Safety Razors

StillHere

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 23, 2023
Messages
16
Location
uk
"I HATE shaving"... those 3 words said to an older gentleman almost 2 years ago got me sold on wet shaving with a DE safety razor.

My dad "taught" me to shave by giving me an electric shaver, and not a terribly nice one at that. A few times I tried the Gillette multiblades with Gillette gel and hated it. Messy, hated the greasy feeling, and the terrible smell of the gel. The Gillette razor also chewed up my face and irritated my skin something awful. I picked up a Braun shaver in the early 2000s and had been using that and a beard trimmer ever since...but hated the chore of shaving.

...until I uttered those 3 words to that gentleman who told me that wet shaving with a DE razor would change my mind. He had been shaving with a DE all his life. And he was right. So far, most everything I've bought has been from MaggardRazors.com. They gave me a ton of great advice as a newbie and guided me to what I needed.

Razor: Merkur 34C HD

Blades: Feather blades have become my favorite. Despite what people say, I think I've only nicked myself once with a Feather, but far more with duller blades.

Brush: Maggard synthetic

Soaps:
Lather Brothers' Flamingo Trance
Dr Jon's Anne Bonney
Dr Jon's Hydra
Henri et Victoria La Poire Francaise
Maggard's Orange Menthol
Maggard's London Barbershop
Stirling Peach
Stirling Cherry
Arko*

Alum Block for aftershave


I completely disagree, but I also live in an area with hard water. The soap makes all the difference with my shave, including how wet or dry I make the lather. The aforementioned Arko doesn't work well for me, but the others do a great job.

I also find that time-wise, I can do a wet-shave in the same time or faster than shaving with my Braun. I also get FAR less irritation

The old man who turned me onto wet shaving told me, best way to improve my shave was soap #1, razor #2, pre-shave #3. YMMV.

*Arko -- I bought this on a whim due to its cheap price and somewhat controversial reputation. I'm on the hate-it side. It smells like a urinal cake and performs probably as bad as one. My better half also hates the smell... much to my entertainment. I'll periodically open it and hide it in random places. Makes for some good clean fun.
That's a good story, must be a cool old guy. I also hated shaving, seeing it as a chore until maybe five years ago. Whether I had a shave was determined by a threshold of what I hated more, the itchy hair or the act of shaving. I had used DE razors many years ago and just remembered that they were cheap to use when cartridges or disposables where getting expensive and seemingly less quality. I got into SE this time rather than DE razors as I considered SE having more potential to develop with narrower blades and therefore narrower head caps. It was hard to find a modern SE razor that did everything I wanted so I had to put some work into sorting that out. Injector razors are close in design shape, but limited to injector blades.

I'm not sure what you completely disagree with exactly as I made no absolute statement about using water. Hot/cold, hard/soft water can definitely act as a lubricant, however, whether shaving personally with water is going to work out is totally a YMMV consideration for sure. As you maybe have found out, there can be varying results even with dedicated shaving soaps/creams.

The 34C is a great razor so I'm told by DE users. Seems Maggard have given you good advice. Feather blades are definitely one of my favourites. I have so many different blade brands and variations, I collect them out of interest. As an SE shaver, other than snapped or ready-made half DE blades, I also use injector, B20 and AC blades every so often. AC blades are interesting but I don't see the use of the extra width in practical terms.

Happy shaving and pranking the partner with the Arko. :)
 

vincent3685

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Messages
106
Sounds like you are having fun. Good. It should be enjoyable, just be careful how far down the rabbit hole you go. I know some of those gents over on B&B are so far down the rabbit hole, they can't see the light of day. Just one thing, try a brush and a popular shave cream in the tube--give it a try, and if you don't like it, you can always go back to the canned goo. I predict you will like the tube shaving cream. Best to use a warm lathering bowl. I have tried face lathering, it is faster, but IMO the lather isn't as good as bowl lathering. Have fun, enjoy. :)
I could have written that. I tried the can and tried face lathering. IMO, NOTHING beats a good brush, tube of concentrate, a warm bowl and a double edge blade. The double edge blade with the butterfly opening razor was the last great improvement in shaving, IMO.
 

vincent3685

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Messages
106
I have a Merkur 34g and a couple of 1950's Gillette Super Speed razors. I have 3 different blades: Feathers, which are made in Japan. Personna Blues, which are made in USA. Personna Med Preps, which are also made in USA. I stopped buying the Feathers because the Personna Med Preps are just about as sharp if not as sharp, made in USA and faster to get than waiting for blades to come from Japan. The Personna Blues are good for daily driver, and cheaper than the Med Preps, but not quite as close a shave. I reserve the Med Preps and Feathers for special occasions when I want/need that baby butt smooth close shave.

