Skip to content

Aside: A Really Good Video Comparing Traditional vs. Cartridge Shaving

Listen to this article

Shaveology” just posted a really good video comparing traditional vs. cartridge shaving that I thought I should share here:


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

20 thoughts on “Aside: A Really Good Video Comparing Traditional vs. Cartridge Shaving”

  1. I’ve been wet shaving with a Merkur 180 for about a month already. I already had some Body Shop Maca Root Shaving Cream that I had been using with cartridge razors for a while, so I didn’t have to spend money on that when I started; plus I already had some good after-shave. My gf gave me an AoS starter kit for Xmas, and it came with a decent badger brush. All in all, I initially only spent about $35 (on Merkur) to start wet shaving. Since then, I’ve spent some money trying a shave soap (DR Harris Arlington) and a blade sampler. I’m also saving to buy a good brush (probably a Vulfix 660) and I’ll be set for a while.
    Even though I just started, I do think that wet shaving is more economical once you get that first, initial buy out of the way. If you do your research well enough you should be able to set yourself with a good, starting safety razor (probably between Merkur and Edwin Jagger); and this should be the only safety razor you’ll need for years, unless you find yourself inclined to treat yourself down the road. Also, if you buy a sample blade pack you can find out which blade works the best for you (IMHO, Derby is great to start). Once you’ve settled what products you feel comfortable using, you will be spending a very minimal amount of money. I’m only a month in and I feel as if I already know what products I’m going to stick to.
    Sure, cartridge razors are very accesible and easy to use; but they always gave me razor burn, and the next day my face would be full of ingrown hairs. After I switched to DE shaving, I have barely got any ingrown hairs and have gotten consistently closer shaves. Like I said before, I had been using good products so that hasn’t change. I truly think that wet shaving is just much better for your skin health.
    As Einstein loosely proclaimed, “everything is relative”. That couldn’t be any truer when it comes to shaving. For me, adding a brush and switching razors has done wonders for my face. Not forgetting the calmness and tranquility I feel every time I shave now. Never before did I feel so peaceful and relaxed as I do when I take my time to wet shave.

  2. I agree in some extent…IMHO, it takes some time to find out which DE works for you…additionally, you should already have known about your skin type if its oily or dry or sensitive….don’t just buy blindly …DE razor can be tricky but by reading in BB or a lot of websites around or at least start with most popular and widely used razors…after that you are pretty much sticking to that DE for life and only rotating creams/soaps/blades around world which is very cheap…in short, reap what you sow…do some research and buy…

  3. The reason i switched to this classical type of shaving, was because it was an exciting way, of getting on with the shave everyday, instead of the same boring daily routine… As it was mentioned earlier, this classical way, can easily be expensive, because it turns into a hobby, i agree with that 100%, but not only is this type of shaving, a hobby to me, it is also in a way about training, as it has a learning curve, and you constantly have to be aware of that… With a cartridge razor, there is no learning curve, unless you’re a complete moron 😛
    I think what it all comes down to, is what each individual person preferres… If you want a quick shave, go with the cartridge razor, if you want a more comfortable shave, that you can take your time with, go the DE or Straight way 🙂
    Very nice video indeed!

  4. Interestingly, before dumping creams for soap, I checked the ingredients: Nothing natural there, and all contained parabens. The old gel cans i still had around did not contain any parabens and even had some natural oils to go with them propellants. Funny that the video has it exactly the other way round…
    And about available selection: Not a single store I have access to sells a single traditional cream. But I see a wide variety of gels and foams available at a walking distance from my home from dozen or so manufacturers, priced from USD 1 to 50.
    I have to buy my soap online, which is expensive. But that’s OK, since I am not in this to save money. If I were, I could never have afforded to experiment and find the right razor for me, for example. I never recommend DE shaving on the basis of saving money, since I cannot see how it would do that. I only recommend it for a better shave for those willing to take the necessary effort of experimenting and learning — and perhaps pay a little along the way, too.
    If you want a cheap shave, you get an inexpensive electric and go with that for as many years as you can.

  5. I had been wetshaving with a cartridge razor for over twenty years with a cheap brush and soap. Yes the switch to DE was initially expensive, I made a few mistakes (thank the lord for eBay and PIFFING) but now I have found what I like it is exceptionally cheap. I have one DE razor, one brush, Palmolive shave stick and loads of Astra blades. Prior to changing to DE I was having to buy supermarket own brand cartridges which were just awful and I had to resort to Gillette cartridges which were costing me a small fortune.

