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Everything You Need To Know About Double-Edge Razor Shaving

Photo by Clare Sausen

To shave with a double-edge razor or not to shave with a double-edged razor... that is the question (at least the one we're trying to answer here).  And while we're at it, we'll also answer some basics about how to choose and use such a razor should you make the choice to go the double-edged safety razor route.


Pros of Double-Edge Shaving

  • Less-Irritaion: For most guys, using a double-edge razor will cause less skin irritation. When you’re whipping around that face with cartridge razors like most guys do, skin can get irritated pretty quickly. Three blades equals three passes on the skin and the chance for additional irritation.
  • Better For The Earth: For many, it’s about lowering the environmental impact of their shaving routine. Fewer blades, less plastic (or in some cases no plastic) and other waste from over-designed cartridge razors. Plus, safety razor blades tend to provide more full shaves (in quantity) than multi-blade cartridges.
  • It's All About The $$$: The long-term cost of buying double-edge blades is significantly lower than buying cartridge blades. A 5-pack of double-edged blades runs anywhere from $2-10 and most guys can get 6-10 shaves per blade.
  • Me Time: “Me time” is a growing factor for guys, an opportunity to slow down a bit and take some time for self care. We’re not talking hours, but shaving with a double-edged razor requires more attention to detail, "pumps the breaks" a bit and creates more of an "experience."


Cons Of Double-Edge Shaving

  • Learning curve: It takes some time to learn how to get the right angle (your blade should be positioned at about 30 degrees) so you’re making a clean pass through facial hair and not into skin.  It's not like regular cartridge shaving where you can kinda' zone out during the process.
  • Time: Getting a great shave with a double edge is certainly a tad more time consuming.  A guy can't just throw that blade around his mug and hope for the best.
  • Up-Front Costs: A decent razor is going to cost upwards of $30, but, that investment can go a long ways. Many of these razors can last 10+ years with proper care.


Razor & Handle Types To Consider 

  • Handles: A long handle may be easier for guys with bigger hands, whereas a shorter handle may be tougher to grip and get a good feel. You can also flip that, as some guys with big hands like that a small handle blade fits into their palm. It's all  about preference.
  • Blade Angle: The angle the blade is bent at can greatly affect how close a shave one can expect – the more aggressive the angle, the more aggressive the shave... but also the higher likelihood of face damage for the novice.
  • Blade Loading: A butterfly or twist-to-open model is just a simple twist -- drop in the blade, then tighten it down and you’re off. There’s a lot of haters out there for butterfly razors right now, but you do you – we’re not judging. Most guys prefer a two or three-piece head that’s much easier to clean and maintain, though does require some finesse.
  • Comb Type: A closed-comb has a solid guard to protect from cutting one’s face, while an open comb allows more of the blade surface to come into contact with the skin.
  • Weight: Some men want a heavy-duty razor with a solid feel in their hand, while others prefer lightweight options that are a bit easier to manipulate.
  • Looks: Just like cars, shoes, ties and t-shirts, some guys just want a great-looking razor that fits their personality and looks great sitting on the vanity. More and more people are making razors in different colors, finishes, handle styles and materials, so it should be easy to find a model that best suits you.


Who To Buy From?

  • Reputation Is Everything: Buy from a reputable brand or retailer and be weary of low-priced options  --  you'll want heavy metals that are going to last, like stainless steel, bronze, chrome and so on. These will not only last a long time, but they’ll also resist rusting, corroding and breakage. The cheapo route is going to last for a bit, but remember, you get what you pay for.
  • Take Care: Keep in mind, like anything of high quality, you’ll need to care for your razor. Be sure to clean out shavings and excess cream or lather after each use. Be sure to shake it dry and get rid of excess water that builds-up around the components – this will prevent unwanted corrosion over time.
  • Beginner's Luck: Any good retailer is going to recommend a razor that’s perfect for a beginner, look for that information to help guide your decision. The Merkur 34C is a go-to as it’s made by one of the most-respected manufacturers in the world and works well for users of all levels. It’s a best seller for a reason.
  • Time To Adjust: Adjustable razors are available and give you the ability to adjust blade gap in order to get a more or less-aggressive shave – great for people who want that flexibility.

Blades Of Glory

  • Cut To The Chase: So many blade options are available, but we generally recommend Merkur blades as good all-arounders. Astra also makes excellent platinum-coated blades that are great for any skill-level, Feather is another widely available brand with a reputation for being especially sharp and long-lasting.
  • Numbers Game: Remember, you’re probably going to get about 5-10 shaves out of each blade, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th shave are the sweet spot where you’re going to really feel great.

This article was written and appeared on . Grooming Lounge and our Founder, Mike Gilman, were quoted a lot, so we borrowed the article. Giving them credit -- hope it's OK.

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