When I first started considering the idea of using a safety razor, I had visions of old men. Their hurriedly lathered faces, anticipating the feel of the hot blade against their skin.
Little did I know, that nothing could be further from the truth. Classic shaving has and is enjoying a resurgence around the world. And because of this, there is increasing interest about the use and purchase of safety razors.
I guess the burning question for blokes is, what are the best safety razors for men? What to get, where to buy it and when to start using it?
There is a huge range of razors and blades to choose from and if you are anything like me, I found the selection available to be exciting, but daunting at the same time.To be honest, I was a little unsure just where to begin.
The truth is, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to safety razors. Some of the more common reasons for this are:
- Skill Level
- Skin Sensitivity
- Hair Coarseness
- Shaving Frequency
Safety Razor Differences
As I mentioned earlier, the range of razor choices are many. At this point, I think it’s important to have a look at the main differences in the safety razor range.
Study the different designs and combs safety razors have to offer. Once you’ve decided which type of razor will be your best option, you can then make a more informed decision on which razor you’ll eventually own.
There are a number of components in the safety razor we can go into extreme detail about. And a search on Google will give you an in depth analysis on every external & internal facet of the safety razor.
I guess what brings you to my post however, is that it’s a fair bet you’ve just started looking into classic shaving. It’s for those of us just embarking on their wet shaving adventure, who want an overview of the parts of the safety razor & how to put it together.
There are three basic designs to a safety razor:
Also colloquially known as a butterfly or TTO (twist to open) because of the way you access the blade, has no removable parts. It is opened simply by rotating the knob of the handle. This in turn opens the plates allowing you to insert your blade of choice. This is probably the simplest method for blade replacement, however the mechanism in the head may wear over time due to improper cleaning, or just continuous use.
Having more in common with the three piece design rather than the butterfly, this is very popular amongst classic shavers around the world. In my article introducing some of the most respected safety razors for beginners, I speak about the Merkur 34C, one of the most well known two piece designs available. One drawback of this design is that because the cutting head base plate is permanently secured to the handle, cleaning is made a little more difficult.
Again a very popular type of razor. This is a more traditional design, and although it has the most removable parts, this razor also remains the easiest to clean. You can easily attack the top & bottom parts of the cutting head with an old toothbrush & detergent to bring your pride & joy back to mint condition. You do need to be careful however, if you over-tighten the handle, the thread may become damaged.
There are a few considerations when choosing a razor to reflect your skill level, experience & desired result.
As there is no bar to push the whiskers down, an open comb razor is considered to be particularly good when shaving a longer growth. There are also less instances of clogging your razor, as your soap & whiskers are more easily rinsed from the cutting head. Open comb razors can also tend to be more aggressive, so correct technique is paramount.
These razors have a safety bar. Often considered a great choice for beginners to wet shaving, they are generally the least aggressive of the various razor types. For the same reason, this also makes this type of razor attractive to men who suffer from sensitive skin.
Although it really makes no discernible difference to performance, some styles of closed comb razors have scalloped bars. When you have a lot of lather on the head, closed comb razors can at times, need more rinsing than their open comb cousins.
Although a little odd to look at, slant bar razors function a little differently. Although you hold your razor at the same 30 degrees (or there abouts), because the bar hits your whiskers at an angle, they tend to slice through your beard more cleanly. If you have particularly coarse hair, a slant bar would be a fantastic option for you.
Beginners could have a crack at using these, however because they are slightly more aggressive, they are more suited to the seasoned aficionado.
Some razors are also adjustable. This means they have a number of different settings so you can adjust the aggressiveness of your razor.
There are also hundreds of different handles in the world of safety razors. Grips, textures & designs vary greatly. An example is a review I did of a popular Edwin Jagger range, which give you a few options. It’s often a matter of personal preference as to which handle you’ll choose.
There are two main options in regards to purchasing your shiny new razor. Both have their pros & cons. It’s simply down to your personal preference and what you feel comfortable with.
The obvious benefit of going to your local shop is that you get to experience what a particular razor might look and feel like.
You might even be lucky enough to find a staff member who is knowledgeable in the ways of classic shaving, who will be able to offer some valuable advice.
The one downside you may come across is the price. Many local stores find it difficult to compare with today’s online options.
If you’ve done your research and have settled on your weapon of choice, you have a multitude of options available.
One of the biggest online sellers is of course Amazon. They have a great range of products at some of the best prices around.
On-line vendors who specialise in classic shaving are also a brilliant option. You often get more detail about the product you’re after, and at a better price than buying it at a local store.
The disadvantage is that you may not have an opportunity to physically see the razor you want to buy. Not to mention you may need to practice a bit of patience whilst waiting for your new pride & joy. Although in saying that, delivery times seem to be quite good these days
There are many reputable online merchants. A few of my favourites are:
Now…Run like the wind Bullseye!
All kidding aside, there’s never been a better time to dive into the world of wet shaving. If you’re not quite sure where to start, click on my Shaving for Beginners link below. It has plenty of information to help you on your way.
In conclusion, I hope you discovered a little more about not only the best safety razors for men, but the best safety razor for you. Once you’ve tasted the delights classic shaving have to offer, you’ll wonder why you never started sooner!
If you would like to share your experiences, or have any questions about safety razors or classic shaving in general, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Time to get your shave on! 😉