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Introduction to Safety Razors
If you’re still wasting money on the cartridge razors, or even worse, suffering through the cheap disposables it’s time to update your shave to the 21st century – and shave like your grandfather with a double edge safety razor. With their re-birth in popularity there are so many options available now, how do you know which safety razor is right for you? We’ve taken a look at a dozed on the top rated safety razors, compared their shaving style and ease of use to find the best double-edge safety razor for you.
In-Depth Safety Razor Reviews
Safety Razor Buying Guide
What Are Safety Razors?
Safety Razors, and more specifically Double Edge Safety Razors, remain a popular alternative to expensive cartridge razors and disposable single blade razors because of their lower cost of ownership and the quality of shave they provide. The safety razor, as the name implies, was meant to be a safer alternative to the classic straight razor, from your local barbershop.
Why Switch to a Safety Razor?
There are many reasons avid shavers are making the switch to wet shaving the safety razors; one of the most obvious ones is the reported improved quality of the shave. We’ve all seen the constant bombardment of advertisements from razor companies selling us on their new and improved razors with 15 blades. While they may be the latest thing in shaving, that doesn’t make them the most efficient or the most comfortable.
It’s the biggest kept secret in shaving, that more blades equals a better shave, but people who have made the switch to double edge safety razors agree that is not the case at all. A good rule of thumb to live by is the more times a razor blade glides over your skin, the more skin irritation you will experience. Now there are great ways to combat irritation, like using really warm water, and a top rated shave brush (LINK), but using a cartridge razor with multiple blades just means more cheap razor blades against your skin.
Another big reason people are making the switch to safety razors is their affordability. Shaving with a safety razor has a much, much lower cost of ownership compared to cartridge and even disposable razors. Don’t believe us? We’ve broken it down for you, and just for an apple-to-apple comparison, we’re only looking at the blades themselves.
Cartridge Razor Cost of Ownership
Take at look at the Gillette Fusion Pro Glide Razor Blades:
We see they are currently discounted, but at the time of writing this you can get 8 blades for $27.99, which comes out to $3.49 a cartridge. Now, cartridge razors are a little different from your disposable single blade razors in that they can last a significant amount of time longer, so for arguments sake lets assume that you’ll use one razor cartridge a week.
Now, let’s take a look at double edge razors. We’ve found one of the most expensive, but highest rated amazon razor blades available online for $12.50 for a pack of 100. That comes out to $0.125 per razor blade, a savings of 2,800%!
Or to put it another way, over the course of the whole year shaving with a safety razor will save your almost $176 dollars per year. Meaning that pack of 100 blades you could buy would last you almost 2 years! There isn’t anyone reading this article that can’t afford $5 a year razors.
How To Shave with a Safety Razor
Shaving with a safety razor is a very easy process once mastered, however there is a slight learning curve with some differences to note when making the transition from a disposable or cartridge razor shaving routine. It’s important to read this and pay attention, or you could wind up unnecessarily cutting yourself with your new double edge safety razor.
Step #1 – Get a Shave Brush. (Okay..okay…this isn’t an absolute necessity for shaving with a safety razor, but trust us you’ll thank us for it. ) Why a shave brush? Well for starters hair, or more specifically facial hair doesn’t all grow at the same length or speed. Lathering up with a shave brush before hand is essential to help all hairs stand somewhat uniform before you take a blade across them. This reduces the chance of ingrown hairs, irritation, and bleeding significantly.
For your first time we recommend running hot water from the sink and letting your shave brush sit in the hot water while you take a shower to get your pores open, prepping your skin for a close shave. Once you’re out, adding approximately a quarter size dab of some shaving cream in a mixing bowl
Step #2 – Paint on the shaving cream. Now a common issue with rookie shavers is that they don’t spend enough time on this step. We recommend really taking the time to “paint” the shaving cream onto their while exfoliating their skin with a circular motion with the brush. You don’t have to make it super thick, but really try to make the bristles of the brush touch the skin under your facial hair.
Step #3 – Load your razor with a fresh blade safety razor blade. If you haven’t purchased any yet, we recommend the Personna Double Edge Safety Razor Blades, 100 Pack (B0077LAJT2). If you use a butterfly safety razor model, make sure to twist the bottom super snug, you won’t bend the razorblade.
Step #4 – With the razor blade attached firmly to your razor dip it into the hot water in your sink, for 5 seconds to get the blade nice and warm.
Step #5 – Hold the razor at approximately 30-degree angle towards your face. It’s very, very important that you don’t apply any pressure. This is a huge difference between shaving with other types of razors. If you look at the cartridge razors and even disposables, the blades themselves are already at a 30-degree angle inside razor head itself. When you’re first starting out, take slow steady strokes and let the safety razor blade do ALL of the work. You’ll be amazed as the hair almost melts off your face, with zero irritation.
Step #6 – Once your face is nice and clean rinse it with cold water to prevent irritation and apply an aftershave of your choice to help soothe any irritation.
A great resource to bookmark from the Art of Manliness:
Features to Consider:
Trying to choose a double edge safety razor online can be very difficult since you can’t feel the weight and size of the razor in your hands. But we’ve taken the guesswork out of it by evaluating all the safety razors, and giving you the tools you need to make the best decision.
The Material – First off, what material should you look for? This might seem like a trivial cosmetic type question, but in fact can make a big difference in the quality of your shave. Since these safety razors have become popular again, a ton of companies are trying to jump on the bandwagon and compete cheaply by cutting corners in their material cost.
