Should You Use Stainless Steel Razor Blades Over Carbon?

Should You Use Stainless Steel Razor Blades Over Carbon?

In wet shaving, the blade is half of what makes a good shave. Between carbon and stainless, would using stainless steel razor blades be the best option?

Stainless steel is the revolutionary point d’ appui of wet shaving, a total upgrade to its paleolithic counterpart, the bronze metal.

It can give a close shave and a long-lasting quality that can get you addicted to shaving. If you do not mind that, then wielding a stainless steel straight razor on your face would be your best bet.

It would probably not be easy to get a nice close shave in olden times, given that our ancestors were using bronze metal for their blades.

Bronze was brittle and prone to develop a rusting pattern, despite never rusting through the metal. Even when iron, later on, replaced bronze as the go-to metal for blade-making, there was only a bit of an improvement.

Meanwhile, iron razors are less likely to break or bend during use—sure. But they were also prone to corrosion. It was not until the Industrial Age when the English developed Sheffield steel, that razor blades started to evolve into what they are today.

Modern Steel Razors

Today’s modern razor blades come from stainless steel and carbon steel. There are also razor blades that use Damascus steel with a carbon steel edge. Damascus steel is good for knives, but it is exceptional for straight razor blades because it is one of the strongest and hardest metal, making it ideal for maintaining a sharp edge.

Harry Brearley was a metallurgist who developed new steels that could better resist the erosion caused by high temperatures. His discovery of rustless steel in Sheffield was a game-changer, perfecting the process for large-scale manufacturing of rustless steel.

Carbon vs. Stainless Steel

Another kind of manufacturing, using the Bessemer process, made it possible to incorporate Sheffield steel in all manner of tool development, such as the production of Sheffield steel straight razors.

The best characteristic of stainless steel is that it is resistant to corrosion. Made from iron, carbon, and chromium, stainless steel is more durable than any metal alloy. It also looks lustrous, making it reflective like a mirror.

Carbon steel, meanwhile, contains only iron and carbon as the main alloying elements. The higher the carbon content, the harder the blade. But this same quality of hardness also makes it brittle, making it easy to break or fracture.

Blades with high carbon steels can also become magnetized over time and look dull. Hence, carbon steel blades often have a matte finish similar to a cast-iron pot.

So, when it comes to shaving, which one should you pick?

Man Wet Shaving with a Naked Armor Straight RazorIn choosing your blade, you must read on reviews on how they perform when used. 

  • Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel
    The addition of chromium metal to the alloy allows stainless steel not to stain or rust as quickly as other kinds of steel. The result? A blade that can hold its edge longer.

    Stainless steel razor blades are longer lasting, and they are famously resilient, making them the only accurate material for shaving as far as experts are concerned. Their blades will stay sharp for a very, very long time, meaning that one blade will last you many shaving sessions.

    It also absorbs heat very quickly, which is excellent if you want a warm, comforting shaving experience. You can run your stainless steel razor blade under warm water and have it ready to go in virtually seconds! Then, you can enjoy the sensation of excellent, warm steel gliding against your face, adding to the relaxing nature of wet shaving.

    The downside is that it is harder to hone it.

  • Pros and Cons of Carbon Steel
    In contrast, carbon steel is easier to hone. It is also cheaper than stainless steel. But the quality is not all that great since it easily stains and rusts without proper maintenance. Worse is, it does not hold its edge as long as a stainless steel blade.

    While proper maintenance of a carbon steel blade is relatively easy, it still does not change the fact that it is quick to rust. The slightest amount of moisture is enough to start the corrosion process.

    If you want to keep the blade at its prime and prevent corrosion, the secret is in keeping it dry. Take your time to dry the carbon steel and use a little razor oil from time to time.

Which is better for shaving?

While it may be cheaper to buy a carbon steel razor, consider a stainless steel blade as a long-term investment when choosing a straight razor instead.

Stainless steel razors are high tempered and stay sharp for a longer time. It also requires less maintenance because you do not need to sharpen it often. In fact, when honing a stainless steel razor blade, you only do it every two months or so. More importantly, it doesn’t rust easily.

A stainless steel straight razor is the only tool you need to achieve a close shave. That’s because a straight razor has a single blade with a narrow profile, and it effortlessly glides in close to the skin to cut the whiskers off at its base. This gives you a smooth finish minus the razor bumps.

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Stainless Steel Razor

When it comes to wet shaving, there is no doubt that you should get a straight razor with a stainless steel razor blade, but do be aware that it comes for a price—literally.

Despite their quality, there are times that manufacturers put such a high value on these kinds of blades. In the end, you get a stainless steel razor blade that is expensive but does not offer much when it comes to shaving performance because they are from a low grade of stainless steel.

Also, stay away from stainless steel straight razors if you are dry shaving. However, we highly recommend staying away from dry shaving in general. Extra sharp razors and dry skin just do not fit well together. You can add a complimentary shaving soap for lather and shaving oil for extra post-shave moisture to your routine.

But really, if you are not ready to commit to the learning curve (despite being easy) that comes with using a stainless steel straight razor and the amount of investment you have to make, do not use one.

Naked Armor Stainless Steel Straight Razor Blades

Naked Armor Straight RazorsAt Naked Armor, we use different kinds of high quality stainless steel - polished and powdered, Japanese and Black stainless steels. 

Not all stainless steel razors come for a price. The key to successfully finding the best razor for your shaving needs really depends on the quality of steel—carbon or stainless.

If we are talking about carbon vs. stainless, go for stainless. If you do, look for a straight razor from high-grade stainless steel, like the ones from Naked Armor.

Combined with a centuries-long tradition of blademaking that has produced legendary samurai blades, a Naked Armor blade is a work of art.

Naked Armor Straight Razors has blades made from ACRO Japanese high-grade stainless steel with an HRC level of 61-62, making them one of the best in the world. Despite their quality, they come for a fairly affordable price, perfect for an awe-inspiring gift for yourself or your loved ones.

These straight razors are also between a full hollow and a half hollow grind. This grind structure makes it versatile for all hair textures and types that a newbie or a pro can also use just as quickly.

The best part is that the stainless steel straight razors from Naked Armor come shave-ready straight out of the box. So, yes. Do not get a stainless steel razor blade unless you get one from Naked Armor. Save more if you buy one of our Straight Razor Kits below.


More Naked Armor Reads:

Should I Try Out a Kamisori over a Straight Razor?
The Best Budget Straight Razor
How to Choose the Best Point for your Straight Razor

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