There are many myths when it comes to safety razor shaving. Determining what is true or what matters to you can be difficult for any new wet shaver. Let’s explore and bust some safety razor shaving myths.
YOU WILL CUT YOURSELF MORE
No doubt, the primitive design of a safety razor and the exposed blade make it seem scary. However many people have had more cuts with multi-blade cartridge razors. When you do cut yourself, there are 3-5 blades in sequence that run over that same spot, rather than 1 blade with a safety razor.
So when you break it down based on the amount of blades, one could argue that a safety razor will cut you less. Many people that shave with a safety razor have noticed that they indeed cut themselves less or almost never.
A BLADE WILL LAST 3-5 SHAVES FOR EVERYONE
Yes, while many that shave with a safety razor get an average of 3-5 shave per blade, this is not feasible for some. For example, for years I used to get two comfortable shaves with a Feather blade, I now only get one comfortable shave per blade. This has changed significantly for me, as my facial hair has become grey or unpigmented over the years. Read my editorial piece “Confessions of a Grey Haired Wet Shaver” on the Sparpologist.com for more info on that story. If you get more than one shave, more power to you. If you feel any tugging or resistance, I suggest you get a new blade.
Remember double edge safety razor blades aren’t that expensive, especially when you buy them in bulk by the 100 pack. If you need to use a new blade each time, it is still far less expensive in the long run compared to conventional shaving cartridges.
OPEN COMB RAZORS ARE MORE AGGRESSIVE
This one is quite a common myth and can be really confusing if you are trying to make a decision on purchasing your first safety razor. If you Google this topic, you will find many articles stating that open comb safety razors are more aggressive than closed comb safety razors. This is entirely untrue and a myth that had me fooled in the beginning.
Some experts claim that the combs act like a rake, making it easier for the hair to pass through towards the blade as you move the razor. Others claim that it is merely an aesthetic difference. While some open comb razors may look more aggressive, the aggressiveness of the razor is dictated by the gap distance between the blade and the safety bar.
ONLINE REVIEWS AND VIDEOS ARE THE GOSPEL
This realization can be especially disheartening in the beginning when trying to figure out what to buy when getting started. Like anything in this world, there are many areas of influence that can generate positive and negative feedback. With respect to online reviews and video reviews, it is recommended to take them with a grain of salt. There are many amazing content creators out there, but remember that some reviewers may have received the product for free in exchange for a review, which can sometimes influence the review or opinion. This is why it is always best to look for multiple sources and opinions and keep a sharp eye for video creators reviews that disclose that they have not been paid or influenced in any way.
Another consideration is the amount of experience and testing the person has done before they published a review or video. I believe that frequency and repeatability are what matter when testing. I have written off shave soaps from my first initial test that later proved to be great. First impressions do matter, but frequency is more important, especially for something with so many variables.
EVERYONE CAN SHAVE AGAINST THE GRAIN
This is quite untrue. Yes, there are many people that can do this with any razor style or blade type, with no consequences, however many cannot. If you can’t go against the grain, ensure you are using the Method Shaving technique, which states that you complete your shave in multiple passes. Your first pass should be with the grain and your second and third [if required] should be across the grain. This method will decrease irritation. If you are someone that can go against the grain with no consequences, props to you and go for it!
BLADES AREN’T RECYCLABLE
This may be more of an oversight, rather than a myth, but there are many people who toss their used blades in the garbage. I see this a lot on various wet shaving focused special interest groups. Interestingly enough, many do not know that they are indeed recyclable.
Of course, this will vary on where you live, but many metal recyclers will take them if they are properly contained and marked correctly for safety. BN Steel & Metals Inc. here in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan will happily recycle your used double edge safety razor blades.
Here is a printable label that can be taped to the outside of a tin can before you take your safety razor blades to be recycled at your local metal recycler. So before you toss them, do a quick Google search and a phone call and you may find someone close by who will recycle them for you.
Whether it is a myth or an unsubstantiated assumption, hopefully this article cleared the air for some of these common safety razor myths. Again, there are many opinions, so take your time when exploring content and gear reviews. In closing, if you are considering trying safety razor shaving, hopefully this will help you move one step closer to obtaining your first starter kit.