July 18, 2021 8 min read
Published by Naked Armor
Many factors must be weighed before choosing between a safety razor and a cartridge razor.
So, when choosing between a safety razor vs. a cartridge, which one is really better?
Here you are mulling over whether you should be using a cartridge or a safety razor. Until this point, you probably have been blissfully unaware that choosing a disposable or a safety razor is a turning point in your adult life.
This contemplation is similar to that scene in the movie Matrix, where Morpheus gives Neo the choice of the blue pill or the red pill. Take the blue pill, and you will continue to be blissfully unaware that there is a world beyond disposable razors. Take a red pill, and you will know how deep the rabbit hole of razor shaving goes.
Which one would you choose?
Pop movie references aside, many people often find it hard to choose the right razor. Such is especially true with millennials. In this article, we will discuss both types of razors.
Ultimately, it will still be up to you to decide if a safety razor is better than a cartridge. But before choosing, let us have a run-through of the many aspects that you first need to consider when deciding between disposable cartridge razors and safety razors.
Deciding between razors is essential because your choice will impact your shaving routine, the type of shave that you’ll get, and financial planning.
The earliest model of a straight razor was first developed in the 18th century by a Frenchman who had the idea of sticking the razor blade into a wooden guard. During the next century, it evolved into the modern Sheffield razor. It was further improved by the Kampfe brothers, German immigrants to the United States, who patented and marketed it in 1880 as the world’s first safety razor.
The safety razor earned its name because many people deemed them safer than the straight razor, which was infamous for its cut-throat sharpness. A then traveling salesman, Gillette, continued to design an upgrade, turning it into what is known today as the double-edged safety razor.
However, disposable cartridge razors did not come into the scene until the 70s. The French company Bic developed an inexpensive disposable razor, perhaps to recover from being outsmarted by the Americans in the war of razors.
The design from Bic set off the race for The Next Top Disposable Razor Manufacturer. With the disposable razor only made of a single blade and a plastic handle, it quickly became a convenient tool for countless men who liked the fact that it is now possible to get a quick shave even more safely than a safety razor.
However, take note that just because it is quick and safe does not necessarily mean it will give you the delicate baby-bottom smoothness you are looking for.
Present razor technology has sufficiently improved on the basic design so that disposables now come in blade cartridges, which essentially contain blades. Such design fostered the belief that the more blades a razor has, the better shave it can provide.
Except that, in online forums and networks of male grooming blogs, many argue otherwise. For example, Prim and Prep say that the opposite of this notion is true. In actuality, the number of blades in the disposable can cause skin irritation because when one shaves using a 5-blade cartridge, it would be like taking five passes with a single razor. That is five times more irritation than what one would get in a single pass.
Shaving with a disposable cartridge razor also increases the number of nicks. Dermatologist Dr. Terrence Keanney said that “with multiple blades so close to the skin, there are more tiny nicks thus more prone to being cut or injured.”
On the other hand, grooming your facial hair with a safety razor is more gentle on the skin. Because it only has a single blade, there are fewer opportunities for cutting your skin—unless, of course, one is really clumsy; now that is on you, not your razor.
A safety razor also allows more maneuverability than a cartridge disposable, providing you more control in the way you shave. Up or down, beveled or not, it is all up to you. The safety razor design will enable you to make slight adjustments to the angle, thereby increasing the quality of your shave.
Safety razors might be more expensive, but the long-term benefits outweigh the initial costs. Think of it as an investment.
— D'Rock, Naked Armor Founder
There is also something to be said about differences in the quality of the material used for disposable and safety razors.
Because it is disposable, most cartridge razor blades wear cheap and inferior quality steel. As a result, they do not stay sharp for long. Why do you think manufacturers recommend that you dispose of cartridge razors after three weeks? The truth is one cartridge razor only lasts up to five shaves max.
Given that cartridge razors are bearing below quality steel, they are more prone to having their edges chipped off more than the blades of a safety razor. The micro soft spots of the blades will quickly get damaged by the pressure you impose on the steel as you shave. These spots are weak because it is where the hard and soft areas of the steel meet.
