So here you are mulling over whether you should be using a disposable 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. It is a yardstick by which your manhood will be measured by those that have come before you and those who will follow you.
It’s like 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’ll continue to be blissfully unaware that there is a world beyond disposable razors. Take a red pill, and you’ll be aware of how deep the rabbit hole of razor shaving goes.
Which one would you choose?
Pop movie references aside, a lot of people-especially the millennials these days-often find it hard to choose the right razor. In this article, we will discuss both types of razors.
Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide which one is better. But before choosing, let me run by you the many aspects that you need to consider when deciding between disposable razors and safety razors.
The earliest model of a straight razor was first developed in18th 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 and was further improved by the Kampfe brothers, German immigrants to the US, who patented and marketed it in 1880 as the world’s first safety razor.
The safety razor was called as such because it was deemed more safer than the cut-throat or straight razor. A then traveling salesman, Gillette, further improved the design into what is known today as a double-edged safety razor.
Truly disposable razors didn’t come into the scene until the 70s. The French company Bic-perhaps trying to recover from being outsmarted by the Americans in the war of razors- developed an inexpensive disposable razor.
That 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 easily became a convenient tool for countless of men who liked the fact that they can get a quick shave, even more safely than a safety razor.
But just because it’s quick and safe doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll give you the nice baby-bottom smoothness that you’re looking for. Present razor technology has sufficiently improved on the basic design so that disposables now come in blade cartridges-which essentially contain blades-in the belief that the more blades a razor has, the better shave it can provide you.
Except that, in online forums and network of male grooming blogs, many argue otherwise. Prim and Prep says that the reverse is true. The number of blades in the disposable can cause skin irritation because when one shaves using a 5-blade cartridge, for instance, it would be like taking five passes with a single razor. That’s five times more irritation than what one would get in a single pass.
It 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.”
The safety razor, however, is more gentle on the skin. Because it only has a single blade, there aren’t many opportunities for cutting your skin—unless of course, one is really clumsy.
A safety razor also allows more maneuverability than a cartridge disposable. The safety razor design allows you to make slight adjustments to the angle, thereby increasing the quality of your shave.
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, cartridge razor blades are manufactured from cheap and inferior quality steel. This means that they do not stay sharp for long. Why do you think manufacturers recommend that you dispose of cartridge razors after three weeks?
In contrast, safety razor blades are made from medical grade stainless or carbon steel. This makes them very sharp with a fine edge that doesn’t easily degrade from countless shaving.
There is also the fact that cartridge razors are essentially made of plastic. At the risk of sounding like a snob, it’s PLASTIC, dude! It doesn’t show respect for the fine art of shaving. A safety razor, meanwhile, is made of metal, which is masculine and strong. It’s built to last. No wonder that in the segment of the male population that worships shaving is a thriving sub-segment which likes to collect heirloom safety razors. Now, that’s 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’s do a simple calculation to compare costs.
If you are going to use a disposable, you need to spend $12 for three blades; that’s $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.
Simply put, a safety razor is better than a disposable.
True, safety razors might be more expensive, but the long-term benefits outweigh the initial costs. Think of it as an investment; you might think of it as splurging, but if it’s maintained well enough, it can become a valuable heirloom in the years to come.
More importantly, quality shaves do not come at a cheap cost. If you can get a clean shave with nary a nick or cut by using a safety razor, now isn’t that an achievement that you can be proud of?