For the longest time, the straight razor was the most popular shaving tool in the world. It had a large blade that was around 7.5 cm in length that could be folded into the handle. It remained the most widely used shaving tool until Gillette popularised the safety razor in the early 1900s. Unlike straight razors, safety razors used disposable razor blades fixed onto the head of the razor in a housing that only exposes a small edge of the blade.
Nowadays, the plastic cartridge razor is the most popular shaving tool. Despite this, there is still a lot of debate about which product is the most effective. Even though straight razors haven’t been the ‘mainstream’ razor for a long time, they are still used by some professional barbers. Likewise, there are a good number of people who still prefer safety razors over cartridge razors.
So, which one should you use? In order to find out, we’re going to have to discuss the pros and cons of straight razors and safety razors. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the affordability of each razor, their usability and, of course, their effectiveness.
One big advantage of straight razors is the freedom and control that the user has over the blade. Since the blade isn’t obstructed by plastic coverings or metal guards, you can use the straight razor in different angles. When shaving, this makes it a lot easier to go along the grain and reach awkward angles.
- Close shave
Since the blade is the only thing that’s coming into contact with your skin, you can get an extremely close shave with a straight razor. Additionally, since the blade is much longer than a safety razor, you can cover a larger surface area with just one stroke. This reduces the chance of your getting an uneven shave and in-grown hairs.
- Learning curve
Unfortunately, there is a bit of a learning curve with straight razor shaving. You have to get used to the proper grip and learn the right amount of pressure that you need to apply.
Since the blade is so sharp and completely exposed, you will likely cut yourself from time to time when you’re just starting out. However, with enough practice, you should be able to shave without too much fuss.
- Upfront costs
Straight razors tend to cost more than safety razors upfront. Additionally, you will need to buy a leather strop, which is used to sharpen the blade once it becomes dull.
Despite these sunk costs, straight razors can actually save you money in the long run. Indeed, if you maintain your blade properly, you won’t have to pay for a replacement for many years.
If you don’t want to have to worry about cutting yourself, then it’s best to use a safety razor. Safety razors have metal guards that prevent the blade from digging too far into your skin.
Despite this metal guard, safety razors can give you a much closer shave compared to a plastic cartridge razor. Also, since a safety razor only has a single edge, it gives a much cleaner cut. This, in turn, reduces your chances of getting in-grown hairs.
- Easy to use
If you’re used to using cartridge razors, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem switching to a safety razor. Both products use a similar type of handle and a blade of similar length.
When you get your safety razor, you won’t have to watch an online tutorial video of how to use it. You can simply start shaving as soon as you get it.
- Less control
Since the blade is encased in a metal structure, you’re going to have less control over your movements. This might limit you from getting to those awkward angles. This lack of full control can lead to uneven shaving in certain areas of your body.
Additionally, since the blade is relatively small, you will have to use multiple strokes to cover a large surface area. You might even have to go over the same area twice. This could lead to ingrown-hairs and razor bumps.
- Long-term costs
Although safety razors are quite affordable, they could end up costing you more than straight razors.
The blades used in safety razors aren’t as durable as a straight blade. As such, they will dull out much faster. When this happens, you will have to buy an entire new set of blades. In the long run, this can take a toll on your wallet.
Hopefully, this helped you better understand the world of safety razors and straight razors. No one product is objectively superior to another. The important thing is to look at your own lifestyle and preferences and see what works the best. Nowadays, there are plenty of online sellers that provide high quality blades for an affordable price. There’s nothing stopping you from trying both products and seeing which one is for you.