  6. I’m getting sick of all the deception and lies. Yes, a safety razor can last you a lifetime. But who is gonna just buy 1? And, what if that 1 DE razor isn’t as good as you thought like I thought after all the ratings and vouches? It’s not like they’re cheap or anything to replace, especially since they’re getting more expensive. You’d have to spend a minimum of another $50 to see if the next DE razor is any good for your liking i.e, aggressive, mild, mildly aggressive, closed comb, open comb etc.. As apposed to buying a new cartridge razor that costs at most $5 with Sunday paper coupons. And let’s not forget the cost of shaving creams and aftershaves. Yes, you can buy shaving soap/cream for under $5, but are you just going to use that 1 soap/cream for the rest of your life? No, I don’t think so, that would be like eating bologna sandwiches for the rest of your life. You’d get tired of it quickly. You have too many options and it becomes hard and expensive to vary between which creams work for your skin type. At least with canned goo, you can easily try which creams work best for you without spending $100 and having to figure out just what the hell to do with the left overs once you finally do find the one cream that works well for you. Their aren’t that many choices and they’re cheap as crap and are getting better in fact. And there’s a good chance you won’t be able to resale them on shaving forums, because most likely no one buys from a newbie. Oh and, how about those shaving brushes? Again, you can’t just use one kind. You’d have to spend $50+ to buy a decent super badger brush. No one is gonna stick with a tweezerman brush for the rest of their lives either. Wetshaving has lost it’s appeal and has become played out. This was great when it first made it’s return with Mantic59 teaching us all about traditional shaving, but even he has taught us all he has and it was all mostly from Badger & Blade, but now it’s just become another fad that’s quickly lost it’s mojo. Oh, and let’s not forget shaving companies reformulating their creams for the worse!! GFT and T&H did it with their soaps, and kept their sticker price the same. As time goes on, more and more companies will do the same and they’ll out of business just like Coates did. It’s only a matter of time…
    The point is, cartridge razors and canned goo is wayyyy cheaper and more simple than this “fad” or “trend” we’ve got going on. And yes, cartridge razors are cheap if you buy them in bulk or with coupons. Costco usually has coupons for Fusion Proglide refill cartridges. Yes, a safety razor will be cheaper than spending $35 on a pack of 20 refill cartridges if and only IF you stick with ONE safety razor for at least a decade or so.

    1. Well, I love the hobby, I’m somewhere in the middle. I have one cheap boar brush, one “medium” badger brush, I use middle of the road products that I can find locally, but still give me that traditional lather (The Real Shaving Co, Crabtree & Evelyn, B&BW/Proraso, etc), and I have fun experimenting with different aftershaves and post shave balms, mostly drug store stuff. I use TracII clone cartridges on Bump-fighter handle. I prep, watch my angles and feel I get great shaves every day. I don’t buy expensive stuff, don’t feel I need to, and I still enjoy it and probably will for the rest of my life..

    2. I partially agree with your argument, but you’re asserting positions that I didn’t make with my video. I’m sorry you seem jaded with wet shaving. Wet shaving actually is more economical, for me. That’s a point I’ll attempt to show in a future video.
      I only spend within my budget limitations. I’m perfectly happy with a $12 Lord L6 and $6 RazoRock Classic, even tho I do own other razors and products. I’m currently working on a video about creating a $30 Wet Shaving Starter Kit.

      1. I forgot to mention a shave brush. There are plenty of decent badger brushes for $20-30. A $10 starter brush can last a long time too. I have found I prefer synthetic bristles. The Body Shop brush for $10 is quite usable if you know its limitations, altho I do prefer the fuller $40 Omega synthetic.

    3. I dont understand why you would even be here posting on this board if you have such negative feedback about the topic. Trend or no trend is too subjective a topic to debate. However I could not disagre more with your point regarding the economic standpoint. I spent 9$ on Prorasso Soap for sensitive skin. I spent $13 on Nivea canned shaving gell for sensitive skin. I bought a mach 5 that cost me $13 and came with 3 blades. Replacements are MORE than that. I dont know where you are buying your replacement blades but mine were considerably more than $5, even at Costco. I spent $35 on a Parker 96R and get a closer shave than I did with my Mach 5… That and I never find my Parker in the shower with my wife’s shaving cream. I bought my cup, badger brush and another soap from Van Der Hagens Luxury set for $40. I choose what type of blades I use and spend less than $5 on those for a pack of 10.

