Posts Tagged best double-edge razor
There are a few things that I'm passionate about. I've been a computer nut since I was a kid. I used to look through the JCPenney and Sears Christmas catalogs for toys, and I remember seeing computers in there way back in the 80's. After computers, I've always loved music. I started playing guitar in 1992, but I had a few piano lessons around 1986. Here lately, I've picked up two more things to be passionate about: mechanical keyboards and double-edged safety razors.
I know, those sound like pretty strange things to be passionate about. I'm passionate about mechanical keyboards because I spend a large portion of most of my days at a keyboard, and I love the response of Cherry switches. I may have to get some dampeners for my Black Widow Ultimate. I think I prefer blue's with rubber o-rings.
But let me get to the subject of this post. I've been using double-edged razors for almost a year and a half. I wanted to update my blog and describe what I've found in that time. This may provide helpful hints to others who are thinking about switching to a double-edge.
First of all, I've tried three double-edge razors: a Merkur 180, a Edwin Jagger DE89, and a 1962 Gilette Fat Boy. From this experience, I can say that it would be hard to beat the Edwin Jagger DE89. It has a great balance. Though it isn't adjustable like the Fat Boy, it gives me the best shave. I highly recommend this razor.
Next, I've learned a bit about shaving soaps. I've tried Williams Mug Shaving Soap, Proraso, and Taylor of Old Bond Street. I am not a fan of Proraso, though it's probably middle of the road between the other two when it comes to lather. Williams is cheap. It's good to have a few of these stored in case you run out of your favorite soap. They cost around one or two dollars per bar and last about four to six months of normal use. Taylor of Old Bond Street is my favorite so far. It's more expensive than Williams and Proraso, but it lathers like crazy, and I love the sandlewood smell. Also, 5.2 oz of Taylor of Old Bond Street will only last about three or four months of normal use, if that. Whereas 1.7 oz of Williams will last longer. Like I said, keep some cheap Williams Mug around just in case you run out of your favorite. It provides a great shave, it just take more time to get a good lather with it.
Double-edge Razor Blades
Finally, I want to talk about blades. Most people would suggest that you get a variety pack of different brands of blades and try each for yourself. I agree. The different brands of blades behave very differently. I've used Derby, Dorco, Astra, and Feather. I started out with a five-pack of Derby blades and bought one hundred Dorco blades for around $10. I could tell right away that I preferred the Derby blades. I've still have over 60 of the Dorcos. I also have a supply of around 30 Feather blades, 50 Astra, and 90 Derby blades stocked in my bathroom. This will be enough blades to last me a few years. My best estimate is around five years. I have about $40 invested in that. Compare that to the price of an 8-pack of the multi-bladed razors, which would only last about a month for me.
Dorco blades seem to be thicker than the others. They are also slightly less sharp. They are a good beginner blade. Trust me on that. Feather blades are extremely sharp, almost too sharp for me. They are thin and seem to bend/flex more. This has caused me some pain in the past. I like Feather blades, but my overall favorites are the Astra and Derby blades. Of those two, I slightly favor Derby. This is mainly because I have used Derby more. I need to break out my Astra collection and test them more as a matter of fact.
My first thought when reading reviews of blades was that I wanted the sharpest blade I could get. I'm not sure if Feathers are sharper or if they are just more prone to cut me. I'd like to hear opinions from others.
What You Need
Get a good badger hair brush, a nice shaving mug, an Edwin Jagger DE89, a variety pack of blades (or 100 Derby blades), a couple bars of Williams Mug Shaving Soap, some Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving soap, and a bar of alum (for any nicks you may give yourself at first). All of that shipped will probably run around $90 - $100, and it'll last for at least one year before you have to buy more soap and blades. After that, the annual cost will be well below $40 which, for me, was about a month's worth of blades when I used Mach3 and Fusion razors.
If you have trouble with your skin after you shave, you may be shaving with the wrong type of razor. There are other things that can cause skin irritation and ingrown hairs but I've found that the cause of mine was the multi-blade razors like the Fusion and Mach III. These products have been promoted as the ultimate shaving experience. The marketing behind this has enabled companies like Gillette to sell expensive blades, when there is a much better and cheap alternative available.
