Safety Razor FAQ
I want to make the switch to shaving with a safety razor but your selection is overwhelming, what is the best safety razor I can buy and why?
If you are the type of person that appreciates the best quality and likes to buy products once and use them for a lifetime, then our recommendation is a CNC machined stainless steel safety razor. These razors are machined from solid stainless steel billets and rod on CNC milling machines that can cost up to a million dollars. The benefit to a CNC machined razor is three fold; 1) The accuracy of the machine means the razors are build to very high tolerances, up to two thousandths of a inch, the blade will load perfectly every time and you never have to fiddle or worry about an uneven blade exposure. 2) The best CNC machined razors are milled out of billet 316L (marine grade) stainless steel, this makes them highly durable and resistant to any staining, they are designed and built for a lifetime of use! 3) They are beautiful! For those of us that appreciate a well built tool, you won't find a more aesthetically pleasing razor than one coming off a CNC machine. CNC machined razors are items that are meant to be passed on to the next generation. It feels good knowing that someday another family member will be using the razor you used for a lifetime! If you are looking for the best of the best CNC machined razors, checking our the RazoRock Mamba, the RazoRock Wunderbar Slant, the RazoRock MJ-90, the RazoRock Game Changer, as well as machined razors from Charcoal Goods and Above the Tie.
I've been researching safety razors online and there is a lot discussion about tolerances, what are safety razor tolerances and are they important?
Tolerance refers to how well the safety razor is built and how good the fit is. Fit is very important when it comes to a safety razor because it's holding a very sharp blade and you are putting that blade to your face! The highest quality CNC machined razors will be built to tolerances of two thousands of an inch, versus a cast razor that generally have tolerances to ten thousandths of an inch. Better tolerances and fit means the top cap and base plate fit together perfectly and the blade loads perfectly in place every time.
Some of these safety razors seem expensive, will shaving with a safety razor actually save me money?
Investing in a quality safety razor means you will generally start saving money after about six months. If you are shaving with a four or five blade cartridge razor you are probably are spending $3-5 per cartridge. That means in six months you could be spending up to $130 in replacement blades, if you change the blades once per week. The cost of double-edge blades runs generally in the range of 7 to 20 cents if you buy them in bulk. If you change your DE blade even twice a week, your annual cost of blades can be as low $7 versus $200 or more for cartridge replacements. Yes, safety razor will save you a lot of money in the long-run! Next to making your own coffee at home, there is no easier way to save money. On top of the benefits to your wallet, your face will be happy too because the quality of shave is far superior!
What is a CNC machined safety razor and why do they cost more?
I think we basically covered this in the first question but I'll say it again. A CNC machined razor is milled on a very expensive machine from a solid billet, usually stainless steel or aluminum. This is the same process that's used to build a Rolex watch. It's highly accurate and you get a razor that has a superior fit and finish, a razor that's built for a lifetime (or more) of daily use.
I've read that stainless steel safety razors are the most desirable, why?
Stainless steel is a very strong material and if the right grade is used, it is highly resistant to any staining, corrosion or rust. Generally, the best grade for a safety razor is 316L because it's made to be marine grade and used in water applications, especially harsh water environments. 303 and 304 grade stainless steel are also good but would be a notch down in stain resistance to 316L. Be aware there is a difference between CNC billet machined stainless steel and cast stainless steel. Cast stainless steel is usually powder that is heated and poured into a cast, it's more porous than a billet and usually has to be coated. The fit and finish of cast stainless steel is good, but is definitely a level down from stainless steel that is CNC machined from a one-piece billet. The tolerances of a cast stainless steel razor are also lower than that of a CNC billet machined razor.
I've read online that some double-edge safety razors cover the blade tabs and others do not, what is the difference?
The two ends of a DE razor blade are called the tabs. In the past where manufacturing wasn't as accurate, manufacturers left these two end tabs exposed so a shaver could use his thumb and fore finger to adjust the razor blade into perfect position before locking down the blade with the handle. This is generally the case with cast safety razors because you can't cast a razor to super high tolerances. Modern CNC machined razors don't have this problem so many manufacturers like RazoRock make the razor head wider so the blade tabs are covered. Since a CNC machined razor will hold the blade in perfect position every time, there is no need to leave the blade tabs exposed because there is nothing to adjust or wiggle. Many shavers don't like the tabs exposed because if you aren't careful you can nick your nose and ear lobes.
I've just purchased my first safety razor, do you have an tips for me before I get started?
Yes indeed we do! First, please understand there is a learning curve if you're using a safety razor for the first time. Most safety razors are heavier than plastic cartridge razors so the feel in your hand is very different. It will take you 10-15 shaves to really get the feel down pat. Once you get it, you will wish you never wasted money on cartridge razors in the past! Make sure to watch some DE shaving videos on YouTube, this will really expedite the learning curve. Also, be sure to buy a DE blade sampler pack. DE blades are made in many different factories and you will want to try blades from different manufacturers to determine which ones work the best for your face.
I've read that shaving with a safety razor is better for our planet, how so?
We recommend buying or making a DE blade bank. We sell one for $1.99 at ItalianBarber and generally it takes 2-3 years to fill it up. Since DE blades are just stainless or carbon steel they can be recycled. Once filled, we recommend taping up the blade bank and then dropping it off at your local recycling facility. Unlike cartridge razors that go directly into our landfills, to the tune of a few billion cartridges a year, a DE blade can easily be recycled! Just let your recycling depot know they are blades so they can handle them properly. By shaving with a safety razor, you are eliminating one less thing that has to be put into a landfill. Pat yourself on the back knowing you are leaving the planet better for the next generation!