What Are the Benefits of Safety Razors?

by S.F. Heron

You might think a safety razor is one of those with a plastic handle and housed inside a plastic bag with 10 other identical razors. Think again. Safety razors actually include a strong metal handle and blades that can be replaced and sharpened to last for many years. These types of razors look very similar to a regular disposable razor but in fact were the predecessor to the disposable shaver. Safety razors have been used by the millions to shave legs, underarms and faces around the world safely for many years. These razors provide a great benefit to the user by preventing the cuts and abrasions typically found when shaving with a straight razor.

History

Safety razors were invented in the 1880s as an alternative to shaving with a flat blade knife. Gone were the strops and stones used for leaning and sharpening the straight blade. Gone were many of the bloody necks and face of individuals who made the mistake of trying to shave in a hurry with a flat blade. Curving a straight blade to the contours of the face was difficult. The invention of the double-edged safety razor provided men with an option to have a close shave while protecting the tender skin of the face. The founder of Gillette razors, King C. Gillette, mass produced the first safety razor in 1895. The use of this razor took off slowly until World War I when use of the razor boomed and spread around the world.

Straight Razors

Old-fashioned safety razors are gradually making a comeback for a number of reasons. First, many men want a close shave. Despite the multiple number of individual blades in a disposable or cartridge razor, many men feel the shave isn't closer. Second, some individuals experience razor burn and ingrown hairs due to the angling of multiple blade razors. Safety razors have a single blade running straight across the razor with a metal handle. Nothing complicated but a nice clean shave with a strong blade.

Cost Benefits

A safety shaving kit can cost upwards of $200. However, this kit will last a lifetime with possible replacement of the blades only if you don't feel like replacing the blades. Disposable razors are quite expensive and their cousin cartridge razors can have three-packs of blades costing upwards of $20. That's quite a bit of pocket change for a blade that you cannot sharpen and will throw away. Consider the amount of money your spend in a years time on shaving tools. One high quality safety razor kit can easily replace disposable razors and can save you considerable money over your lifetime of shaving. One safety razor blade can last as long as 3 months.

Smoother, Closer Shave

Multiple blades on a razor do not necessarily mean a smoother, closer shave. Despite the advertising to the contrary, a multiple-blade razor can damage the skin. As you swipe the blade over the lather, the plastic textured surface around the blades push down the skin to allow each individual blade to take a swipe at the hair end. In actuality, the multiple blades are scratching the skin below the to layer, causing irritation that often results in ingrown hairs. Safety razors are commonly single blades that shave close without damaging the upper surface of the skin. The purpose of shaving is to provide a smooth, close shave, not to roughen up the skin with abrasions and razor burn.

Safety Razor Tools

Safety razors come with a strong metal handled razor and a box of blades. To get the very best and closest shave, you'll need a few other items to aid you in obtaining the perfect shave. A high quality shaving cream in a can will suffice to provide adequate ladder for shaving. Some men choose to purchase a shaving mug, shaving soap and a soft bristled shaving brush to create a traditional lather to use in conjunction with their safety razor. Many individuals find that extending the ritual of shaving by taking their time with the experience helps make this daily chore more enjoyable.

Photo Credits

  • Andyjamesnz