How to Choose a Double Edge Safety Razor
Thinking of buying a double edge safety razor? Getting started may seem a little complicated, but once you know what to look out for, upgrading your shaving kit is simple. We’ll guide you through the key features to consider as you choose a safety razor, as well as some of the reasons why this style of razor remains so popular, from its great results to its reduced environmental impact.
We’ve just teamed up with a real innovator in the safety razor space: Supply. We are now a proud distributor of their products and are really excited to share their new lineup with you. Not only do they have a great range of innovative razors products, they also stock some of the slickest shaving accessories on the market. Check out the Supply range for all your shaving brush, high-lather shaving cream, dopp carry-all and razor carry case needs.
What is a double edge safety razor?
The safety razor earned its name from the in-built guard that helps limit the amount of blade exposed and the risk of injury while shaving. While it may not feel exceptionally ‘safe’, especially when compared to modern electric or cartridge razors, it was the next significant evolution in shaving technology after the much more dangerous straight razor, gaining popularity at the start of the 20th century. Compared to the straight razor, the safety razor offered a world of difference, drastically reducing the risk of nicks and cuts.
Widespread adoption boomed after this style of two-piece razor was added to the field kit bags of American soldiers during World War I and once men began to see the benefits this shaving method could offer. There was no longer a need for visits to the barber for a clean shave when men could get a similar result at home.
Not much has changed design-wise since they were first created, with double edge safety razors typically comprised of three main components: a handle, a head and a blade. The head holds the blade in place, with a safety guard exposing just a portion of the replaceable blade, helping users to achieve a smooth shave time and time again.
What are the benefits of a double edge safety razor?
A superior shave
Sure, it may take a little while to learn how to use a safety razor, but once you’ve got the technique down pat, you’ll notice that cartridge and electric razors just don’t compare. Double edge safety razors offer a superior shave as their single blade passes directly across the skin’s surface with no plastic buffer to prevent contact with the skin or hair. Paired with good quality shaving creams and soaps, this helps to result in a smoother shave with no stubble left behind.
Double edge safety razors also offer greater precision than electric or cartridge razors. If a neat neckline or cheeks are something that you’re not achieving with your current razor, it may very well be time to learn how to shave with a safety razor!
If you have sensitive skin or have experienced any form of irritation while shaving, you’d know that razor burn, redness and ingrown hairs are far from fun. If you’re looking for a razor that is less likely to cause irritation, a double edge safety razor might be just the ticket. Thanks to their sharp blades and closer shave, fewer passes are required to achieve a great result. Fewer passes mean less time in contact with the skin, less chance of cutting yourself repeatedly, and reduced irritation.
Reduced environmental impact
While double edge safety razors are perhaps best known for providing a great shave, they also happen to be more eco-friendly than many other shaving devices on the market. Plastic parts are a rarity in the world of safety razors, with most sporting a metal handle and blades. Designed to be used for many years, the only part of this style of razor that needs to be replaced is the blade itself, which can be recycled more easily than disposable razors and cartridges. Choosing to switch over to a safety razor means less waste in landfill, and more money in your pocket in the long-term.
Fewer ongoing expenses
A good quality double edge safety razor may seem expensive, especially if you’ve been buying disposable razors or using a cartridge razor. Still, it’s important to remember that it is an investment that’ll pay off over time. After purchasing your initial safety razor kit, the only ongoing cost involved is the purchase of replacement blades. Safety razor blades can be bought in bulk and tend to be a lot more cost-effective than buying new cartridges.
They’re a bit of old-school cool
Yes, a double-edge razor can cut down on waste, expenses, and irritation to skin. But come on, it’d be silly not to mention that these things are damn impressive to look at and use. Another man might see shaving as a chore for the morning and want something short and sweet — the kind of man who uses a safety razor actually cares about the process and routine. A man lathering his face up in each morning for a close shave has the same old-fashioned masculine energy as servicing a car, mowing the lawn, or oiling the deck.
Features to look for as you choose a safety razor
Open or closed comb
Looking closely at a double edge razor, you’ll notice small grooves or teeth below where the blade sits. This is known as a comb, with two main variations commonly found across most models. The first is the closed comb, featuring small grooves, and the other is the open comb, which is made up of a row of tiny metal teeth.
Closed combs are designed to pull the skin taut, reducing the risk of cuts or nicks. If you shave regularly and don’t let your stubble grow particularly long, a closed comb should have you covered. An open comb helps to make light work of thicker or longer hair, with the teeth guiding the hair against the blade and preventing the razor from becoming clogged as you shave. This feature also makes an open comb ideal for shaving body hair.
Slant or straight bar
Straight bar razors hold their blades perpendicular to the razor handle. This ensures a predictable result across the entire length of the blade, making it a popular choice for this very reason. Most double edge razors on the market are straight bar razors.
On the other hand, slant bar razors hold the blade at an angle, giving a curved or slanted appearance. The blade is held in this position to provide greater stiffness and to help make the shaving process smoother and faster. Some say the design was inspired by the angled blade of the guillotine, while others believe inspiration was taken from the angle at which barbers hold traditional straight razors. If you’re new to the world of safety razors, a slant bar may not be the best starting point as it has a reputation for being harder to master.
You might see mentions of one-, two- or three-piece safety razors as you look for the best bit of kit for your shaving needs. This simply refers to the number of individual pieces that make up each double edge razor, excluding the blade. Two- and three-piece safety razors are among the most common designs you’ll find, with some one-piece models, also known as butterfly razors, available. Whichever model you settle on, the number of pieces won’t affect how the razor works or the results you achieve; it simply means that the blade may be held and replaced using a different mechanism.
Handle style and material
Metal is the most common material used in safety razor handle design, but it isn’t the only one available. Along with metal, you may also find wood, plastic and horn handles. Although a particular model may pique your interest based on the handle design alone, it’s important to think about whether the materials used will offer you adequate grip, will be easy to clean and will be tough enough to stand up to years of regular use. Metal handles are generally good all-rounders, but the final decision is up to you.
For some, including those with larger hands, a safety razor with a longer handle may be easier to use. For those with regular-sized hands, a shorter handle may offer greater control. No matter which style of handle you settle on, it’s essential that it feels comfortable in your hand and is easy to manoeuvre.
Safety razor handles tend to be heavier than their cartridge razor counterparts. While it may feel a little odd at first, this extra weight reduces the amount of pressure needed to slice through stubble, letting the razor do more of the work for you. Look for a model that feels comfortable in your hand, and that is well-balanced weight-wise too.
Aggressiveness generally refers to how exposed a safety razor blade is. The scale runs from mild to very aggressive, with a greater level of blade exposure equalling a higher amount of aggressiveness. A more aggressive razor will generally achieve a closer shave with fewer passes, but there is often a higher risk of cuts and nicks associated. New double edge safety razor converts should look for less aggressive models, working their way up the scale as their skills and confidence improve. For those with some experience with safety razors, an adjustable razor makes it easy to adjust the aggressiveness to your level of liking.
Hopefully we’ve convinced you to try making the switch to a double edge safety razor. They’ve one of our absolute favourite products and are at a really exciting point in their life right now, with lots of new innovations and cool manufacturers coming into the market. There are lots of new and cool shaving tools coming out on the market to fill your bathroom counter: shaving brushes, lathering bowls, and loads of other shaving accessories.
As we mentioned before, we’ve recently started stocking innovative new razors from Supply. They’re a bit different to other makers of replaceable-blade razors, but we think they’re making a change for the better. Check them out if you’re just getting started — you’re sure to be impressed. Even if you normally sport a great beard, we think you might be converted.