Before cartridge razors, there were double-edge (DE) safety razors. They look pretty similar but they provide a nicer shave and their blades cost pennies compared to their cartridge counterparts. Plus, it looks one heck of a lot more manly to have an old-school, heavy metal razor on your bathroom counter.
Breaking into double-edged razors can feel like an uphill battle - you are going to see tools and options that you simply didn't know existed - but slow your roll, you can handle this. After all, it's shaving, not rocket science. The accessories help, but what you really need is a great razor.
The best safety razors for beginners are fixed (meaning that the blade height is set), although the similarities stop there. You are going to see options for different-length handles, bar razors versus open comb bars, different weights, different ways of securing the blade, and varieties regarding the overall aggressiveness of the razor.
Most of these variables come down to personal preference, but when you are new to double-edge shaving, it can be difficult to know what you like. A general rule is that the handle length should be similar to the size of your hands, so that the razor feels comfortable when shaving. Rather than trying to guess, beginners to safety razors are generally going to do best choosing a simple everyman's razor. To help you narrow your search, we came up with a list of the best safety razors for beginners:
If you think you would prefer a heavier razor, reach for the Merkur 34C Heavy Classic Double-Edged Safety Razor - winner of our Handsome Award in 2013 and maybe the most popular razor on the market. It is the same length as the Jagger DE89LBL (3.25" long) and features the same closed case, but the Merkur 34C weighs a little more at 2.8 ounces.
In general, heavier razors mean that you need to apply less pressure as you move the razor over your skin and help provide more balance. Less pressure means less irritation, and less irritation means a happier, more comfortable you. Plus, many people find that they get fewer nicks with a heavier razor.
Until now, the razors we have mentioned have all been refilled the same way. You untwist the handle and lift off a guard. This exposes the double-edged razor blade. Then, you simply replace the blade and reassemble the razor. However, there is another style of razor called a "butterfly" razor that beginners love because changing the blade is super super simple.
This type of razor is a single piece. You just twist the handle and it exposes the blade. The design is more mechanical so you have to keep it extra clean and some parts may need to be replaced over time. These razors are a little heavier than other double-edge razors, but replacing the blade is super fast. The Parker Vintage Butterfly Safety Razor 99R is one of our favorites in this category and is also one of the best. In fact, it won our Grooming Lounge Handsome Award (in 2015) for its classic styling and solid function. The Parker 99R measures 3.75 inches and weighs around 3 ounces.
The best safety razors for beginners are the simplest, and the Edwin Jagger DE89LBL Lined Chrome Safety Razor fits the bill perfectly. It has a classic straight guard to deliver a very smooth shave.
The Jagger DE89LBL is also a very light razor, weighing in at just 2.1 ounces. This will help it feel more familiar in your hand as you transition from cartridge razors, which tend to be on the lighter side. However, most importantly for a beginner, this is not a very aggressive razor, meaning it's relatively easy to get the razor to glide over your skin and you won't feel raw after your shave. For reference, the Jagger DE89LBL is just over 3.25" long.
Keep in mind that while we think these are the best safety razors for beginners, the best double-edge razor for you could be different if you have a strong preference for certain characteristics. Don't just sit there reading this and wondering. Take a look at our frequently asked questions or contact us directly. We are happy to help.