Switching to a Safety Razor
Toss Your Mach3 and Discover Safety Razors
I talk to a lot of people about shaving. A lot of people. Normal dinner conversation for me is asking someone what kind of shaving products and tools they use, what they like, do they shave with the grain or not, what they don’t like, and so on. Call it market research, call it my passion, curiosity, whatever… I am a student of why people shave the way they shave. It’s my job, after all.
Naturally, I am asked questions in return, and I love to tell people how I shave. Not because I am in the business, but because I have done lots of experimenting in this area, and while everyone has their own tastes, most people haven’t ventured out further than one of Gillette’s Gels and a disposable razor of some sort… and they are intrigued to hear from someone who has a different point of view. Naturally, I shave with the grain, because I can with TICO* shaving oil.
How I shave is simple… TICO* Shave Oil and a Safety Razor (also referred to as a ‘Double Edge’ razor or ‘DE’ for short) . While the former is no surprise to anyone, the latter usually sparks a good bit of curiosity… usually “what’s a safety razor?” It never ceases to surprise me that we have, in such a short time frame, completely forgotten how our grandfathers and forefathers used to shave. Cheap, overpriced, disposable, ineffective razors that most people have been trained by marketing and grocery store shelves to use are far from what folks like Teddy Roosevelt and James Dean used to reach for when it came time to sharpen up and shave with the grain.
Why switch to a safety razor you ask? Here are my top 10 reasons;
1) A Closer Shave
First and foremost, the quality of your shave is paramount. There is no reason to entertain any argument for change if what you are currently using is a superior method. In my opinion, a safety razor provides the best shave you have probably ever experienced. I remember being blown away the first time I tried it. The initial shave shows much better and it lasts much longer into the day.
2) Better for Your Skin
When it comes down to it, shaving is the act of scraping a sharpened piece of steel across your face… there is no way to argue that skin damage / irritation is a likely result. Remember that as you shave, you are removing more skin cells than you are hair. Assuming you currently use a multi-blade disposable razor, remember that with every stroke you make you are dragging 2, 3, 4 or more razors across your skin. Multiple strokes are always necessary for proper coverage so if you hit a spot 3 times with a 4 blade razor… well you do the math. The trick is to get a close shave accomplished with as few strokes as possible. How were we ever convinced that more blades were better in the first place? Thanks Gillette.
3) Easier to Shave Under Your Nose
I had always found that getting those hard to reach whiskers immediately under my nose was difficult back in my ‘Mach 3 days’… but when I converted to a Safety Razor I was surprised at how great it was for shaving under my nose, it is one of the easiest parts of my routine now. In fact, any precision shaving like trimming around facial hair or even sideburns becomes easy and exacting when working with a single razor.
4) Double Edge Cuts Shaving Time in Half
One joy that will never be experienced by disposable razor users is the ability to shave with one side of the razor head until it is time to rinse it out, but instead, simply rotating the razor head 180* to find a fresh clean razor for continued shaving. You see, with two edges, you can rinse out your razor head half as much, therefore cutting your shaving time in half. It just makes sense.
5) Less Clogging
Multi-blade disposable razor heads are hard to rinse out. All of the little pieces of plastic behind the tight row of inline razor blades… there is just no hope of efficient rinsing. I remember blasting my Mach 3 razor with blazing hot water from one side to the other side and back and forth just to try to release the clogged corners between the blades. It’s laughable now thinking back on it… before I was ‘enlightened’. Safety Razors are simple and easy to rinse out, and I love them for that.
6) Better For The Planet
All safety razor blades are 100% recyclable. All disposable razors are 0% recyclable and have petroleum based plastics. When the metal blades are so permanently attached to their plastic cradles, there is no way they can be separated to be recycled. No, there is not some recycling troll that lives at the recycling center that separates them and all of the other fused products for you… as cool as that sounds.
7) Save Money
Gillette Fusion cartridges can cost up to $4 per razor. Quality disposable safety razor refills can cost about $0.25 per razor. If you change out your razor once a week as recommended, then the annual costs savings can be $208 – $13 = $195 per year.
8) It’s Easier Than You Think
It seems that most people I suggest safety razors to have an initial concern that using one requires some skill that they don’t possess. Hogwash. It’s just as easy as shaving with any other razor (straight razors aside), and while there are techniques and tips that are good to learn, they are nothing more than that in my opinion.
9) The Coolness Factor
Taking pride in how and what you shave with is cool. A disposable razor is to a safety razor as a Hyundai is to a Ferrari. Holding a Mach 3 in one hand and comparing it to the weight and timelessness of a safety razor in the other, it is immediately recognizable which one a real man would be proud to claim.
10) Craftsman vs. Shade Tree
Using a safety razor means bringing the right tool to the job. What if you hired someone to build beautiful custom cabinetry in your kitchen and they showed up with a kid’s plastic tool set in hand? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
So there you have it, 10 darn good reasons to make the change to safety razors. They work great with TICO*, and in my opinion the two make for the smartest and best way to shave with the grain.
That’s just my two cents… what do you think?