Safety razors

Shaving has been around for centuries. From the time when men used rocks to trim their beards, to now when the selection is numerous. For both woman and men there are several different annoyances and a litle bit of pain that goes into shaving. Thank to technology, improvements on pre and post shave products, this hassle has been reduced greatly. Ironically, some of the best tools for shaving still come from the 1800’s.

Whether you love a traditional look of the straight razor and shavettes or swear by the disposable cartridge razors that you see everywhere. There are many options.

Feather stainless steel safety razor.

Feather stainless steel safety razor. Picture from rakhyvel.nu

Some people even swear by the Japanese straight razor or the Kamisori razor that comes enriched in history and culture. In respects to the timeline and usefulness, somewhere between all these choices is the safety razor.

Safety razors were a huge improvement on the scarier to use straight razors that had been the main selection of shaving for thousand plus years. With a name that came from the consumer-friendly nature of the shaving instrument, safety razors were an enormous upgrade.

History

Safety razors have been around since 1800’s, they are the shaving tool of your grandfather’s grandfather. In fact, safety razors were a part of the standard *eld kit of every GI who fought in World War 1 (WWI). The need to use gas masks and safety equipment made shaving a must. Patented in early 1900’s by King Camp Gillette company, this was the upgrade most men waited on. Removing the hassle of maintenance that straight razors required, safety razors gave people an easier, safer and beer alternative to shaving.

For over a century you could have found a straight razor in every home. As electronic shavers and shavees grew in popularity, the safety razor lost some of its charm. With a name that inspires so much trust and a heavy stylish look the safety razors are making a comeback along with straight razors. But, what are they really? How safe are they really?

To today’s razor users, the safety razor might not seem so safe. In fact, there is an adjustment period that goes into learning how to properly shave with a safety razor. But historically, when the safety razors came out at the height popularity the straight razor,

they were the world changing in terms of safety. Not only were they much safer and easier to use but ook a lot less time to master. Compared to today’s disposable razors safety razors might not feel that safe, but in 1800-1900s they were life altering.

What are Safety Razors

Let us get into the technical part of what a safety razor is. Safety razors are double edged razor blade that give the closest shave possible whist being gentle to the skin. This is done thanks to the protectve device positoned between the kin and the blade. Safety razors came about to reduce the skill needed for a risk-free shave, thus reducing the reliance on a professionals or barber.

The safety aspect of the shaving equipment is provided by the scalloped safety bar responsible for pushing your skin down and helping tighten the area around the razor. Tighter skin allows for a closer and cleaner shave. This safety bar gave its name to the name of the razor.

Benefits

At this day and age, we usually depend on technology, with the mentality that newer is always better. While this might be true for cellphones and televisions, it doesn’t hold up for other inventions and innovations. Straight razors, shavettes, and safety razors might not be as easy to use as the disposable cartridge razors, their shave is still light years ahead.

What makes safety razors so much better than the cartridge razors that are in most bathrooms around the planet? The answer is several things, some of which are:

      • A cheaper shave: while the initial purchase of the handle can cost between $30-$70, the long-term cost proves to be exponentially better. These razors last a lifetime, while you might replace your disposable cartridge razors regularly, safety razors will last you as long as you want. When averaged out, the cost per blade from a top of the line manufacturer comes to about 10 cents per blade. Compared to $2.50 cartridge razor, the price difference is an explosive 2500%.
      • Durability: as stated above, the razor itself is one of the most durable shaving products in the world. Your grandfather might still have his razor put away someone. The strength of these razors were the reason soldiers in war were given a pair to carry and use.
      • Environmental impact: the safety razor is made almost entirely of metal, and the blades are easily recyclable. Compared to all the plastic found in cartridge razors, your carbon footprint will be nonexistent.
      • Better and reliable shave: electric razors and latest multi-blade razors give men a shave that is barely passable. Not only is their shave far worse, but they leave behind an irritated skin with ingrown hairs and razor burns. Safety razors, give you a cleaner shave that reduces problems caused on skin. Also, safety razor shave doesn’t change from shave to shave and remains consistent.
      • Universal design: the blades that safety razors use is universal. They work with majority of the safety razors sold around the world.
      • Options: for those seeking more variety in the handle, the materials, the ability to alter the aggression level, safety razors offer more choices than any other razor.

