Nothing feels more satisfying than running your fingers across your face after a good, close shave. And you know your partner will appreciate your kissably-soft skin later tonight too. But when it’s time to replace the blade yet again, you can’t help but wonder if there’s a better razor out there for you — one that’s more durable, longer-lasting and offers an even closer shave to the one you’re getting now. You’ve even considered the pros and cons of straight razors vs. safety razors, but you just haven’t taken the time to upgrade your daily grooming routine yet. Well, all of that changes today. We’re breaking down everything there is to know about both straight razors and safety razors so that you can decide once and for all which one is the best option for your lifestyle.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Straight Vs Safety: What Is The Difference?
- 2 Considerations
- 3 Straight Razors: Round-Up
- 4 Safety Razors: Round-Up
- 5 Steps For A Great Shave
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 Conclusion
Straight Vs Safety: What Is The Difference?
There are 5 major differences between a straight razor and safety razors: head, handle, size, weight and cost.
Straight razor design may look quite simple, but they include several key components:
- Pivot pin
Straight razor: the head is located on the spine. Depending on which of the four main blade point profile shapes the straight razor is designed with, the head can either be straight, rounded, symmetrically curved, asymmetrically curved or have a small rounded tip.
Safety razor: the head is the entire piece that’s fixed at the top of the handle. The blade is then enclosed and locked into place inside of the head itself. Check out our review of the best safety razors. Looking for the best travel razors and electric shavers right now? Click here to find the best ones.
Straight razor: the blade folds directly inside the handle. Straight razor handles can be made from different types of materials including bone, mother of pearl, buffalo horn or hardwood.
Safety razor: handles can come with longer handles that are designed for people with larger hands. Safety razor handles are often made from stainless steel, brass, or even bamboo.
Both the handle and the blade of a straight razor are larger than those of a safety razor: a straight razor typically has a 5.5in handle and a 3-4in blade, while safety razors on average have 4.5in handles and 2.5in blades.
The weight of both a straight razor and a safety razor will depend on the types of materials used to make them. However, safety razors typically weigh more than a straight razor.
Straight razor: costs more money upfront, but it doesn’t require any additional expenses.
Safety razors: cost less money upfront, but they do require inexpensive replacement blades every few months.
Straight razor shaving is a different experience from safety razor shaving, with 4 main considerations to take into account before purchasing a straight razor.
Ease Of Use
If you’re used to using disposable or cartridge razors regularly, jumping into using a straight razor will come with its own challenges.
Traditional straight razors provide an extremely close shave—which is why they’re often the top choice among professional barbers. But a straight razor also requires a lot of skill to get a smooth shave without any nicks or cuts. With time, patience, practice and a lot of shaving cream, cut throat razors can take your wet shaving experience to a whole new level.
On the other hand, safety razors have a lot more in common with modern cartridge razors than a straight razor does, so they are much easier to use with little to no experience.
Straight razors can be extremely dangerous in unskilled hands. That’s why you need to proceed with caution when using a straight razor on your own the first few times.
Safety razors can also cause nicks and cuts, but safety razor blades are housed inside the head of the razor exposing very little of the blade itself.
Investment In Routine
Learning how to use a straight razor safely does take some time and practice. However, straight razors also have larger blades so you can shave more of your face and neck in a shorter amount of time. When you begin using a double edge razor, you will use a similar shaving technique to that of a disposable cartridge razor so it’s a quicker process. The only difference is that the head of a double edge safety razor doesn’t pivot, so you’ll have to change the angle of the handle as you shave.
Maintenance & Longevity
Straight razors can last a lifetime. To keep their longevity, they require daily cleaning, and they need sharpening every few months.
Safety razors can last years and require daily cleaning as well, but they also need replacement blades every few days. Fortunately, double edge blades are quite affordable. If you are looking for the best mustache styling products, check out our review of the best mustache wax products.
Straight Razors: Round-Up
A straight razor shave provides a smoother, closer shave than other razors on the market because the straight razor blade is incredibly sharp and strong compared to disposable blades. While using a straight razor for the first time may be daunting, you can safely shave with one in the comfort of your own home. Even if you’re new to wet shaving, with the right shaving tools—such as a shaving brush and shaving cream— the blade will glide smoothly over your skin and cut your facial hair at the base of the hair shaft.
Straight razors are also a much more durable product than disposable razors, and they prevent razor bumps, razor burns and other skin irritation that many people experience with a disposable razor – they are an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin.
