the pores and then pat dry to avoid any irritation.

Finish off with a hydrating moisturiser to nourish and soothe your legs post shave. I like to use one of our Moisturising Body Bars. If you're using a product that's heavily fragranced, you may prefer to wait 30 minutes to apply it to avoid any potential stinging.

Always make sure to store your razor out of the water stream, preferably in a dry space away from the shower or bath.

Underarms Have Never Felt Better

First, exfoliate your underarms to help remove any dead skin and product buildup. Sweat and deodorant can clog up your razor and lingering bacteria may cause infections if you experience any nicks or cuts.

When shaving your underarms, it's advisable to keep your arm nice and high to flatten out the area, making it easier to shave in only a couple of strokes. Our number one rule applies here too, add NO pressure in order to avoid any irritation. 

Wet the area and apply your favourite shaving soap or balm.

Your underarm hairs can grow in a number of directions. Because of this, it's important to shave in multiple directions to get all the hair.

Remembering to hold the razor at a 30 degree angle, start shaving slowly with small strokes and in varying directions to get the closest shave. Generally, your first stroke should be upwards in order to shave with the grain, then sideways (some people prefer to shave in an 'X' shape rather than horizontally) and finally downwards to get the root. It's usually trial and error to find what works best for you. Try not to shave the same area repeatedly as this can easily cause irritation.

Make sure to frequently rinse your razor with clean water in between strokes.

When you're finished, rinse the area of any residue and pat dry with a clean towel.

Use a soothing moisturiser, such as aloe vera, to keep the skin hydrated. Try to avoid products containing alcohol.

If you are using a aluminium or alcohol heavy antiperspirant deodorant, don't apply it immediately to avoid any discomfort or irritation.

Deodorants are strong bacteria fighters, but they can also strip skin of natural oils and zap moisture. Deodorants with cream bases tend to be gentler and provide various ingredients to hydrate and replenish. Try to avoid roll-on and spray deodorants, where alcohol is often the first ingredient.

Top tip: to avoid your delicate freshly shaved skin interacting negatively with antiperspirant or sweat, shave at night and apply deodorant in the morning. Sorted.

Let's Get Bikini Ready

As pubic hair tends to be the thickest hair on the body, we'd recommend always using a brand new blade when shaving this area. Shaving at the end of a warm bath or shower is also extra important, as to soften the particularly coarse hair at the bikini line. Make sure to wash the area thoroughly to remove any bacteria or dirt on the skin.

First, trim down any hair longer pieces of hair. Shaving will be much easier and will cause less irritation when the hair is shorter, so take a pair of small safety scissors and trim hair down to around a quarter of an inch. You can use a small hand mirror held between your legs to make sure you don’t miss any hard to see places.

Exfoliate the entire area to remove any dead skin. This enables you to get a closer shave and also helps to prevent ingrown hairs. Try to use a natural product to avoid irritation (and only exfoliate the outer area, never put any product inside the vagina.)

Apply your chosen lubrication, such as shaving soap, to the area you wish to shave, again making sure you're choosing a gentle product that won't iritate your skin. Shaving soap will create a barrier between your skin and the razor blade and allows the razor to glide across your skin without friction.

Start off shaving with the hair growth for the least irritation, and remember - absolutely no pressure! Make sure to go slowly and use short strokes to avoid any nicks. You may need to gently pull on the skin to flatten it out and help the razor glide easily but be careful here. Please see the section on ingrown hairs to understand why it may not be best to pull the skin very tight.

Top tip: if you're tempted to start pulling skin around the bikini line as you shave, try squatting! Sounds strange but it can really help you shave round tricky spots and hard to reach areas.

Make sure to frequently rinse your razor with clean water in between strokes.

If you have particularly sensitive skin, you may want to stop now. If however, you find you're not experiencing any irritation you may reapply your shaving soap and start shaving perpendicularly to the hair growth (ie. at a right angle). 

If you are confident you're still experiencing no irritation, you may now shave against the hair growth for the closest shave. However it's very important to start off slowly and complete the above steps first. NEVER start off shaving against the hair growth. Pubic hair is particularly coarse, which means you are more likely to cause tugging and therefore irritation and bumps when shaving this way.

When you're done shaving, rinse the area fully and then pat dry gently.

Now moisturise with a fragrance free lotion or moisturiser, to lock in moisture and keep pesky ingrown hairs and itchiness away. Make sure to avoid any products with alcohol as this can cause stinging and the stripping of moisture in the skin.

It's important to keep moisturising regularly in between shaves to help avoid itchiness when the hair starts to grow back. If you're finding your bikini line particularly uncomfortable as the hair grows between shaves, a daily dose of lotion or oil might help to soften hair and make it less prickly. Or you can use a little hair conditioner when in the shower - just be sure to wash it off!