Disadvantages

It is not all roses and butterflies when talking about safety razors. The advantages are clear and many but just like straight razor and the shavette there are a few things that can be seen as negatives. Few examples of this are:

    • Learning proper technique: much like their forefather, straight razors, there is a learning curve to using the safety razor. If you try shaving quickly with the safety razor on the first try, you will end up with a cut as a souvenir. Take your time to learn your angles and proper technique before trying to speed through your shave.
    • Cuts and nicks: with a closer shave comes the likeliness of cuts. While the nicks are minor it is a present risk and thus worth mentioning. If you focus on your shave the risks are reduced.
    • Repetitive rinse: not technically a con but all wet shaves require you to clean your blade often. Remember, water is the key to a great shave.

 

Types of Safety Razors

There are three types of safety razors for shavers to pick from, the standard, adjustable and long handle safety razors. Each presents different advantages and or settings for you depending on your build, and ability. Let’s break down the differences between the razors so you can make the decision of which one is best for you.

    • Standard: this is the best product for beginners of safety razor use. Easy to use, with a more mellow shave. For a first razor this short-handled option is the best one available.
    • Adjustable: these razors are perfect for the experienced shavers. The adjustable setup allows for you to get the exact shave you want. A small adjustment to the dial on the razor increases or decreases the blade gap. Larger blade gap expenses more of the skin to the blade, giving a more aggressive shave. Smaller blade gap will not shave as close but provide a milder shave, better fit for people with sensitive skin.
    • Long Handle (Barber Pole): Since the standard handles of safety razors are shorter than the average cartridge razor, they can feel too short for people with big hands. The longer handle allows shavers with larger hands to have a more comfortable shave.

Products

wood safety RazorMost razors do their jobs better when paired with the correct products. With safety razors, the quality of the shaving cream, soap, foam or gel does not matter as much. Most safety razors will work great with any of these items. With most razors, it is undeniable that as the quality of the product goes up, this is also true for safety razors. A good quality shaving lubricant can reduce the risk of irritation and cuts and nicks.

If you consider a good shave important, then it is important that you don’t slack on after shave products. These creams, gels, and balms can soothe the skin and provide it with nutrients that is necessary. If used correctly they will leave your skin feeling and smelling great.

How to Use

Safety razors are quite easy to use, once you get a hang of the utensil. After you get familiar with the razor, shaving with it and maintaining it is a breeze. If you check out YouTube, it is full of people using their safety razor at speeds that are impressive.

Here is a simple guideline to using the safety razor properly:

      • Focus on a 30 to 45-degree angle between the blade and your skin.
      • Shave each section of the face with the grain of your hair, not against.
      • Don’t hold the razor perpendicular to your skin and drag straight down.
      • Don’t apply a lot of pressure. The sharp blade does not require you to press down to get to the bottom of the hairs. A little pressure on your safety razor will go a long way.

Blade Change

When it comes to changing the blades of your safety razor does not have to be a difficult or complicated task. The type of safety razor and type of blade you have will determine the process it takes to change the blades. You can have a single piece, twist-to-open razors, two-piece razors, and three-piece razors. With blades, there are ones that come out of a magazine unwrapped, a type of magazine with the individual blades wrapped, or blades individually wrapped.

Say, if you have a three-piece safety razor, you can separate all parts of the head, allowing you to change and clean the razor thoroughly. The disassembly and reassembly can take some time to get a hang of, but after a few times should be a breeze.

Twist-to-open razor with unwrapped blades out of a magazine will allow for the easiest and most convenient combination. All you have to do is open the razor, pluck out the old blade and deposit the new blade in the slot, then twist to close, and you are done. Other combinations can be a little trickier and will require you to be more familiar with the blade and the razor.

With the blades, there may be a small dot of adhesive on the blade from the wrapper. The adhesive residue is a cause of annoyance for most people changing the blade on their razor. If the blade sticks to the top of the razor cap, simply grasp the razor by the ends of the blade gently push down.

Conclusion

The safety razor is an excellent shave for anyone who wants to have complete control over their shave without the increased risk of cuts that comes with straight razors. One of the most durable shaving tools in the world, these bad boys are made to last. Do not let the price tag of the razor fool you, in the long run it will pay for itself. Remember there is a 2500% difference in blades for the safety razor and buying cartridge razors.

Safety razors will make for a great purchase and bring you a truly close and clean shave. It can even be a skill and a hand me down to your kids some-day. There is just too much to like about this great razor, so use the information above to make the best choice for you. Lastly, do not let the YouTube videos fool you, this shaving machine is not meant to be used fast and easy at first. Do your due diligence in research and practice before trying to fly through a full shave.