Parker Deluxe Vintage Butterfly Safety Razor
with Kiehl's Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream
Safety razors, as Max Fischer once famously remarked of piranhas in Rushmore, "are a very tricky species." They may have the same DNA as today's multi-blade breeds, but if you go at your face with the heedless abandon modern razors encourage, you're likely to give yourself quite a few nicks. So give yourself a bit more time in the morning—say, ten minutes as opposed to three. The Parker model Valet tested unscrews at the bottom, opening its butterfly head, into which you place a double-edged blade and then screw shut. As metallic and hefty as a Zippo lighter, it feels like a quality tool that will last for years. Kiehl's Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream is much the same way: It comes out thick as hand lotion (use a nickel size's worth, and don't worry about wetting your face beforehand), and smoothes on in a solid, creamy sweep. Go for Kiehl's White Eagle variety, which has a bit of menthol and camphor. The key when shaving with a safety razor is to be careful. It may have a safety, but it's still a gun. Tilt the razor's head at about a 45-degree angle to the surface of your face, and draw down slowly and smoothly with the single blade. Extra care must be paid to the angles of your jaw, both in terms of getting at all the whiskers and not slashing yourself up. Do it right and you'll get a super-close shave you can feel proud of, not to mention save money by excusing yourself from the blade-number wars.
Deluxe Vintage Butterfly Safety Razor, $29; Refills $6; Kiehl's Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream–White Eagle, $16