There’s a lot of misinformation and marketing speak out there when it comes to shaving razors and we finally reached a point where we needed to address a couple key issues regarding them. First and foremost, here’s the bottom line: Double Edged Safety Razors shave better than multi-blades. This is after all why people still use them all these years later.
Here’s why Double Edged Safety Razors shave better than multi-blades:
- A Double Edged razor utilizes a single blade edge flush against your skin when shaving. Multi-blades have an inherent and unavoidable amount of error in the angles between their multiple blades. While you can make small adjustments for skin topography with the angle of your DE safety razor, skin topography often amplifies blade angle error in multi-blades. The result? Multi-blades simply can’t shave as close as a single blade edge can and cause more irritation because of the blade angle error.
- The formula works like this: More blades, More skin irritation because more friction. With a DE safety razor you’ll make only one or two passes to cut a patch of hair with only a single blade edge. With, say, a 3 bladed multi-blade razor just one pass of the razor means 3 blades were just dragged across your skin, irritating it; if you make 2 - 4 passes with your multi-blade (which is typical), then you’ve effectively had 6 - 12 blades dragged across your skin which is far more irritating than the 1 -2 blade passes of a DE safety razor.
A multi-blade works like this, imagine a 3 bladed version. The first blade pulls a hair follicle taut. The second blade cuts it. The third blade cleans up by cutting any missed hairs. Because the first blade actually pulls the hair follicle up and taut, the second blade often cuts the hair effectively below the skin (while the hair is pulled up it is cut at a point that makes it too short to remain at or above the surface of the skin). The hair follicle is then trapped below the skin causing pain, a bump and irritation as it grows to again break the surface of the skin.
A DE safety razor on the other hand simply utilizes the sharpness of its single blade and cuts the hair off flush at the surface of the skin.
- Shaving not only removes hair but also a plethora of skin cells and oils. Add to this a shaving cream or soap and you’ve got a lot of gunk to rinse away after each swipe. While the narrow distance between blades in a multi-blade razor easily becomes clogged with this gunk, DE safety razors have only 1 (larger) gap which opens into an expansive razor clearing chamber. Essentially a DE safety razor just has more drainage so there’s less for the gunk to get stuck on. And, with a DE safety razor, if you’re shaving a really thick patch of hair (like maybe shaving a beard off), you can just quickly twist the bottom of your butterfly to open it even a little more and you’ll have even more, easy drainage.
- Double Edged Safety Razors have two blade edges exposed per razor head-- 1 blade edge on each side of the razor. The reason they don’t have, say, just one blade edge is to improve both shaving efficiency and experience. Because there are 2 single edged blades on the razor, you can make at least 2 shaving strokes before you’ll need to rinse your razor. This is an improvement on both multi-blades that clog very easily and even single edged safety razors as well.
- DE Safety Razors are called “safety” razors for a reason: they’re safe! They are different from multi-blades though and should be used differently. With multi-blades you apply substantially more pressure as you try to get it flush to the skin. With DE safety razors you let the weight of the razor itself do the work and don’t apply extra pressure. DE Safety Razors have a blade guard that helps you get the blade angle right.
A lot of companies advertise that their razors have a pivoting head and then imply that the pivoting head makes it safer. The thing is, if you need a pivoting head on your razor then you are pressing too hard (or need to press too hard) against your skin. This is typical with multi-blades because, again, they have a certain amount of inherent error in their blade angles and therefore the method of shaving is different: it demands you use extra pressure to press the razor head against your skin. Therefore, pivoting heads help.
With a DE safety razor you should let the weight of the razor do the work. Don’t apply extra pressure and simply adjust the razor handle to maintain a 30 degree angle over the area you are shaving.
- All in all the Double Edged Safety Razor shaves better than multi-blades. Albatross Designs started selling DE safety razors in the first place because these razors shave so well. Rather than a sacrifice in shaving performance to get a plastic free shave, there was an upgrade. Who doesn’t want a closer shave with less skin irritation? Add in the affordability factor of DE shaving and it really starts to look good…