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Wet Shaving 101 – Is Switching To A Safety Razor Really Worth The Hype?

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Is switching to a safety razor really worth the hype?  Safety razors can significantly lower your shaving expenses over time and can offer a better shave for sensitive skin.  Cartridge razors can offer a “safer” and more consistent shave experience. 

Key Takeaways

  • Safety razors can save you money over time because the blades are generally cheaper than disposable cartridge refills.
  • Using a safety razor can reduce skin irritation and the chance of ingrown hairs due to better-quality, single-blade designs.
  • Safety razors are durable, often lasting for years, which is both cost – effective and environmentally friendly since they create less waste.
  • A well – maintained safety razor can offer an improved shaving experience with its precision design leading to a closer shave–with the correct shaving technique.

Why Switching To A Safety Razor May Be Worth It

Switching to a safety razor may be worth it for several reasons. Not only is it cost-effective, but it can also provide a better-quality shave and reduce the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs.


Safety razors can score high on long-term cost-effectiveness, offering a smart financial edge over both high-end cartridge razors and low-quality disposable razors. After the initial purchase of the handle, you’re only buying blades, which can be significantly cheaper than cartridge refills (depending on the cartridge system).  More on this below.

This one-time investment ensures that shaving expenses drop dramatically since you’re not frequently purchasing whole new razors but rather inexpensive yet high-quality replacements for just part of it.

safety razor parts

Built To Last

Beyond the budget-friendly aspect, safety razors take pride in their durability. Crafted from high-quality materials like stainless steel, these razors withstand the test of time far better than disposable options.

Many find that investing in a good safety razor means they won’t have to replace it for years, if ever.

True sustainability in grooming comes not just from cost savings but also from long-lasting products. A well-maintained safety razor can become a staple in your personal care routine, outliving countless packs of cartridge or disposable razors.


Switching to a safety razor is a sustainable choice that reduces plastic waste from disposable options. Safety razors are built to last and can be used for a long time, making them an environmentally friendly alternative.

By investing in a durable safety razor, you contribute to reducing the environmental impact of shaving products while ensuring a long-lasting grooming tool.

Lower Cost-Per-Shave Ratio (MAYBE…)

empty wallet

Switching to a safety razor can slash your shaving expenses over time. Cartridge razors and disposable razors may seem cheaper initially, but they’re designed for limited use before you need to buy replacements.

In contrast, safety razor blades cost pennies on the dollar compared to many multi-blade cartridges. Over months and years, this translates into substantial savings as you replace only the single blade in your safety razor.

These durable blades not only can save money but can also outperform their disposable counterparts by offering a cleaner cut with less irritation. Investing in a double-edge razor means investing in quality tools that command respect and care during each shave.

However, recent changes in the pricing structure of many cartridge razor refills, and the availability of cartridges that have fewer blades (particularly those that are compatible with newer cartridge razor handles, such as the Gillette SkinGuard and the Penny Shaver), make the difference in costs less dramatic).

Improved Shaving Experience (MAYBE…)

a man shaving with a cartridge blade razor

A safety razor can often provide a closer and more precise cut when proper safety razor shaving techniques are used. The weight and design of the safety razor help achieve smoother and cleaner results, reducing the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs.

On the other hand, a cartridge razor can offer a safer, more consistent shave experience than a safety razor, especially if the shaver is looking for a faster, more convenient shave.  And some razor cartridges offer a trimmer blade for precision-like cuts such as sideburns.

The design of razor cartridges and the addition of flexible pivots on many cartridge razors can reduce the chances for nicks and cuts, compensate for too much pressure on the blade (to a point…), and provide a more “automatic” stubble reduction on tricky areas like the jawline or under the nose.


Making the switch to a safety razor is definitely “worth it” under certain circumstances. It can offer a more cost-effective and sustainable shaving solution. 

With better-quality blades and improved shaving experience, it provides a safer and more precise shave while reducing the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs.  Embracing a safety razor is not only environmentally friendly but also ensures long-lasting benefits for both your skin and the planet.

However, cartridge razors can offer a faster shave with less susceptibility to nicks and cuts and more consistent over the shaved surface.  Some cartridge systems are also lower cost than others with prices within the range of safety razor blades depending on how frequently you shave.

Otto Wright

Otto Wright

I am a men's grooming enthusiast, particularly interested in traditional wet shaving, who also happens to be a freelance author.View Author posts

3 thoughts on “Wet Shaving 101 – Is Switching To A Safety Razor Really Worth The Hype?”

  1. Your article was interesting but inconsistent. After reading it I still don’t know which causes less physical trauma. I am a dedicated cartridge user but will admit DE shaving has two advantages. It is cheaper but you don’t say by how much. Is $124.98 cheaper than $124.99? Is 235F degrees “hotter” than 234F. You do omit the one big advantage DE does have. You can buy an adjustable razor to vary the aggressiveness of the blade exposure. No can do with a cartridge. My personal experience is that I get fewer nicks and bleeds with a cartridge so I’ll pay the minor additional cost. Nice article though.

    1. You can, theoretically, save quite a bit of money. IF you don’t fall down the rabbit hole of buying all kinds of razors, soaps, brushes, etc. Many of us start out with the idea of saving money and reducing waste, but the next thing you know you have drawers full of shaving gear…

      But yes. You can buy even a half decent adjustable for not huge amounts of money. And blades are inexpensive. You don’t get as many shaves per blade as with a cartridge, but even so, they will still cost less – and the more often you shave, the faster the savings mount up.

      I recently bought 100 blades for $8.29 Cdn, total cost to my door. That’s the cheapest I’ve managed to date. But I got eight shaves out of the first blade. So that’s just over a penny per shave. And given I shave every second day, at eight shaves per blade (something I probably won’t do, but assuming I did) that would give me about four years of shaves out of those 100 blades.

      Before switching to DE shaving a bit over three years ago, I was in the Dollar Shave Club, paying $10 every two months (plus tax) for four cartridges (I could get away with that because I also used an electric razor). So for less than the cost of two months’ supply of cartridges, I have between two (at my usual four shaves per blade) and four years’ worth of shaves. The packaging is 100% recyclable, as, theoretically, are the blades [all metal, but not all places will take them because they are “sharps”]. And I only paid about $60 Cdn for my first razor.

      If I’d been able to stick with just changing my razor & blades, and not gone crazy buying all kinds of other stuff, I could, by now, have saved $120 or more, compared to the Dollar Shave Club subscription price.

  2. The hysteresis effect of multi blade cartridge razors is well documented which means these razors can be disastrous for those people who are prone to ingrown hair. There is much less risk with single blade shaving, I get a smooth irritation free shave and it’s environmentally friendly so I’m sticking with my Gillette Tech DE razor.

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