Straight Razor vs Safety Razor
Nothing beats the feeling of a clean, close shave...
Men who care about their shaving routine know that the right razor makes a big difference.
There’s no shortage of shaving options. Two timelessly popular types of razors are straight razors and safety razors.
Confused about which razor is right for you? My quick and easy guide has everything you need:
Overview of Available Shaving Tools
There are basically four tools you can use to shave your face:
Electric shavers and cartridge razors will get the job done. But they’re usually considered the lower tier of shaving tools. You won’t get a close shave. Plus, the quality of the shave is often inconsistent. Safety razors and straight razors are considered the better options.
Both safety and straight razors will give you a close, smooth shave which is often far superior to what you’d get from an electric or cartridge razor. At the same time, safety and straight razors do require a bit more maintenance. Plus, you’ll need to learn a bit about proper wet shaving techniques in order to get the best results.
Don’t worry. Anyone can learn how to use straight razors and safety razors properly. Let’s take a deeper look at both.
First let's get one thing clear - the word safety here has nothing to do with safe. Safety razors are NOT safe, if you won't be careful you will get cuts and nicks. So what's the 'safety' means here? The blade is not exposed, but enclosed within the razor's head.
A safety razor is basically a fancier, better-constructed version of a disposable razor. It's like comparing a Mercedes Benz to a Honda - They both shave your face, but everything else if different, from the build quality to shave quality.
a safety razor is made to last. It's almost always made entirely from metal. All you need to do is replace the blades.
There are basically 2 types of safety razors - Double Edge (DE) and Single Edge (SE).
The double edge safety razor is the most popular, it basically has two exposed edges and you can use both of them. You need to use double edge blades.
The single edge safety razor only has one edge exposed. You need to use single edge blades.
The choice between them comes down to preference. But in general when it comes to double edge razors you have more variety of razors and blades, and the blades are cheaper. Single edge razors are usually cheaper.
A straight razor likely looks familiar. They’re the long blades you’ve seen in movies and TV shows. Straight razors have been around since the days of the Old West and the basic design remains the same even today.
A straight razor is a long piece of sharp metal attached to a pivoting handle. Unlike safety razors, straight razors can cut skin pretty easily. In fact, a straight razor is also referred to as a cutthroat razor.
A sharpened straight razor will give you a very close shave. But you need to know how to properly use a straight razor or else you run the risk of cutting yourself pretty badly. Back in the day, straight razors were mainly wielded only by barbers. Safety razors were actually invented so regular guys could shave at home.
Today, straight razors are making a comeback. Guys like the close shave and the overall style of using a straight razor. They’re learning the proper techniques in order to safely shave at home.
The blade will need to be sharpened every few months months. You can sharpen the blade at home yourself. Be careful not to let your blade get dull, as this increases the risk of cutting yourself.
The long blade does shave your face quickly. Most blades average about three inches, which can cover a lot of facial surface area in just a few strokes. Plus, you can find a variety of options for the style and movement of the handle.
A straight razor requires a certain degree of skill to use and maintain. The upfront cost is a bit high but you never have to buy additional blades or any extra equipment. One blade, properly maintained, can last a lifetime.
Comparing Straight & Safety Razors
Both razors will give you a quality shave, but there are quite a few differences between the two. Here’s a detailed comparison:
Depending on quality, safety razors range in price from about $30 all the way up to $150 or more. You will need to buy replacement blades periodically. Although specifics will vary, $10 will usually get you about 100 blades.
Straight razors can be a bit pricey up-front, the price range is 50$ - 200$ or more. But there are no additional costs over time. You can sharpen the blade at home, a hone and a strop will cost around 120$ together. A well-maintained straight razor can last for years, decades and more.
With both razors you will need the regular wet shaving tools such as a shaving brush and a shaving creme.
You will have a learning curve with both razors - But that's the fun of it, right?
So until you'll learn your way around it'll take you some time to shave so take that into account.
In general I don't recommend shaving in a hurry with those razors, that will ruin the experience and fun of it.
If you really care about shaving time and quick shave, these razors might not be the best option for you. But it's fair to say that after learning how to shave with them you can do it pretty quickly.
Both razors will require maintenance. With proper maintenance these razors will last you for a lifetime and more.
Every once in a while you'll need to take your razor apart and clean it thoroughly(it's pretty easy, it will usually have 3 parts). You can use a toothbrush to clean it or you can boil it. You don't need anything else.
With straight razor there's more maintenance.
To prevent it from rusting, after each shave clean your razor with hot water and dry it. If you want extra protection you can also apply coating protectors such as olive oil or mineral oils.
To keep the razor sharp you'll need to hone it every 6-8 weeks. After honing you will also need to strop your blade to smooth rough edges. More on maintenance here.
There’s nothing quite as cool as a straight razor. This is the way men have shaved for centuries. Sure, shaving with a straight razor requires finesse and technique. But if you master the straight razor you’ll have mastered a real grooming art.
Of course, the safety razor is also a stylish addition to your bathroom counter. With their all-metal construction, safety razors are timelessly cool. You can find safety razors in a variety of styles, with great options available for practically any budget.
What Should I Choose: Straight or Safety ?
There’s no one type of razor best for everybody. Instead, the best razor for you depends on your personal preferences and needs.
A safety razor is great if you want a close shave without a lot of worries. The basic shaving technique is similar to a disposal razor, but the quality of the shave is much better. Plus, a safety razor will save you money in the long run because the replaceable blades last a relatively long time.
Choose a safety razor if you’re interested in an easy, close and cost-effective shave.
A straight razor gives you the closest shave possible. Plus, a straight razor has a timeless, classic style. If you enjoy shaving, and are willing to learn, mastering the straight razor can be fun and rewarding.
Choose a straight razor if you’re ready to take shaving to a whole new level of skill and smoothness.
Disposable razors have inconsistent quality. Electric razors can be a hassle to use. The most dependable options for consistently amazing shaves are straight razors and safety razors.
Shaving doesn’t have to be a chore. A high-quality razor makes shaving easy and fun. Both straight razors and safety razors have lots of great benefits. After considering each option, you’re sure to make the right choice.