Shavette

Razors are a in every bathroom in the world. Most people don’t have the funds or the time to go to a barber for the perfect cut every day. Usually, we fit shaving into our morning routine. Some do it for style, some do it for a better presentation but most of us have jobs that require us to be shaven.

shavetteAs times changed so did the things we used to shave or trim our facial or body hair. From seashells which were used thousands of years ago to the current crowd favorite disposable razors. Things have definitely changed. There are always things used by the masses, but, are they the best thing available, simple answer is No. People often choose convenience over what is best for them or their bodies. This is truest when talking about razors.

There are a variety of razor types available for us to use, with a wide variety of shapes, sizes, skill requirements and more. While each one aims to deliver the cleanest and easiest shave, not all can deliver. Let us dive into the variety of razors available and why get around to the topic of our article today, “The Shavette”. List of razors available for us to use today are:

  • Straight Razors
  • Kamisori Straight Razors
  • Safety Razors
  • Japanese Straight Razors
  • Disposable Razors
  • Shavette

Each of these razor types above are used across the planet. While the speedy pre, mid, or post shower shavers lean towards using the disposable razors, majority of the worlds barbers stick to one type of razor and that is the Shavette. So, what exactly is the shavette? Why is it the preferred choice for the barbers? And why should you think about investing in one yourself? All will be answered in this detailed article.

History of Shavette

Originally shavette was the creation of German ingenuity. Company called DOVO which was founded in 1906, was created purely to produce straight razors. With a staff of 13, founders Mr. Dorp and Mr. Voos could never have imagined the heights their brand would reach. After years of innovations and products and change of guard the company moved to producing electronic razors, scissors and finally came up with one of the biggest things in shaving today in the Shavette.

While some other brands have patents dating back to 1907 (Durham Duplex) and 1908 (Weck), it was the Dovo’s shavette that made this product famous worldwide.

What is the Shavette?

In the simplest of terms, a shavette is a straight razor with disposable razors. Created to fight off the need to hone your razors regularly to keep the edge. A shavette can be fixed or foldable. The shavette comes with replaceable razors that you can dispose of one when it gets dull. This was a game changer as it removed the need for stropping, honing and grounding of razors several times a year. The razor resembles straight razors at first sight but is designed with a headpiece that can hold the interchangeable double razors.

The double razors in the shavette provide a much sharper and cleaner shave than the sharpest single blade straight razors. A true upgrade of sorts on a classic, shavette joined the performance of the straight razor with the convenience of disposable razors. The final product was one that was much sturdier than that of their ancestors.

The name itself was given by the Dovo and was just used as a title for the model of razor they produced. Since then, the name has become the accepted name for this type of razor. For several decades, straight razors with interchangeable blades are known as a shavette.

Why were they made?

In the past, shavettes were created for barbers, to allow them to give razor cut haircuts. The barbers would use the shavette to:

    • Trim hair
    • Sharpen sideburns
    • Clean the throat and nape of the neck

The most popular in the past was the Durham Duplex brand, as they were used most often. Currently this brand is used mainly in the pet grooming industry. While the Dovo shavette is now the go to tool in the arsenal of barbers across the planet. Not to be outdone, several home wet shavers have adopted the shavette into their lives and maintenance regimen.

As awareness of blood borne pathogens spread, and stricter laws were passed on straight razors being used by barbers, the shavette became almost mandatory. While home users can repetitively use the same razor till it dulls, barbers use the shavette blades as a single use alternative. The low-cost disposable razors, saved the lives of millions as the barbers would dispose of each razor after use, eliminating the chance of spreading diseases.

And Today?

shavetteUsing of shavettes in barbers is now the international industry norm. People would have a heart attack in this day and age if they saw their barber using a straight razor on them that they just used on another person. As people became more informed and health conscious, the health standards we accept have changed. Each barber has a shavette and usually hundreds of individually wrapped disposable razors.

As humankind makes advances in health, technology, and mindset, having a hygienic option for barbers and home users is crucial. Most of us spend our lives, trying to expand our lifespan. Whether you do this with your diet, by avoiding unhealthy things known to shorten lives, or by paying extra attention to your health, we are all chasing immortality. And the shavette for the time being seems to be immortal, as it is the best option available for the healthiest shave.

That much better?

If you were to ask most experts, they would let you know that there is no replacement to the original straight razor. Centuries of perfecting that went into straight razors in the western and eastern world cannot be overlooked. Shavette is not necessarily better alternative to straight razors. To be honest, shavettes cannot hold a candle to some of the professionally honed straight razors. While they will require you to spend more time on upkeep in terms of honing, stropping and general hygiene, straight razors are more durable and easier to use.

To the uneducated eye, a shavette might look just like a straight razor as they have the same handle, pivot, shank, shoulder, tang, point and heel, back and head. But a closer look can reveal the differentiating factors, the edge and the disposable blades. This is just about the only easy to see difference between the two tools.

Another thing about shavettes is the lighter frame, this difference in weight and blade system requires a different style of shave. You will need to get familiar with the different cut that shavette offers. It does take some getting used to, even for people familiar with the straight razor. Much like the difference between a Japanese straight razor and the traditional western straight razors, the angle which you need to use is different. While both the Japanese and western straight razors are extremely similar they both require a different style and familiarity with the shaving style.

What are the benefits?

