Newer is almost always better, but this does not apply to all things. Sometimes the things that came out long ago work better and provide better results than their updated versions. Safety razors belong in this category. Even though they have been around since the 1800’s they still deliver a better shave than their modern counterparts. Created to be a safer and easier alternative to the straight razor, these bad boys provide an extra layer of protection that was much needed.
History of the Safety Razor
As stated above, safety razors have been around for over two centuries, but did not gain popularity until the mid 1900’s. They were included as a part of the standard hand-held kits offered to the GI’s during WWI. The shaving tools of before were harder to master and more dangerous to use, making the innovation of safety razors a must-have.
Ask your grandfather about how long they used theirs, as they were in every house for decades before the shavettes grew in popularity. Patented by King Camp Gillette, the safety razor truly was safer than the straight razor, but that name did not hold up as the technology improved as electric razors and cartridge razors were introduced.
The introduction of the double-edged razor blade with a protective barrier between the skin and the blade, was a gamechanger. The safety razor delivered an extremely close shave while protecting the skin from nicks and cuts. The scalloped safety bar pulled the skin down and tighten the area around the blade. This allowed the blades to get a deeper cut on the hair and let the razor slide across the skin easier. The reduction of friction on the skin eliminated some of the learning curve of straight razors and the irritation and damage that they caused when not used perfectly.
While the safety razor was a safer alternative at the time, it does not really provide a safer cut compared to the shaving instruments that came after it. There was still a learning curve in place before gliding through your morning shave. If not used properly the double-edged blades are still capable of causing havoc on your skin. When mastered it did allow for a rapid shave, but if you try to pick one up and use it like your cartridge razor you are in for a shock.
How to Use
The use and maintenance of safety razors is not extremely difficult to learn. There are few rules that help you get the best of your shaving utensil. If you utilize these few rules you can truly get a great shave and do so quite rapidly.
- Do not hold the razor perpendicular to the skin.
- Do not drag straight down
- Go with the grain of the face
- Go easy on the pressure.
- Hold your razor at a 30 to 45-degree angle.
Pros and Cons
There are few things that make the safety razors a great and not so great tool for shaving. The reasons to love the razor are many ranging from price to design:
- Over the long-term, the safety razor will save you a lot of money.
- Better and reliable shave.
- Easy maintenance.
- They are made to last.
- The safety razor has a variety of options and are made to be used with all replaceable blades.
Every rose has its thorns and the safety razors thorns are luckily few, but they do cut nonetheless:
- The name might fool you but remember the blade can cause nicks and cuts just the same.
- With a wet shave comes a wet and repetitive clean
- The technique for using the safety razor is not totally easy. Take your time and master your equipment before trying to speed through your shave.
Types of Safety Razors
There are three different types of safety razors. Standard, Adjustable, and Long Handle are the three options you have to choose from. The type of safety razor you choose will depend on your preference and knowledge, the standard is the best choice for beginners while the adjustable will give the seasoned users the shave they want.