 

Immediately After Shaving

Once your skin is dry, always make sure to lock in the moisture with your favourite body moisturiser or lotion. I recommend our Moisturising Butter Bar which intensely nourishes as well as soothes. Make sure to avoid products that contain alcohol, as this robs the skin of moisture and can be irritating. If you have very sensitive skin, it may be best to avoid all aftershave products with any kind of fragrance.

Make sure to only wear loose, breathable clothing made from natural materials directly after shaving, particular sensitive areas like the underarms or bikini line. Your hair provides a certain amount of protection against chafing, and when gone your skin becomes more susceptible to irritation from close fitting clothing.

Inbetween Shaves

A daily moisturising regimen is just as important as a good shaving technique to make a close shave last. Proper hydration is a key factor in keeping skin looking healthy, smooth and youthful.

It's also important to exfoliate one to two days after you've shaved in order to remove dead skin and make it easier for the hair regrowth to come through the skin. This then reduces your chances of developing ingrown hairs.

Blade Disposal

I recommend changing your blades every 3-5 shaves to minimize irritation and keep your shaves as silky smooth as possible. Use a blade tin to keep your used blades safe and secure. Once full simply take it to your local recycling centre where both the tin and the blades inside can be recycled together.

Looking After Your Razor

After every use, make sure to give the razor a quick rinse under the tap, especially the back where soap residue and hair can clog. Then wipe dry and store somewhere cool and dry, away from the shower or bath. It's important your razor is not kept in humid conditions as this negatively impacts the longevity of your razor. It also allows bacteria to grow on the blade which can result in infections.

It's recommended that you take your razor apart every so often to clean all the individual components throughly. Use only soap and water and let your razor air dry on a towel or clean surface completely before you reassemble it.

I find it's best to do this when I'm already opening the razor up to change the blade.

Tips for Shaving with Sensitive Skin

As safety razors use only one blade and therefore cut the hair more cleanly and cause less irritation than their disposable counterparts, they're the perfect partner to sensitive skin. My main tip for shaving very sensitive skin is to always shave with the grain. This may not give the smoothest shave possible but it will minimise skin irritation significantly.

If you're sensitive to fragrance and you find it tends to irritate your skin, opt for fragrance-free products or those with essential oils or natural fragrance.

Razor Burn

What is Razor Burn?

Shaving any area of your body can result in a rash known as razor burn, which is skin irritation caused by contact with the razor. It's symptoms may include redness, itching, burning or tenderness. Razor burn will usually show up minutes after you finish shaving. Symptoms can ease in a day but it could take up to 2 or 3 days for it to clear up completely.

Most Common Causes of Razor Burn

Razor burn is mainly caused by poor shaving technique.

The following can lead to razor burn:
shaving without using a lubricant, such as shaving soap or balm,
shaving against the direction of your hair,
using an old blunt razor,
using a razor that’s clogged with hair or soap,
shaving a single area too many times,
shaving too quickly,
using shaving products that irritate your skin.

Avoiding Razor Burn

Tips to prevent razor burn:
Regularly exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells,
Always shave at the end of a warm shower or bath,
Before shaving, apply a lubricant, such as shaving soap or balm,
Avoid the temptation to pull your skin very tight while shaving,
Shave in the direction of hair growth,
Shave with light and short strokes,
Rinse your blade frequently while shaving to avoid buildup,
Use gentle products while you shave and after,
After shaving, rinse your skin with cold water or apply a cold washcloth to tighten up pores,
Replace your blade frequently.

How to Treat Razor Burn

Great, now you know how to avoid razor burn! But what if you have it right now?

To relieve uncomfortable symptoms, the best course of action is to apply gentle yet soothing products that can also protect the skin while deeply moisturising it.

Aloe vera gel not only soothes skin, but also acts as a moisturiser, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. I personally find using gel directly from an aloe plant gives the best result. Apply it liberally over the affected area and leave to dry for at least 30 minutes. 

You can also apply an astringent such as witch hazel extract, apple cider vinegar or cooled black tea to help cool down the rash.

Tea tree oil can also help soothe irritation and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Mix 10-15 drops into a bowl of warm water, soak a washcloth in the mixture and then apply the cloth to the affected area for 30 minutes to ease symptoms.

If your razor burn has affected your legs or bikini zone in particular, you can opt for a nice soak in an oatmeal bath, which is sure to provide relief. Some research shows oatmeal possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Use lukewarm water and colloidal oatmeal for best results.

Other ingredients that may help calm irritation include green tea, chamomile and comfrey. While natural oils and butters such as jojoba seed oil, sweet almond oil and shea butter will hydrate the skin without causing any further irritation.

If you do get shaving irritation, it's very important to let the area heal before you drag your razor over it again and potentially make it worse. Shaving over skin abrasions can lead to scarring and even severely impacted ingrown hairs. Yikes.

If you experience any signs of infection or it fails to clear after a couple of weeks, please consult your doctor.

Ingrown Hairs (Razor Bumps)

What are Ingrown Hairs and How Do They Form?

Ingrown hairs can occur when you remove hair through methods such as shaving, tweezing, or waxing. When the hair grows back, it curls into your skin instead of away. While similar to razor burn, razor bumps can cause tenderness, inflammation and small, raised bumps. They can also cause hyperpigmentation and can be itchy.

Dry shaving or using a dull razor are the most common causes of ingrown hairs while shaving.

Shaving dry hair with absolutely no lubrication can risk pulling the hair up from its follicle and having it snap back under the skin, where it can grow crookedly, not able to exit the follicle. The pull of a dull or used razor can twist or redirect the hair follicle when you shave. Both of these can then cause ingrown hairs.

Preventing Ingrown Hairs

I've already covered how using multi blade plastic razors can contribute to ingrowns by cutting the hair below the surface of the skin. So switching to a safety razor is the first big step in saying goodbye to ingrowns.

Most of the prevention of ingrowns also fall in the category of preventing razor burn so the previous tips will help here too. But the main difference to emphasise is proper exfoliation, both directly before and several days afterwards. This ensures there is no build up of dead skin and dirt as you shave or as the hair regrowth pushes through the skin.

It's also important to resist the urge to pull the skin taut as you shave. Tightening the skin can cause hairs to be shaved below the resting surface of the skin. Again, cutting them too short can cause skin irritation and ingrown hairs.

Removing Ingrown Hairs

Before trying to remove any ingrown hairs you may have, it's important you do not shave the area again until the ingrown has gone away as this can aggravate the sensitive area even more. Trying to pick or scratch the ingrown should also be avoided. I know it's tempting, but it increases your chances of an infection or scarring.

First, apply a warm compress or washcloth to the area to relax and soften the skin and follicle. Rubbing the washcloth in a gentle circular motion over the hair can work to coax the hair out. If that doesn't work, try rubbing a soft toothbrush in a similar movement to release the trapped hair.

Once the hair emerges above the skin, use sterile tweezers or a needle to gently pull the hair. It's important you don't pluck it out completely until the area is completely healed or the skin may just heal over the hair again.

Most importantly, do NOT use tweezers to dig into the skin at all, if the hair is not above the surface of the skin, leave it alone! This could easily cause an infection.

Once the hair is fully out, use only gentle soaps and natural exfoliants to care for the skin in this area until it's completely healed.

If the ingrown hair becomes infected, please consult your doctor.

Itchiness After Shaving

What Causes Itchy Skin After Shaving

When you use a razor to get rid of visible hair on your skin, you’re not really removing all your hair - you’re just cutting it off close to where it grows. Your hair follicles continue to grow hair underneath your skin, and shaving can cause those follicles to become irritated. It’s this irritation that can make you feel itchy after you shave.

Depending on where you shave (bikini line, underarms, legs, etc.), the area where you’re shaving may be particularly sensitive or prone to getting irritated. The pubic area is among the most prone parts of the body to feeling itchy as it is a very sensitive area for most, and the hair in that area typically is thicker, making it more noticeably uncomfortable when you feel it growing back.

Artifically fragranced soaps and harsh chemicals used on your skin prior to shaving can also irritate or dry out your skin and cause itching.

How to Prevent Itchy Skin After Shaving

Prevention is the best way to address recurring itchiness after shaving. Here are some steps you can follow every time you shave your legs, bikini line, or underarms to prevent itching:

Because this post-shave itch often affects those with sensitive skin, it should be treated accordingly. A high alcohol content in shaving gel or cream may dry skin out, causing it to itch or feel tight. Choose products containing little to no alcohol and instead, look for moisturising and soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, natural oils, vitamin E, and glycerin.

Also, always moisturise after shaving and on the days between shaving. Hydrated skin will not only feel smoother, it will look it too. Without moisturising, skin can become dry and flaky which often leads to itchiness.

What to Do If You Experience Itchiness After Shaving

Apply a warm compress.
Using a warm, damp washcloth, you can compress the area where you have discomfort. Adding a small amount of sea salt to the water solution on the washcloth may also enhance the healing process and reduce itching.

Use an all natural moisturiser
To soothe your skin after shaving, try to apply a cooling, hypo-allergenic moisturizer with natural ingredients.



 

Now it's time to put all your newfound knowledge to practice!

Use code SHAVINGGUIDE20 to get 20% off your Aphrodite Razor.

It's time to experience better shaves!

(pic of all 3 colours labelled - Rose Gold etc)