Whether you just recently picked up a razor for the first time or have been shaving for years, you’ve most likely seen the debates between Safety Razors and Cartridge Razors. While each can get the job done, there are indisputable differences between the two. Cartridge razors were invented in the 1960’s and quickly rose in popularity due to their convenient use and lower-price. However, as shaving and grooming practices have developed and improved, (and as cartridge replacement prices have increased) safety razors are seeing a significant growth. We’re going to dive into the design and characteristics of each so you will have a full understanding of both types of razors, and ultimately the knowledge for you to make an educated decision on which razor is best for you.
The safety razor is commonly known as the “double edged razor” due to the design. It contains double-edged razor blades with a safety guard to prevent any cuts. Safety razors are primarily made from metal and will last for many years. Many are made from medical grade stainless or carbon steel which can be shaved into a thinner, more fine edged blade for a closer shave. Safety razors are available in a wide range of prices, anywhere from $20 to a few hundred dollars for top-of-the-line options. While the razor itself is more expensive at first, safety razor should last for years to come. In the long run, the safety razor offers a more economical option, as cartridge razor blade replacements are more expensive and the razor itself doesn’t last long.
Where some will shy away from safety razors are the initial cost and time to learn how to use it. While it may seem intimidating to shave with a safety razor, it is actually fairly simple to learn how to use. For best results, shave in three step directions: with the grain first, then across the grain, and against the grain last. Make sure to rinse the blade regularly and between each step to avoid clogging. The most significant advantage to safety razors is the added control and direction. Due to the design, you can shave at different angles, allowing a closer shave around all of the natural angles on your face and neck. Once you have mastered the technique, you’ll be able to develop a routine that will create a closer, more comfortable shave.
Depending on how often you shave, you should usually replace your safety razor blades every week or around 5 uses. Replacing your razor blades regularly will reduce skin irritation and offer a closer shave. The disposable razor blades for safety razors are less expensive than cartridge replacements. The average annual cost for replacement blades for safety razors is around $13.
Safety razors are a much better option for men with sensitive skin. Cartridge razors have more blades, and more blades means the additional times the blades are going over the skin. This can cause irritation and redness, especially for those with sensitive skin. While they do require a little extra time initially, they are much less likely to cause irritation and will give a closer shave.
After their invention, cartridge razors experienced a huge growth as they offered a more convenient and time-saving shave and were available at a lower-price. Cartridge razors come in different designs and price levels. They usually include a plastic handle and disposable cartridges that are replaced often. The cartridges range anywhere from 3 to 6 blades. More blades can actually have a negative impact on your skin as it can cause irritation. If you are shaving with a cartridge razor, it is best to use as few strokes as possible to avoid going over the skin repeatedly. Use long, steady strokes with light pressure. Also, because there are more blades it is important to rinse the blade thoroughly after each stroke to avoid build-up.
Cartridge razors are usually the first choice by those who are just starting to shave or those who do not shave often, as they offer a lower time investment and are more convenient to use at first. Shaving with a cartridge razor requires very little learning and offers a quicker shave. Although, the design usually allows for a close shave in only one angle. While it is easy to use, it is more difficult to get a close shave over your entire face and neck.
Although they offer a lower price point, the razors are primarily made from lower quality steel to cut costs. Lower-quality steel blades are not as sharp and can lead to cuts and irritation. The price of the replacement cartridges have also been rising, especially for higher-end options or those with more blades. Cartridge razor blades usually do not need to be replaced as often as safety razor blades, and can last up to a few weeks depending on how often you shave. The average annual cost of replacement cartridges can be up to a few hundred dollars a year.
The greatest advantage of cartridge razors is a lower initial economical and time investment. They have a very low learning curve and offer a quicker shaving time.
When it comes to choosing the best razor for your routine, take into consideration your budget, time, and how often you shave. Is your time and effort of more value to you, or a higher-quality shave? You can still achieve a great shave with each type of razor if you follow the right technique and use the proper tools. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite high-quality safety razor and cartridge razor options below:
The design and special blade angle allows for a close, direct shave. Specifically made to reduce residue build-up the razor blades will stay sharp and create a close, smooth shave. The innovative design also makes it easier to clean, while the corrosion-resistant material provides a longer lasting razor. This traditional safety razor is available in Open Comb and Closed Comb. In open comb design, the blade is more exposed by the teeth of the blade, which may require more time to learn, but can offer an even closer shave and allows for more lather. The closed comb design includes a safety bar under the blade that provides additional protection and tightens the skin for a closer shave.
This razor combines a classic design with modern technology to create the optimum balance and weight for a close, comfortable shave. Made with a chrome-plated finish for lasting quality and fits all double-edge razor blades.
This safety razor includes precision mechanics and a highly-functional design. The simple design allows the blades to be removed and replaced safely. With a steady hand, you can achieve a close, comfortable shave and excellent results. This long-lasting razor is made with corrosion resistant material for superior quality.
Made entirely by hand using careful techniques and crafted from the best materials, this razor offers superior quality. The unique and high-quality design creates a distinct look.
This razor is carefully weighted to provide balance and comfort while shaving. The distinct Edwardian-style handle offers a unique look and the razor head fits with the Gillette Fusion razor head.
The latest shaving system includes 5 blades with a precision edging blade on the back of the cartridge. With a simple and safe handling, this razor was specifically designed to offer a close, gentle shave and easy use, perfect for even a shaving novice.