- They provide the absolute closest shave
- You can shave your entire face in just a few strokes
- The blade can last decades if cared for properly
- They give you the highest level of control while shaving
- The upfront cost is high in price
- It takes time to learn proper shaving techniques with a straight razor
- They can lead to a very serious cut if you’re not careful
- You must sharpen the blade every few months
- It takes longer to shave at first
Safety Razors: Round-Up
A safety razor is also a great option for those looking to upgrade from a cartridge razor. Safety razors provide a comfortable wet shave without a huge learning curve because the single edge blades or double-edged blades fit securely inside of the razor’s head giving you less direct contact with the razor’s surface.
Unlike disposable razors, safety razors have a durable handle that is both sturdy and long-lasting, so over time, you actually save money that would normally go right in the wastebasket every time you throw your cartridge razors away.
With both a single edge safety razor or a double edge safety razor, you’ll need to replace the blades 2-3 times per week – depending on how much you shave – because using the same blade after it dulls will lead to more nicks, cuts or irritations. However, each single edge razor blade or double edge blade is reasonably priced.
A safety razor prevents razor burn, gives a much smoother shave and cuts facial hairs closer to your skin than a modern cartridge razor does. Gentle enough for even the most delicate skin, they are a great addition to your normal shaving routine.
- The upfront cost is low to medium in price
- They provide a pretty close shave
- They are safer than straight razors
- Replacement blades are inexpensive
- Shaving can be done quickly
- The head does not pivot so angle adjustment is needed
- You need to replace blades often
- The blade can clog
Steps For A Great Shave
You’re just 5 steps away from getting the perfect shave:
1. Purchase the right shaving tools
A straight razor with one blade or a safety razor with replacement razor blades, pre-shave oil, shave cream and a shaving brush help you get a shave just like the ones given by professional barbers.
2. Check the blade
Having a sharp blade is an important step in minimizing nicks, cuts and irritations. So be sure to sharpen your blade often or replace blades as needed.
3. Rinse and lather
Any razor will work better when your face is wet and lathered up – be sure to rinse the blade well after each stroke.
4. Use gentle strokes at the right angle
Shaving is all about using gentle strokes at the right angle, so be sure to move the angle of the handle as you glide over curves in your face and neck.
5. Take your time and be patient
If you’re used to using disposable razors or electric shavers, it will take some time to experiment with the right angle and pressure to get a great shave with straight razors, single edge razors or a safety razor with a double-edged blade. Don’t forget to read our tips for removing nose hair here and take a look at the best nose hair trimmers right now.
Frequently Asked Questions
A straight razor is a safe option when it comes to shaving your face and neck at home. A straight razor has one blade so it’s important to keep this blade sharp by using a strop every few months. In addition, you’ll want to be careful with the pressure you use and the angle of your strokes at least the first few times you use a straight razor to be sure that you don’t accidentally nick or cut your skin. Otherwise, a straight razor can be just as safe as other razors.
A safety razor does give a clean shave every time you use one. Some of the safety razor pros include minimizing nicks and cuts and preventing razor bumps, and other skin irritations. Plus, most safety razors are durable so they last a very long time and have minimal costs that result from blade replacements. But blade replacements, such as feather blades, are very cost-effective. And by replacing your blades frequently, you will be sure to get a clean shave each and every time.
You can shave with a safety razor every day. They’re gentle enough to be used on a regular basis and you won’t experience skin irritations from daily use as long as you change the blades out frequently. In fact, you can be sure to enjoy a baby butt smooth – also known as a bbs – shave whenever you use a safety razor.
Barbers typically use straight razors to create the traditional barbershop experience. It feels good to wear a warm towel draped over your face, have shave oil rubbed onto your skin, have cream applied with a shave brush and get a really smooth, close shave. So barbers use straight razors to give their customers the overall best shave experience they can.
Using a safety razor will reduce ingrown hairs. Unlike a cheaper disposable razor, a safety razor blade is a high-quality, sharper blade that minimizes all skin conditions caused by shaving. By switching to a safety razor, you can enjoy smooth, soft skin without all of the itching, swelling and redness caused by hairs that have gotten trapped below the skin’s surface.
When it comes to making the choice between straight razors vs safety razors, it really comes down to personal preference. Straight razors give you the absolute closest shave, the highest level of control and they can easily last decades from now. Safety razors also provide a close shave, and the replacement blades are easy to switch out and incredibly affordable. So ask yourself what type of shave experience you’re looking for. Do you want a straight razors barbershop shave experience with a cutthroat razor or would you prefer a durable safety razor without a learning curve?