The good ol' double edge safety razors that people used decades ago, are becoming increasingly popular lately. This is due in large part to the fact that these razors deliver a much better shave than expensive multi-bladed razors. The marketing behind the multi-blades has been that the first blades lift the hair up a bit before the next blade comes along and cuts it. Whether this is true or not, one thing is for sure. The shave tends to cause irritation of the skin, and it causes the hairs to regrow under the skin.
My theory is that the hair is indeed lifted before it is cut, and this produces a super smooth shave but also causes the hairs to sometimes grow back under the skin producing ingrown hairs. The multiple blades also cause skin irritation and razor burn. To alleviate this issue, razor manufacturers add a lubricant to the blade itself, but this lubricant doesn't last very long. After about one or two uses, the blade is not very good for shaving any longer.
The solution, as I stated earlier, is to switch to a double-edge safety razor. The up-side to safety razors is that they alleviate the issues with razor burn and ingrown hairs. However the process of shaving is a bit more involved, but it's actually more enjoyable. When using a double-edge, it is important to keep your face wet with warm water and to keep it covered with shaving cream or shaving soap. A good lather is important to keep the razor burn down. Proper use of the razor is important as well.
I switched to a double-edge about four months ago and I haven't looked back since. It's a much better shave, and it's way cheaper. A good quality safety razor costs about $35-$50, but the blades cost about $10 per 100. That's right, around ten cents each. Compare that to the cost of four Mach 3 blades. Amazingly enough, a single blade lasts longer on the safety razor too. I shave my head and face three or four times with a single blade before I require a replacement. There is actually a honing technique one can use with their shower towel that can lengthen the life of the blade even more.
Here are some important things to note about shaving with a safety razor:
- Use the weight of the razor to cut through the hair, don't put a lot of pressure on it.
- Always warm your skin up with some warm water or a warm towel.
- Use plenty of lather
- Make multiple passes (three seems to work well for me)
- Shave with the grain first, then across the grain, and finally against the grain if needed for a super close shave.
I should also mention that shaving soap in the bar form is much more economical than shaving creme from a can. I've been using a single 1.75 oz bar of Williams' Mug Soap for the past four months and it's about halfway gone. I should be able to get another four months or so out of it. A 1.75 oz of this shaving soap costs about 99 cents. That's a far better deal than a single can of shaving creme from Gillette.
I can not stress enough how awesome this switch has been for me. As someone who regularly shaves his head and face, this has been both a money saver and pain saver, since my skin is no longer irritated from shaving.
I started out with an Edwin Jagger DE89 razor and I highly recommend it. Here are some good deals on it and other quality double-edge razors and supplies.
My father used to have a comb-over and I always said, "if I go bald, I'm going to shave it all off". Well genetics is hateful to some of us, and I indeed went bald quickly after the age of 19. Being a man of my word (usually), I started shaving my head after the denial stage. I've been shaving it ever since. I'm almost 34 years old, so I have quite a few years of shaving experience. Today changed everything though.
I've been using a Fusion Power for about a year. Before that I used a regular Fusion. Before that I used a Mach-3 Power. This goes all the way back to the Gillette Sensor. It was a two blade razor. I've been using mult-bladed razors for at least 10 years. The more blades the better, I've always thought.
I've been stupid. The multi-blade razors have been tough on my skin AFTER the shave is over. They shave close and really aggressively. Your skin is smooth after you shave with them but the next day you'll have ingrown hairs and bumps. I've read that this is a result of the lifting motion of the first few blades on the razor. This lifting motion was once regarded as a break through for close shaves. I remember the commercials. The first blade lifts the hair out of the skin and then the next blade either lifts further or cuts the hair. This actually cuts the hair so that it settles under the skin. Thus the reason it produces a lot of ingrown hairs. The hairs grow back the wrong directly.
Some ideas are great, but are later found to have negative effects. This is one of them.
So, on with my story. I started reading about double-edge razors and wet-shaving in general. I found that there were a lot of people that really take their shaving seriously. I watched video reviews on Youtube of razors. I shopped on Amazon for the perfect razor. I ended up buying one of these:
This is the best purchase I've made in a long time. It came in today and I had to immediately shave with it. It's amazing. I can't describe the difference, but it's makes you want to shave. It shaves like a knife through butter. It glides across your skin. It's just amazing. Plus I bought 100 blades for this thing for a whopping $14. This is the cheapest, most amazing, and close shave I've ever had. Read up on double-edge shaving. It's well worth the time and you'll save a lot of money.