Choosing the right tool for the right task and situation makes a huge difference. But you may end up paying a lot of money for something you are not happy with, mostly because you had unrealistic expectations. After reading this, you should be able to tell if the razor you were thinking about is suitable with your lifestyle, mentality as well as its capacity of delivering close shave.
Shaving With a Safety Razor
Safety razors were the next big innovation in the shaving industry after cut-throat razors in the early 20th century. And they soon replaced most of the straights that were the go-to tool for shaving during that period. No wonder. Almost as close but a lot safer and comfortable. Yet it has its quirks as well.
- Benefit number 1: Close shave that is almost comparable to straight razors. And much more comfortable
- Benefit number 2: Easy to use. Because of the razor blades, it is easy to keep it sharp and doesn’t require months of practice
- Benefit number 3: There is a wide variety of different razors you can choose from. Different handle sizes, finishes, as well as aggressiveness profiles.
I think safety razors makes more sense than cut-throat razors if you want the closest shave possible. But it got its downside as well.
- Disadvantage number 1: It is still time-consuming. From my own experience, I would say you will cut down your shaving time by half when you move to safety razors from straights. Take this with some grain of salt though. I am sure there are those who are very proficient with straights.
- Disadvantage number 2: While safety razors hold the promise to be your perfect razor, it may take some time to find the right razor + blade combination.
- Disadvantage number 3: Because of the razors blades, you can not board on a plane with it.
This is one of the best shaving methods out there in my opinion. Close shave and easy to learn. But it has a learning curve. Getting a razor burn, in the beginning, is common because you apply too much force among other mistakes. I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who wants a quick fix to his morning stubble.
Shaving With An Electric Razor
For many wet shaving enthusiasts, this is the ultimate sin! I am keen on thinking that they have just never used a good one. Of course, acting like a Wyatt Earp and taking a blade to your neck is much more manly but there are many good reasons to go electric.
- Benefit number 1: It’s fast. Electric shavers were invented to make the whole shaving process fuss-free and quick.
- Benefit number 2: Most come with a trimmer. This is a great feature to use if you tend to shave irregularly. First, trim down the longer growth and then finish with the primary function. Also great if you mean to groom other areas.. you know
- Benefit number 3: Even monkey can learn to use one
There is no good without bad and vice versa. If electric shavers were perfect, then other cutting tools would have been disregarded a long time ago. Unfortunately, there are enough reasons to make you pause
- Disadvantage number 1: They are expensive. You can get one for $50 also, but the low price will be reflected in the shaving quality. Be prepared to pay $150 and more for a proper tool
- Disadvantage number 2: They don’t shave as close. I was actually surprised how close high-end electric shavers can shave. But compared to safety and straight razor, there is a clear difference. With electric, I have to shave every day, but with my straight and safety razors I can shave every second day
- Disadvantage number 3: If you have sensitive skin, you might get more irritation. Remember not to push it against your skin too hard and avoid going straight against the grain with your first pass.
Shaving With a Straight Razor
Your testosterone goes through the roof when using a cut-throat razor. It has been around since the 17th century and is still being used today by many shaving aficionados. Why? Well, besides giving an awesome shave, it just feels manly.
- Benefits number 1: It shaves very very close. Safety razor comes near in closeness, but it really is the ultimate tool if that’s what you are after
- Benefit number 2: As I said, it feels very macho. It is a thrill to take the insanely sharp blade to your throat. It reminds you of the times when doing something good required skill before everything got automated and babyproof.
- Benefit number 3: They look stunning. Beautiful and wicked at the same time.
There is a good reason though why straight razors lost their dominant market share. There are numerous disadvantages as well.
- Disadvantage number 1: Takes time to require the skill to use one without cutting yourself. We are talking about months here. During that time most of your shaves will end up with a small nick here and there.
- Disadvantage number 2: Keeping it sharp is a skill on its own. Stropping is easy to learn and enough for most of the time to keep your razor shave ready. But once a year you should use a wet stone as well. A skill that is hard to master
- Disadvantage number 3: Takes time to shave. The shaving itself is more time-consuming. If you also consider the pre and post shave preparations that are vital for a good shave with a straight, then this can easily turn into 20-30 minute shave marathon
I enjoy using one occasionally. It is my preferred shaving method for weekends and almost has meditative qualities to it. If this resonates with you, then try one out. It can turn into a great weekend routine. But if you want something easy to use and maintain and you don’t want to spend that much time on a mundane task, then I wouldn’t recommend it.
Shaving With a Cartridge Razor
Cartridge razors could work for you. Now I know I might sound cynical saying this, especially because I tend to oppose them in my other writings. But I favor practicality above all else, and they definitely have their niche.
- Benefit number 1: Very easy to learn and safe. Besides the general mistakes men do, like applying too much pressure, not using enough shaving foam/lather and going straight to shave against the grain – there isn’t much to learn here.
- Benefit number 2: These razors are allowed on airplanes
- Benefit number 3: Initial cost is low. I would like to emphasize the initial. Read the next section to understand why.
In my eyes though, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits. I will address some of them here.
- Disadvantage number 1: Maintenance costs add up. This might feel at first as a cheap option but think about it. You should change the cartridge every month, which will means 12 cartridges in a year. If you use this for years, this expense will mount up.
- Disadvantage number 2: Polutes the environment.
- Disadvantage number 3: Not the closest shave and prone to cause irritation after a shave.
I think this is a good option for younger men who may shave less often. Also for travelers and if you are looking for a method to shave your legs, head, etc. But if you wish to turn shaving into an enjoyable experience and keep your costs low then look for the other options.
Shaving With a Disposable Razor
Disposable razors aren’t valued very highly for obvious reasons. The quality of the shave can be described as moderate at best. But it is useful in achieving an aim in certain situations and areas.
- Benefit number 1: Cheap. The price of a single unit is very low. Then again if you consider that they mostly last few shaves if that, then the price will mount up.
- Benefit number 2: Almost impossible to cut yourself and easy to use. This makes them safe to use on your legs and head for example.
- Benefit number 3: You can carry them in your hand luggage when boarding an airplane.
Not the most flattering list of benefits I know. I was hard pressed even finding these. But let’s have a look now at the cons list.
- Disadvantage number 1: Poor shave quality. Due to the design, they don’t shave very close to the skin, clog easily and dull fast.
- Disadvantage number 2: Not very eco-friendly.
- Disadvantage number 3: Tend to cause razor burn. This is mainly because you use excessive force trying to compensate for the cutting inefficiency.
They are mostly used as an emergency tool if you forgot to take your regular shaver with you. And I firmly believe that they should be considered as such and not as your daily driver. If you use them for leg shaving, it makes more sense to use a safety razor, to be honest. On your face? Never!
As you see, every method has its pros and cons. Now that you are familiar with different ways how to shave, I propose that you also read this. Besides getting useful information on how to avoid common mistakes, it also shows an infographic in the end, which should help you to find the right tool for shaving.