this post was submitted on 11 May 2024
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My big stack of cartridge razor blades has just run out and I'd like to replace it with something less wastefull, and from what I hear a safety razor gives a better shave too.

From what I can see there's no big difference beyond personal preferance on ergonomics, but are there any brands to avoid? Any well regarded? Can I just get anything? Anything I might not have thought about?

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[–] 33 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (2 children)

FYI there's a whole Lemmy instance for wetshaving. If you don't get enough answers here, swing by !

Edit for some more info:

We have a wiki with a hardware section, and you should also check out the beginners section.

Since this is a BIFL community, you're probably interested in a razor that will last you a long time. In that case, you'll want something made of stainless steel, brass, titanium, or aluminum.

Most of those options are expensive, with aluminum being the most affordable option for new, modern razors.

Vintage razors are an EXCELLENT way to get a great, BIFL razor that will last generations. Search on eBay for Gillette Tech. They are very affordable, and if you're picky you can just keep an eye out for one that looks nice. Even if the plating is worn off, they are made of brass and will last forever.

Gillette Tech has another advantage, in that it's widely regarded as being relatively mild (good for just starting out), but also good at shaving. Mild razors can sometimes come with the downside of not providing a very close shave. Trading comfort for efficiency. With a Tech, that's not much of a problem.

If you'd prefer a new razor, I'd actually recommend starting with one of the many Zamak razors available, figuring out what you like, then getting something more expensive. The starter kits in the wiki have decent razors to get you started. I also like to recommend this Baili on Amazon. It won't last more than a few years, probably, but it's a great starter razor (I still enjoy using it even as an "experienced" person).

[–] 7 points 2 months ago (1 children)

You gotta decide if you want a fixed blade or adjustable, adjustable will cost more and have a higher learning curve but can give a closer shave. I like Merkur, but I'm sure there are other good brands. I started with a cheap fixed and then replaced it with an adjustable a few years later.

[–] 3 points 2 months ago

It looks like even if I set it once and stick with it, it's worth it to go adjustable, they're all reasonably priced and it gives me options later, thanks

[–] 6 points 2 months ago

Thanks, I'll check that community out. On vintage razors, there's a good chance I've got a Grandad's razor somewhere that works just fine with current blades, looks like they've not changed design. Should look into that first

[–] 31 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (3 children) crazy that this lemmy community is old enough and big enough that we can refer some new posts to related older posts now.

[–] 10 points 2 months ago

Whoo, go fediverse!

[–] toothpicks 2 points 2 months ago
[–] 9 points 2 months ago

Welcome to the club! You’ll never swap back. There’s a lot of good info here already so I won’t repeat a bunch of stuff.

The brushes with a nice block of lotioned cream are best but can cream still works fine. I got a $30 screw top razor and can get very close. I go with the grain then reapply cream and go against. One thing to be extremely careful of is never slide it sideways ha. It’s a blade.

Likely the first time you use it you’ll lop off any imperfections in your skin. Those generally grow back flat. I shave my head with one and the first couple shaves when I switch styles are a bloodbath lol

[–] ProdigalFrog 8 points 2 months ago (2 children)

There is a dramatic difference between razors of different cutting efficiencies (basically, how much of the blade is exposed). Someone with light facial hair and sensitive skin would likely benefit from a milder razor to prevent needless skin irritation. There's also designs that mimic the experience of a cartridge razor, such as the Hansen razor (makes it very hard to irritate or cut yourself even without learning safety razor techniques).

Walden's recommendation of a vintage Gillette Tech is a good one, but if you have your grandfather's razor, that indeed would be the best place to start, as it's likely just as good as anything you could buy now.

[–] 2 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Gotta second Henson. Best shave I've gotten, and after buying a 100 pack of the razor blades (for, like, $10) I don't think I'll ever have to buy anything to shave with ever again. I only shave once or twice a week (and do a light pass with an electric razor between), so I use a new blade every 3-4 weeks. Plus since it's double-sided, I get two sets of passes per rinse, which doesn't seem like much but it feels a lot more efficient.

I bought it to not have to buy a crap ton of 5-blade cartridges and nonsense, but my constant razor burn has completely gone away, so it's generally better.

Sorry, not trying to shill, just was really pleasantly surprised with a product for once.

[–] 2 points 2 months ago

I had previously done what some recommend here and got some random cheap safety razor off amazon. Was a bit of a learning curve but I loved it. Saw a youtube sponsorship for Henson from a creator I really liked and decided to go for it. Hate to be a shill but no regrets. It's notably more forgiving than my old safety razor and just super satisfying. to look at and use.

