I've written about my experience with double-edge safety razors in the past, but I felt that I should write another post detailing the advantages of the safety razor over the popular multi-bladed razors of today. You could chalk it up to growing old, but I've realized that a lot of the technology of the past was superior to the modern technology. This is especially true when it comes to razors.
Shaving is one of those fascinating things for the young. I remember wondering what it was like to shave when I was a kid. It seemed like fun. As far back as I can remember, my dad used an electric razor. So, when I grew up, that was what I first tried. Electric razors are great when you first buy them. They don't shave as close as other methods but they are at least simple. I found that after a few uses, they more or less just ripped the hairs out rather than cutting them. They also require lots of cleaning and make a mess.
So I switched to Gillette Sensors. This was one of the first multi-bladed razors, and I liked the results. I would get ingrown hairs and slight irritation, but I was younger then and it didn't bother me that much.
Then I started losing my hair, and I promised myself at an early age that if I ever started going bald that I would help the process along and just start shaving my head. So I started shaving myhead. My hair is very thin on top now but the sides are still rather thick, which makes shaving difficult in those areas at times.
The problem with shaving your head is that ingrown hairs suck on your head. So that problem became a major issue for me. I started reading around and found that the cause of the ingrown hairs was the type of razor I was using.
Multi-bladed razors were advertised as having the ability to raise the hair up before cutting it. This process causes the hair to be cut below the top of the skin. When the hair grows back, it can sometimes grown back into the skin at an angle, especially in areas where the grain of the hair goes in various directions. I have this problem on the back and front of my neck. If I let these hairs grow out, I would have an areas of curly hair.
So I switched to a double-edged safety razor back in September, and I've had great results.
Safety razors are good solid tools. The one I bought is chrome and very solid. It is a Edwin Jagger DE89. It is the first and probably the only safety razor I'll ever buy. I bought it, a bar of shaving soap, 100 blades, and a badger hair brush for around $50. That sounds like a high price for a razor, but I've not had to spend another dime on shaving equipment since then and I won't have to buy anything for at least another year. The soap lasts a long time and costs $1.00 a bar. I'm still using the same bar after more than four months. I've only used around 20 blades or so. One hundred blades costs around $9. I still have a lot of blades and they should last me another year or two. Ten bucks for enough blades to last you over a year is awesome, especially if you've ever bought a 4-pack of MachIII or Fusion blades. So cost is a major advantage with the double-edge.
Another advantage is the shaving experience. I take my time. I pay close attention to the shaving process, and it's relaxing. To me, it turned shaving from a chore into a rewarding activity. I lather up my face, make a single pass with the grain, wash it off, lather again, make another pass against the grain, wash it off, and then do the same thing for my head. I get a super close shave.
I also don't have a problem with ingrown hairs like I used to. I rarely cut myself. There was one occasion when I was shaving my upper lip sideways and ended up cutting my lip a bit, but that was my fault. I don't shave my upper lip very often, and normally keep a Van Dyck. So I wasn't very used to shaving there. Other than that, I get very little nicks from shaving with a double edge. The main thing is to keep your face wet, your razor wet, add lots of lather, and don't press on the razor. Also, take your time.
"Take your time" leads me to the one and only disadvantage of shaving with a double-edge razor. It takes longer. Shaving with a multi-bladed razor is really fast. With a double-edge you need to take your time and concentrate on what you are doing more. Some people won't like this, but I very much enjoy the added time. I usually take around 10 - 15 minutes to shave my face and head. I always finish it off with an aftershave lotion (non-alcohol-based).
Like old keyboards, old razors are just better than their modern equivalents. You don't have to buy an old razor though. There are plenty of manufacturers still making double-edge razors. The Edwin Jagger DE89 was the razor I selected after much shopping online, and I have been very pleased with it. The weight makes it feel like a knife through butter when you first shave with it. You may be used to pressing down with a Mach III or Fusion razor. With the Edwin Jagger it'll feel like you are just letting it cut the hair for you at first. I was very happy with it from the beginning, and it hasn't let me down since. I strong recommend it. There are many good double-edge razors on the market, but I know you can't go wrong with the Edwin Jagger DE89.