I started out with Van Der Hagen shave soap, but transitioned to Nivea Sensitive shaving cream. I picked up some Cremo shaving cream on clearance last Christmas but haven't tried it yet.

For A/S, I like cheap drug store stuff, because I can't afford the really expensive stuff that I would love to try. Current go to is Aqua Velva for warm weather, and Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm for cool and cold weather.

If you really want to get the low down on wet shaving, IMO there is no better place than the badgerandblade.com forums. It is to shaving what CPF is to light. That's where I learned.
I use a Parker 99R. Nice and heavy, good length, well-made. . For blades, I like the feathers. I don't think anything else is as sharp. But, they've gotten too expensive. Parker blades are okay and far cheaper. I would like to try those Personna blades. Link, please? I don't buy anything made by Gillette.

For shaving cream, I have settled on Proraso in the tube. You can get it on ebay sometimes for a pretty reasonable price. For after shave, I use Pinaud Clubman. It's a classic smell, like an old-fashioned barber shop. Brings back memories. You can get the 16oz country club size for 12 bucks on Amazon right now.
 

vincent3685

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Messages
106
Good point about the wet puck possibly being unsanitary. I usually give the bowl a quick rinse after shaving and have never seen any mould, but I can see how it could be a potential problem. It's true many people do lather a bit of cream in a bowl or mug every time. I've tried using soap shavings and that works nicely, but didn't continue as I'm too lazy to do it every time, lol. I did look into how to make some very soft or cream like shaving soap for the purpose of scooping a little out each time, but never did it. Might I'll actually try that for some fun. Some people have miniature shovels/scoops which I see them post on shaving forums. I just remembered one bowl I designed was made with a indented "X" at the bottom for the purpose of placing cream. It was a suggestion from a guy really into bowl design.

I used to use a straight, then a Shavette, but these days I don't trust myself to have a steady hand. For a long time I was using cartridge razors but they became so expensive and many times didn't give a nice shave, so switched to traditional safety razors. I don't think the bits and pieces for shaving need to be expensive, they might or might not be, just that whatever is used is good at what one expects from a shave. I can't take as much time anymore in the ritual of shaving due to back pain so speed and efficiency is what I aim for. A fast, clean shave with no irritation. It's so much easier to shave regularly, but many times I've let the hair grow a bit too much which is then a literal pain in the back and hassle to shave off. Times like that it's good to have a razor that is adjustable.

Happy shaving :)
IMO, the concentrated cream in the tube works best. But I forgot about those shaving sticks that you shave off and put in the bowl. Arko? I've wanted to try those for some time. What is your experience with them?. The bowl I use came from Amazon. Similar to this; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08965STPB/?tag=cpf0b6-20 It's really too small, but fits in my medicine cabinet. Bathroom counter space is limited.
 

StillHere

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 23, 2023
Messages
16
Location
uk
IMO, the concentrated cream in the tube works best. But I forgot about those shaving sticks that you shave off and put in the bowl. Arko? I've wanted to try those for some time. What is your experience with them?. The bowl I use came from Amazon. Similar to this; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08965STPB/?tag=cpf0b6-20 It's really too small, but fits in my medicine cabinet. Bathroom counter space is limited.
I don't have any experience with Arko myself. Attached is a pic of a couple prototypes bowls and a brush I designed and a friend 3D printed. There are more but can't seem to find the pictures. I don't use bowls much anymore, usually just load up a brush and then face lather. Not as fun but I need to have as fast a shave as possible these days.

I see you mention in another post that DE butterfly razors is in your opinion the last great improvement in shaving. I would add that (imo) it would depend on what one considers to be a great improvement. My experience is that shaving is very much an individual experience and therefore the best razor is going to be whatever suits the individual. It's not that I can't appreciate the design, quality or craftmanship of a DE, I just don't like the feel and shape of them. The only advantage I believe a DE has is if one blade edge gets dull or the head clogged up then it can be used on the other side. I like the shape of many SE razors so for me they are better. The shave from an SE is as good as using any other razor design. Straight razors also give a great shave as can a cartridge razor (as much as I detest cartridge and disposable razors). I'm also of the opinion that an adjustable razor is generally a better buy than a non-adjustable, but again that's only a generalization as there may not be a need for it being adjustable.
 

