[Forward from Mantic59: Sharpologist’s "Best DE Razor” article is consistently one of the most-popular, most-read on the site. But there are other opinions as well, including Michael "Leisureguy” Ham and Doug "Shave Like Grandad” Hansford. Here is another "best” article, from Tom at Edwards Traditional Shaving Emporium in the UK.] Shaving with a double edge (DE) razor gives me a lot of joy, although choosing a specific one has had it’s pitfalls. I got caught out with buying for looks and not practicality which is such an important factor, particularly if you are new to DE shaving. Technique is also something urged to concentrate on. This post I hope will cater for some of the questions you may have when buying a safety razor.
Things to consider
Firstly I would consider the fact of whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or experienced. Another factor is how your hair grain is, soft or hard. How often you shave can be a key factor. The modern style of having a few days growth will affect the efficiency of certain safety razors. Skin type is another factor you should consider in buying a razor.
Non aggressive razors
I found these later in the shaving game but now I use one regularly. A new shaver would benefit from their smoothness. These are ideal for the everyday shaver who wants to take off that morning stubble. These are good up to 3 days growth (after I find there is a little snagging). But they are great razors to practice advanced shaving technique with, like the J hook. Razors to consider are the Fatip Gentila and any Feather razor. I have also recommended these to gentlemen who have soft skin for obvious reasons. I would say moderate grained coarseness men to light, will suit these safety razors. But the heavy bearded gent will really need to employ every day shaving to avoid snagging. These razors also benefit from a sharp stiff blades like feather. Although I have had great results from sharp flimsier blades like Crown.
Middle aggressive razors
The middle ground and most common of razor styles. They are recommended to new DE shavers when they are learning the ropes of shaving, and don’t know what they really want from a safety razor. I went to non aggressive after, but I still use my middle with great results. These are adequate for most types of beard growth. Also perfectly fine for an everyday razor but you must revise technique as they are that bit less forgiving than the non aggressive. Examples of middle aggressive razors are Muhle, Edwin Jagger, and Geissen and Forsthof. Home brand blades are often perfect for the razors.
Aggressive safety razors
There is no reasons for a beginner to buy one like I did. Referencing my first paragraph, I bought the feared Muhle R41. This caused me a lot of pain, I was going to jack in DE shaving all together. As these take wielding some skill, and for the shaver to have certain physical elements. These are a tough dense grain as some men will get frustrated with the less aggressive razors. Also the tougher skinned man would benefit from using one of these. Open comb razors are usually aggressive and they also cater to the gent who irregularly shaves–the comb gets the hair into shape before the cut. Fatip have some excellently priced aggressive razors. If you have a razor like this and want to tone it down, try a smooth blade like Derby or Shark.
Now I think that middle is a great place to start for anyone. You may have even found your rightful place in the middle ranks. Although some may find themselves leaning towards the non aggressive like I did. Also the same with those of you who feel they would benefit from a harsher razor.
Never get frustrated with Safety razor shaving, revise technique and always adequately prepare your skin. I hope this article has helped you on your shaving journey.