The safety razor is a shaving tool that has a protective device between the edge of the blade and the skin. It was developed in the 1800’s as a safe alternative to the straight razor. It consists of a handle attached at right angles to a head in which a removable blade is placed. It has been widely replaced by the cartridge razor, which is much easier to assemble and maintain, but the older safety razor is making a comeback among men who enjoy and take pride in the shaving process as it was for the working men of the early twentieth century. If you are planning to go old school and buy a safety razor, then read on to find out which blades work best.
Different safety razors are gauged by their blades shaving power and its level of protecting your skin from the blade. More aggressive razors require extra care to avoid lacerations or cuts through the skin, but can still have a greater perspective of cutting that facial hair, provide that perfect shave, and can give you no to less discomfort while shaving. This would also depend on factors such as the shaver’s skin type, preparation before shaving, and most importantly, the skill. Mild safety razors are available for those who are inexperienced in the techniques required for this style of shaving.
After reviewing all the top safety razor blades available, we’ve selected our top 7 picks in the comparison table below. We’re confident you’ll find the perfect model for your needs.
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Feather Double Edge Blades (our top pick)
Choosing the right blade is often more complicated than you would expect. Everyone’s facial hair is different, but there are many choices available in the market, making it easier to customize your shaving experience.
If your facial hair is coarse and tough to manage, you may need a more aggressive razor. An aggressive razor will cut through any kind of hair with no effort on your part. All it needs is for you to hold the razor against your skin and let the razor’s weight do the job of cutting the hair for you.
Longer facial hair will also require a more aggressive blade. This is because a less aggressive blade will pull at the hairs and cause razor burn and irritation. If you prefer using blades that are less aggressive, then use an electric shaver or trimmer to cut your facial hair to the length of approximately a quarter-inch to a half-inch, or even shorter if you can manage it.
If your skin is rough, sensitive or prone to acne, you may find that a less aggressive blade will work better for you. Aggressive blades are referred to as aggressive because they are extremely sharp, so the slightest misstep or fumble on your part can have potentially disastrous results. Consider using a milder blade with an aggressive safety razor. What makes a safety razor aggressive is the angle at which the blades sits in the razor (or the angle at which it glides over your skin while you shave), the blade gap (which is the distance between the safety bar and the edge of the blade), and the amount of exposure that the blade has. Open-combed razors are a good example of this because they reveal most of the blade’s edge.
And if you are a beginner, then you should definitely start with a less aggressive blade to avoid nicks and cuts. Safety razors are very different from cartridge razors. Firstly, they are heavier. Cartridge razors are light because they have multiple blades, which are not so sharp, so you can apply a little pressure without cutting yourself. The problem with this is, if you have been using a cartridge razor and are accustomed to it, it will be difficult for you to shave without applying that pressure. Even though it is only a tiny amount of pressure, it is enough to cut yourself with when you switch to a safety razor. It is for this reason that you should start with a mild blade, and maybe even a mild razor, while you learn the proper technique of shaving with a safety razor.
As we already mentioned, shaving with a safety razor provides you with a closer shave without the hassle of nicks, cuts, and irritation. Since the blades on a cartridge are exposed, they tend to be slightly blunt to reduce the likelihood of cuts, but on the other hand, you have to apply a little pressure to get a close shave. Safety razor blades are much finer and sharper than cartridge razor blades, and hence are able to cut the hairs much closer to the skin without the need for you to apply any pressure. It is also easier to shave against the grain or at other alternative angles to get the smoothest result. When you are ready to make the switch to aggressive blades and safety razors, you will find that shaving across the grain or against it provides you with a much closer shave than any other method of shaving.
Safety razor blades are also much cheaper than cartridge razor blades. For example, in some places, an 8-pack of cartridges costs $20, while a 10-pack of safety razor blades costs $5. So even though you will have to change your blade everyday, you will still save a ton of money in the long run.
Let’s take a look at some of the blades that we think are the best in the market.
Made in Japan, these stainless steel blades are a sharp and highly aggressive product. They are perfect for men with coarse or dense facial hair. However, if you are a novice or if you have sensitive skin, then these blades are not recommended for you. It is likely that the name “Feather” is a reference to the amount of pressure required for an ultra-close shave.
One reviewer says that “these blades are sharper than Dr. House’s scalpel and wit.” So while it might be too much for novices or those with sensitive skin, these blades are perfect for veterans of the double-edged razor. With enough experience, you can get the closest shave with these blades. They are also long lasting; one blade can provide you with five to seven shaves before becoming dull. Some reviewers do report good experiences with Feather blades even though it was their first time using a double-edged razor, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Use your own judgment if you decide to go for these blades.
One issue that some reviewers faced was low-quality blades. With a company as old and as popular as Feather, you have to keep in mind that knock-offs are inevitable. So do your research and try your best to find an authentic seller.
