Shortcuts are great, especially when they get the job done without compromising quality. In Silicon Valley, they call it a hack. But in our world of wet shaving, we call it shaving with a shavette.
Wet shaving with a straight razor can undoubtedly be intimidating. Aside from the skills you need to learn to use it and keep your razors sharp, traditional straights can be pretty expensive. Hence, you can get yourself a shavette instead if you are not yet ready for such a commitment or if you are simply terrified to wield a cut-throat blade on your skin. Yet, do not forget that shavettes are in no way an entry-level to using a straight razor.
In this article, we will get you acquainted with this trusty little shaving tool by letting you know the following:
- What is a Shavette Razor?
- Wet Shaving with a Shavette?
- Difference Between a Shavette and a Straight Razor
- Why Shave with a Shavette?
- The Best Shavette
What is a Shavette Razor?
A shavette razor looks similar to a straight razor. It can wear a folding blade, like the Western-style straight razor, or a fixed blade, like the oriental Kamisori straight. However, what sets it apart from its traditional counterparts is that it uses a disposable blade.
The spine of a typical shavette lets you clasp in single-edged or double-edged (DE) safety razor blades cut in half and usually coated in Teflon. Unlike a traditional straight, the blades are more lightweight and shorter, making it perfect for shaving small and hard-to-reach areas that need extra precision.
In this respect, it is more like a DE safety razor. Some straight razor enthusiasts argue that since a shavette relies on DE blades, it cannot be considered a mini straight razor. Instead, it is a “DE on a stick,” a somewhat derisive putdown, because the shavette can and is often used much like a straight razor.
The Shavette’s History
The name Shavette was a brand name used by the German company Dovo to market its disposable blade straight razors. Dovo originally designed and sold shavettes as a barber’s tool for shaving the back of people’s necks and as an alternative to scissors or clippers for shaping and trimming sideburns and hairlines.
The Shavette became popular when government policies began to require licenses for barbers who provide straight razor shaves. This was because of concerns that unsanitized straight razors could transmit blood-borne pathogens like hepatitis and HIV. In fact, in some areas, regulations required barbershops to have an autoclave to sanitize their straight razors.
Faced with all that hassle, most barbers shifted to using shavettes to continue offering authentic barber shaves. Because of the disposable blades, concerns about sanitation and hygiene eventually became irrelevant. As its use became more widespread and other companies began their versions of disposable razor blades, the name Shavette became more renowned and known as a general term for disposable straight razor blades.
Types of Shavette Mechanisms
While most shavettes are compatible with the standard DE or 1/2 DE blades, their mechanisms for holding the blade vary. Here are some of the popular ones in the market according to Badger and Blade.
- Hinge – A shavette with a hinge mechanism lets you push out the latch to have half of the blade holder swing out for you to place the DE blade in the holder.
- Screw – The screw mechanism has a blade holder held in position by a screw. Once you take out the screw, so does the blade holder, therefore letting you insert the blade.
- Knob – A knob secures the blade holder for shavettes with a knob mechanism. You will need to unscrew the knob for the blade holder to come apart and rotate before you can place the blade in. To secure it in place, turn the blade holders back in their original position, then tighten the knob.
- Pinch – The most common shavettes in the market utilize the pinch mechanism. Although a popular choice, it is a bit more complicated than the others. You will have to slide off the thing holding the two blade holders together, pry them apart to slide the blade in, then pinch it in place.
Knowing these mechanisms will surely help you out when looking for the right kind of shavette. With this knowledge, you will not get confused while shopping. Simply choose the one you are comfortable with from the list, and you are good to go.
Wet Shaving with a Shavette
People often consider the shavette a mini straight razor since it is often used similarly to a straight. In that sense, it is only reasonable for it to be another popular tool that people use for wet shaving.
That said, below is a simple yet comprehensive guide on how to use a shavette for wet shaving:
Ready Your Gear
Aside from the razor, there is not much difference in what you will need to wet shave with a shavette. Below are the things you will need:
- Shavette straight razor
- Pre-shave oil
- Shaving soap
- Shaving brush
- Scuttle mug
- Aftershave balm
Of course, there is nothing wrong with skipping all of these materials and simply going straight into shaving. But if you are using a shavette to shave your beard, we recommend that you ready your gears first to ensure that you have the most comforting shaving experience.
Prep Your Beard And Face
Shaving on dry skin is a big no if you want to have a clean and smooth shave. Also, gliding a blade on it will put more friction resulting in damaged skin and increasing the risk of cuts and nicks.
Use a pre-shave oil, preferably one you made at home, with a simple pre-shave oil recipe. Start with a couple of drops and blend it into your hair and skin, letting it rest for at least a minute to let the nutrients soak in. Do not use too much oil as it will soften the surface too much, making it harder for your blade to cut through the follicles.
The fun part about wet shaving comes in lathering a shaving foam. Lathering is a crucial step in wet shaving as it creates an added protection between your prepped skin and hair and your shavette’s blade.