Also, using multiple blades does not provide you much control over the angle you use while shaving. A recent study observed that gliding the edge of your razor perpendicular to the hair decreases the steel’s risk for damage. That is the very reason why cartridge razors do not lasts longer than safety razors.
A cartridge razor, being made from plastic, only adds to the growing problem of plastic pollution and doesn’t last long.
A safety razor is made from high-quality steel and wood, lasts long, and gives you a close shave.
In contrast, safety razor blades are from medical-grade stainless or carbon steel. This makes them very sharp with a fine edge that does not quickly degrade from countless shaving. In addition, the wooden handles of a safety razor can offset the weight of the blade, giving you a more precise shave.
There is also the fact that cartridge razors are essentially made of plastic. At the risk of sounding like a snob, it is PLASTIC, dude! It does not show respect for the fine art of shaving.
A safety razor, meanwhile, is made of metal, which is masculine and strong. It is built to last. No wonder that in the segment of the male population worshipping shaving is a thriving sub-segment that likes to collect heirloom safety razors. Now, that is Respect.
Hands down, a disposable will always be cheaper than a safety razor. If you are looking for a cost-effective solution, then you should choose a disposable.
But if you want a razor that you can rely on for a long time, something that you can eventually hand down as a valuable heirloom accessory to your male progeny, then go splurge on a safety razor.
Let us do a simple calculation to compare costs.
If you are going to use a disposable, you need to spend $12 for three blades; that is $4 per blade. However, if you are using a safety razor, you only need to buy a single blade for only $0.80. Now that is pretty much a cost-saver in any book.
In short, buying disposables is more expensive than making a one-time purchase of a safety razor. However, that is only true, given the fact that you will not become an enthusiast who turns your grooming routine into a hobby. Yet again, collecting safety razors is not a bad pastime. You can even sell your razors in the future as they will be considered as a rare quintessential collectible for sure.
Now that we are through on getting a rundown of the things you need to consider when choosing between safety or disposable razor, let us get back to the original query: safety razor vs. cartridge razor, which is better?
Simply put, a safety razor is better than a disposable razor, especially when you consider the quality of materials and shave you get for a specific cost. Remember, multiple low-quality blades are nothing compared to one high-quality blade.
There is no doubt that safety razors might be more expensive, but the long-term benefits that come along with them outweigh the initial costs. Think of it as an investment; you might think of it as splurging initially, but it can become a valuable heirloom in the years to come with proper and constant maintenance.
Shaving with a safety razor is not only good for your face and skin, but it’s also good for your pocket and environment too.
More importantly, quality shaves do not come at a cheap cost. If you can get a clean shave with hardly a nick or cut by using a safety razor, now is that not an achievement that you can be proud of?
Also, consider this, shaving with a safety razor vs. a disposable can give you a shave quality closely similar to what you would get at the barber’s every time you shave. Meanwhile, again, there is no guarantee that a cartridge razor will always provide a smooth shave. Instead, the more you use it, the more chances of it giving you a lousy shave.
And what comes after a lousy shave? Nicks, cuts, and razor burns! All of which you want to avoid. Not to mention, if you already have sensitive skin, causing more irritation will lead to more consequential costs. You will have to buy ointments and skincare products to treat the cuts.
There is also a possibility that you will even visit your dermatologists if you can no longer remedy the damage at home. So, save yourself the trouble and just invest in a quality shaving tool instead of settling with something cheap.
If you are ready to explore the wonderful world of safety razors, we make a beautiful wet shave kit made from sturdy Brazilian Sandalwood, the second most expensive wood.
Our kit includes a badger-friendly brush, the Spartacus Safety Razor with a balanced shave-to-razor technology, and our unique natural and organic shaving soap. It is stylish, manly, and can give you a precise shave without cutting yourself. What else are you looking for?
We guarantee that once you experience the luxurious shaving experience using a safety razor, you will stop thinking about which is better between safety razors vs. cartridge razors. There is no doubt that you will ditch your disposable razor for good! After all, there is nothing better than trying to know.
And now that you finally got to clear the clouds on figuring out if a safety razor is better than a cartridge razor, you can begin collecting more accessories essential for wet shaving. Invest also in shaving mugs and scuttles, and aftershave products to complete your deluxe shaving routine.
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