For many, the Double Edge razor, or safety razor, evokes a sense of nostalgia. Many of us recall our fathers and grandfathers shaving with them, and often we emulated their ritual alongside them with an empty razor and a face full of lather. The origin of the DE razor dates back over a century, when King C. Gillette patented the first safety razor. The true emergence of the DE razor came when Gillette was contracted to supply American troops in World War I, and soon the shaving industry was set on its course.
Why use a safety razor? In recent years, more and more hardware has been added to the disposable blade, as relentless marketing posits that the perfect shave requires that maximum amount of technology, when in fact the opposite holds true. At its most basic level, shaving with a safety razor is better for the skin than a cartridge. Instead of running multiple blades against the skin, only one is used, generating a fraction of the irritation. Multiple passes only compound the benefit of a single blade, as adding a cleanup pass with the latest cartridge would generate an amount of irritation similar toten passes with a single blade razor! Other benefits are little to no plastic waste, and massive cost savings on blades over the life of the razor, with the most expensive blade being just over a dollar apiece and many of them closer to twenty cents a piece.
Double Edge Safety razors are also a great alternative to straight razors - they’re easier to travel with, and make a great choice for those who prefer a tool with less day-to-day maintenance. While your author will always be firmly in the straight-razor camp, he loves his double edge too, and often uses it when time is tight.
The Top 5 Double Edge Safety Razors
In the present day, there are myriad manufacturers of both safety razors and blades, so the user is spoiled for choice and truly able to tailor their shave to their own personal style and taste. The sheer volume of options can be overwhelming, so to cut through the cacophony, we present you with five of our favourite double edge razors.
Ever since its arrival, this razor has been a favourite of staff and customers alike. The handle is perfectly textured whether you're shaving in front of the mirror, or in the shower. The handle tucks in just under the head, allowing you to get your index and thumb into the into and control the razor like a Ferrari. The head of this razor is somewhere between mild and aggressive, both preventing razor-burn and allowing for a very close shave.
While it's not a typical consideration that I make, the Hoxton razor is also super affordable at only $50. At that price, you can get a year's supply of blades and the handle for around $65.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular razors for those making their first foray into shaving with a safety razor, it is a blend of timeless style, function and German craftsmanship. Pairing a mild geometry (bend of the blade) with a longer knurled handle, the weight and proportions appeal to many,as ithas a similarity and comfort to vintage razors that makes this one of the most often chosen for a first safety razor.
While most recent changes made to razors have been uneccesary alterations in the name of marketing, Henson has gone above and beyond to reimagine the safety razor in a way that truly improves on the century-old design. The Canadian-base manufacturer totally changed up the head design, massively reduced the irritation that can be cause by the razor. While safety razors are already mild, Henson are exceedingly mild which makes them perfect for first-timer and folks like me who suffer from sensitive skin.
In addition to a truly revolutionary design, they are also made in Canada. Henson crafts their razors from aircraft quality aluminum which makes them super durable and lightweight.
One of our favourites here at Kent of Inglewood, the Rockwell Model T is a throwback to class adjustable safety razors of the 1950s. Born on Kickstarter, Rockwell is a Canadian-based brand.
For those who are always experimenting and chasing the perfect shave, the Rockwell Model T is the razor for you. The adjustable head allows you to move the blade closer or farther away from the guard, giving you control over the closeness and comfort of the shave. A simple dial allows for adjustment on the go, so you can switch things up mid-shave. The head opens in a butterfly-style, reminiscent of the 1950s Gillette razors many of our parents or grandparents shaved with.
A marvel of Japanese engineering, the Feather AS-D2 was created with a singular purpose: to give the person wielding this safety razor the sharpest, closest shave possible. Specially engineered to be used with the legendarily sharp Feather blade, the razor shaves so mildly, you’ll have trouble believing you’re shaving at all - except there will be less hair, and baby-smooth skin where your stubble used to be. If you’ve got sensitive skin, and find that the straight razor isn’t for you, the stainless steel Feather razor is the be-all and end-all of the comfortable, gentle, safety razor shave.
While the variety of razors above just barely edge this one out, don't sleep on it! The Hoxton Rose Gold is easily one of our most popular razors, especially among first-timers. It has a fantastic texture for shaving in the shower with slippery hands, and a lovely mild angle that is perfect for those new to the world of safety razors. It also looks stunning on your countertop!
I hope this whirlwind tour through some of our favourite razors in the shop helps break you into the world of wet shaving - any one of these razors will guide you closer to a better shave.
A famed cocktologist and axe man, Nathan opened the first Kent of Inglewood store in Calgary, and now spends his days writing most of what you are reading here and teaching straight razor shaving classes. Ask him about his world-famous Three Cherry Manhattan. In his spare time Nathan can be found sharpening his axe, making fermented foods, or practicing his amateur butchering hobby. He doesn't slur his words, he speaks in cursive.