Like last year, it’s been another crazy year out there, so maybe it’s time to get yourself (or someone you love) that special shaving-something…or leave a printout of this article laying around the house as a hint. I will be updating this post periodically during the holiday season to reflect sales and promotions from vendors and artisans.
[Note: Amazon, OneBlade, PAA, and Tatara links are affiliate.]
Anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows I really like my OneBlade Genesis razor: it’s easily my favorite razor. I get close, comfortable, and consistent shaves with my Genesis. I would say that it gets 75% of my time shaving when I’m not specifically testing another razor.
OneBlade razors have three different price points: the entry-level Core; the mid-price Hybrid; and the premium Genesis. They’re all mild (the Core is very mild, the Hybrid a little less-so; and the Genesis is least mild) and will be familiar to use for the cartridge razor user you may be trying to “convert” to old-school wet shaving (or maybe you just want one for yourself!). I’ve written extensively about OneBlade.
The “Mild” version AL-13 was given a slight design tweak in late June, 2022. I think the updated razor design is slightly more aggressive, getting a little closer to the “Medium” version. But nothing dramatic.
I find the razor angle “sweet spot” noticeably wider on the updated version though. You should be able to get a good cut from this razor without having to pay overly-close attention to the exact angle at which you hold the razor.
Parker Open Comb Variant Adjustable Razor
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of adjustable safety razors. One of my favorites is the Parker Variant. Parker just released an open comb version! Three things jump out at me when I compare the Parker Open Comb (OC) Variant to the standard Variant.
First, while I don’t detect much difference in performance between the two razors on “daily” stubble, I find the OC Variant is noticeably smoother and more comfortable on long, multi-day stubble. I’ll bet this is probably due to the inherent design characteristics of open comb razors in general.
Second, I think this is a lot more audio feedback with the OC Variant–again, particularly on multi-day stubble. If you’re a fan of ASMR you’ll probably get a kick out of the Parker Open Comb Variant razor.
Finally, I find the “sweet spot”–the range of angles that the razor can be held for a good shave, pretty wide. In fact, maybe a bit more than the standard Variant (which is quite generous itself).
Beyond that, like the original Variant, the OC Variant gives me excellent shave performance. I can tweak the adjustment dial “on the fly” during my shave to routinely give me baby’s butt smooth shaves.
Parker Adjustable Injector
The Parker Adjustable Injector razor just updated the design with some subtle-but-noticeable improvements. The adjustment range has been widened slightly, with the upper end of the range more symmetrical and predictable. Blade loading is even smoother than before.
My shaves with the new Parker adjustable Injector razor have been quite smooth and predictable. There is enough blade feel to know you’re shaving but not so much as to be dangerous. I settled on the “2” setting (I prefer mild razors) and I have been getting effortlessly baby’s butt smooth (BBS) shaves.
I get excellent shaves from the Encalife Luxury safey razor! I would classify the characteristics as the low end of the ‘average’ range of aggressiveness. Maybe a 4 out of 10? There is some blade feel but it is not excessive. I think the “sweet spot,” the range of blade angles that still provide an acceptable cut of stubble without being too harsh, is fairly generous.
The knurling on the razor handle is good and runs along most of the handle. I doubt this razor will slip through wet hands. The combination of knurling and balance make this razor feel good in my hand.
Rockwell T2 Stainless Steel
In my hand the T2SS is very comfortable to me, despite its size. The weight, balance, and that hard-to-quantify “denseness” I described earlier combine for a pleasant, secure feel for me.
I find that the T2SS has a generous “sweet spot” for finding the correct angle to hold the razor/blade at. While I assume the T2SS will be mostly used by wet shaving aficionados it should also be suitable for beginners (as long as they don’t “dial up” to a too-aggressive setting).
The bottom line here is that my shaves with the Rockwell T2 adjustable razor in Stainless Steel are excellent! It usually takes me a few shaves with a new razor to learn its quirks and get a good shave. But I became accustomed to the razor very quickly and I routinely get comfortable “baby’s butt smooth” shaves out of it.
Chiseled Face Titanium
I find the 85 mm handle length (call it 3.5 inches; about 4.5 inches overall with head) of the Chiseled Face titanium razor good for my hand and I imagine most others as well. I find the 62 gram (about 2 oz.) weight a bit more than some other titanium razors (I prefer heavier over lighter razors) and to me feels maybe a touch heavier because the center-of-gravity is weighted more towards the razor’s head. The handle is also slightly wider in diameter at the end than many other handles (the overall shape is kind of hourglass).
Lather flow-through is excellent. I doubt you will ever have a problem with this razor clogging.
Chiseled Face suggests “riding the cap.” While I think that does provide slightly better results for me, I find this razor’s “sweet spot” quite generous with a wide range of hold angles providing a good shave.
