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Razors & Blades

SAFETY RAZORS

The fewer blades on your razor, the less likely it is to irritate your skin (rather than what the adverts would have you believe). Far from sacrificing a smooth and close shave, by switching to a safety razor you may find shaving gets a whole lot easier and more pleasurable. With replacement blades from as little as ------p you may find it gets a little cheaper too!

Choosing your razor:

3 piece razor.

The 3 piece safety razor consists of the following:

1. The handle.
2. The 'cap', which sits on top of the razor blade.
3. The 'guard' which sits underneath the razor blade.

The razor blade is sandwiched between the cap and the guard and then screwed into the handle.

Pros:
Easy to clean as it can be split into its component parts.
Interchangeable handles (for the personal touch)

Cons:
Can be 'fiddly' for beginners as it is slightly more difficult to put together, including aligning the blade properly.

Stick with the 3 piece razor however and it can become part of your 'kit' for years.

2 piece razor.

The guard of the 2 piece razor is attached to the handle, so the only removable part is the cap. A central screw in the cap goes through the blade and the guard and into the handle where it is secured by turning the base of the handle.

Pros:
Easy to align the blade in the razor, easy to assemble.
Cons:
More difficult to clean (soap can build up in the hollow handle)
You need to be careful with the screw mechanism.

1 piece razor.

A 1 piece razor, as the name suggests, is all in 1. These are called either twist to open razors or butterfly razors. The razor is held within 2 hinged plates which open when a knob is turned, then nip the blade in place when turned back.

Pros:
Easy and quick to replace blades.
Cons:
As with any item reliant on mechanics, they can wear out or break, and soap build up can affect functionality.

Overall: To get the most out of your safety razor you are going to have to take care of it. This means cleaning it after EVERY use and taking care of the component parts. If you follow those 2 tips however your safety razor should serve you well for a good long time, whichever type you choose.

Things to look out for:

Guard type:

There are 2 types of guard – open guard and closed guard. As it is the guard that makes first contact with your skin it is the guard that determines the 'aggressiveness' of the shave.

Open guard (or open comb): When the guard looks like it has 'teeth' chances are it is an open guard razor.

The job of the comb is to stretch the skin so the blade can make a nice smooth cut. As the teeth on an open comb mean more skin is 'exposed' to the blade it makes for a very close shave with very little pressure.

Of particular use to those with thick / heavy beard growth is the way the teeth guide the hair to the blade for a clean cut without the 'clogging' you get with a disposable razor. An added bonus is that the teeth let plenty of soap stay on the cutting area.

Suitable for:
Heavier beards
Those who do not shave every day

Not suitable for:
Beginners

It may be best for anyone new to wet shaving to 'practice' first – that is to try the safest and easiest version of wet shaving first.

The closed comb is just that. The closed comb acts as a safety bar, pulling the skin tight so the blade has a smoother flatter surface to shave against.

Ideal for beginners as it reduces the likelihood of accidental nicks and cuts.

Suitable for:
Daily shavers
Those with sensitive skin
Ingrown hairs
Razor bumps

Not suitable for:
Those with harsh beards (not that they are NOT suitable necessarily, it's just that you may have to make more than one pass – it may still be preferable to start with a closed comb while you get used to it)

Handle length:

As it is the handle of the razor that determines how much control you have over the shave, handle length should be a consideration when you are deciding on your purchase. Put simply, if you have big hands, go for the longer handle length.

Razors with longer handles: