Safety Razor Vs Straight Razor. Which One To Buy.

So you're looking at upgrading your wet shaving routine with a safety razor or a straight razor? You want to know which of the two might be best for you and how they fit into your lifestyle?

Well, look no further. This guide will help push you in the right direction

What is a Safety Razor?

Safety razors utilize a multi-piece construction that places a guard between the blade and your skin. They typically consist of 2-3 pieces and are designed to reduce the skill needed in order to safely shave and reducing the reliance of professional barbers. Safety razors utilize a disposable razor blade.

Hence the name "Safety Razor."

With a safety razor, it's not just easy to shave; even if you are in a rush, it won't cut or hurt you as much as other shaving tools can. It's much more comfortable and doesn't come with handing perks. 

What is a Straight Razor?

A straight razor is essentially a long, straight blade that is exposed during use. It's attached on a pivots and folds back into the handle when not in use.

A straight razor is about as close as you can get to shaving with a knife, and if we're honest, they can be downright dangerous if not correctly used, which is where the term "cut-throat razor" comes from.

A straight razor is straight-up honest. They'll give you a smooth surface. But you have to be very careful when you want a clean shave and not a bloody-mess shave.

But some professional barbers prefer straight razors as it is a precise tool to use. It might be dangerous, but it's the most affordable shaving kit as well as the oldest.  

Which one is easier to shave with?

While shaving with a straight razor can make you look and feel like a complete badass, there is no doubt that a straight razor requires a much more delicate touch as you are entirely in control of the exposed blade and angle at which you shave.

Safety razors aren't entirely safe either. While they have a guard that will protect you, for the most part, they still require some skill to learn how to use effectively. If you want a 'straight razors vs safety razors' competition, you must consider some factors.

Learning Curve

At the end of the day, you're shaving with a sharp piece of steel. You're going to have to learn how to handle that in order to prevent cutting yourself. Truth be told, I've cut myself much worse with a safety razor than I have with a straight razor.

Something about the lack of comfort you feel with a straight razor makes you pay attention. You have to be extra careful in any curve of your face. Especially the jawline. The bone structure can sometimes be challenging. So, you might need extra attention in that area.   

The skin of the neck is much fragile. So, while shaving your neck, make sure you lather the surface with an emollient. And be careful on the ear lobes. How many times I almost lost my ears!  

It's all about the angles

The angle of the blade edge on your skin is what cuts the hair most efficiently. Too shallow of an angle, and you don't cut the hair. Too steep of an angle, and you risk cutting yourself. No matter which one you choose, you'll have to balance the proper angle during your entire shave.

With straight razor blades, it is recommended that you use about thirty to forty-five degrees angle. That gives a close shave.  

For a safety razor, make sure you shave on the same side of the hair growth. Ingrown hair is not a handsome feel.  

Hasty while shaving

If you keep dragging your razor, it'll cut, almost in both cases. But the probability will be high with a straight razor.   

You need to give at least ten minutes, even with the safety razors. Otherwise, you will get a shaved face but most probably an uneven one. So just don't drag around your razor and be patient.  

Pros & Cons Safety Razor

This shaving tool is one of the most widely used ones. Almost everyone with a beard owns this kind of razor. You can go for any part of your body with these razors.  

Pros

  • Safety razor comes in different shapes and blade ranges.
  • Some brands apply interchangeable handles.
  • Blades are replaceable
  • Variation in the blade, handle, and material in a safety razor
  • The cutting edge of the blades are on the tougher side
  • Shaving action is easy
  • Has both a safety bar and open toothed bar
  • Most blades are made of stainless steel, which prevents skin from allergies and irritations
  • The safety razor life can be extended with proper care
  • There's hardly any rustic cover over the blade
  • Has a safety bar, and in some model this bar is movable
  • Changing blades are inexpensive
  • Generally, an easier learning curve

Cons

  • If the safety razor isn't cleaned properly after use, it can cause infections  
  • A bit more expensive than the straight razors  
  • You can still cut yourself pretty good if not careful

Pros & Cons Straight Razor

In ancient times these kinds of razors could be used in silver and gold. And as gold is entirely inert, it didn't cause many infections to the well-doers. But for now, it's one of the classic tools for shaving

Pros

  • A straight razor can shave much closer to the skin
  • The closeness of the blade can be about 0.05 mm higher than safety razors.
  • Comes in the different blade and handle size
  • The blade used in straight razors has various finishes and polishes. So, you can choose from the variations
  • Blades made from stainless steel are non-allergenic
  • Blades made from carbon steel are tougher ones
  • Blade sharpening is the main advantage here
  • You do not have to spend on blades on a straight razor
  • Sharpening a blade doesn't cost much
  • Mirror finishing on the straight razor is the finest of the shaving tools
  • The blade and the handles are well balanced
  • It's the coolest looking way to shave. You'll feel like a James Bond.

Cons

  • You have to maintain a thirty-degree angle to get proper shaving if you want a precise shave.
  • The blades have to be sharpened perfectly
  •  The straight razor can be dangerous in novice hands

Which one is easier to maintain?

The safety razor only requires that you replace the disposable blade after every 2-4 uses. A good cleaning every other few weeks to remove build up and residue.

Straight razors will last a lifetime, but they will need to be stropped before every shave. Stropping doesn't remove metal from the blade, but it instead requires that you run the blade along a leather or canvas strap to warm up the metal and clean up the blade before a shave.

The blade itself only needs to be honed against a sharpening stone 2-3 times a year, if that. I would strongly recommend that you simply find a professional knife sharpener in your are to sharpen your blade correctly the first time. It takes skill to learn how to sharpen a piece of metal to razor sharpness and this is something that's worth the $10-20 to have a professional do.

