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3 Reasons to Switch to a Safety Razor

Updated on June 27, 2013
The original patent application for the safety razor.
The original patent application for the safety razor. | Source

What is a Safety Razor?

Safety Razors are reusable shaving devices that use a single bladed double edge razor for shaving. Key to these razors is the angle which they are used. The shape of the razor head actually makes it so the user cannot easily cut his or herself with it while also encouraging a close shave.

There are 3 compelling reasons why switching to a safety razor is a good idea.

1.The Shave

As with any descussion about switching from one product to another, the results desired from that product are essential to the discussion. In this case, the shave is important indeed. The other two factors are dependent upon the idea that this shaving method is as good as or better than other options available to you.

Fortunately, not only as the author tirelessly research the effectiveness of the shaving quality of the safety razor from other sources, he has actively used it himself for a year before penning this article.

As a part of this shaving adventure, he has taken it upon himself to shave in a variety of ways with the safety razor to see how it compared to the newer methods of shaving. For purposes of simplicity, the shave quality will be compared to the Gellette Brand Mach3 Turbo shaving system.

The types of shaves considered and the results are as follows:

Safety Razor
Gellette Mach3 Turbo
Dry Shave
With Plain Soap
With Shaving Cream
2 to 3 Week Old Blade
Special Shaving Soap
Shaving Speed
Scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the best, 1 is the worst.

A Demonstration

As you can see, the only place where the Mach 3 wins is with speed, but that is based off of average use. The reality is that over time, the author not only got as fast a shave from the safety razor as the Mach 3, but he also was able to shave in the shower without mirrors.

There is a greater risk of cutting one's self with the safety razor (which makes you question why the same until you realize it was named that because the strait edge razor was its predecessor), but this risk is just slightly more than with a Mach 3. In truth, proper handling and storage will always prevent cutting & safety issues, just like with any other tool.

In truth, the safety razor offers a superior shave in almost every way. Now this leads to the next crucial question to ask. What of the cost?

2.The Cost

Cost is another driving factor in what product you use. For some the cost of a great shave is without price, and so an investment. Others simply would like a good shave but are not willing to invest to heavily.

The good news in either case is that safety razor shaving does not have to be extremely expensive. Please note the choice of words however. It does not HAVE to be expensive. It can be costly if you go to the right (or wrong if you want to save) place. On the other hand, that is more a choice is where you purchase. There is some factors to what you purchase, but this does not mean you have to sacrifice quality for price.

For cost comparison, a 10 pack of Gellette Mach 3 Turbo razors will cost about $30 plus taxes. If you get a fantastic deal then think $20 plus taxes. On the flip side, the author spends about $10 for a 100 pack of Astra Superior Premium Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor blades. Even if a safety razor blade only lasted half as long as a Mach 3 Turbo blade, they would still be worth the cost. But the Astra blades last as long or even longer than the Mach 3 blades. Accounting for this, the true cost of the Mach 3s are actually higher, or the Astras are actually lower, depending on how you wish to view it.

As for the actually blade holder, this cost is also purely up to you the user. You can buy a good quality Chinese made holder for less than $10. Or you can buy a very high quality German or American made blade holder for anywhere from $20 to $150. This is purely up to you. There are very minor advantages to going the more expensive route. One of these is the aesthetics (or looks) of the holder. When in doubt, the cheaper one will do. You can always "upgrade" to the more expensive holder later if you want.

Not easily recycled. Lots of plastics, so less biodegradable.
Not easily recycled. Lots of plastics, so less biodegradable. | Source
All metal. Can be easily recycled or can rust (oxidize) and so degrade to the point of returning to the ecosystem.
All metal. Can be easily recycled or can rust (oxidize) and so degrade to the point of returning to the ecosystem. | Source

3.The Impact

As a conservationist the author is concerned with the amount of waste our society has determined to be acceptable. In his conversations with older people, it seems that waste was less of an issue "back in the day". Since the safety razor was invented in a time period where "waste not want not" was a common phrase (patented in 1880) it seems to hold true to the image the author has created in his mind from research and first hand accounts.

Whether you are a easy going conservationist like the author, or extremely interesting in taking green to a whole new level, the safety razor is for you. If you are not interested in these factors at all, please consider the other factors and this final point will just be a bonus for you.

The recycling of current razor cartridges is unheard of. Because of the construction of plastic and metal it is hard, dangerous, and costly to consider. On the flip side, the double edged safety razor blade is all metal, and so can easily be recycled. Then consider the land fill. If a conventional razor cartridge goes into the land fill, the plastics take a long time to decompose. When they do, the by products are toxic and problematic. The safety razor is often steel or some other iron based alloy. These metals eventually rust (or oxidize) and return to ecosystem as a mineral that is either inert and nontoxic, or leads to the fertilization of a plant. In the sum of things, the environmental impact from using safety razors is a major win all the way around.

Are you considering switching to a safety razor?

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Conclusion or beginning?

In the end, the switch to a safety razor is solely up to you. The author weighed the options for several months before making the change, and he has not regretted it one bit. As an investment, it has paid off very well simply from the money prospective. The shave has improved as well to be sure. So as you weigh you options and look at the costs and benefits, the author hopes this by word has resulted in less confusion and more clarity for you. Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section.

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