To create lather, you will need a scuttle or shaving mug, shaving soap, and a shaving brush. Below is a quick guide on how to create lather using a scuttle from our How To Lather A Shaving Soap article:
- Fill the inner chamber of your scuttle with hot water, preferably lukewarm water, with a temperature of 84℉ to 115℉.
- Seal the inner chamber with the cork to keep the heat in.
- Put your shaving soap puck in the bowl and add a few drops of water to loosen it up.
- Use your shaving brush to whisk in the shaving soap until you create a frothy and thick lather.
Use your shaving brush to scoop the foam off the scuttle and apply it to your face. The shaving brush will help separate the strands of hair on your beard and micro-exfoliate your skin.
How To Use a Shavette
Finally, let’s go onto using a shavette. Since you are using a shavette for wet shaving, we assume that you will be using a Western-style blade. Like its bigger counterpart, when you hold a shavette straight razor, you will need to have a particular technique.
Since the Western design allows the blade to pivot back into its handle, you must guarantee that the blade will not close as you shave. The best way to ensure this, according to Sharpologist, is to hold the straight razor using three fingers on the shank of the scales and place your pinky finger on the tang. Keep the angle between the shank and scale greater than 90 degrees or about 135 degrees to balance the weight of the blade and the handle.
Now that you got the proper grip, follow these steps to shave with a shavette:
- Hold the shavette very lightly, like you would a straight razor, at a 30-degree angle from your skin. Any degree higher than that, the odds of you nicking yourself become higher.
- Choose a sideburn, start from the top and use small light strokes to go down. To make the shaving area flatter, stretch the skin using your free hand. This will make shaving easier.
- Follow the cheek down to the jawline and move towards your mouth. Use tiny strokes and be patient. Once you finish on one side, move on to the other side.
Depending on your preference, you can shave in two to three passes. On the first pass, shave lightly. Apply lather and then shave again. Professionals tend to shave against the grain of their facial hair on the second or third pass. We recommend newbies stick to shaving along the grain until you become more familiar with shaving your face.
After shaving, use cold water to wash off the excess foam on your face and wash the fallen hair off of your skin. Then pat it dry and apply an aftershave balm, which will help in disinfecting and bringing back moisture to your skin.
Applying an aftershave is necessary to help soothe or calm down your skin. It greatly helps in preventing razor burns. We recommend you to use Naked Armor’s Aftershave All-Purpose Organic Balm With Hemp if you are worried about alcohol stings. It is made of natural ingredients and is packed with more than ten essential oils, specially chosen to soothe the skin after shaving.
Difference Between a Shavette and a Straight Razor
However, straight razor purists insist that a shavette is not a straight razor and will never be a worthy alternative to a cut-throat. There is always a segment that dismisses the shavette’s aspirations to a straight razor’s awesomeness in online shaving forums.
Part of this is because of the shavette’s blade. Some say that the smaller, double-edged blade of a shavette does not give the same performance as a straight razor’s steel blade.
And yet, it is very convenient because one no longer needs to learn how to strop and hone to keep the blade sharp. When a shavette blade becomes dull, you can just swap it out with a new one.
This is why some new straight razor users are attracted to using the shavette because of its low upkeep, affordable cost, and simplicity. On that note, there is also such a thing as too much simplicity. Until recently, shavettes have a plastic body. It paled in comparison to the craftsmanship of high-end straight razors.
These days, however, more high-end shavettes are being produced for the market. Like straight razors, they can be luxury products too. And just like any top-notch straight razor, they also give a nice and clean shave.
Why Shave With A Shavette?
A shavette, then, is your ideal shortcut to a clean and nice shave in the world of wet shaving. As an entry-level straight razor user, you can use a shavette to get the same impeccable results provided by a traditional straight razor without going through all that hassle of learning how to hone and strop to produce a sharp blade. But remember, the same results do not mean the same techniques. Again, holding and wielding a shavette is not entirely the same as using a straight.
A shavette is lighter, allowing you more control over the blade so that you can use it at different angles to get your desired beard style. It is much more than a pair of scissors and trimmers can do.
For professional straight razor users, a shavette is a handy tool to carry along during their travels. Its disposable blades allow one to get down to the business of shaving without stropping and honing. So it is a more efficient use of one’s own time.
The Best Shavette
Here at Naked Armor, we take our razor blades seriously. Whether it is a straight razor, a safety razor, or a shavette, we make sure that it is world-class and gives a luxurious, high-end shaving experience.
Our Samson Shavette Straight Razor, like its Biblical namesake, is a durable razor piece for beginners and pros alike. The blade is made from high-end metal and is suitable for five to ten shaves.
If you are looking to shift to straight razor shaving but do not want to spend time mastering how to strop and hone, then the Samson Shavette would be a perfect fit for you.
Check it out, or better yet, Click Add to Cart to order now.
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