Making the Switch to Slant Bar Safety Razors
If you are here then you already know the merits of the safety razor and are looking to move over to realm of the slant bar safety razor. We are here to help you make the switch seamlessly.
What is a Slant Bar Safety Razor?
In a nutshell, the idea of a slant bar safety razor is to pass the razor blade as close to the skin as possible while slicing the hair in one easy pass.
In a regular safety razor the blade sits at an angle that is perpendicular to the bar. A slant bar safety razor bends the blade at a slant, allowing for an extremely aggressive, but extremely smooth and clean shave.
If you look at the guillotine, or different types of mandolines, you will see that they contain a slanted blade, which allows for a cleaner and faster cut. In the case of hairs this means less passes and less pulling.
Barbers were taught that the best shaving technique, usually with a straight razor, was with a slanted or oblique pass, so why not create a safety razor that would do the same thing?
The slant bar razor has been in existence since 1914 when it was patented by Thomas Wild, and while it has never been as wildly popular as the regular, straight safety razor it still has a good following.
Often preferred by those with coarse and unyielding hair, when using the appropriate technique, the slant bar razor can provide anyone with super smooth, hair-free skin.
How to Shave with a Slant Bar Safety Razor
There is a reason that the slant bar razor is usually not recommended for beginners.
If you haven’t got the safety razor shaving technique down there is a bigger risk of cutting through both hairs and skin with a slant bar than there is with a straight razor.
If you decide to start out with a slant bar razor from the get-go you will just need to follow the same technique that a straight razor uses, as you use a slant bar razor in exactly the same way as you would a straight razor, but with less pressure on the skin.
We recommend getting use to a straight safety razor first, figuring out which type of blade works best for you, and then trying your hand at the slant bar razor.
The only learning curve that comes with using a slant bar razor is figuring out the right pressure to use.
You will also most likely need to try out different blades once again, as a slant bar is more aggressive than the most aggressive straight razor. Many people like to pair the slant with a Feather blade to obtain the ultimate smooth shave.
You will figure out the best pressure to use after one or two shaves. With a slant bar razor hardly any pressure is needed and usually only one pass is required.
Imagine that you have a bad sunburn on your face, and use the shaver with that in mind. While it is a more aggressive razor, it is also the best for sensitive skin as it cuts hairs sharply without pulling on them and without pushing down on the skin.
In addition, a slant bar razor is a great choice for thick, coarse stubble.
What are the Benefits of Using a Slant Bar Safety Razor?
In addition to the main benefits that come from using a safety razor in general, such as cost, quality of shave and how much better they are for the environment than a disposable cartridge razor is, using a slant bar safety razor comes with a few other benefits:
- The slant bar works extremely well on tough stubble.
- While anyone will get a great shave with a slant bar razor, it makes shaving easier for those who have thick, coarse and/or wiry hair. It cuts through any type of hair without much pressure.
- It is a great choice for those who have sensitive skin. If used correctly the blade will barely touch the skin while still slicing any hairs it comes in contact with as close to the skin as possible.
Basically you are looking at a smooth shave while avoiding even irritating the most delicate and sensitive of skins.
- While the blade may be more aggressive in a slant bar razor, there is actually little room for it to move, so the slant bar can actually be seen as a safer option than the regular straight bar.
Are There Any Risks?
The main risk is not using the razor correctly by applying too much pressure.
The blade is much nearer to the skin in a slant bar razor, and you can end up cutting yourself if you are not careful.
This is the main reason why it is not recommended to start out with a slant bar razor if you are making the switch from cartridge razors.
Other than that there are no other risks to be aware of!
Where to Start?
While there are an abundance of straight bar safety razors on the market, there are not so many slant bar safety razors available.
This is mainly because the popularity or slant bars was always smaller than that of the straight razor and when traditional wet shaving went “out of fashion” due to the ease of using disposable razors, slant bar wet shaving literally dropped off the radar.
However, they are making a big comeback and manufacturers have taken note and are now producing their own slant bars in addition to their own popular straight safety razors.
Slant bar beginners can start with the most popular on the market, the Merkur Heavy Duty Slant Safety Razor 37C.
You can’t really go wrong with a Merkur: they provide high-quality engineered safety razors with great weight, at great prices.
For the most aggressive shave you can use the razor with a Feather blade, but we recommend testing a few blades first to figure out which one works best for you.
For a full review of our favorite slant bar safety razors, you can take a look at our article here.