Safety Razor

The origins of the safety razor date to 1762 when Jean-Jacques Perret developed a razor with a wooden sleeve to limit the amount of blade that could be used in shaving. Various inventors and innovators attempted to make the straight razor safer through the implementation of guards, like the Plantagenet Razor or John Kinloch’s Guard Razor. These proto-safety razor designs were based on a folding blade. By the late nineteenth century the Kampfe Brothers had developed a version of the safety razor with a smaller blade resting atop a handle.

The success of the modern safety razor owed to the convenience and safety it offered when compared with a straight razor. History also played a role in the success of the safety razor as modern militaries demanded a clean shave for a variety of purposes including safety and practicality, for instance In World War I, gas masks and safety equipment made shaving a must.

In modern safety razors, a safety bar, open comb, slant bar or other variant acts as protection between the razor and the skin. Some safety razors allow for different levels of protection from the blade, sometimes called “aggression,” so that expert shavers can fine tune the exposure to the blade or closeness of their shave.


The safety razor represents the perfection of balance between convenience and the perfect shave. These razors are relatively easy to keep clean and clogs are easy to avoid. The use of a single blade gives a shaver control over the angle of the shave so that small groups of hairs or even single hairs may be targeted when shaving. The use of a single blade also makes it much easier to have the razor match the contour of the face. The closeness of a safety razor shave means that if care is not exercised, one may nick or cut themselves more easily than with a cartridge. Still a safety razor nick is easily managed and poses no serious threat. Those who take even a modicum of care in shaving should have no problem achieving a supremely satisfying shave. What many appreciate most about a safety razor shave is that the blades are often one-tenth of the cost of a cartridge, and the razor blades are more durable.

The pros

A close shave.
The safety razor offers an incredibly close shave. In many ways a safety razor shave done with care is indistinguishable from a straight razor shave in closeness.

While the cost of a safety razor may range from $20 to $50 on average, the cost of refill blades is often one-tenth the cost of a cartridge refill. The result is that the cost of ownership for a safety razor is significantly less than the cost of shaving with cartridges. Also, the blades last longer and maintain their quality more consistently than cartridges during their useful life.

A good safety razor is built to last.

Works well with Product.
Whether using an inexpensive shaving cream or the most luxurious shave butter, a safety razor will work and it will work well. The blades are easy to clean and easy to keep clog free.

Easy to Clean.
Even when shaving a full beard with the thickest shave cream, a safety razor is easy to keep clean. The design leaves breathing room. There is enough space between the blade and the guard to allow for water to rinse any residue away easily. At worst, simply unscrew the head of the safety razor, wipe the razor blade and in a matter of seconds the razor is pristinely clean.


Universal Design with Variety.
Safety razor blades are universal. They will work in almost any safety razor. This contributes to the affordability of razors. As for the safety razor itself, the classic designs of the mid-twentieth century are still as classic as ever. For those who seek more variety in the handle, the materials, the ability to alter the aggression level or otherwise, the options are limitless.

Stylish and Enjoyable.
Safety razors are stylish, classic and cool. Once you get the hang of it, shaving with a safety razor is truly an enjoyable shave.
Environmentally Friendly. A good safety razor is made to last, which means less waste. Safety razor blades are recyclable and do not use plastics and polymers.

In a word of technology and synthetics, the safety razor offers a tactile feeling. In the same way that some people are drawn to vinyl records because of the warmth and real world connection they offer, many are drawn to shaving with a safety razor. Some like the weight of a safety razor- it is heavier than a cartridge. Some people like the control it offers. Some like the idea of embracing a classic and shaving like their grandfathers or beyond.
Great for the skin. A closer shave means that the blade does a better job of exfoliating the face than its rivals.

The Cons

Cuts and Nicks are possible.
A closer shave also means that it is easier cut yourself shaving. These are generally minor nicks, but still you should not rush when shaving with a safety razor. You should keep your focus when shaving. On the positive, once you become accustomed to shaving with a safety razor, you will start to enjoy shaving and be less tempted to rush or lose focus.


Slight learning curve.
Mastering a shave with a safety razor requires practice and patience. Most people should be able to get the hang of shaving with a safety razor fairly quickly.

Rinse Often.
This is not so much a con as a requirement with any shave. Water is your friend. A clean blade is a must for a good shave. So enjoy a wet close shave a rinse often.

Depending on where and how you travel, razor blades may present a problem. If so, suck it up and bring that back-up Mach 3 razor along for those trips.

Continue Reading Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 Back to Articles