Thursday, February 09, 2006

Mailbag: Double-Edge headshaving

I received the following email from Herbert recently:

Hello, I am thinking of shaving my head, mainly because of a very dry scalp which no shampoo seems to be able to fix. I currently use a straight razor and Double Edge razor for my face shave (Straight with the grain and the double edge against). The after shave balms and moiterizers I use really give my skin a softness and sheen I never had using the usual shaving products.

I never liked ever using a multi-blade system and shaving my head with a straight razor sounds a little dangerous. But I thought a Doubled Edge razor might work. I have two Murker razors, but niether have a pivoting head. I saw a beautiful DE at classic shaving called "Vision"
that looks like it may work very well for a head shave. What are your thoughts on head-shaving with a DE razor?
I have tried shaving with a DE razor (specifically, the Merkur "classic" Safety Razor), and didn't have great results with it. I posted a blog entry about it back in May, in case you want to read about my initial impressions.
I'm used to modern cartridge razor systems, like the Schick Extreme III or the Gillette Mach 3, but I used the Merkur Classic for several weeks last year. Results on my face were decent, but shaving my scalp proved less than satisfactory.

The biggest problem seems to be the lack of flexibility of the blade. Cartridge razors have a bit of flex to them and can adjust to the countours of the scalp to some degree. The Merkur Classic's blade is very rigid. A rigid blade works fine for the face, since that area is fairly malleable and will adjust to the blade, but the scalp doesn't have nearly so much give and it doesn't adjust to the blade at all.

As a result, shaving took much longer (approximately twice as long in most cases), and even then I couldn't achieve the same quality of shave as with a cartridge razor. I would frequently miss some small spots, and skin irritation levels were higher than I like.

I only shaved with the Merkur for a few weeks, so it is possible that I just don't have sufficient practice to get a good shave with a DE razor. As a long-time DE user, perhaps Herbert would have more success than I did.

In general, though, I don't recommend using a DE razor on the scalp. Based on my experience (and some comments I've read from other DE shavers), I think it's harder than it needs to be, and results with a cartridge razor are better and easier to achieve.


ChemE said...

I just shaved my head for the first time last night. I normally use a DE on my face, but was nervous about it on my head, so started with a Mach 3. The Mach 3 wouldn't give a close shave with two passes, so I did a final pass with a vintage Superspeed and an Astra Superior blade (Merkur blades are terrible). It came out smooth with no irritation. DE shaving is a skill and I wouldn't want to have started with a DE on my head before learning on my face; yet, if you put in the time to learn to use a DE razor it will shave better on your face, and my initial impression is it will be the good on the head also.

Braun Electric Shavers said...

I've tried a double edged razor before and I hated it. It would be hard for me to recommend it to anyone.

Double Edge Razor said...

great post , thanks

passc said...

Double edge razor I have used on the face very good but I don't see it working well on the head. Straight razor doest it better when it comes to head shaving thought it requires a little skill.

Anonymous said...

I use a DE on my face with abosolute satisfaction for the past year. I have tried it on my head a few times. While I achieve the smoothest BBS with it, I must admit that it is time consuming. It is all about technique and practice.

Anonymous said...

Yes DE shaving takes longer(usually 3 or 4 passes), but if you take the time to do it proper, the results are phenomenal! I have the merkur 34C, using proraso white preshave, proraso red shave cream, and finish with a splash of witch hazel then nivea aftershave balm. The end result is a smooth finish that isn't irritated or greasy! And yes, the first while I cut myself several times while I learned my technique, so keep a styptic pen handy for the first while!!

Anonymous said...

I know I'm commenting on an ancient post here, but I feel the need to add to this. A little background: I traded my M3 for a circa 1959 Gillette Fatboy DE razor about 2 1/2 months ago. Along with that trade I switch from Edge shave gel to a traditional wet shave (I haven't settled on a soap yet). Believe it or not I've only nicked myself once with the DE, the first time I shaved with it. I started shaving my head with the thing after about two weeks, when I was comfortable using it on my face. As others have said, it takes a lot of time. The end result, however, is worth it in my opinion. Oh, and spending about 50 cents a week on blades is nice to. If you do the full process (shower, pre-shave oil, hot towel, lather with a brush, shave, relather, shave, relather, shave, cold towel, aftershave) you can get the best shave of your life every day. Personally I've gotten in the habit of skipping steps, but I still get a better shave now than I ever did with my M3, and my skin is softer than it's ever been in my life. Take my advice: get a DE, learn to use it on your face first, and then use it on your head.

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