These stainless steel blades are platinum coated for superior smoothness and longevity. Made in Russia, they are compatible with any standard double-edged razor, including Parker, Merkur, and Gillette, and are a favorite in barbershops. They are sharp, but not very aggressive, and they are highly recommended for men who have sensitive skin.
Even cheaper than Feather, these long lasting blades will save you a stack of money. Good for a week’s worth of shave, two years worth of blades will cost you only around $10! A good, sharp blade that is not too aggressive for beginners, Astra also works in all standard double-edged razors. They are extremely mild on the skin; they don’t cause razor burn or irritation, so even novices can try out this product with a little care.
Detractors of Astra had the same issue as those with the Feather blades. They seem to be talking about fake Astra blades, which are a common problem in any part of the world, so again, do your homework and make sure you buy from a genuine seller.
Manufactured in Germany, Merkur razor blades have a platinum coating, which gives it a smooth, silky effect, and ensures that it stays sharp through several shaves. These double-edged blades are compatible with all standard safety razors, offering precision and consistency.
Although not as popular as Feather and Astra, these blades are sharp and precise, offering a much closer shave than multi-blade cartridges. They also cut out ingrown hairs with ease. They are also extremely durable, with one reviewer claiming to have gotten over 50 shaves out of a single blade. The case that these blades are packed in also has a nifty slot at the back to store used blades instead of throwing them in the trash.
The only problem with this blade is that it might be too aggressive for people with sensitive skin and coarse facial hair. If you have these problems, then you might want to avoid these blades, for the severity of the cuts and the razor burn.
These stainless steel blades are perforated, hardened and ground using state of the art equipment, and the cutting edges are coated with a polymer of chromium-ceramic, tungsten and platinum for comfort and durability. They are also put through a rigorous quality control process at every stage of manufacturing. Not quite as sharp as Feather, these blades provide a close shave to men who have sensitive skin.
The Derby blade allows you to make multiple passes for the closest possible shave without any nicks, cuts or razor burns. It is also durable and cheap – if you use one blade a week, then a hundred will last you close to two years, allowing you to double up your shaving routine into a sound, long-term financial investment.
Reviewers with coarse, curly, multi-directional facial hair and sensitive skin especially like this product for its balance between mildness and sharpness. One innovative user manages to get the most out of his blade by flipping it over after a week, doubling the shave-life of a 100-pack to almost four years.
Critics of this product complain that these blades are not merely less aggressive; they are simply dull, causing the blade to pull at facial hair instead of cutting it. This seems to be a problem with technique. If you are new to wet shaving with a double-edged blade, you might want to watch a tutorial video on YouTube before you get started.
Wilkinson Sword Classic blades are triple coated for added durability, reduced irritation and corrosion resistance. It maintains the sharpness of its edge longer than stainless steel for an exceptionally smooth, close and easy double-edged shave.
Users with thick facial hair report getting five to seven shaves out of each of these blades. A barber with over fifteen years of experience says that they are “by far the smoothest and cleanest blades I have ever used.” Barbers are probably the only people who never stopped using safety razors since they are economical and they also give their customers what they want – a super-close shave. So it would be wise to take their opinions on double-edged razor blades seriously. Most reviewers enjoy the balance of smoothness and sharpness that the Wilkinson Swords provide.
Detractors with coarse hair complain that these blades pull too much and cause irritation and razor burns. This could be due to poor technique or a mismatch between blade, razor and hair type.
Super Iridium Double Edge Razor Blades are recommended for men who have a medium coarse beard and sensitive skin. They are almost as sharp as Feathers but not as aggressive. They provide a clean, close shave with little or no irritation, and absolutely no nicks and cuts. All in all, these blades are both extremely sharp and exceptionally smooth. The edges are numbered 1/2 and 3/4, making it easy to flip the blade over without any confusion.
While these blades are sharp, smooth and durable, some reviewers found them to be below par in terms of performance. However, this might be due to lack of technique or simply personal preference.
Safety razors are coming back into fashion among men who have become disillusioned with cartridge razors. They are sharper and smoother than cartridge razors, and they come at a fraction of the cost. With a little patience and a lot of practice, you could be having the smoothest, cleanest shaves ever, and save a heap of money in the process!
But remember, if you do decide to switch to safety razors, you will have to commit to it. Finding the right tools takes time and patience. Remember to start with a mild blade, and practice your technique. This will also take patience, as you will likely cut yourself a few times in the beginning. Always remember the difference between a cartridge razor and a safety razor. When you shave with a cartridge razor, you tend to apply a little pressure while shaving because the blades are not nearly as sharp as safety razor blades. So when you make the switch to a safety razor, keep in mind that you will have to train yourself to stop applying pressure, and let the weight of the razor do the work for you.
If you still can’t make up your mind, give it a go with Astra’s blades. They are not really aggressive, making them good for beginners, and if you find that you like them, you can upgrade to Feather blades once you are comfortable with your technique. Just remember to watch out for knock-offs and fakes, as the market is full of them. Do your homework, find a good, authentic seller, and make sure you get what you pay for.