Straight Razor

A straight razor will last a lifetime, but it will need to be stropped before every shave.

Pros

  • The blades of the straight razor are much more economical
  • No need to change blades after multiple uses
  • Produces no waste
  • Only needs proper strop
  • The straight razor can be turned into heirlooms that long they work
  • Once it's professionally sharpened, it will stay sharp for a long time

Cons

  • The blade geometry can be a bit complicated and cause accidents while changing the blade
  • Has to be cleaned after use as they might carry the dead skin cells
  • You'll likely need to have the blade sharpened by a professional

Safety Razor

A Safety razor might not need a sharpener, but it definitely needs a change of blade every now and then. 

Pros

  • You don't have to change the razor from time to time
  • Investing in the safety razor will last you about a year minimum
  • Maintenance is easy. You just have to clean and dry the blades
  • If you don't want to throw your blade away, just sharpen the blade with a professional
  • The stainless-steel blade will not get a rustic coat
  • The only maintenance required is replacing the blades.

Cons

  • The stainless-steel blade of the safety razor will wear off easily
  • The blades might lose their sharpness after a few use
  • You have to continually replace the blades

Which one costs less?

I would say they are about even in cost. You could easily spend under $50 for a quality safety razor. You could also spend $250+ on a quality safety razor.

The same would be true of a straight razor, except straight razors can get well into the $500+ range with different materials like gold plating and ivory.

With that being said, this one is a tie. Neither of these will cost more than $50, and the cost of getting a straight razor professionally sharpened is equivalent to what you would spend on disposable razor blades.

With the safety razors, the cost might be higher, but the lifespan of these razors is relatively high. They can last years with proper treatment. But it always goes back to the quality of the razor. High quality will cost higher.   

Obviously, with different finishing, you'll have to give a high price. Some folks collect straight razors, and those razors are mainly customized. You can quickly get a mirror or gold glazing that will cost a lot eventually.   

With each razor, the key to their survival is maintenance and cleanliness. 

Which One Should You Buy?

For most men who need a consistent daily shaving razor, the Safety Razor will be the best option.

While I own a straight razor, I use it more as a novelty shaving item that's cool to just say that I CAN use a straight razor. I also like to freak my girlfriend out by shaving with it since she's under the impression that I'm going to chop my head off every time I use it.

In today's society, a straight edge razor is an excellent tool in the hands of a professional. I would recommend going to an Art of Shaving or any classic barbershop if you truly want the experience. It's not as if shaving with a straight edge gives you a better or closer shave than a quality safety razor.

You can aim for a straight razor just to look cool. Or if you want a very close shave without any bump. But with this, you have to make sure that you are pretty ready and calm. Even professionals use this kind of razor for precision.  

The safety razor kind is used for logical reasons. This is safe for both amateur and professional. This will not kill you, and you can be sure of that. You don't have to follow a certain angle to get a proper shave. Honestly just a more mature shaving tool. But this one has less precision than the straight razors.  

So, whatever the kind you buy, make sure you are comfortable with it and have patience. 

Good Straight Razor For Beginners

If you are intent on trying to shave with a straight razor, then I'd recommend you start with a disposable razor to get a better understanding of how it will work before you invest $50-250 in a quality straight razor. As I mentioned before, straight razors are pretty affordable and have been around forever.   

Equinox professional straight edge razor  

Equinox Professional Straight Edge Razor with 100...
  • HOW TO USE: When opened, ring finger rests on the back handle loop, index and middle fingers on top...

This razor is packed with 100 single blades. So you don't have to spend any extra money on blades. This razor is one of the oldest and most affordable ones in the market.  

Each of the blades can give up to three shaves, which means you can get up to three hundred shaves. And with this count, it will last you a year approximately. For such an affordable price, a year is more than enough.   

Pros

  • Comes with a protection cap
  • Attaching and removing the blade is easy
  • The width of the razor is an inch. That gives precision
  • The product is exceptionally lightweight
  • The edges are sharp and handy
  • There are attached parts that can break
  • The Stainless steel blade is non-allergenic
  • Any standard blade will fit in the razor

Cons

  • You have to hold it at the right angle, or it will cut
  • The blades lifespan is quite low individually

Good Safety Razor For Beginners

Safety blades are quite available and a very logical choice for anyone. These razors can be used almost at any part of the body. You can shave your underarms or chest hairs. The razors can be quite handy and flexible. 

Vikings Blade The Chieftain double edge safety razor  

VIKINGS BLADE The Chieftain Double Edge Safety...
  • This listing is for a pack of 1 (ONE) Chieftain razor

This razor is the most common razor blade right now. I think my dad had one of these razors, and now I have them as well. The metal handle matches the blades perfectly. Thus giving it a very raw outlook.   

The blades in this razor have less aggression and have a flexible head. So fit for your jawline and the curve of your neck. You can use it with shaving cream or just water itself. And if you want a baby-butt face, go for this razor.  

Pros

  • The super affordable and comfortable safety razor with the mild steel blade
  • The handle is long, and the weight of the blade is four ounces
  • A three-piece razor
  • You only have to pat it dry as a maintenance
  • It can be used at any part of your body
  • Eco friendly
  • It can be used with water or a shaving cream
  • Has a thicker base plate with four lather holes on each side

Cons

  • You have to use water or any lubricant with this safety razor  
  • Without proper alignment of the pieces, the razor might break 

To sum up...  

For the sake of "straight razor vs safety razor," if you are looking for a mature and easy way of shaving, please go for the safety razors. And if you want a close shave with precision, go with the straight razors. For both razors, choose a quality brand and a suitable finishing.  

Last update on 2022-07-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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