Attachments

  • Two 3D printed bowls and a brush.jpg
    Two 3D printed bowls and a brush.jpg
    470.9 KB · Views: 30
Last edited:

kerneldrop

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
2,333
Location
South
I'm a caveman I guess.
See hair cut hair about once week.
I'm fortunate to buy Feather locally.
 

Toulouse42

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 14, 2008
Messages
198
Location
Jersey
For years I've used the Gillette Sensor Excel (the one with two blades) and that has served me well. I learned years ago that trying to shave too close only caused razor burn. Only ever shave downwards - never up. I don't think they make them any more as I can't find them locally. I'm trying out my options with replacements but they all have more blades which results in me cutting my face all the time. Mind you, now that I'm retired I only shave a couple of times a week or less.
 

vincent3685

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Messages
106
I don't have any experience with Arko myself. Attached is a pic of a couple prototypes bowls and a brush I designed and a friend 3D printed. There are more but can't seem to find the pictures. I don't use bowls much anymore, usually just load up a brush and then face lather. Not as fun but I need to have as fast a shave as possible these days.

I see you mention in another post that DE butterfly razors is in your opinion the last great improvement in shaving. I would add that (imo) it would depend on what one considers to be a great improvement. My experience is that shaving is very much an individual experience and therefore the best razor is going to be whatever suits the individual. It's not that I can't appreciate the design, quality or craftmanship of a DE, I just don't like the feel and shape of them. The only advantage I believe a DE has is if one blade edge gets dull or the head clogged up then it can be used on the other side. I like the shape of many SE razors so for me they are better. The shave from an SE is as good as using any other razor design. Straight razors also give a great shave as can a cartridge razor (as much as I detest cartridge and disposable razors). I'm also of the opinion that an adjustable razor is generally a better buy than a non-adjustable, but again that's only a generalization as there may not be a need for it being adjustable.
Hey, does that single edge razor use those single edge scraper blades? I don't think I've ever seen a razor that uses those. They seem kind of thick. What do you think about the sharpness and longevity of them vs. the single edge injector blades?
 

StillHere

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 23, 2023
Messages
16
Location
uk
Hey, does that single edge razor use those single edge scraper blades? I don't think I've ever seen a razor that uses those. They seem kind of thick. What do you think about the sharpness and longevity of them vs. the single edge injector blades?
Sorry for the delayed reply, usually I get a notification and must have missed it.

There are many different types of SE blades and the razor you see in the pic is a "GEM Featherweight". It uses "GEM" blades which indeed look like the scraper blades although they are higher quality. I personally don't like these blades because of how big they are, but some people love them. I never did give that razor enough personal testing to find out how long a GEM blade will last.

I mostly use DE blades snapped in half or ready made half-DE blades. For me they will last depending on the brand from 1 - 7 shaves. Some people report getting many more shaves, but I think that has a lot to do with the amount of hair being shaved than anything else.

Then there are injector blades of various types. They can be very sharp and last a bit longer than most half-DE blades. I include B20 blades in this category and they are very good blades, but strictly speaking they are made for a shavette type razor, not a safety razor.

Lastly there are AC blades which are made for a shavette type handle, but some make razors for them. A bit wider than other blades, about 12mm, but very good blades, similar to injector/B20 blades in thickness and quality. Imo they are more of a novelty than anything else.

There are other more obscure blades, but the above are the most commonly used types. IMO the most cost effective are H-DE blades, which with the right razor can give just as good a shave as injector or B20 blades. If the cost of injector/B20 blades where lower, I would go with them just because they last longer on average and I know at least the B20's will always be top quality blades. Some people say injector/B20 blades give a better shave, but I believe that is more down to the razor design than the blade. My razor can use either H-DE or injector/B20 blades and I get a great shave regardless of which type I use. The H-DE are cheaper even if I get less shaves, so that's what I use.

Hope this helps, a Happy Holidays.

Cheers,
Rob
 

vicv

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
2,727
Location
Southern Ontario
They are a great gateway to straights for sure. And I like them in their own as well. I've been lazy and grew a full beard for the last few years but I did enjoy them. I've never noticed a big difference though with different blades
 

IMA SOL MAN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
2,126
Location
The HEART of the USA.
Blade sharpness longevity is going to vary person to person. Two main factors:

1. Hair characteristics (thick or thin hair shaft) The thinner the hair shaft, the less the blade has to overcome, and the faster the hair shaft should hydrate.

