Are you thinking about wet shaving? Don’t be intimidated, when you see those guys using their super sharp blades in that old-school razor it can be a little daunting.
However, they had to learn how to use them at some point just like you will. With so many safety razors available, how do you know which is best?
We have compiled a list to help you make the right choice.
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How Is Wet Shaving Different?
If you are reading this, you are probably either using and electric razor or one of the common disposable cartridge razors that you find everywhere.
Wet shaving with safety razors has recently risen in popularity for many reasons.
You save money.
That is right, the blades for the safety razors are sometimes as low as $.10 a piece! Plus, you will still get 3-5 shaves out of them.
Many companies offer 100 packs of blades so if you are using only one blade a week it might last you two years!
Of course, every man is different. If you have a thicker beard you may dull the blades faster.
Still, you won’t be paying $20 for just 4 blade refills.
Of course, you could spend a lot of money on the razor itself if you wanted to but it is not necessary and you would still save money in the long run.
Another way wet shaving is different is you may experience less irritation.
The multi-blade razors are known for causing razor bumps. The reason is the first blade or two can pull and tug on the hair which allows the following blades to cut the hair below your skin’s surface.
When those hairs grow back with a sharp edge, they can grow into your skin causing inflammation, known as razor bumps.
There is a smaller carbon footprint when you switch to safety razors.
Many men simply toss the plastic covered cartridge refills in the trash. However, when using the double edge safety razor blade, you can recycle these.
If you have don’t have a blade bank you could store them in a soup can and simply place that in your recycling bin.
What To Look For In A Beginner Safety Razor?
If you have never owned or use a safety razor you may not know what to look for since you are a newbie.
Don’t worry there are just a few common elements that will affect how the razor actually performs on your beard.
Most handles you find will be textured and chrome plated however they can also be made from wood, acrylic and other materials.
Some say the acrylic can be slippery when you are shaving but other than that the material the handle is made from is really just for looks.
The length and weight are what really matter.
Handle lengths vary from around 3 inches to a little over 4 inches on the longer side.
Some men prefer shorter handles because it gives more control but this is most likely because you are forced to move your grip closer to the head of the razor.
So even if you have a longer handle you can always choke up on your grip to gain more control.
If you have larger hands you may prefer a longer handles as the short ones could feel tiny.
The weight is another important factor which adds to the overall weight of the razor. The weight usually ranges from around 2 ounces up to 4 ounces.
The heavier the razor the less pressure is needed to shave your beard. Really, on the heaviest razors you should not need any pressure.
So, it is recommended to get a lighter razor if you are new to wet shaving so if you do happen to apply pressure you won’t be so likely to cut yourself.
There are a few different types of combs
Open Tooth – open tooth combs are not recommended for beginners. There is more blade is exposed which has the potential for more nicks.
These are better for more advanced shavers or those with thicker beards as they allow more hair to be cut with each pass.
Straight Bar – straight bar closed combs are the least aggressive type of head. They do not put an angle on the blade and they are completely closed all the way across as the name implies.
The only thing is since there is more metal touching your skin some say this can cause the razor to skip around a little. If you are using a pre-shave oil and shaving cream the added lubrication should help with this.
Slant Bar – the slant bar is similar to the closed comb straight bar but when closed the head places an angle of varying degrees on the blade.
This changes the level of aggressiveness of the blade. You can also find adjustable razors that give you more control over this angle.
Aggressiveness – this refers to the gap in the comb and the blade. Some razors allow more of the razor to be exposed than others.
Obviously, the more blade that is exposed the more aggressive the razor is. Beginners will usually want to go with a less aggressive model for their first razor.
Which DE Razor Blades are Best for Beginners?
This is a tough question to answer as the actual DE razor blades act differently on everyone’s beard or skin type as well as in combination with the type of razor you have.
So, giving a recommendation for the best one for beginners is almost impossible, however, what we can tell you is that there are brands that are known to be less sharp and smooth.
Derby Extras are considered to be one of the mildest blades you can buy. It is also pretty popular on Amazon with over 1,000 reviews and a high 4.4-star rating.
If you don’t have an extra thick beard or you do suffer from razor bumps these may be worth checking out.
These may also give you a closer shave than the Derby blade.
