The modern world has brought all sorts of technological advances that save us time and money, and make our lives safer or more comfortable. From modern disc brakes to wireless internet connections these modern leaps in technology improve our day to day lives.
But there is one “improvement” that we use daily which, unknowingly to most, has truly been a gargantuan backwards step. It has been around so long that most gentleman don’t even realise that there is an alternative. I’m talking about the cartridge razor.
Back in the 70s cartridge razors were introduced and the marketeers convinced the world that they were the future of shaving. For years we have been told that the more blades the better, first two blades, then three and I think we are now up to five. We’ve been sold vibrating razor heads and lubrication strips as ways to improve our shaves. But still I see men everywhere with razor-burn and ingrown hairs. Shaving must have been terrible before cartridge razors right? Well, no, we were sold a lie and with it the art of shaving has been lost.
Before cartridge razors men shaved with Double Edged Safety Razors (DE Razors as they are referred to) and life was much better, let me explain why.
Edwin Jagger DE Razors – DE89Lbl / DE3D14bl / DELPI14bl
Quality of Shave
Our primary motive should always be quality. We should always strive for excellence. If something is worth doing then it should be done as best as we can and shaving should be no different.
All our lives we have been told by all the marketing teams at Gillette and Wilkinson Sword that more blades must mean a better shave. However, this is not the case but the large corporations can make more money from patented cartridges (the original patents for DE blades ran out so they were forced to bring out new designs despite no technological advantage). Shaving with a DE has many advantages.
First, multi-bladed razors have their blades close together and because of this they clog which causes them to drag and tug hairs rather than cutting them cleanly. This doesn’t happen with a single blade..
Secondly, with multiple blades the first blade tugs the hair and the next blades cut through it (a process known as shaving hysteresis). Sounds great right? Well, it’s not as good as it seems. This can cause the hair to be cut below the skin level and is the biggest cause of ingrown hairs and razor burn. This is the main advantage of using a single blade as this cannot happen. There is no need to cut the hair below the skin level to have a shave as smooth as the posterior of a newly born angel.
Once switching to DE shaving, after the initial learning curve you will see a vast improvement in the health and clarity of your skin with ingrown hairs and razor burn being a thing of the past.
The pleasure in shaving with quality tools and doing it like a man
Shaving with cartridge razors is a chore to endure each day. It is an unpleasant experience and the results are poor. However, DE shaving is a real pleasure and it’s nice to use proper tools. I use an Edwin Jagger DE, precision made in Sheffield, a city with a rich history in steel and cutlery manufacturing. The finish on the chrome plating is flawless and it’s reassuring weight makes It is a joy use, a vast contrast to cheaply made, plastic handled multi-blade cartridge razors. A little, skilfully engineered tool that each and every morning can bring a little smile to my face as I enjoy the morning shaving ritual.
With the price of cartridge razors so high (I see them for well over £2.10 each on the supermarket shelves) we have all been tempted to eke as many shaves out of a razor as we can. This ends up in using dull blades and the shave becomes more uncomfortable. With DE shaving a blade will cost you as little as 15p. DE blades are so cheap that you aren’t tempted to eke out another shave, just change them every 3 shaves or so and always enjoy that sharp blade feeling. No need to compromise.
DE blade vs cartridge blade cost savings are significant and should not be ignored. If you shaved every day and changed your blade every 3 days you would save somewhere in the region of £230 every year. That is good money that can be spent on wine, women and song.
Over £2.10 for a cartridge vs 15p or so for a DE blade
Standard razor cartridges and all their associated packaging have a much greater environmental impact that DE blades which are 100% recyclable being made of nothing more than stainless steel and in this day and age we all need to consider the environmental impact of our behaviour.
DE shaving is a bit of an art, but in my book that makes it even more pleasurable an experience. There is satisfaction in shaving with skill and getting the best results that you can. There is much written on the internet about DE shaving, whole forums dedicated to the subject and it can seem a bit daunting at first. But there really is no need to be scared off, it really is easy. You just need to take it a little slowly and unlearn all the bad habits that you will have picked up shaving with a cartridge razor. Generations of men before us shaved with DE razors and they didn’t find it difficult.
So, with all the advantages of DE shaving, the quality of shave, the cost savings, the environmental impact and the sheer delight in doing something well and with skill and with quality tools, there really is no excuse to shave with a cartridge razor any longer. Switch to DE and shave like a man!