The pros and cons of a safety razor

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Let’s face it, do you see what I did there, shaving is one of those things that as a man or woman is something that we just have to do, regardless of whether we can be bothered or not.

The trouble is it’s so bloody expensive.

It might come as no surprise but the leader in the market is Gillette. In fact, in 2016 they had market share of 54%. Though this is down from 70% in 2010, mainly due to the increase in popularity of shaving clubs such as Harry’s and the Dollar Shave Club.  It’s not bad for a multi-billion dollar industry and I’m sure they are still doing well, thank you very much.

What are my alternatives to cartridge razors?

I could become a hipster and grow a trendy beard, but that just seems like too much hard work, I could buy myself an electric razor, but I don’t think that they will ever be able to give you as close a shave, join a shaving club or go with my preferred option try out a double edge safety razor.

The Double Edge Safety Razor

Since I started to shave I’ve always used a Gillette and tried other brands such as King of Shaves and Wilkinson, but I’ve always gone back to Gillette, possibly not for the shave but rather the familiarity of the razor.

I’ve now decided to try and give a double edge safety razor a go.

As a newbie to the safety razor club I wasn’t sure where to start, but decided to try the Jagen David – Double Edge Safety Razor, only for the fact that it appeared to have some good reviews on Amazon and it wasn’t expensive.

So why the change?

Quite simply, cost.

I’ve blindly been paying as much as £10 for a pack of four blades for my current razor, ever since I started shaving. That’s a large chunk of change for something that cost pennies to make. I don’t want to even think how much this has cost me over time.

With a recent drop in household income, I’ve also taken stock of all of our spending.

I’ve even attempted to shave with a blunt razor just to avoid having to buy new blades, probably not the best idea with hindsight, unless a face with huge chunks taken out of it is the look you’re after.

The best safety razor for a beginner

Can anyone really know what the best safety razor is for a beginner?  There are many razors out there all at different price points, and many websites will give you their thoughts on what the best one out there is but like anything just because it’s been recommended doesn’t mean that it will be right for you and your skin type.

The thing to remember is, when deciding upon which razor to go with, you don’t want to spend too much on it as you might not get on with it, but certainly give it time, having moved away from cartridge razors the transition is going to take time but hopefully worthwhile.

What I like about the Jagen David

It looks classy – we’d be lying if we said that we didn’t mind what our razor looks like.  That’s why razor manufacturers have special editions.  This comes in gold and silver. I’m not a huge fan of gold, so bought the silver and personally think it looks like it cost more than the £17 that I paid for it.

It’s well built – I wasn’t too sure how to get the blade in a first but a twist of the bottom of the handle and the head opened up to show the butterfly mechanism to insert the blade, turn it again and it closes concealing the blade.

Has a nice weight – at around 71 grams (I weighed it), it feels that have a quality product in your hand that’s certainly going to last.

Pros of a double edge razor

Cost

I bought 100 Astra Superior Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades (guess what, made by Gillette) together with my razor, these cost me about £9.

Less skin irritation

I think that we are all guilty of applying too much pressure to our faces when shaving, resulting in shaving burn and ingrown hairs. When using a double edge safety razor you have to use its weight to your advantage and not apply the same pressure you would with your cartridge razor.

Closer shave

I’ve never really thought about it before, but the likes of Gillette sell their products on the fact that more blades mean better, but how can they? Surely more blades mean less space between them, therefore, you can’t really get to all the hair, especially as the hair is clogging up space between the blades.

Easier to clean

I found that blades that you buy claiming to change the way that we shave are much harder to clean.

They might have three to four blades which are close together, whereas with a safety razor you only have the one and so cleaning the blade is made that much easier.

Cons of a double edge razor

Not suitable for all skin types

Unfortunately as you are working with a blade that is static they won’t be suitable for all skin types.

If you have acne or any other skin condition, I’m afraid that I can’t see that you would benefit from using a double edge razor as you are more likely to cause further irritation.

How to shave with a double edge safety razor

Technique is everything where safety razors are concerned, a quick search online tells you that you have to make sure a 30-degree angle is kept with the surface of your skin.  I don’t personally take a protractor into the shower with me when I shave.

Admittedly my first attempt with the razor did result in a few bloody moments, but not as many as I would have expected.  It also takes longer than the standard cartridge razor but I believe that the results might justify the difference in time.

The basic technique of using a safety razor is:

  1. Prep your skin
  2. Ensure that you have the correct angle (30 degrees)
  3. Stretch the skin
  4. Use short strokes going with the grain of the hair
  5. Lubricate well

Obviously, me writing the technique isn’t that useful, so if you want to see a video follow this Safety razor technique

So what do you think?

Will you continue to use your cartridge razor or make the leap to using a safety razor?

There are pros and cons to both and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

David

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