(This is something that I wrote on theonlinephotographer.typepad.com.)
Another one here who’s been using a safety razor for years. In fact I’ve never used a multi-bladed razor – before this I’d only ever used electric shavers.
Initially I tried using a brush and a bowl of soap, because it seemed like the “proper” way to do it. But I found I couldn’t consistently get the consistency right. Eventually I heard of shaving oil, tried that and haven’t looked back. More consistent, plus I can see what I’m doing without soap in the way! One tiny bottle lasts me ages.