Safety razors have revolutionized shaving, allowing more people to enjoy a clean-shaven face more frequently without visiting the barber. Merkur produces a range of heavy-duty safety razors, some of the best shaving products on the market.
This guide will demystify everything you need to know about the Merkur range of razors and how you use, clean, and assemble one. Let’s get into it!
The technique for shaving with a double-edge or safety razor is different from using regular cartridge razors. Doing it right can be the difference between getting a clean shave or lacerations on your face. Here’s how to effectively shave with your Merkur razor.
Like disposable razors, you must prepare the hair on your skin before dragging a blade across it. This will help to soften the stubble and reduce the risk of a razor burn or skin irritation, especially if your skin is super sensitive and you need a comfortable, clean/safe shave.
There are many ways to prep your skin for a shave. First, you can take a good hot shower, making your hair soft and preparing your skin for the razor. Alternatively, you can use a wet towel if you want to avoid the stress of taking a full shower.
Wet a regular face towel and place it in the microwave for about a minute until it’s hot. Then put it over your jaw and leave it there for a while. Not only is this comforting, but it will also soften your hair more quickly.
Too much stress? Then, splash hot or warm water across your face for a minute or more until you feel the hair getting soft. If your skin is sensitive, add a pre-shave lotion, oil, or gel to aid the shaving process.
Now, get out your shaving soap or cream and prepare to apply lather across your face. Lather helps the hair stand up, so the razor can quickly chop it off and give you a clean, smooth shave.
There are many ways to apply shaving cream – directly on your face, using your hands or a shaving brush. Using a shaving brush is the most effective technique because it spreads the lather across each hair, moving the hair away from your face for a more effortless shave.
The central idea behind the razor-shaving technique is to start shaving from the grain and let gravity handle the rest. Load up your razor with a blade of choice, making sure it’s straight and not crooked so you don’t cut yourself.
For the first pass, shave in the direction of hair growth, using short strokes, alternating both sides of your Merkur razor, and rinsing the razor head intermittently. When passing the razor across, ensure the skin in that area is stretched because if it’s loose, you may cut yourself.
So, with your free hand try to stretch the skin where you want to shave before passing the razor over it. You can also puff your cheeks for the same skin-tightening effect.
Remember to hold your Merkur razor at a 45-degree angle, and with this razor, you don’t need to apply pressure; let gravity do the work. You may wonder to yourself, “are Merkur razors aggressive?“
The answer is yes. You can classify the Merkur range of razors as mildly aggressive with an angled head, perfect for shaving off thick hair.
After every use, dip it in a sink full of water or run it under the tap before you flip the blade. Then, put shaving cream on your face again, and shave across the grain, but this time, at a 90-degree angle.
So, while the first pass was at a 45-degree angle, the second pass should be at 90 degrees. Although most people finish with the second pass, you may have to go again, for the third time, if you have thicker hair or want a closer shave.
Once satisfied with the results, it’s time to close your pores and finish the job. Some people prefer ice water, but regular tap water will do just fine. Simply splash cold water across your face to close up your pores.
Now that you have completed the hard part, it’s time to clean up. Apply a post-shave balm or lotion to heal any irritation, and prevent ingrown hair or infections. Then, seal it with a moisturizer to refresh your skin.
Merkur razors come with brass and chrome-plated zinc parts. Constant contact with soap and water can cause these materials to deteriorate.
You must clean and maintain your razor to last a long time. There are three main cleaning routines for maintaining a Merkur razor— regular, monthly, and deep cleaning methods.
Regular cleaning is the easiest method and is something you should do after every use. A periodic cleaning procedure, whether done weekly or monthly, is often more thorough and is designed to remove buildup and surface stains you may have missed.
