You can love or hate it…
But it's an important practice.
It can signal your:
- Grooming habits
- Professional attitude
- Eye for details
What's the BEST razor?
There is no formula for that.
We're all different – everyone has his own needs & criteria.
So it helps to be aware of:
- The 5 main razor types
- The advantages & disadvantages of each
That's what this article is for.
Razor Type #1 – Cartridge
The beauty of a cartridge razor is it's simple in design (with either a metal or plastic handle) but also flexible to use. It has the ability to follow your face shape – whether it goes with or against the grain of the hairs.
If it's the multi-blade kind, the result is an even closer shave thanks to the pulling-cutting teamwork involved. So it's no surprise that it's commonly sold nowadays.
It glides gently in every stroke, so the end result is a very smooth shaving experience.
- Cartridge razors are user-friendly and don't require a lot of skill.
- They're also travel-friendly (you can pack them in carry-on luggage for flights).
- They're the safest razor type – with a low risk of accidentally cutting or nicking yourself while shaving.
- Each cartridge/blade is effective for 3-4 shaves (and you can get it in packs of around four).
- Hair follicles may get stuck in between blades – and multiple passes might be necessary on cross-sections of stubble (which can lead to ingrown hairs or skin irritation).
- The size of the head may give you problems dealing with hard-to-reach spots.
- The material used for these razors isn't environmentally friendly.
- Replacing the cartridges means you'll be spending $1 per shave or about $350 a year – an amount that's too much for most guys.
Razor Type #2 – Disposable
I remember when I shaved for the first time at the tender age of 15…
We didn't have much of a choice back then. So I had to make do with a disposable razor that could be found in the local drugstore (similar to the ones you get for free in the gym).
They're called “disposable” for a reason. The plastic handle is attached permanently to the head – which means there isn't anything to reuse or replace.
Additionally, the blades are made of a flimsy kind of steel. That's why these razors can get away with ridiculously low prices. They're meant to be trashed after a shave or two.
- A disposable razor is very affordable.
- It comes in packs of 10-20 pieces.
- It can also be used for stopgaps/emergencies (which is useful while traveling/camping).
- It's meant to be thrown away immediately, which means less weight to carry around.
- You can leave a few of this type in the guest bathroom when somebody stays over.
- It can feel like you're shaving with glass.
- The lightweight handle means you must exert more pressure on the grip – and this tends to bring in some discomfort while shaving.
- The blade's sharpness won't last beyond 1-2 shaves (hence why they come in packs).
- The razor can provide an uneven shave and cause ingrown hairs.
Razor Type #3 – Safety
The next time you get the chance to visit your grandfather…make sure to ask him about his experience with safety razors. They used to be the dominant tools for men's shaving.
They comprise a single-blade razor with slight “safety” edges. They help keep the blade from cutting into your skin – which is why they were marketed as the safer version of straight razors.
Safety razors require just a very light touch to shave effectively. And their price would lie within the range of $25 -$150.
But even if you pay $100+ for a quality razor – it'll save you money in the long run since it's designed for a lifetime use. Meanwhile, you can expect to pay just 9-70 cents for replacement blades. So that’s an annual cost of only $36!
- A safety razor – though pricey at first – can last forever if it's properly cared for.
- Blades are extremely affordable and may only have to be replaced once a week (depending on how often you use the razor).
- Shaving with it involves minimal pressure so you're not likely to experience skin irritation, burns, redness or ingrown hairs.
- You'll need to practice shaving with a safety razor for some time before getting used to it.
- You must be extra careful and focused with each stroke (to avoid any cuts or nicks).
Razor Type #4 – Straight
This one is also called the cut-throat razor. It has a sharp blade that can be folded into a handle (similar to a pocket knife).
There's a single permanent steel blade involved. It's durable…but also needs to be sharpened at home every now and then so it can do its job.
The handle can be made of either plastic, metal, bone, horn or wood. Both the blade and the handle are often engraved and customized based on the buyer's preferences.
A straight razor can cost as low as $40 or as high as $200. But the key to its performance is when you use it for wet shaving. It's strongly recommended to use water and a cream – as they can soften your skin tissue and “loosen up” the hair follicles.
- A straight razor can last a lifetime (provided it's regularly stropped to maintain the blade).
- It will give you the closest, most precise shave possible.
- Hands down – it's the most cost-effective razor type.
- If you're not careful – the blade can cut deep into your skin and cause serious injuries.
- It can take time (even years) before you master how to use it safely and efficiently.
Razor Type #5 – Electric
We have modern technology (and electricity) to thank for this type.
Electric razors don't share the same structure as other razors. Simply because they're made for pure convenience.
Whether they're in the form of a rotary of foil shaver – there's a group of small blades that run through your facial hair. It's similar to how a lawnmower cuts grass.
But they're also unlikely to leave you with nasty cuts (compared to straight and safety razors) thanks to the metal coverings. So all in all, they're the perfect choice for guys who are always on the go.
If you ever join the military like I did – keep one in the car or next to your bed in case you need a last-minute shave before a routine inspection. I know first-hand how it can be a life saver!
- Electric razors are portable, quick and easy to use on the go.
- They don't have blades that need replacement from time to time (only batteries).
- No shaving cream, water or a sink required (although it's better to use in a bathroom).
- It's hard to get a close shave like the way you do with a manual razor.
- Many men tend to suffer from skin irritation or razor burn – which happens when parts of the skin are pressed into the tiny openings where the blades do the trimming.
- Some electric razors can be quite expensive – and then turn into complete junk if their mechanical parts break down.
What Is The Best Razor Type?
There isn't one type of razor that's above the rest. It truly depends on you, your lifestyle, and your individual needs.
Patience vs. Urgency
- Do you usually have sufficient time to shave? Then go with any razor.
- Do you often cut it close before meetings or events? Then stick to electric razors.
Precise vs. Adequate
- Do you want 100% accurate results? Then choose between straight and safety razors.
- Is being thorough not that necessary? Then go with any razor.
Portable vs. Durable
- Do you need something that's easy to carry around or travel with? Then your options are electric, cartridge, and disposable razors.
- Do you need something for home shaving that can last a while? Then narrow it down to straight and safety razors.
Safe vs. Painful
- To minimize pain and the risks of cutting yourself – play it safe using electric or cartridge razors.
Ultimately…only YOU know how to select the right type for you.