Should You Be Using a Safety Razor?

The case for shaving like Grandpa

October 19, 2016 9:00 am

Safety razors aren’t blessed with the sexiest of monikers.

But unlike, say, Olivia Cockburn, they’ve made it to the pinnacle of pop culture without a more flattering alias.

Whenever there’s a Draper, Connery or another stoic protagonist staring contemplatively into the mirror with a face full of sandalwood, it ain’t a Bic that graces the scene.

Granted, straight razors have the greatest claim to fame. But unless you want to look like you were stuck in the middle of a warehouse with Mr. Blonde, nothing shaves with style more practically than a safety razor.  

But in the era of the vibrating, sextuple-bladed and aloe-infused, is there any reason to use the classic razor of olde?

To get the scoop on that, we spoke with Enrico Mariotti, a barber who bounces between Brooklyn’s The Land of Barbers and Milan, shearing hipster ‘staches and model domes.

His reasons for using a safety razor:

It’s great if you have a thin beard
“The safety blade is best for thinner beards,” Mariotti explains. “You may want more blades for thicker beards,” if only to save time. But before you stroke those burly muttons and color yourself disqualified, consider that …

It’s far cheaper
Mariotti recommends replacing the blade every 2-3 shaves. The Gillette Fusion Proglide costs $17.62 for 4 cartridges; that’s $4.41 per cartridge or $1.47 per shave. Amazon sells 100 double-edged razors for $9.83; that rounds up to $.10 per blade or two cents per shave (double edge = double the shaves).  Sure, the handle runs $20 -$40, but the investment pays off quicker than you can say “Dollar Shave Club.”

It’s cleaner
Cartridges and disposables are prone to clogging, and there’s nothing you can do about it but bang the side of a filthy sink. Safety razors can be disassembled and cleaned like a pistol.

It’s easier on your skin
With a triple-bladed cartridge, he with thick beard need only swipe once to, in effect, swipe thrice. “When you shave with a safety razor, sometimes you have to make multiple passes,” Mariotti notes. The catch: Most of us make multiple passes regardless of blade count. Safety razors can save your epidermis from the acne caused by over-exfoliating and the razor burn caused by clogged-cartridge dullness.

It’s cooler

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