Safety Razors vs Disposables
For me it started about 3 years ago with the desire for a closer shave and an undeniable love for quality engineering that first put a safety razor back in my hand. I was surprised at how much better it is than my usual Gillette Mach 3, even though best results were achieved by shaving twice. But a plumbing problem, that I was tardy to fix, that meant we had no hot water in the bathroom sink, meant that I had to shave in the shower where the disposables are better suited, so having got into safety razors, I got out of them just as quick.
I’ve fixed the hot water to the sink now and having taken a step back from work, I have been able to reassess my defuzzing needs and the safety razor is back!!
Yes, it takes a little longer to shave and, yes, there’s a slightly higher risk of cuts but I would guess that the time difference is now less than 2 mins between a safety razor and my usual disposable from The Bearded Colonel and I haven’t cut myself for several months now, even when I did, it was very minor.
Now I’m 100% with the safety razor, for a few reasons:
- It’s a much better shave
- It’s environmentally responsible
- It’s cheaper – a LOT cheaper!!!!
Let’s takes these one at a time.
It will take a couple of shaves to find what works for you, but for me it’s a hot flannel on the face then lather up for a first pass. No need to be too anal about it, just shave all the foam off. Then repeat but pay particular attention to the crevices and always shave with the grain. There’s loads of videos on this, but keeping it simple like this works for me. Many say that cold water on the face after the shave is best, but I can’t quite bring myself to do that, so I usually rinse in the shower.
I’ll talk about shaving soap and after shave below.
Disposable razors are difficult, if not near impossible, to recycle and we go through millions and millions of them every day. I chuck the safety razor blade into a tin that then hits the recycle bin every 5-10 shaves. Minimal waste and all steel for recycling.
Have a watch of the video at the end of this post.
Apart from the relatively modest initial outlay, the main costs here are the blades and I use the well-regarded Astra Superior Platinum blades from Amazon, they cost me about £10 for a hundred!!
That’s 10p per blade and I get 5-10 shaves from each blade. If I leave it 3-5 days between a shave then I will only get 5 shaves or so from each blade but if I’m shaving more often then I will get more shaves. I think it’s because the blades start to get micro-rust on the blade edge from the first use. That’s 1-2p per shave.
If I compare that with my favourite disposable from The Bearded Colonel, then those blades cost me £10 for 4. That’s £2.50 per blade and with a similar 5-10 shaves from each blade then it’s 25-50p per shave. 2400% difference on a comparison that’s still a lot cheaper than the market-leading Gillette!!!!
It’s a cut-throat market. [every pun intended]
There’s a small investment required up front and it pays to choose quality here. I opted for a mid-range Muhle R89 and have never regretted it, even though it feels a little dainty in my gorilla paw.
£17.50 is also a reasonable price for a badger hair shaving brush and I use “The Guv’nor” – again, a choice I’ve not regretted.
As you can see from the photo at the start of this post, I also spent the £35 for the Muhle stand but it’s a luxury. I think it looks nice though.
Shaving soap and after shave both come from Proraso and there’s some personal choice here, but I like the White Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl and the more soothing Proraso Balm rather than the aftershave.