[–] 7 points 2 months ago

I use a leaf. Similar to regular razer but uses the same blades as safety razer. So the method and form factor didn't change for me. It's metal and will last me a long time.

[–] 6 points 2 months ago

I got a handle on amazon and it came with blades. You don't need anything special, I literally just bought the cheapest ones, but I have found it helpful to change disposable blades just about every time I shave. Maybe there expensive ones that I could use for longer, but at this point I already have enough blades to last me about 5 years.

I actually now use a cheap straight razor that takes disposable blades, and the shave is noticeably the best I've ever had. It is time consumung, though.

[–] cerement 5 points 2 months ago

if you’re in an old apartment or old building, look for a little slot in the back of the medicine cabinet – that’s where everyone before you has been dumping used razor blades

[–] 4 points 1 month ago

I bought a pretty basic safety razor from maggard about 10 years ago and still love it. The biggest thing to learn and invest in is what blades and lather you like. I started off buying a blade sampler pack from them and settled on astra blades. i'll change up my lather/soap sometimes. Also a nice brush is good to have.

[–] 4 points 2 months ago (1 children)

I use a Merkur safety razor, but most often I use a commercial shaving cream like Gillette as I don’t have the time it takes to break out my brush etc.

I look at it as I get the benefit of cheap, close shaves, without the longer process of using my brush to lather up. Maybe if I had a nice badger brush I’d feel differently.

As for the blades - Astra are a good general purpose blade I like. Feathers, as someone else mentioned, are wicked sharp, and require extra care.

Moving from cartridge expect to take some time to get the technique down. You can’t go as fast.


[–] 3 points 2 months ago

I also like Astras.

But I would say to OP: get a sample pack of different blades (most online wet shaving retailers have them) to find out what works for you.

[–] 4 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (1 children)

The first shaver I got was an electric, rotary one. Was okay, pulled a bit.

Later in life, I swtched to electric ones with a foil. Better about pulling, more-durable. I believe those are older. No idea why they moved away from those to rotaries.

Later in life, I switched to those cartridge razors, decided I preferred those. Smoother shave. No idea why they moved away from those.

Later in life, I just switched to a standard safety razor, uses standard old double-sided safety razor blades. No reason to pay for the cartridges, pulls less, seems that the blades last longer.

Every time I've moved to an older system, I've been happier with it than with the later system.

I don't plan to ever move to a straight razor, but I gotta say that it's one of the very few areas that I feel like newer has pretty consistently been worse. I kind of wish that I'd just started out with a double-sided safety razor from the get-go.

EDIT: I will add that I don't really care that much about blades or specific razor or soap or aftershave. I've tried a number, been happy with everything I've used. However, I was not happy with a plastic-bristle shaving brush I got -- the soap just slides off it easily, makes a mess. A boar brush I got doesn't do that. Might be that they've figured out how to make plastic-bristle shaving brushes with a more-textured bristle surface or something, but I'd default to getting one made out of some type of actual hair.

[–] 1 points 1 month ago

My synthetic brush works fine (by Nom / Mühle) though I haven't used a boar brush

[–] 3 points 2 months ago

I can talk again! Merkur 34C is my recommendation, small but heavy, nice shave. My preference for blades is Shark, they're made in Egypt, you can buy the blades cheap & in bulk on eBay.

[–] 3 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Probably the biggest thing is to try out a few different brands of blades to find what works for you, that's probably going to be the biggest variable. There at least used to be some variety packs you could order on Amazon and such

Personally I like feather blades, they do have a reputation for being ridiculously sharp even by razor standards, which can make them a little unforgiving, there's a good chance you're doing to slice yourself up a little when you're first using them, but find what works for you. About the only thing I purposely avoid is store brand blades, they're pretty much all garbage, try to track down pretty much any name brand.

Other than that, pick a handle that seems sturdy, and comfortable in your hand. Honestly I think most options out there, even a lot of the cheapest ones are just fine, there's really not that much to them. Be prepared for a bit of a learning curve as you figure out the technique.

Some people get way into it, and will give you a whole lot of recommendations about soaps, creams, lotions, etc. and by all means experiment with them, but don't feel like you absolutely need to get too into it. Personally I lather up with whatever soap I have on hand and splash on some old spice afterwards and like my results just fine (disclaimer - my skin isn't picky, I could probably just about wash my face with acetone and dry shave with a piece of broken glass, some people have more sensitive skin, so find what works with you)

[–] 2 points 2 months ago (1 children)

That's a great call, thank you, I've only been thinking about the handle assuming blades are blades, I'll get a few differnet ones to decide what works best for me

[–] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Just to kind of give you a sense on my personal thought on the handles, I have 3 razors, an old one that's either a Gillette or a Merkur (I honestly can't remember which one) that I scrounged from my dad's junk drawer, one I picked up from a grocery store or target or something that I believe is a van Der Hagen, and one my wife got from somewhere on Etsy, so I feel like that's a pretty decent cross section of what's out there.

