For those of you that are just getting started using a double edge safety razor, you are probably wondering how you should hold the darn thing. In this article I am going to show you some common ways to hold a safety razor. There are multiple different grips that are required to shave different parts of your face and I’ll be showing you all of them. If you are coming from a disposable or cartridge modern razor this is going to be much different due to the fact that safety razors do not have a pivoting head and the new angle that you will need to hold the safety razor. The weight and balance of the safety razor is also much different than modern razors and come into play while you are holding it. Proper form and technique are much more important while using a safety razor compared to cartridge razors so that you do not cut yourself too much during your first few attempts. Let’s get you started with some good habits so you do not have to change your technique down the road. On the subject of differences between cartridge and safety razors, be sure to check out our thorough comparison of safety razors vs cartridge razors.
The way that you hold a safety razor will vary from razor to razor depending on the grip, balance point and length of the handle. You want to have a good grip on the safety razor so that it does not slip out while your shaving. You also want to be able to maneuver from different hand positions easily during your shave. Let’s go over the most common ways to hold a safety razor.
Point of balance method
The point of balance on this safety razor is where you can balance it on one finger. On most safety razors it is approximately a half an inch to an inch below the head of the safety razor. You are going to start by placing your index finger on this balancing point. With the safety razor in equilibrium on your index finger, place your thumb on the opposite side of the handle slightly below your index finger. Some people just like using of these two fingers to hold safety razor. I personally like to add my middle finger next to my index finger for additional grip. This hand positioning is for a downward cutting motion and typically is used for “with the grain” and “across the grain” shaving strokes. Here are two pictures that show a two finger and three fingered grip for a downward cutting motion hand position. Some safety razors have balance points to high or too low on the handle, be sure to check out my article on the best safety razors as this is one of the considerations I give when determining which safety razors are the best.
With your index finger still on the point of balance you can flip the safety razor 180° to perform an upward cutting motion for the “against the grain” strokes. When I am holding it like this I have my index finger aligned with the handle, the top of my middle finger on the other side of the handle and my thumb on top. This hand positioning is kind of hard to describe but there’s a picture of it down below to help you guys out.
Using additional fingers for extra stability and a lighter touch
The goal is to use as little pressure as you can while shaving with the safety razor. You want the weight of the safety razor to be enough to cut through the hairs on your face. Any added pressure may cause skin irritation, razor bumps and razor burn. In the picture below I am still having my index finger on the point of balance. I have the end of the handle resting on the pinky finger. I gently place my thumb on top of the handle for a little bit of stability. This is a very gentle grip that allows me to simply use the weight of the razor while shaving. The picture below shows the grip that I am talking about.
Holding the safety razor at the bottom of the handle
This method I typically don’t use just because I’m so comfortable with using the balance point method. The hand positioning is the same as the upward and downward shaving motion grips that I showed you above. The only difference is that they are at the end of the handle. I would give both methods tried to see which one is more comfortable for you
As you can see there are multiple methods when it comes to holding a safety razor. I would recommend that you guys start with the balance point method because it is easiest to maneuver your safety razor and gives you the best grip out of all of them. It might take a little bit of practice but in no time you will know how to hold a safety razor. The best advice I can give you is to practice is much as he can and before you know it you will be an expert! Be sure to check out my other how to shaving articles including how to lather shaving cream, how to shave with a safety razor, how to clean a safety razor, and more.
Ben Rose is the founder and senior editor at Prim&Prep, the definitive guide to male grooming. He is a wet shaving expert and body grooming aficionado. His work has been featured on many other prominent publications including Good Men Project, Addicted to Success, Steven Aitchison, and Sharpologist.