2. How much time you give the beard to hydrate before shaving. If the hair is fully hydrated, it will be soft, and the blade will cut through like a hot knife through butter. If the hair shaft is not fully hydrated, then the hair will be hard, and then the blade will pull on the hair as it is dragged through, it will be like cutting copper wire, and it will quickly dull the blade.

So one of the best things to make your blade last and get a comfortable shave, is to give the hair plenty of time to hydrate. And of course, the warmer the water, the quicker the hydration will take place. That's why you see the barber putting a hot, steamy towel on the customer's face, to hydrate the hair.
 

andregrobler

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 2, 2023
Messages
17
Location
south africa
They are a great gateway to straights for sure. And I like them in their own as well. I've been lazy and grew a full beard for the last few years but I did enjoy them. I've never noticed a big difference though with different blades


The GAD is bad… whichever the male points its interestimage.jpg
 

andregrobler

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 2, 2023
Messages
17
Location
south africa
I've actually found that those modern-day multi-bladed razors stay sharp for significantly longer than the razor companies (specifically Gillette, and Schick) like to let on. Typically I can easily get three months of use out of one multi-blades cartridge. To clarify, I don't have excessively rough or tough skin. Though I do have very tough whiskers. Even on the last day of month 3, I can get a smooth shave. Don't use any fancy creme either. Just Barbasol shaving creme with Aloe.

Makes the high price-tag of such cartridges far more reasonable. Once in an extremely rare while I'll get a cartridge that ends up being just too rough or dull after significantly less than 3 months of use. I just toss that one in the bin and use another.

My Late father gave me my first shave with his Safety razor. Over the years I've had the occasional Straight razor shave at the barber shop. (Very enjoyable experience, but pricey.) Those modern-day razors are just very safe and very convenient from a time management perspective. I can go hard and fast, not worry about nicks or bleeding; all in just a few seconds.
An article on knifesteel nerds blog, confirmed same, if you properly rinse and dry razor, it stays sharp longer, also, from personal experience, being tough bearded too, aligning the direction of the blade with the direction of the cut, i.e. not scraping… keeps the edge from rolling and blunting
 

vincent3685

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Messages
106
Sorry for the delayed reply, usually I get a notification and must have missed it.

There are many different types of SE blades and the razor you see in the pic is a "GEM Featherweight". It uses "GEM" blades which indeed look like the scraper blades although they are higher quality. I personally don't like these blades because of how big they are, but some people love them. I never did give that razor enough personal testing to find out how long a GEM blade will last.

I mostly use DE blades snapped in half or ready made half-DE blades. For me they will last depending on the brand from 1 - 7 shaves. Some people report getting many more shaves, but I think that has a lot to do with the amount of hair being shaved than anything else.

Then there are injector blades of various types. They can be very sharp and last a bit longer than most half-DE blades. I include B20 blades in this category and they are very good blades, but strictly speaking they are made for a shavette type razor, not a safety razor.

Lastly there are AC blades which are made for a shavette type handle, but some make razors for them. A bit wider than other blades, about 12mm, but very good blades, similar to injector/B20 blades in thickness and quality. Imo they are more of a novelty than anything else.

There are other more obscure blades, but the above are the most commonly used types. IMO the most cost effective are H-DE blades, which with the right razor can give just as good a shave as injector or B20 blades. If the cost of injector/B20 blades where lower, I would go with them just because they last longer on average and I know at least the B20's will always be top quality blades. Some people say injector/B20 blades give a better shave, but I believe that is more down to the razor design than the blade. My razor can use either H-DE or injector/B20 blades and I get a great shave regardless of which type I use. The H-DE are cheaper even if I get less shaves, so that's what I use.

Hope this helps, a Happy Holidays.

Cheers,
Rob
Do you use H-DE blades in that Gem razor, or do you have another razor you use with them? Not interested in a shavette, just a SE safety razor. Thanks.
 

adhoc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 2, 2024
Messages
10
Location
U.S.
I started with the King C Gillette, a mild razor. After my technique developed, the mild razor became annoying.

Then picked up a Muhle R41, known as an aggressive (I say efficient) razor.

Watched a couple review videos, they mentioned there's a lot of 'blade feel'. First couple shaves, I was thinking the same, you really feel that blade. My technique must have adapted after a couple uses, blade feel is no longer an issue.

Common advice for the R41, is to perform one less pass.

I use Nacet blades, Proraso in the tube.
 
Top