All 3 shave just fine. They all shave a tiny bit differenly, but that really kind of comes down to personal preference and that technique/learning curve I mentioned. I wouldn't really say any of them are significantly better or worse than the others.

The Etsy one is my usual razor, probably feels the nicest in my hand, the handle is a little longer which I like, but the real reason it's my main razor is because it looks the nicest hanging on my razor stand and because my wife got it for me. I'm not crazy about how you change the blade because you basically unscrew the whole top and I don't love needing to fiddle around with it that close to the blade.

The junk drawer razor is my traveling razor because its handle is kind of short and it fits better in my toiletry bag. It probably has my favorite blade changing method, there's a little knob at the base of the handle you turn to unscrew the head and the top half of the head comes off. You can also halfway undo it which leave the blade a little loose without the whole thing coming apart which I find makes it easier to rinse hair out. If I had to pick one that shaves the best it's probably this one, but it's also the one I've had the longest so I've had more practice with it and I'm pretty sure that's like 90% of the difference. It's probably my best quality razor, even though it's probably a few decades older than me everything about it still feels rock solid, but it also had probably a half century worth of tarnish, scratches, etc. that I'm too lazy to really clean up, so it's also probably my ugliest.

The van der Hagan razor has sort of a butterfly opening thing for the blade. I feel like on a nicer razor that would be kind of nice, but with the fit/finish/tolerances it was made to, it feels a little cheap to me, like it wants to break (although it's been years and it hasn't broken on me yet, so my fears may be unwarranted) it has a slightly longer handle which I like, but it's also skinnier, which I dont like. It probably gives me the worst shave, but it's also my least used and again I feel like practice and technique probably play a bigger part in that than there being any significant shortcomings in the design. This one lives in my guest bathroom for when I shower and shave in there if my wife is hogging the master bath.

And when I say one shaves better than the other, the difference is pretty miniscule once you get used to the razor. When I first got it, I thought the Etsy razor shaved terribly, now that it's been my main razor for years I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and the junk drawer razor. And since it doesn't get used as much anymore, I feel like I get worse shaves from the junk drawer razor than I did when it was my main razor. I also noticed my shaves get better with the VdH razor when I tried to use it more, but honestly I never put much time into getting used to it because I always felt like the handle was too skinny. But that's personal preference, I like thick-handled heavy tools in general, some people like thinner handles and lighter weight.

[–] 3 points 2 months ago

Not what you're asking, but have you tried sharpening your cartridge blades? I've been using the same store brand 3 blade cartridge for a few years now, just stropping by swiping it in reverse up my arm 10-20 times right before shaving in the shower. Shave is close, no razor burn. Considering you're concerned about waste, zero waste in a few years seems worth mentioning.

[–] 3 points 2 months ago

I've been using a stainless steel one from "mühle" for about 25 years now. I don't know what should ever break on it tbh, just three pieces of stainless steel.

Mine is "travel size", don't remember why i bought this, but in hindsight i totally like that i did, saves weight and volume travelling. And i am completely used to it this way, was my first safety razor, so i had to get used to something new anyway and i'm glad that's what i went for.

[–] solbear 3 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

I've been using a Merkur Progress for ten years now. The adjustability of the action makes it more versatile, which makes it easier to adjust to different types of blades. I use Astra Superior blades, but also have a stack of Shark blades that I at some point liked, and some Feather blades that are insanely sharp and unforgiving.

Make sure you learn how to lather properly. A good lather makes all the difference, and it also a major factor in making it a lot more enjoyable than the canned Gillette-stuff. I use Proraso for my run-of-the-mill shaves, and have over the years bought a variety of hard soaps as well. My favorite is Marlborough from D.R. Harris.

EDIT: I had one of those starter razors from Mühle in the beginning (Rytmo?). It snapped in two at the neck after I dropped it by accident, after 6 months use. I still have the synthetic hair brush that came with it. Some people go really into brushes, but I've been happy with mine.

[–] 2 points 2 months ago

I've never had any problems with different brands. I use BIC blades at the moment because you can do subscribe and save with them on Amazon, at least here in the UK. But you can sometimes get a better deal when buying in bulk.

I shaved my head with a safety razor when I first started as well as my face. I rarely cut myself on my face but it took a while to get used to holding the skin taut on my head to straighten it out before I stopped cutting myself there. But the cuts you do get tend to be very light rather than the deep gouges I got on the rare occasions my cartridge slipped off the handle. A piece of toilet paper should stop the bleeding and they should heal within a day at most.

