Shaving used to be simple: lather up, drag a blade across your face, rinse your razor and repeat. Today, one glance down the shaving aisle is proof that we’re living in complex times.
Modern razors come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Disposable razors come with pivoting heads and flexible handles. Cartridge razors come with as many blades as you want – up to eight blades for the brave. Each big brand has at least three price points, and stores have their own brand of cheap razors.
Both disposable and cartridge razors have lubrication strips, honeycomb guards, and then you’ve got endless accessories. Leather travel bags, shaving towels, styptic pencils, fog-free mirrors, and more. On the shelves next to the razors are extras like pre-shave oil, shaving butter, shaving soap, after shave, scuttles, and brushes. And that doesn’t even touch on the electric razor scene. Foil or blade? How about both? Self-cleaning or manual?
Where did simplicity go?
In a small section down some shaving aisles, you’ll see what looks like an ode to a simple past: a single peg hook filled with double-edged safety razors next to tiny boxes of replacement blades.
Although safety razors are still around, what you won’t usually see down a modern shaving aisle are straight razors. Although they’re simple, sharp, and efficient, they require maintenance and have a learning curve. The extra work required by straight razors are the reason the disposable razor market exists. Few have the time (or patience) for a traditional shave.
Once you learn properly, straight razors provide a simple shave, yet the demands of modern society give us less time to ourselves. We no longer have even fifteen minutes for the daily ritual of shaving. Lack of time makes shaving a chore. Who wants to spend time stropping their blade, and who has time to make their own lather? It’s easier to slap some canned shaving cream on our face and scrape it up with a razor we can throw away when we’re done.
Simplicity has been phased out in the name of capitalism
Shaving has always been a simple task; the desire to capitalize on the need for convenience is the reason complexity exists in the marketplace. Every brand is competing with every other brand. If not for competition, there wouldn’t be a razor with eight blades on the market.
Shaving companies are continually trying to outdo each other by adding new features that sound good, but aren’t really helping anyone get a better shave. In fact, some common features – like the lubrication strips – are harmful. Lubrication strips are made of toxic chemicals including polyethylene oxide. The Material Safety Data Sheet for polyethylene oxide warns people that it may cause skin irritation, it’s not for use in cosmetics, it may be harmful if absorbed through the skin, and to wash immediately after contact with skin. That doesn’t sound like something you should be putting on your face!
What’s worse, shaving creates micro-abrasions that allow bacteria and other particles to enter the bloodstream. Any toxic chemical you put on your skin while shaving will enter your bloodstream. Don’t be fooled by shaving gimmicks! Lubrication strips will only dry out your skin – the ingredients make that clear.
Blade science: less is more
You don’t need an eight-blade razor to get a good shave. You don’t even need three blades. You just need a razor with a single, sharp blade. Unfortunately, the blades on disposable and cartridge razors aren’t very sharp, and the way they’re wrapped up makes it impossible to get a close shave. A safety razor, on the other hand, will get you that close shave you’ve been looking for with fewer passes across your face.
Have you noticed how hard it is to get a smooth shave with a disposable razor? If not, it’s only because you’ve never used a better razor. With a disposable razor, you have to shave in all different directions and make multiple passes with the grain and against the grain.
Consider that using a five-blade razor scrapes your face five times with each pass. Each pass is scraping your skin and drying it out. What if you could shave a large portion of your face without shaving against the grain, and still get the closest shave of your life? Straight razors and safety razors make that possible.
Get back to basics
Don’t add complexity to your life. Get back to basics. While some fancy disposable or cartridge razors might be better than others, the single sharp blade of a straight razor or safety razor is always superior.
Article Submitted By Community Writer