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How to Choose a Double Edge Safety Razor

March 18, 2021 5 min read 0 Comments

How to Choose a Double Edge Safety Razor

So it’s time to make a change. Whether you’re switching from irritating, wasteful and expensive cartridge razors, or you are already a safety razor convert and looking to upgrade, we can help. But where to start when the options seem endless?  

I’ve been helping people choose safety razors for 8 years, and in that time, I’ve found several ways to make the decision simpler. If you ask yourself a few simple questions, you can cut through the noise and find yourself the perfect double-edge razor!

Quality

All of the razors we sell are of good quality and will give a great shave, but some are definitely above others. It comes down to the materials they’re made from and the work done to engineer them. Higher quality materials and extra labour mean a higher price, it’s simple economics. Interested in grabbing the cheapest option so you can see if this style of shaving is for you? Give the Feather Popular a spin; it’s an inexpensive option that still offers great quality. 

Keep in mind that the cheaper the razor, the less accurate picture it’ll give you of what a safety razor can really do. Hoxton and Merkur both offer good-quality razors that can last a lifetime, most between $50-100. For the average shaver, they’re a perfect choice.

Perhaps you want something fancier? If you’re like me, you have to buy the best one right off the hop. Or, you may be upgrading from a more basic razor. Either way, Feather, Karve, Rex, and Rockwell are all amazing choices. They’re made from much harder materials that will last generations. In many cases, these higher end razors are adjustable, allowing for experimentation once you become more confident.

A good middle ground razor option are the razors from Henson Shaving. They’re Canadian-made from aircraft-grade aluminum and very well engineered. They are a new addition to our carefully curated offerings, but they bridge the gap between entry-level and expert-level safety razors perfectly.

The right razor also needs to be paired with the right blade. Learn more about blades here.

Size, Texture, & Weight

How the razor feels in your hand is almost as important as how it's made. The wonderful thing about safety razors is how affordable they are and how little waste they produce. That also means you’ll be using the same razor for quite a while (unless you build a collection, like I have).

Consider the size of your hands and where you’ll be shaving. Shaving in the shower or bath? Get a long, grippy handle, especially if you plan to be shaving down to your ankles. If you’re a face-shaver like me, you’ll probably want a medium or long handle that you can confidently grip while in front of the mirror, but if you’re trimming your beard, you’ll want something short and maneuverable to get in under your chin. Lastly, we find head-shavers usually go for something with a textured handle that’s not too long. Just like those using theirs to trim their beard, you want a razor that’s easily maneuvered.

The weight of your razor dictates how much control you have. Light razors allow you more control but require you to push more to get full blade contact. Push too hard, and you might irritate your skin. Heavy razors, on the other hand, do much more of the shaving on their own. They’re ideal when accuracy isn’t important but not great for getting clean lines around your beard. 

Most folks end up with something in the middle. This allows control but doesn’t require you to push too much. Consider how much of the work you want to do yourself and how much accuracy you require.

Adjustable? Open Comb? Slant?

If you just want a good shave with no hassle, skip this section. If you’re a nerd (like me) and want to delve deeper into improving your shave, then you might consider a specialty razor. We generally don't suggest them as a first razor, rather an alternate that you grow into. Those that have a collection of razors usually find that they started growing theirs by getting into these advanced options.

Adjustable razors are quite cool. They allow you to change the space between the blade and guard, so you can get more hair (and skin, if you’re careless) under the blade. I love my adjustable because I can take off my stubble with a higher blade exposure, then dial it back and fine-tune my shave for a second pass without irritating my skin. They’re also great if you haven’t shaved in a while and need to hack off a short beard.

Rockwell makes some excellent adjustables well-suited to sensitive skin, while Merkur makes some more aggressive options for the tough-skinned among you. Personally, I prefer Karve and Rex. Karve is Alberta-made in two stunning materials: brass and stainless steel. The Rex adjustable is somehow both rugged and sleek at the same time and gets my vote for the best adjustable.

Open-comb razors have a comb on the base plate, allowing a lot more hair to get in under the blade. Excellent for random shavers who shave once per week or less, not so much for sensitive skin. 

Slant razors bend the blade in at a more aggressive “slicing” angle, almost like a guillotine. These are very popular with folks who like the most aggressive shave possible and really want to feel the blade scraping away every last hair. If you’re heavily bearded with tough skin, give a slant a try.

Perhaps most importantly, your new razor should look spectacular on your washroom counter.

Aesthetics

I left this for last, but truth be told, it’s my first consideration. If I don’t like the way a razor looks, I’m not going to buy it. We’re emotional creatures; why not get a razor that appeals to your mammal brain? While I can’t tell you which razor you’ll like the look of, here’s a few easy ones:

  • Black is always in season, especially in a modern washroom.
  • Chrome is classic for those who want a “vintage” looking shave kit.
  • Rose gold? Heck yes.
  • Gold, another classic. For when you’re feeling bougie.
  • Brass may be a little steampunk, but it gets my vote. Take note; this one will change colour over time.

I hope this made your decision easier. While I realize the irony of this statement, try not to overthink it. Many of us end up with more than one razor, and the reality is: you’ll get a great shave with any of our razors. If you need more help picking, chat with one of our staff in the bottom-right corner, or visit your local Kent of Inglewood and get your hands on a few razors! Happy shaving.