This cleaning method deals with gunk and grime that may have accumulated for a while, compromising the strength of your metal razor. Deep cleaning should occur once a year or more, depending on the mineral content of your water. Here’s how to clean your Merkur razor using these three steps:
This method is as simple as rinsing your razor with warm water and wiping it on a clean, dry towel after use. It keeps lather residue away from your razor and prevents mineral buildup from the water you use. For a more effective clean, rinse and wipe the inside of your razor head every time you change blades.
Depending on the mineral content of your water, you may have to give your razor a completely clean, weekly, or monthly. If you have hard water, do it weekly, but if your water is soft, you can clean it once a month.
Periodic cleaning doesn’t require much, only soap, water, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a soft rag. Avoid paper towels, as these can be abrasive on your metal surfaces. To clean, disassemble your razor parts and fill your sink with soapy, warm water.
Dip the soft rag in the water and slowly clean each razor part. For areas that are harder to reach, use your soft-bristled toothbrush.
Once you’ve got all parts, soak them in the sink full of warm, soapy water, rinse, and towel dry. Avoid abrasive towels or cleaners, as they can scratch the shiny surface of your razor parts.
Soak your razor parts in a vinegar and water solution to dissolve the accumulated dirt and minerals to deep clean. Mix four-parts water with one-part vinegar and allow the razor parts to soak in the solution for ten minutes.
Then, use a toothbrush or rag to clean the razor. If vinegar alone doesn’t work, try adding baking soda until it forms a paste, then use a toothbrush and the paste to scrub your razor parts.
However, beware that vinegar can corrode steel, so you must dilute it before use, and test it on a small part of the razor, before dipping everything in the solution. After cleaning, rinse with warm water and leave the razor to dry before assembling it.
As non-plastic razors have only a few parts, they are easier to assemble. The only tricky part may be handling the blade itself, but it’s not more complicated than sharpening a pencil. Here are some easy steps for assembling your Merkur piece:
Most double-edge metal razors come assembled, but in some cases, they may come in pieces, as is the case with the Merkur range of razors. Your razor and the razor blade come in different packaging.
So, what you want to do now is to lay all the pieces out, including the metal blade. Take extra caution when handling the blade, as it often comes in paper wrapping and can cut you. If possible, leave it in its protective wrapping.
You will notice that your razor head consists of two parts– a curved bit with bars underneath and a flat side with holes. The bit with bars stays on top, while the flatter side is the base.
Now, carefully remove the razor blade from its packaging, and be mindful not to touch the edges. You will notice holes in the middle of the razor blade, which should match the holes at the base of your razor head.
Next, align these holes with the curved part of the base facing upwards. Hold the curved part of your Merkur razor head using your other hand and place it over the top.
The bars underneath should easily slip through the holes, forming a tight fit.
Now that you’ve inserted a blade in your Merkur razor, it’s time to attach the handle and call it a day. Hold the sides of the razor head and screw the handle on, attaching it to the base of your razor head.
Keep turning it until there’s no more room and until it requires a bit of force to loosen the handle. Once done, your Merkur razor is assembled and ready for use.
Here’s how to change the blades on your standard two-piece Merkur safety razor:
- First, grab the body and turn the piece counterclockwise to unscrew the handle. It should take four spins or more to loosen the head.
- Separate the top plate from the comb
- Now, grab the heads from the sides and safely dispose of your old blade.
- Grab a new blade from the side, turn the head piece and place the new blade in and replace the comb
- Now, grab the body and place it facing downwards toward the head to screw it back on.
- Gently turn it right side up and start turning the bottom handle clockwise until it stops.
There you have it; that’s how to change the blade on your Merkur safety razor.
Hopefully, this article helped you better understand your new shaving buddy – your Merkur razor! With a bit of care and proper direction, it can last you a long time, so the investment is worth it. You can consult this article anytime you run into an issue with your Merkur razor; we’re happy to help.
Hi, I’m Theo, and I started Shaving Parlour to help men everywhere get the best shave of their lives. Check out my popular guides on Safety Razors, Shaving Cream, Shaving Brushes, Beard Oil, and more!