Straight razors can be intimidating with their cut-throat sharpness. Aside from its irresistible classic Hollywood vintage charm, what else propels this traditional shaving tool back in the modern spotlight? The secret lies in the benefits of using a straight razor.
A straight razor is a shaving tool that goes beyond history. It originated in the ancient civilization of Egypt, providing for the elite’s grooming needs. It traditionally has a stainless steel blade with a pin attaching it to a resin-treated wooden handle.
However, thanks to King Camp Gillette's pioneering disposable safety razors, straight razors slowly became vintage paraphernalia only professional barbers enjoyed.
But today, straight razors are making a comeback. Aside from film sensationalism, people are beginning to realize and appreciate it as a better alternative to its plastic counterpart.
So, why should you choose a straight razor? Here are the main benefits of using a straight razor:
- Better Blade Quality
- Closer and Better Shave
- Steel Over Plastic
- More Environmentally Friendly
Better Blade Quality
The primary function of razors is to help manage the hairs on the body. For men, razors are essential to groom their facial hairs. It is hard to achieve a well-styled beard or have a clean-shaven face using razors with a dull blade.
That is why manufacturers of straight razors never compromise on the quality of their blades. Some even go beyond and use acclaimed materials, such as Japanese Steel, which people use to create samurai blades.
These blades have 61-65 HRC sharpness ratings. Manufacturers import them in large sheets and cut the blades by hand, creating a more accurately defined blade than when mass-produced as disposable razors.
Meanwhile, disposable razors have affordability as their goal since they are only for one or limited usage. So, to meet the market’s desired price, they have to adjust their cost, which would limit their capability to use high-quality steel.
Shifting to a straight razor and ditching the plastic cartridge counterpart means you get a significantly better blade quality. Straight razors are notorious for their cut-throat sharpness. They underwent a rigorous process involving forging, hardening, tempering, and grinding to achieve optimum blade resilience. You can guarantee that your blade will last a lifetime.
Closer And Better Shave
With having to shave often, convenience paved the way for creating multi-blade disposable razors, which are perfect for men on the go. They can use it before they go to the office, and bring it with them during travel. The demand for this arose when commercials instilled in the consumers that the more blades there are, the closer the shave you can get.
Such a notion, however, is not accurate. The most common multi-blade razor with three blades works like this: the first blade pulls up the hair follicles, the second one cuts them, and the third is to make sure that no hair strands are left uncut.
It might make sense when you think about it because of the added assurance brought about by the third blade. However, letting you cut more hair in a single swipe is not directly related to the closeness of the shave you are getting.
A single-blade razor, like a straight razor, significantly reduces the blade friction compared to a multi-blade razor. It will also let you shave at different angles, which helps since facial hair grows in varying facial structures and shapes. Adjusting different angles is the secret to getting the closest shave possible.
On the contrary, multi-blade razors create friction on your skin. The blades with different sharpness levels and thickness pointing at different angles disturb your skin through friction as you shave. As a result, you will experience razor burn, nicks, and bumps, which you want to avoid to achieve a flawless finish.
Steel Over Plastic
You may not have thought about this before, but the weight of your razor does affect the way you shave. And lighter does not always mean better.
Straight razors are heavier than disposable ones since they are made of steel blade and handle or steel blade and a wooden handle. Most men would prefer their razors are heavier because it tends to be easier to shave—especially on downward strokes.
However, the matter is not only whether or not the razor is heavy. It is also about your ability to handle it when using all the different angles in shaving.
More Environmentally Friendly
With all the different establishments in the world trying to go green—paper and eco-bag rather than plastic bags, bamboo and metal straws instead of plastic ones, reusable lunch packs instead of disposable containers—it is also time to shift shaving routines to one that is kinder to the environment.
Disposable razors are primarily from plastic. Even the packaging they come wrapped in is plastic and is highly challenging to open. That said, whenever you throw away a disposable razor, you are contributing to landfill.
Meanwhile, straight razors can last a hundred years. You can even pass quality straight razors down to the next generation when taken care of with proper maintenance and sharpening.
In the beginning, buying a straight razor can feel like a splurge. Years of using dollar-store disposable safety razors may seem like a cheap steal. But if you add every money you spent on buying a piece or two of these plastics and compare it to how much you need to buy a straight razor, it is more or less likely to be the same.
Since this type of razor and method of shaving have been considered luxurious, many would get intimidated and think it’s expensive. At one point, when you start, there will be a higher cash outflow compared to buying disposable razors in bulk. However, let us give it a look on a long-term basis.
Cost comparison of a straight razor and disposable razor over five (5) years
This chart dramatically represents the amount of money you can save. In only four years of switching from disposable to straight razors, you will be saving approximately $1,000. Since the straight razor can last for a lifetime, you may try to calculate the difference on your own if given the proper care and maintenance.
You may start by calculating how much your current razor is and multiplying it by how many you will be using for the entire year, and try to multiply it even by just five years.
Even without considering the increase in prices throughout the years, you will still see that the spot outflow for your straight razor now is lesser than the figure you have computed.
Make The Switch
With the cost-saving characteristics plus you contributing to the lessening of plastics in our landfills, the switch to straight razors would probably be heavier on your decision scale now.
In wet shaving with the aid of a straight razor, you are not just pampering your face by giving it a comfortable shave. Another benefit of shaving with a straight razor is that you are also turning a daily chore into an unwinding and relaxing activity. You are the conductor of your face and facial hair. Besides, if you make the straight razor your stick, you will indeed create perfect harmony.
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