So, except for hygiene, why are shavette razors preferred so highly over the traditional Cut-Throat or straight razors? Well, there are a few main reasons for answering that question:

  • For starters, the shavette razors are actually sharper than their older cousin’s edge.
  • Shavettes can be a great substation for even the Cut-Throat users while on the road. Since the razors are packaged separately, it is easier to transport and use.
  • The price difference is exponential. Compared to the disposable razors or even the traditional straight razors, shavettes leave a lot more money in your wallet.
  • Maintenance is also vastly different. Since you replace the blades, you do not waste time on honing and stropping the razor. This is one of the bigger reasons why shavettes are selected. We want easy upkeep with good performance and shavettes deliver both.
  • Shavettes offer a practicality that is not available with the straight razors. For barbers especially, the ability to replace razors instantly between customers makes the shavette a must-have for barbers.
  • Shorter razors allow for a more precise cut, especially in the tonsorial area and across the face. While the straight razors longer blade might limit visibility, the shavette’s short razor allows for better touch ups on trim jobs and easier contouring on smaller areas.

And the disadvantages?

In respect to a fair and complete article, we must also discuss the drawbacks of the shavette. Actually, the drawbacks of a shavette are few, but the ones that exist are quite important.

  • A Blade with no room for error: while there are a variety of razors you can use with the shavette, all of them are unforgiving. For newcomers it is important to get very familiar with the razor before starting your own shave, a small mistake in handling can lead to:
    • Razor burns: if your angle is slightly off then you are sure to endure these aggravating razor burns.
    • Irritation and Cuts: The extremely thin and lightweight blade can often vibrate against your stubble or skin. This phenomenon can lead to irritation of the skin and the painful cuts.
  • Razors aren’t made of premium steel: While the razors used are same as ones used for safety razors, the difference in the structure of two razors creates a different shave. Both are inferior to the quality of the blade found on used on straight razors. Why use premium steel on something that is meant to last a very short time? It does make sense, but that does not make it favorable for you the user.
  • Quality difference: since the selling price of shavettes is so much lower, they are not made as nicely as some of the more expensive straight razors. The lack of investment in quality can lead to a poor balance and a weak hold.
  • Half blades: this is not that major of a disadvantage but worth mentioning. The razor itself must be broken in half before use, this can be done with scissors but people have injured themselves regularly trying to do it with hand. It is more of an inconvenience than a deal breaker.

The setbacks of using a shavette can seem too heavy, but reality is they are used by every barber in the world for a reason. There are several shavettes in the market with a slightly higher sale price that easily make up for these mistakes. Also, the variety of razor choices does improve on the mentioned problems and reduces the margin of error not afforded by some razors.

Different Shavettes

Like all products in the world, the difference between the low-end and high-end disposable blade straight razor market. The middle ground between the two does not really exist. There are seven brands in the world that have dominated this market with an eighth on the rise. These seven brands are: Feather, Dovo, Kai, Weck, Sanguine, Fromm and Parker and IBC (Irving Barber Company). If you are looking for the two best, brands in the world then you have to turn to Kai and Feather.

While Dovo might be credited with naming rights for this style of razor, they have certainly fell behind their competitors when it came to producing high quality shavettes. They are still a big player in the market but Kai and Feather brands while little higher in price, produce some of the best shavettes.

Blades

Just like there are many different brands and styles of shavettes, the blades that go in them are also various. These blades come in many brands, depending on your geographical location. Some other differences between the blades, are:

  • Length
  • Width
  • Coating
  • Sharpness
  • Durability

Most blades used by barbers are single serve. While the blades you use at home will go for 3-7 shaves before losing its edge. We recommend changing your blade once a week at least if you shave daily. This way you reduce the chance of damaging the skin and wasting time doing multiple passes to get the clean shave you want.

Price Range

Shavettes come in a wide range of prices. Cheaper versions go for less than $10, and mid-priced versions like the Feather SS Folding Handle Razor $60. There are other versions for the pros that can reach $240, but these are more for professional high-class barbers, rather than the average joe shaving in his bathroom. Prices for shavettes change due to few different factors. These factors are:

  • Brand
  • Handle make (Steel, Wood, Insert, Resin)
  • Steel type (High quality stainless steel, carbon steel)
  • Blade type and count (ranging from 0-100)

While the cheaper options might seem like a smarter starting point, we would recommend you try one of the mid-range ones to start with. Remember@, @you are putting a blade on your face and throat, maybe going cheap might not be the best choice. The make of the handle might seem like only a choice of preference or aesthetics. Actually, different handles affect the ergonomics of the razor and make the shaving experience much more enjoyable and easier.

Shavette and You

If you are considering transitioning to straight razors from the disposable ones clouding the market, shavettes might be a good stepping stone. There is an adjustment period for learning to use both the shavette and traditional straight razors. But the difference comes in maintenance. Straight razors come with the responsibility of stropping, honing, and caring for the blade and the razor. Shavettes however, only require you too dispose and replace the blade instead of sharpening the one blade you have.

Shavettes will let you dip your feet into centuries of tradition for a truly authentic shave. There is something rewarding about using such a dangerous tool and doing it with skill. Another huge advantage of shavettes are their mobility. Throw your shavette into your suitcase or carry-on and hit the road. Since you can purchase the blades in any country or city you visit shavettes are the most ideal instrument for the man who wants a great shave on-the-go.

Conclusion

Shaving does not have to be a rushed or a stressful experience. Shavettes might take longer to get used to compared to the cartridge razors we see every day. But, some things are worth the practice and time spent. And shavettes are a tool for people who want to look their best. Much like the straight razors, they are perfect for up close and personal work. Whatever style, lines or designs you want to shave into your facial hair or head, the Shavette will deliver. Remember to practice with your shavette before trying to shave yourself, to avoid any accidents that will scare you off of straight razor or shavette shaves.

The time and money you save, and the great final product of the shave will be enough to convince and convert you.