Also, I'd recommend switching to using a shaving butter or soap rather than a foam. Makes it easier to see what you're doing.

[–] 1 points 2 months ago

Go to junk shops or estate sales.

Cheap as fuck, work just dandy.

The fancy ones are adjustable, but most of the not fancy ones will do the same trick if you twiddle them right

[–] 1 points 2 months ago (1 children)

I used a brandless, cheapest one that i found and honestly the shaving experience is comparable with those Gillette 3 blade fancy mancy shaver, but with a fraction of the cost. Definite recommend the swap.

[–] 2 points 2 months ago

Oh Gillette's got far fancier, I'm sure they're on 7+ blades now, I'm not sure what they're all for but they do cost a bit

[–] toothpicks 1 points 2 months ago (1 children)
[–] 2 points 2 months ago (1 children)
[–] toothpicks 2 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Sorry I'm pretending it's a forum or something and I'm gonna watch the thread but then I realized I don't think there's a way to do that on here. But yeah interested to see what's recommended, I would like to switch to "safety" or straight razor at some point.

I’m gonna watch the thread but then I realized I don’t think there’s a way to do that on here

There is an issue for this on the Lemmy GitHub, but it is not actively being worked on. I hope the Lemmy devs implement it soon.

[–] 1 points 2 months ago

Im sure I will get some strong contrary opinions but in my experience you can't get a closer shave with a safety razer. Maybe a straight razor but I never went that route as the safety is easier and works well enough for me. Personally I find normal shaving will do alright if im not going anywhere. I can kick it up a notch by against the grain follow up. If I really want to have it close though I follow up with a good disposable. This is fine to me as I use one per year and a pack lasts, well I have not finished the pack off yet. One thing if your new. Always make sure its tight. As long as its tight its almost impossible to cut yourself but if you do cut yourself it will because you allowed the mechanism to get to loose.

[–] 1 points 2 months ago (2 children)

Just do note you won't be able to fly with it (in carry-on baggage), if that's an issue for you.

I switched to a safety razor and loved it, but since we change continents several times a year now, it's something I had to leave behind and miss it.

[–] ProdigalFrog 3 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (1 children)

I flew with a safety razor in my carry-on within the US, and no one seemed concerned. According to TSA, they're chill as long as there are no blades, and it'd probably be a good idea to disassemble it too (which is what I did).

[–] 2 points 2 months ago

Yes, I considered traveling without blades and just buying at each destination (we try to use busses and trains more than flights), but it seems wasteful; I don't use them up that quick. Instead I buy a 12-pack of disposable razor heads (2-blade only - the 5-blade ones are terrible!) and use one per month. With care they don't go blunt too quick.

[–] 1 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Why not put in check in baggage instead of putting in the bin?

[–] 2 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Simple reason! Check-in bags cost $20+ per flight (most expensive I've seen in $50 for the smallest bag). That adds up quick when you take a few flights each year.

I didn't throw out my razor, I gave it to a friend who has gotten many years use out it now, so it hasn't gone to waste.

[–] 0 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (2 children)

You change continents and all you bring is carry on luggage? So you just live in hotels and you never have furniture or big items like a painting, or a set of jackets that don't fit in your carry on? So basically several times per year you gather all your belongings, put in a tiny luggage that can fit in an overhead lockers and is not charged more by the airline?

Either you're like a monk or BS.

I choose bs

[–] 2 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Yes, my wife and I have been doing it since 2016 (with a break in 2020/2021 for obvious reasons).

Usually stay in short-rental apartments rather than hotels as with two people it's usually cheaper than a hotel or hostel, given weekly and monthly discounts that are common.

Most airlines used to have 10kg included but now for most it's gone down to 7kg so we've had to get more creative. 5 shirts, 2 pants (one zip-off for swimming), 8 pairs of underwear and 5 pairs of socks, 2 sweaters. Small bag of toiletries. Winter jacket, thermals, gloves (good enough for Hokkaido in the early spring). Do washing once a week when it's cold, twice when it's hot. Heaviest thing is of course my laptop & brick. Changed bag to a thin canvas one to reduce weight further when the size/weight restrictions went down. Some airlines (such as Ryanair) don't even let you use the overhead bins for free so the bag has to fit under the seat in front.

[–] 2 points 2 months ago (1 children)

They didn't say how long they stay at any location for. So if it's a short trip for a few days and then fly back home, traveling with just a carry-on is very reasonable.

[–] 2 points 2 months ago

Nah, it's full-time travel. Most would find it unreasonable, but we find having few possessions liberating. It's strange, but there's a mental load lifted when you don't have a house of stuff to keep track of.