USING A SHAVETTE
The shavette is similar to the old fashioned straight-edge or "Cut throat" razor in style. The biggest difference being that a shavette uses disposable blades which are easily changed rather than the honing, sharpening and stropping of the blade that a cut-throat requires. They're very often used by barbers as the ease in changing the blade is a time saver and also for hygiene reasons - as much as I trust my barber I wouldn't want him using the same blade on me that's been used on the previous guy.
As with any other method of shaving it is technique, good practice and finding what works for you that will result in close and irritation free shaves when using a shavette. The technique can be a little tricky at first and there is a definite learning curve like anything else you learn it soon becomes second nature. Once mastered the shavette can give you a shave as close as anything out there. Just follow a few simple rules and you'll be looking smooth in no time.....
1 - Put a blade in your shavette.
This can be a little fiddly at first but take care and you'll get there. Emphasis on take care - bleeding fingers do not help when shaving! Fully open up your shavette, pop the blade onto the pins on the blade cover, slide the over blade cover over the top and then fix them both in place using the hinged holder.
I promise it's simpler than I make it sound - here's a handy picture.
If you don't have single edge blades then a double edge blade can be snapped in half to create two - Leave the blade in it's wrapper and then gently fold it along the middle till it snaps. Just take care!
2 - Prep your face.
Absolutely essential! It's a lot easier to shave your beard when the hair and skin beneath it is soft and thoroughly hydrated. Giving your face a good scrub with a facewash or pre-shave treatment either over the sink or during your shower is sufficient. Just make sure you're good and thorough.
3 - Lubricate.
When shaving you've got to put a cushion between your skin and your blade and the best way to do it is using a quality soap or cream in combination with a shaving brush. Shavesticks, shaving soaps and shaving creams are almost always far superior to canned foam or gel. They often contain less chemicals and use more natural ingredients and adding in the exfoliating that occurs when using a brush to apply the lather the benefits soon mount up. A good soap will also last you months if not a year or two!
4 - Start shaving.
Hold the shavette firmly with the blade at an angle of approximately 20-30 degrees to your face - any more and you increase the chances of a nick and much less you won't be getting a good clean slicing action through your stubble.
Start with the cheeks and remember that it's important to use short and smooth strokes running with the grain of your beard growth. Don't apply pressure to your face as you would a cartridge blade and instead let the weight of the razor do the work. Also keep your wrist locked so as to maintain the angle. Use your arm and shoulder to move your hand.
Eventually you'll get to the trickier parts such as the chin, neck and under the nose. Just remember to keep a good angle, the lightest of touches and stretch the skin with your free hand where possible to flatten certain points and make them easier to get at. If you want to shave across the grain or against the grain remember to lather your face again. I'd say it's best to keep it to a single with the grain pass while learning though.
5 - Post-Shave
Now you're clean shaven and hopefully not bleeding it's time for a bit of post shave treatment. Clean off your face with clean cold water and pat dry with a clean towel. An alum block or styptic pencil can help with any minor nicks if necessary but the most important is a good aftershave balm. A good quality balm will help alleviate any irritation (which shouldn't be an issue with practice) but even with no irritation a quality post shave treatment will help condition the skin, has all kinds of beneficial vitamins and oils and leaves skin healthy and hydrated.
And there you have it! Smooth chops and irritation free skin. There are more than a few videos on Youtube which show how it is done and the very excellent UK shaving forum The Shaving Room is full of helpful people with an encyclopedic knowledge of shaving matters.
Rob - BobbyShave.com