In recent years there has been a resurgence of traditional shaving methods. Men, and women, are ditching the cheap disposal razors in favour of higher quality double edged safety razors and straight razors. While the big brand names such as Gillette continue to dominate the shaving market smaller brand names associated with non-disposable shaving products have been growing in popularity. We look at some of the reasons why traditional shaving methods are making a comeback.
A Superior Shave
Disposable razor blades became commonplace in the 1950’s and have continued to grow in popularity since. Brands like Gillette became household names and dominated the shaving market and the use of traditional methods such as shaving with a straight razor declined significantly. Shaving with a straight razor is difficult and it has a steep learning curve that requires dedication and practice to master and many people would rely on a professional. Disposable razor blades offered a simple alternative, men no longer had to visit a professional barber to shave, now they could shave with ease at home and for low cost. Despite the ease of using a disposable razor many people experienced a poor shave. Shaving nicks and irritated skin are commonplace. Shaving using a good quality straight razor in the hand of an experienced shaver will always result in a superior shave. Soft smooth skin with no nicks and no skin irritation are the result and a shave with a disposable razor just doesn’t come close.
Exposure in TV and Movies
There’s no doubt about it, shaving with a straight razor is way cooler than performing the same activity with a cheap blue plastic disposable. In 2012’s Skyfall James Bond can be seen shaving with a straight razor, the same scene wouldn’t have had the same impact if Naomie Harris had whipped out an orange Bic disposable razor and then 007 had spent the rest of the movie with little squares of blood soaked tissue on his face. The Bride in Kill Bill uses a straight razor to help her escape when she is buried alive. Admiral Adama in the TV series Battlestar Gallactica is seen using a straight razor to shave at memorable moments throughout the run of the show. The use of straight razors at memorable moments in movies and TV shows over the years has helped ensure that traditional shaving methods are part of popular culture. Suppliers of straight razors reported an increase in sales of 405% after Skyfall was released.
People like collecting things and razors and shaving accessories are no different. There is a huge variety of safety and straight razors out there from manufacturers which have unique touches to them. Whether it’s a Damascus steel blade or Spanish Oak wood handle the shear variety of products and the skills used to craft them make razors perfect for collecting. Some of the more unique blades out there include the Hommage Damascene Razor ($30,000) a Damascus steel blade with platinum handle or the $100,000 Zafirro Iridium with a platinum handle and sapphire coated blades. If those are a little out of your price range then rest assured as there are many quality and unique straight razors and safety razors out for a more reasonable price.
It’s Not Always Pricey
Despite some of the examples above shaving using traditional methods such as a straight razor or safety razor can be economical. While the initial outlay is often greater than a disposable razor if a straight razor or safety razor is cared for correctly it will last a lifetime. Straight razors need to be honed regularly to maintain their edge and safety razors require replacement blades but over their lifetime the costs are less. A good quality straight razor can be bought for $50-$60 while mid-range blades will go for $100 – $500. Compare this to the cost of disposable razors which can cost approximately $3 a razor and its easy to see that over the coarse of several years a good quality safety or straight razor will outperform disposals with regards to cost.