• Safety Razors vs. Disposable Razors: How to shave like a true gent.

by Mr. Spruce

Disposable Razors are ubiquitous. There’s no getting away from them in shops, on billboards, in magazines, and on the telly. Surely since all of these companies are pushing disposables with nary a word about Safety Razors, that must mean something, right? Well, yeah, it does mean something but not what you might think. Read on to find out more.

Disposable razors (or cartridge razors as they’re otherwise known) are huge money spinners for shaving companies. The clue is in the title. They’re disposable, so after a few uses you have to chuck them away and buy new ones. Great business model for the razor manufacturers. Terrible business model for you, the consumer.

There are, of course, pros and cons on both sides though so lets jump into that...

Safety Razors - The Pros

Aside from the financials, which we’ll get into more in depth in a bit, there’s plenty of other incredibly compelling reasons for ditching your disposable and equipping some full-on Double Edge Safety Razor style.

A smoother, closer shave. Safety razors have a surprisingly satisfying heft to them which makes the razor do the work rather than you having to pull cheap plastic across your face. This result is a smoother, closer shave with less irritation and discomfort.

Razor clog is a thing of the past. You’ve seen it many times before; all those freshly shorn hairs have to go somewhere and, chances are, with a disposable cartridge razor they’ll just get caught up in between the blades. You will, of course, try to furiously blast them out with a torrent of water but you'll likely be unsuccessful. With a safety razor you get one blade, so no clogging.

More blades is better? While we’re on the subject of blades, ever thought about the logic behind ‘more blades = better shave’? Well, sorry Gillette but if you need 5 blades on a razor just to get a close shave, you’ve got a serious functional design problem. Give me one good, sharp, well engineered blade any day.

No gimmicks. Cooling strips, moisturising pads, multi-blades. All gimmicks. If you've got a good shaving cream and a good blade that’s all you’ll ever need. The only thing added by all the other gizmos is friction between your face and the razor’s edge. And friction this is the last thing you want when you’re looking for a close shave. 

Precision. Not only will you get a smoother, closer shave with a Safety Razor, but because the blade extends right to the edges. If you’ve got a ‘tache, goatee, or some other nicely styled facial hair, you can get a really tight precision edge with a safety razor that’s just not possible with a disposable.

Style. They look seriously schmick in your bathroom. No more tacky plastic, please! They’ll also make you feel like an actual grown up rather than a pimply teen. 

Responsible Consumerism. They’re better for the environment since you won’t be creating huge amounts of waste every year (even the blades are recyclable).

Safety Razors - The Cons

Of course, it would be remiss of me to imply that Safety Razors have no disadvantages at all. Here are some things to bear in mind;

The learning curve. A safety razor is a finely tuned piece of kit. It might feel strange in your hand after all those years of disposable razor use so it’ll take a bit of getting used to. It’s a skill, and you need to learn it. But once you do, you’ll never go back.

Nicks. Nicking yourself is a bit of a fear for many safety razor converts. Because of the sharpness of the blade and the weight of the razor you might experience a few extra nicks in the first week or so. Guaranteed though that after you master the technique you’ll be be practically nick-free for good.

Price. Okay, okay, so I’m sneaking this into the disadvantages section when it is, in fact, a massive advantage. If you’ve been following since the start, you’ll know where I’m going with this. Sure, the initial upfront cost might be a little higher (disadvantage) but let’s look at the one year cost of a Safety Razor vs. Disposable Cartridge Razors.

Disposable Razor
Average cost for a 3-blade type disposable razor: $10
Average cost per cartridge: $3.50
Use per cartridge: 1 week (recommended)
Annual Cost: $182

Double Edge Safety Razor
Average cost for a good mid-range safety razor: $50
Average cost per blade: $0.50
Use per blade: 1 week (recommended)
Annual Cost: $76

Bit of a no-brainer, right?

Not only are Double Edge Safety Razors better for your face and better for the environment, they're also considerably better for your pocket too. When I comes to disposable razors, don't believe the flashy marketing. You're better off all-round with a classic piece of gentleman's shaving kit. 

Where next?

Keen to get started with a Double Edge Safety Razor and ditch the disposable? Jump over here to find out more.

Wanna know a bit more before you jump straight in? Check out our guide to Classic Shaving for Classy Guys.

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Mr. Spruce
Mr. Spruce


Mr. Spruce aka Andy. One half of Worthy & Spruce. Blogging about all things gentlemanly, and many things not. Tired but tireless dad, business dude, consumer of coffee, and deliverer of timely quips.

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