      1. You can buy a box of 100 Astra double edge safety razor blades for under $10. I can shave with a brand new razor blade every morning for a year for $36.50. Even if you have to buy and try out multiple handles which can be expensive, in the long run, the wet shave will be far more economical.
        As for the shaving creams etc. you’d have to try out, most companies offer samples, and you can shop at at websites that sell various brands, like Grooming Lounge, and get multiple samples of various manufacturers’ products free with a purchase. Once you’ve found what you like, one bottle or jar of a good shave cream used correctly lasts a long time.
        Wet shaving with high quality products doesn’t have to be that expensive.

        1. Ditto. For example, I love the RazoRock line of creams and soaps. For me, they are excellent performers and affordably priced.
          If a shaver will keep their Acquisition Disorder in check, then wet shaving doesn’t have to put you in debt!

    4. It is not deception and lies, it is beautiful, wonderful and makes our faces happy. If you buy 600 razors, 900 soaps and 10,000 blades, of course traditional wetshaving will be more expensive that using a multiblade cartridge. Just buy a single razor, try some different blades and voila… great, inexpensive shaves. There is no way using 40 cent blades is going to be more expensive than $3.00 cartridges.

  7. Very informative video. Thanks for making this.
    The bottom line is that wet shaving is better if you the time (10-15 minutes).
    Most of us guys use cartridges because we are busy and shaving is something that we rush through when getting ready for work in the morning. Then by Thursday or Friday, we wonder why shaving starts to hurt and the red blotches start to appear.
    My idea? Use both.
    If you are in a rush, STILL find time to prep a little before shaving. If you have the time to spare, nothing beats the comfort and closeness of good prep and shaving with a DE for wet shaving.

  8. Excellent video, good for beginners or those wishing to take the plunge. One thing I don’t quite understand is how gels and propellant-based goo is lumped in completely with cartridge shaving, with traditional creams and soaps with DE shaving. Wet shaving is wet shaving. You can use good prep, a shave brush, and a good shaving cream or soap along with a cartridge razor. I did this for a long time in fact before I switched to DE shaving. You can do wet shaving with a DE razor or a cartridge razor. You could similarly use a propellant based brushless shave gel with your DE razor. I think the video may be inaptly titled for this reason. The products may be linked by manufacturer or shelf arrangement in stores, but they are separate things.

    1. True but I think the real link between the 2 is that most cartridge shavers take the “Path of Least Resistance” doing it the faster, easier, quicker way… So although it may be technically different the general fact of the matter is that most are unlike yourself where they use a preparation regimen & a cartridge razor….

    2. Dr. K is right, wet shaving can be done with a cartridge razor. I was generalizing between the two categories (Wet Shaving VS Cartridge Shaving) to show that there is a distinct difference. I chose to associate all attributes of wet shaving specifically with the use of a DE razor and address most of the problematic attributes of modern shaving with the use of cartridge razors. Thank you for your interest!

      1. I forgot to mention, I actually do use shaving gel with my DE razor sometimes. I find it is excellent for my ATG pass (similar to Leisurguy’s oil pass). I plan to make a video about this also.

    3. I’ve been asking this same question for years on B&B, my entire adult life I’ve shaved with soap & brush and an Atra or TracII type razor. I consider myself a wetshaver. Been doing it that way for 20 years. I think what it comes down to is that some men, once they make the switch, they change both the shaving cream AND the razor. They never tried their cartidge with proper prep, improved lather and good technique. It does make a difference. If you shave your face dry with only Edge, no prep and a DE, you’ll probably get a crappy shave too..

      1. You are right, good prep with quality cream/soap and a good brush makes a world of difference, even with a cartridge razor. I am one of those guys who switched to using a high-quality shaving cream while still using a cartridge, so I speak from experience. There is one critical difference between a cartridge razor and a safety razor – the number of different blade types available. Cartridge razors typically have Schick or Gillette and a store brand cartridge available, with maybe a few more brands available online. Safety razors have 80 or so different blades that can be tried. The chance of finding just the right combination of razor and blade/cartridge is much greater when using double edge blades.

Comments are closed.