These are moderately sharp but are also of high quality. Just make sure you get the ones from Russia and not the lesser quality blades from India.
These are said to have adequate levels of sharpness and smoothness to be and everyday shaver for guys with average beards and skin sensitivity.
For more recommendations check out our top 10 razor blades reviewed post.
Our Recommendations for Best Safety Razor for Beginners
These recommendations for potential safety razors for beginners are not listed in any particular order.
Many can be found as kits on Amazon that come with a starter pack of blades or other items like stands and brushes.
VIKINGS BLADE The Chieftain Safety Razor
The Chieftain from Vikings Blade is very highly rated with over 2,400 reviews and a 4.8 rating!
To start it is beautifully designed with high quality Swedish Chrome.
They decide to use a TTO (twist to open) comb with butterfly openings. This allows for super quick blade changing.
Just be careful sometimes with these butterfly openings the blade can come out of alignment so make sure you have it completely straight before closing.
They also have a mircocomb system which helps prevent cuts.
The razor also comes with a nice case, 5 blades and a lifetime warranty! You don’t see that often.
The reviews speak for themselves as to why this a good razor for beginners. You can read them for yourself but there are many first timers here that admit they will never switch back to the cartridge razor.
Most of the negative reviews are from people who just started wet shaving and just had trouble getting it to work properly.
Again, there can be a bit of a learning curve as well as finding the right blade can make a difference as well.
Other experienced shavers mention how mild this is but that is why we recommend it for beginners.
If you go with this one you will probably want to try a moderately sharp blade with it.
MERKUR LONG HANDLED SAFETY RAZOR (MK 23C)
The Merkur 23C is another great choice for beginners. The reviews on Amazon back it up with over 5,000 and a 4.6-star rating.
This is another great mildly aggressive razor that is great to learn with.
It has a long handle which would be good if you have long hands or just like the extra length.
It has a mild closed comb head which will help reduce the risk of you cutting yourself in the beginning.
It is also very light in comparison to other razors even though it has a long handle. This will be more forgiving if you apply pressure when you are not supposed to.
Some have noted in the reviews that the screw has broken off when dropped from decent heights. This may be due to the lighter weight and cannot handle much abuse.
However, if you take care of the razor and allow it to completely dry before re-assembling the three-piece head, it should last you a good while.
Again, this is not an aggressive razor which makes it great for beginners but not great for those of you with a thick beard.
Parker 91R Super Heavyweight Double Edge Safety Razor
It is similar to the Merkur 23C as it comes with a 3-piece screw off closed comb head however it weighs a little more at 3 ounces.
The added weight will help allow the razor to do most of the work when shaving. You may simply need to guide the razor down your face.
Some similar negative comments about the screw popping off with time or drops. Again, take care of your razor and try not to drop it!
The gap on the 91R is a little bigger than the other razors which makes it slightly more aggressive. You can offset this with a mild blade.
Parker has been engineering safety razors for over 45 years and you will notice their experience in the quality of the razor.
Feather Popular Razor
There may be a reason the word Popular is in the title of this razor by Feather. It comes with over 1,100 reviews and 4.4-star rating.
Feather blades are known to be some of if not the sharpest available. Combined with their A2-D2 model allows for quite an aggressive shave.
However, with their popular razor, the quality of the popular Feather is a better beginner razor.
To start it comes with a TTO butterfly head which allows for easy blade changes. As well as a plastic handle.
So, they use less expensive materials but that is also reflected in the cost as this is the cheapest of these razors.
Since it has a plastic handle it will be very lightweight which should help you avoid cuts with incorrect technique.
You may want to order some less sharp blades to go with this one since it only comes with two and the Feather’s are very sharp which would increase the risk of cuts.
However, many reviewers admit this is a mild razor compared to what Feather is known for.
This may seem overwhelming if you are searching for a great safety razor and you are a beginner.
Don’t worry there are plenty of forums you can read to get advice. Like we mentioned earlier, don’t be afraid to make the switch.
You will wonder why you didn’t sooner as you get the technique down.
There are many choices available to you and these are just a few of those. Everyone’s skin and beard is different so what works well for you may not work well for others.
That is why you may find yourself adding multiple razors to your lineup as you feel more comfortable shaving.
Do you own one of these safety razors? Let us know how it works for you in the comments!