Friday, May 13, 2005

Experimenting with the double-edge safety razor

Double Edge Safety RazorIn my continuing quest to seek out the best in shaving, I recently purchased a Merkur "Classic" Safety Razor from Classic Shaving. These razors are basically the same design that King Gillette developed around 100 years ago, the type of razor that my Dad started shaving with. I got interested after reading some articles about old-school shaving (1, 2), and thought it would be worth a try.

I'm still in the experimenting stage, but I'll share my comments thus far.

It takes a bit to get used to shaving with this kind of razor. My first shave, I nicked myself in several places and had lots of irritation, despite using shaving oil. My next two shaves (each with a different high-quality shaving lubricant) got a bit better, but still much more irritation than I was used to, and nicks each time. I gradually learned to use less pressure and to go slower, and subsequent shaves have been much, much better in this area.

You can't rush shaving with a safety razor. I find shaving takes me twice as long as it did with a cartridge razor (like my trusty Mach 3).

"Corners" are pretty tricky, and I haven't mastered them yet. I always end up with rough spots in certain areas, even after spending some significant time on them. I'll keep working on it to see if I can improve.

Closeness of the shave is pretty good, except in the tricky areas. Is it as close as my Mach 3? I'm not entirely sure. At some point, I think I'll do some side-by-side trials and see how it feels.

At this point, though, I will say that cartridge razors are faster and easier to use than the old-fashioned safety razor. Alternately, the safety razors can be significantly cheaper to use, though. The razor itself was $25 (US), plus shipping and duty. I can get double-edged blades at 10 for $2 (Cdn) at a local store, though, which is less than a tenth of what most good cartridge razor blades cost.

3 comments:

yes said...

Reading your blog, the first thought that comes to me is, what's your hurry. I've heard all this when I started shaving with a straight razor (on my face). It takes so long. In fact, each morning my ritualistic very zen-like shave takes between a 1/2 hour and 45 minutes. Slow, methodical and the closest shaves I have ever had. I have a couple of DE razors (Murker classic and Murker "Gilette 1904" style), which I use for my second pass, against the grain shave. Will try a head shave with it and I'll get back to you on the experience

headshaver said...

I'm glad to hear that you have the time to devote to your shaving ritual. While I'm not into rushing things just to get them done fast, I also don't see the point in drawing out an activity like shaving. If one enjoys the process of shaving itself, as you seem to do, then I'm sure it's time well spent. For me, shaving is just the cheapest and most convenient option for removing my hair, and while I do sometimes enjoy it, I don't enjoy it enough to spend anywhere near the time you do with it.

We get a certain amount of time in a day, and ideally we spend more time on the things we value more.

passc said...

I must comment you for your courage and time. There is nothing like one doing something for oneself. But as there are many things to be done with time, I cant not devote such time as you did to get it right So I leave at the mercy of the barbers I salute your courage.