Many razors are made as a chrome coated brass, or a stainless steel. The cheaper models use regular metal, which obviously is a terrible choice to have around water, as it will rust almost indefinitely.
The Size & Weight – When People who make the transition from shaving with cartridge razors and disposables unbox their new double edge safety the difference in the size and weight is one of the most noticeable differences from their previous razors.
Today’s modern safety razors generally weight in around 4oz. or so where cartridge razors weight in around half that, including the blade cartridge. Safety Razors are generally heaver because unlike traditional razors, safety razors are perfectly weighted so that the user doesn’t have to apply any pressure towards their skin. In some ways, it’s better to have learned to shave on a traditional razor blade because the noticeably weight increase will make it users take their time when learning the new way to shave.
The length of safety razors is also something new users will have to get used to. Typical traditional razors feature long, slender, and lightweight handles stretching to an even longer cartridge. Some men’s razors from the traditional razor manufactures are up to 8 inches long. These razors are made to fit the contour and size of men’s hands because, as mentioned, pressure needs to be applied from the user for those types of razors. The typical length of a standard double edge safety razor is around 4 inches. This might take some getting used to initially, but after a few times of shaving you’ll realize that is actually plenty of size.
If you are concerned with the height, a few brands do make optional “long-handled” versions of their razors. Our second rated pick Merkur comes in a longer handled version for 30% more. These are equally as stylish and are recommended for users that do have large hands, and/or are concerned with the transition from a traditional razor.
The Opening – There are really only 2 types of openings on modern day safety razors; The Butterfly or the Three Piece. There are pro’s and con’s to each one, but all things being equal this really comes down to personal preference.
The butterfly open razors feature an adjustable ball at the bottom that when twisted open the top opening to place the double edge blade into. When positioned correctly, you simply twist the ball at the end of the handle the opposite way and it closes the adjustable flaps, locking the safety razor blade in place. This is, in our opinion, a much more stylish and easier way to replace and adjust your blades. The downside being that they sometimes can be more difficult to clean.
The Three Piece option on safety razors comes, as their name suggests, in three pieces; the handle, the curve plate, and the top plate. This style is also very classy, and most users choose this type of razor because the head of the razor can feature a lower profile than the butterfly opening. Having to adjust 3 pieces every time you want to change the blade makes the butterfly a better option, but since the Three-Piece is completely detachable, it makes these models generally easier to clean.
Really both types require you to use two hands to safely place the double edge blade into the razors head, so it really comes down to comfort and cleanliness. If you travel a lot we recommend going with a butterfly model as you don’t have to keep up with extra parts, and if having a lower profile on the razor go with a Three-Piece.
Adjustability – As mentioned, a big difference between a traditional razor and a safety razor is how you hold it against your skin at an angle. The majority of the standard run-of-the-mill safety razors have a fixed blade position and relies on the user to adjust the angle against their face accordingly.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, manufacturers have come out with adjustable dials on the handles of razors to dial in the exact precision of the shave. Depending on the brand the dial can range from 1-5 to 1-9, which just means there isn’t a standard millimeter deviation per click, each razor, like each face, is different.
What the adjustability proves is the ability to raise or lower the cutting head to create a larger or smaller blade gap. Typically when a razor is on a lower setting (the smallest blade gap) lees of the double edge razor blade is exposed. Those who are more prone to skin irritation or thinner hair may prefer the lower settings. Obviously the inverse applies to the larger dialed numbers, and is preferred by those who have fuller and ticker hair to cut through as it allows more of the razor blade to show through.
We recommending starting with a standard razor, like the (ASIN) or the (ASIN) and if you still feel like you’re not getting the closeness, without the irritation look at an adjustable like the (ASIN)
Cleaning – This is probably going to be new territory for most people, as typically when users of traditional razors are done with their blades they throw away a cartridge or just dispose of the plastic razor. Safety Razors now days are made to last decades if given the proper care, and most people find out if you take care of it, it will take care of you
Must Have Razor Accesories:
Shave Brush – For those of you that haven’t made the transition into safety razor shaving, a shave brush may seem like an unnecessary gimmick. However once customers make the transition to using a shave brush, they rarely ever go back. What a brush does it help all your hair stand up off your skin making it easier for the blade to cut the hair with minimal amount of passes. We recommend the
Safety Razor Stand – While this largely depends on whether or not you want to display your manly razor on your bathroom countertop, we think these are stylish and will help prolong the life of your razor. If your double edge safety razor doesn’t come with one, we recommend getting the
Awesome Shaving Cream – This goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. The razor will only take you so far. Having a good lathering cream will make all the difference during and after your shave. We recommend
Guys and girls who are interested in making the change to a safety razor can spend a great deal of time pricing and reviewing razors all over the internet. We know we’ve spent the time and energy to bring you the top rated pick that will make your shave one that you will even look forward to doing.
The top rated double edge safety razors we’ve reviewed are by far the best options available you’ll be able to find on the market today. We’ve helped equip you as a consumer by not only linking to all the best razors, but also finding lowest price available on the web. So no only have we saved you time searching, but you’ll be able to keep dollars in your wallet. (You’re welcome ☺) Enjoy your first shave!
The Top Rated Safety Razor for 2016
- Length (Height)
- Opening Style
- All Blades