Chiseled Face says this razor is “[e]fficient enough for a single pass shave, but mild enough that a 3 pass would be no issue, and buffing is just fine.” I think I might take a bit of an issue with that. I prefer “mild” razors and I think this razor’s sales copy infers it is fairly aggressive. To me it is more toward the “middle-of-the-road” in aggressiveness. I’m not sure I would be satisfied with a single-pass shave (though maybe with a Feather blade…?) but I do get an excellent three pass shave with no irritation.
I’ve used the Rex Ambassador adjustable safety razor for a while now and its performance has been excellent for me. There are now several versions, with different plating materials and handle sizes.
The “adjustability” range is quite wide, going from very mild to very aggressive, and the adjustment mechanics are smooth and reliable. The only nit-pick I have is that the dial marker is a bit small for my less-than-20/20 eyesight.
While not as heavy as some other razors out there I think the Tatara Masamune razor has a nice “heft” to it (it actually “feels” heavier than it is to me) and it’s balanced just the way I like–more towards the head than the bottom of the handle. When I first saw the razor handle I immediately nicknamed it “my golf ball razor” as the handle texturing is dimpled like a golf ball rather than the more common lining or diamond etching designs. I thought to myself “there is no way this razor can feel secure in my hand.” I was entirely wrong. Even though it is not as deeply textured as many other razors I have tried, I have never had a slippage issue with the Tatara Masamune. In fact, I find it quite secure.
The razor’s base plate and head mate to the blade in a fashion that sort of incorporates elements of the pin design and the bar design. I have never experienced an issue with blade alignment with this razor.
I find fit-and-finish to be excellent.
My preference for “mild” razors is well-known. The closed comb 0.63mm blade gap would normally place this firmly at the high end of “middle-of-the-road” but I also read that the razor’s blade exposure is negative. This combination makes the razor more efficient but more comfortable as well.
Maybe it’s the design interaction of the blade gap and blade exposure, but I think this razor has a generous “sweet spot” and finding that just-right angle for shaving is easy and intuitive. Lather clogging and rinsing is a non-issue. I get just a bit of blade feel: enough to know it’s cutting but in no way harsh or irritating.
I tried that open comb as well. It too has a negative blade exposure but it is less negative than the closed comb. As expected it shaved me more aggressively.
Shavemac’s “D01” silvertip shave brushes stand out in the silvertip crowd for being unusually soft and dense at the same time. For those who think there isn’t that much difference between the higher-end Super/Best/Fine grades and “silvertip” grade (and you would be right, there usually isn’t that much difference). the Shavemac luxury silvertip experience may change your mind. Shavemac Americana D01 silvertip shave brush is not quite as soft as their other D01 brushes but may be more suitable for the average shaver. Or you can use Shavemac’s “Configurator” to spec out your own brush.
PAA Amber Aerolite
The Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA) Amber Aerolite synthetic shaving brush uses synthetic fibers that I think come closest to both the feel and the performance of a great badger hair brush, for a fraction of the price (US $20).
I have a lot of shave brushes but the PAA Amber Aerolite is my “go to” shaving brush for everyday use.
The PAA Peregrino uses the same fiber knot with a slightly larger handle.
Antica Barberia Mondial
I admit to being a bit of a “brush snob,” first with badger hair shaving brushes then with the latest generation of synthetic fiber shaving brushes, so an old-school boar brush didn’t really trip my trigger.
When I finally tried it the Antica Barberia Mondial boar shave brush was gobsmacked. I’ve tried the cheap drug store “natural fiber” shave brushes, the “Pro” boar brushes, and even the “owner’s club” boar brushes. But this boar hair shave brush was unlike any other boar brush I had used:
- It doesn’t smell bad (or hardly at all, for that matter).
- The handle is firm and hefty in my hand instead of cheap plastic or lightweight wood.
- The knot is well-packed and secure.
- The brush “splays” better with less “scratchiness” than other boar brushes I have used.
- It “broke in” very quickly (albeit I did use the accelerated break-in method).
- It actually builds a really good lather in a short time.
There continues to be interest in shaving bowls and scuttles this year, with more variety available. So perhaps this year’s holiday gifts could include something to keep that lather from the cream or soap you just bought nice and warm during the cold Winter.
Now there are more are getting in on the trend. And along with the additional supply comes downward pressure on the price points. You can get a scuttle from Qshave for under US $22 on Amazon (if you don’t mind their logo on the side). PAA sells a plastic “Travel Scuttle”. The modular Shave Bowl can be configured several different ways; and Naked Armor offers a shaving set that includes scuttle, soap, and brush).
Shave bowls (vs. scuttles) from Fine, Captain’s Choice, Edwin Jagger, and Parker continue to be popular. Or how about an interesting razor and brush stand like this one from Super Safety Razors or this silicon razor and brush holder that attaches to your mirror.
If reading is your thing, check out “70 Razor And Shaving Patents.”
Another 80 razor and shaving patents: Further semi-curated selections of important, interesting, inessential, and plain odd shaving related patents
The Guide To Modern Straight Razor Shaving by sharpologist’s own Joe Borrelli has just been released!