Safety razors have been around a while – much longer than the standard 2-5 blade modern Gillette style we all have used. In fact, the American inventor King Camp Gillette actually invented the safety razor with disposable blades way back in 1901.
Well, just because the style is older doesn’t mean it’s a worse shave. After over a decade of shaving with a 3-4 blade razor, I was convinced to give this older technology a try.
Razor bumps stopped on the spot, and I haven’t had any in the 3 years since I switched. I’m not kidding, not a single red bump in nearly 3 years. I can also shave against the grain after a quick pass without any discomfort, and I was sincerely shocked how smooth my face was the first time I did this. I didn’t think it was possible to not feel any stubble at all.
There are different types of safety razors – they all essentially work the same but with different opening mechanisms. You can go for a close shave style, but there isn’t much of a need since the standard style works great on my thick black facial hair.
So what is the benefit of these new, standard multi-blade system? Well, they are far more lucrative for razor companies. After an initial buy of around $25 for my all metal safety razor frame, I spent $10 on a box of 100 blades from Amazon. Nearly 3 years later with changing a blade just about every 2 weeks, and I have gone through just slightly more than HALF of this box. A $10 investment will end up lasting me around 5 years of shaving 5 times a week. Compared to the standard blades you find at a supermarket, this is a savings of around $100 per year.
This was a real shocker to me. I was used to spending $16 for a pack of four Gillette blades, which would last me about 2 months (though they suggest switching every week). Since you can use both sides of a safety razor, these blades easily last two weeks, but grabbing a new 10 cent blade shouldn’t be a worry for even the biggest of penny pinchers.
I had even joined the Dollar Shave club the first year it was launched in order to have massive savings of only spending $3 per month, but, even then, $36 a year is a far cry from the $2 per year I am averaging now.
The final benefit would come from being more environmentally friendly. While this isn’t the reason I use a safety razor, I do collect all of my blades in a mason jar to be thrown away in the future. 50-60 blades later and I haven’t even made a dent in this mason jar. I assume it will take me 20 years of shaving in order to fill one jar of metal – while one year worth of plastic blades will likely fill an entire trash can when using the standard Gillete style.
So a better, less painful shave for a fraction of the price that is better for the environment – what’s the drawback? Well, from my experience – there is none. You do have to be more careful when assembling a new blade, but other than that, it is no more dangerous than the standard blades. While it looks scary to take a straight blade over your neck, I literally have had 0 cuts in the 3 years since switching. A random knick would happen at least once a month with my old 4 blade beasts, but I have been entirely blood-free since switching to the safety razor.
If you need a quick tutorial on how to use these safety razors, watch the Art of Manliness video HERE. You can get lather and a brush as they suggest in the video for an even more enjoyable shave, but your standard shaving cream should work just fine.