Which Type of Razor Should You Use?
Straights, disposables, safeties and electrics, decoded
Paradoxes: fun for the word “heterological,” annoying for personal hygiene.
To wit: Sometimes more means less. As in, with so many more shaving options on the market today, you’re less likely than ever to choose the best razor for your face.
We like your face. You like your face. And barber Dani Martinez from Frank’s Chop Shop in New York City likes your face. That’s why Martinez is here to ensure that handsome mug gets the razor it deserves. Gyllenhaal, Drake, GZA and other gents of one-name-fame are among the many clients who trust this Lower East Side barbershop.
If you find yourself staring cross-eyed at an isle of newfangled shaving gadgets, Martinez has you covered.
The sinister straight offers the best (and worst) shave a man can get, but it’s a pros-only science. “If you don’t know what you’re doing or you hold the blade the wrong way, if you don’t pull the skin tight enough or your skin’s too dry, you can really f*ck your face up,” Martinez says.
Pros: closest shave possible, ultimate precision
Cons: inconvenient maintenance, difficult, dangerous
Great for: expert shavers, showoffs, assassins
Bad for: noobs, TSA encounters, any angle other than 30°
“These give just as close of a shave as the straight blade,” says Martinez, “but you can really cut yourself with bad technique.” One-millimeter cut though, not Sweeny Todd cut.
Pros: wicked cheap, precise, very sharp
Con: poor technique nicks
Great for: seasoned shavers with thin beards
Bad for: noobs, mainstream competition, TSA encounters
Fun fact: The founder of Bic, Marcel Bich, dropped the “H” for his company’s name to save pronunciation confusion. “Disposables are really only good for peach fuzz: kids practicing or tattoo artists cleaning where they’re about to work,” Martinez says.
Pros: safest razor, convenient
Cons: single use only, almost completely useless
Great for: children, tattoo artists, “the bald part of bald people” (actual quote)
Bad for: the environment
Cartridges, the most expensive way to shave, are only justifiable for men with sensitive skin or extremely thick and coarse beards. “In that case, you need a cartridge with five blades. Three is not going to get it,” he says. “Otherwise, save your money.”
Pros: built-in lubricant strips, convenient, multiple blades
Con: “It’s a f*cking rip-off”
Great for: sensitive skin, corporate greed
Bad for: your wallet
No surprise that the cheapest option is the worst of its kind. Such is life (looking at you, Natty Ice). If you insist on electric convenience, “go for a commercial machine meant for barbers and not personal use,” Martinez suggests. “And go for a flat surface razor, the classic rectangle that looks kinda like a Taser. Circular motion blades snag hair more.”
Pros: quick, cost efficient, most environmentally friendly shaveCons: prone to irritating skin and pulling hairs, not a close shave
Great for: guys in a rush, infidels of shaving
Bad for: coarse beards