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Thread: Safety Razor versus Straight Razor: Compare and Contrast.

  1. #1
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    Default Safety Razor versus Straight Razor: Compare and Contrast.

    How does a safety razor compare to a straight razor in...

    Quality of shave

    Likelyhood of cutting oneself



  2. #2
    Senior Member rmagnus's Avatar
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    IMO its easier to get a higher quality shave with a DE because you must master the technique with a SR before getting a similar shave. Part of the SR expierence is just that learning the art of sharpening and maintaining an edge and learning how o use it. Personally I'm pretty new to this game but have already expierenced a superior SR shave relative to a DE. I'm still early in the learning curve and consistency isn't there yet.

    No question a SR can cut you faster than a DE. Respect the blade all the time. Just today I relaxed bait wiping water off my blade with tissue when I noticed it sliced through the tissue and went a layer or two into my finger. It didn't bleed and was less than a paper cut but I was lucky. An unplanned event and a wake up call.

    Much of the wet shaving process is the same but learning the art of using a SR is the appeal. IMO once done the SR is a superior shave. If you're up for the challenge try SR shaving and stick with it.

    So far for a newbie I've done pretty well.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cosperryan's Avatar
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    I don't really shave with safety razors too much but I find the quality of a straight razor shave is beyond compare of a safety razor. I have never been able to get a bbs shave from a safety. I also have cut my self more with a safety than with a straight which is probably due to the fact that I rarely use a safety razor and thus haven't gotten comfortable with it. I will say though that it was easier to use a DE than it was to learn a straight razor. Also, and this is probably why most people like to use straights, straight razors are more involved. They require more care than just rinsing and changing the blade every few days. You have to hone them and strop them and that takes skill and practice so it becomes a hobby to get the best shave from that blade. Whereas with a DE, if you dont like the edge than all you do is pop in a different brand of blade and your ready to go. Not saying that I dont like de's. They're great when your traveling or in a rush but the straight razor is a little more involved. If I were to compare it to cars a mach 3 or cartridge razor would be a care that drives itself I.e. no skill involved and a de would be an automatic honda where any one can drive one once you learn the fundamentals and a straight is a full blown race car. Anyone can learn to drive one but it takes money, time and patience to learn and a high level of dexterity and it becomes a hobby and sometimes a passion.
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  4. #4
    Avoiding RAD... 1 razor @ a time nzFuzzy's Avatar
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    When you are learning to use a DE (safety) razor you are probably more likely to cut yourself than with a straight.
    Straights require a steady and gentle hand to get your required angle.
    DEs provide the angle but the type of blade is a HUGE variable. I have some blades that give a close and smooth shave and others that continually cause nicks. Same razor, same technique but different blades. While you're finding the DE blade you like best there are likely to be a number of minor cuts.

    Might take a bit longer to get to the point where you're getting the type of smooth shave with a straight that you're after. But in my experience far less blood involved than with the DE blade trials.

    Once you've got your technique (and blade selection) dialled in then the results are likely to be fairly similar. The straight gives you just a bit more control over angles and you're far less likely to use too much pressure The prospect of slicing yourself is a better reminder than the possibility of a little post-shave irritation.
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  5. #5
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    I like both. The learning curve is (much) less with a DE.

    You have to really be careful with a straight as most of the cuts are due to being careless. The cuts are usually when positioning the blade rather than when actually shaving.

    You can cut yourself with a DE as well but you don't have to be quite as careful as with a straight.

    The appeal of the straight is (as already mentioned) the learning required to master the technique of shaving and honing (and perhaps restoring).

    It's all wet shaving however and I do both for variety. Anything is more enjoyable than cartridge or electric shaving.
    Geezer, jc50 and tintin like this.

  6. #6
    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    If you mate the right DE with the right blade with you the shave you get can come very close to a straight but it will never be as close. As far as cuts go a DE wasn't termed a safety razor for nothing.
    mjsorkin likes this.
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  7. #7
    Snicker Snack
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    I like both. I also throw in SE razors into the mix.

    As has already been mentioned, DE razors (and safeties in general) are easier to master quickly. The shaves are equally close once you work out the technique properly.

    One area that the safety razors work better than straights in my hands is on the upper lip. I can get a pretty close shave without an ATG pass with a straight on the upper lip, but it's not perfectly smooth. With a safety, I can do the ATG pass and get it smooth. I've never been totally comfortable with trying an ATG pass with a straight in that area.
    Geezer likes this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Shaved with a few different types of razors over 45 odd years of shaving but came late to straights, about a year and a half in on those. That said, my favourite DE can give any of my straights a run for the money in the quality of shave department although with a bit more irritation. I have not cut myself any more with straights than DEs which means no great blood letting, touch wood.

    For me from a purely practical POV a DE is superior as it is quicker, shaves as close and requires less maintenance. There is a reason that they supplanted straights. Practicality is not the end all and be all for me though. I prefer the overall experience that shaving with a straight affords me. It is a much more enjoyable and relaxing experience once you get past the initial nervousness shaving with a straight can induce. Using a straight is not a magical cure for poor shaves. As always YMMV.

    Ryan82, jc50 and gcbryan like this.
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  9. #9
    No that's not me in the picture RoyalCake's Avatar
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    I have been tempted lately to try out a DE, but I'm trying to fight that off. I love shaving with straights and all that comes with it, so I really have to reason to try a DE other than curiosity. I really don't need more stuff to buy too.
    I love living in the past...

  10. #10
    Moderator Razorfeld's Avatar
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    I have in my arsenal 20 some straights, one old 3 piece Gillette DE, one old Schick injector, one Christy SE, one Valet SE and thinking of getting a Rolls razor. All said, straights for almost all because of the level of art and skill needed to shave with one. That equals satisfaction and because you need to concentrate on what you are doing it gets the mind working properly for the day. The DE gives as good a shave as a straight with no cuts and I use it when in a hurry (rarely or when I wax sentimental (it's a dead ringer for the one my Dda used). The others are for pure variety and the challenge, once in a while to see if I can get a good shave from them.

    In short - A straight is great - A DE will do it - All the rest whenever for fun.
    BobH likes this.
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