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Safety Razor vs Straight Razors – Which is the Best?

If you are interested in learning more about the whole traditional shaving experience you may be wondering what the differences are between a safety razor and a straight razor, and which one is the best.

We have come up with some background on both styles of razors as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each in order to provide some clarification.

Safety Razor vs Straight Razors – Which is the Best?

Safety Razors

With the traditional shave gaining popularity with both men and women in the younger generations, and older generations going back to shaving how their father’s and grandfather’s taught them, the safety razor has again become a go-to shaving tool for many.

Introduced in the late 19th century, the safety razor rapidly gained popularity as it was easy to use and provided less skill to manipulate than the straight razor did.

The emergence of the safety razor led to more at-home shaving, and while disposable razors became more popular in the 20th century, the 21st century has seen a real return of the powers of the safety razor.

The main advantage of the safety razor is how it provides a smooth and gentle shave when used correctly.

You can say goodbye to shaving bumps that are often caused by multi-bladed disposable razors and hello to softer and smoother skin.

Another advantage is that although it requires a little bit of a learning curve, it is not difficult to manipulate.

Once you figure out the proper angle to shave at, that you just need to glide the blade over the skin without pressing down and that you really just need to let the sturdy razor so all the work, you will realize what a refreshing process it can be.

One pass over the skin is usually all that you need.

A slight disadvantage of the safety razor is that you still need to buy disposable blades, and sometimes it takes a little bit of a search to find the right ones for you.

But they aren’t expensive, less than a packet of disposable razors, and are easy to insert into the razor. A good safety razor will cost less than $40 and lasts for years if well looked after.

Another slight disadvantage when compared to the straight razor is that while the “safety” grill helps prevent cuts, it never will provide a good a shave as the straight razor will.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy
  • Cheap
  • Provides a good shave
  • Popular with men and women

Cons

  • Contains disposable blades
  • Not as great of a shave as the straight razor

Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor

This safety razor provides high quality shaving. Its long handle is great for woman to access hard-to-reach part more easily and for people with bigger hands. 

Straight Razors

​When you think of straight razors you immediately think back to the old-school barbershops, often seen in movies, to the skilled barbers using these specific razors to give their customers a clean, spa-like shave.

One needs a steady hand and some experience with these types of razor to obtain a smooth shave without nicks and cuts.

A straight razor is a simple blade that folds into its handle and comes in three different styles: with round, square or French points.

First manufactured in the late 17th century, the straight razor became the popular utensil for shaving until the late 19th century when the safety razor was introduced.

Nowadays disposable razors and electric shavers are the most popular on the market but there has been a big emergence of popularity in the traditional shave in recent years.

One of the advantages of a straight razor is that once you buy one, if you take care of it, you can make it last for years.

With careful sharpening (called honing and stropping), the blade will provide a highly optimal shave.

You can learn to hone the blade yourself, or have a professional do it, whatever you are more comfortable with. A second advantage of the straight razor is the actual shave: when mastered correctly you will find that the straight razor provides the closest and cleanest shave.

The length of the blade allows for coverage of a greater area in one pass, and it is easier than any other type of blade to clean and store away. You can fold the blade up and easily put it in your pocket or away on a shelf or a travel bag – it hardly takes up any room at all.

The straight razor does come with a few disadvantages, mainly the learning curve of using the blade correctly in order to avoid cuts and get that perfect shave that a barber provides.

The razor has to be held correctly and at a 30 degree angle, and passed lightly over the skin without pressure.

A well-maintained blade will cut the hairs without pressing down on the skin. While the blade may shave a larger area in one pass, a straight-razor shave may end up being a little more time consuming, especially if you are learning the correct technique.

Lastly, the purchase of a good straight razor may set you back $70-$100, a little more expensive than the safety razor. However, you will most likely never be required to buy a new one.

Pros

  • Close and smooth shave
  • Little risk of shaving bumps
  • Blade can last forever
  • A great skill to learn

Cons

  • Requires practice
  • May be time consuming
  • Blades are more expensive

Parker Straight Edge Razor

Easy-to-use, efficient depilation system that removes hair from the root

Conclusion – Safety or Straight?

While the straight razor may provide the best shave of all, the safety razor is more accessible to everyone.

The straight razor has a higher cost upfront, but that pays off in the long term as you don’t need to buy disposable blades.

A straight razor requires a lot of practice while the safety razor only takes a couple of tries to get it right.

So, in the end, it all really comes down to preference. If you love the whole process of the traditional shave and have the time to use a straight blade then you will probably never go back to anything else once you master it.

On the other hand, if you love the idea of using shaving cream, a shaving brush and a traditional razor, but want something a little easier to use then the safety razor is for you.

In the video below, you can see how to shave both with straight and with safety razor:

Watch the difference between straight and safety razor

The safety razor is also much easier to use on other areas than the face, which is why it appeals to both women and men. And if you still don’t know? Give both a whirl!

Sue
 

For the past 12 months, I have been testing and playing with all sorts of hair removal products for Hair Free Life. My goal is to provide the most accurate and up-to-date hair removal consumer information on the internet. When I'm not photographing, reviewing and researching hair removal products I play the drums in a samba band and am a volunteer for the Swindon Lions! Got any questions? Write to us below: