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buying a DE safety razor...

Joined
Nov 14, 2003
Messages
61
Greetings, all. At 29 years old, I've grown tired of paying for $4 cartridges that last a week at best. I think I'm ready to try a DE safety razor, probably a Merkur.

The questions -

How much longer does it take to shave with a DE safety razor vs. a Mach3 type blade?

How likely are you to cut yourself badly IN THE BEGINNING?

How likely are you to cut yourself ONCE YOU GET THE HANG OF THINGS?

Thanks a lot!

Paul
 
Late to the party here, but this is a pretty slow forum.

Been shaving with a Safety Razor since age 19 or so (1999). I find it far comfier than an electric or cartridge razor. I originally got into it out of thrift and minimalism, but stick with it due to comfort.

I've been meaning to upgrade to a nicer-quality one, though my drugstore plastic-handled cheapie has lasted me for seven years (including two Iraq deployments).

Those Merkur Classic 1904s look great, and seem like they'd have good traction.

Did you end up getting a safety razor yet? What do you think?

-MV
 
Another late comer to the party.
I've been using Gillette Lady for years. It was designed for use on a woman's legs so it works good on my thick beard. The blades are cheap and I get great shaves. I change blades once a week.

It takes about the same time to shave with a DE.
You may get cut, but I wouldn't consider it "badly".
Once you get the hang of it you'll get cut about as much as with a disposable, but get less razor burn.

Let the razor do the work. Don't push down too hard. It takes me several passes and I have to stroke my skin inbetween to get hairs to stand out. I do an initial shave, brush my teeth, and then put lotion on my face and shave it again.

If you get razor burn, remember that it takes a couple of days to heal. In other words, don't expect a good shave the next day and be disappointed if you feel a little burned afterwards. After you've mastered the technique you'll never go back to disposables.
 
this party is a long one. who makes a good entry level de razor and where's the best the best place to buy one? thanks for any input.
 
I switched to DE at the beginning of this year. My story is much like the OP in this old thread: I got sick and tired of paying huge prices for blade cartridges.

I have and very much like my Merkur Futur. I, myself, while I will admit having no standing to say much since the Futur is the only DE I've ever used, will say this: I like it and I get great results from it.

I was very attracted to the Futur because I saw so many posts on various forums saying, "The Futur is not a good razor to use for blade evaluation/comparison because everything saves great in a Futur." Well, I'm not interested in a razor to server as a platform for competitive blade evaluations. I want a razor as a tool to get me shaved. So, that fault of the Futur seems to me a great strength.

Similarily, I have only ever used one brush: the matching Merkur Futur brush. But, I also like it very much and feel that I get great results from it.

I am also of the strong opinion that some people on some of the online forums make way too much drama about this whole DE shaving thing. This is how guys shaved for generations... until very recently, in fact. From Nobel Prize winners to ditch diggers, this is how they did it and they all did it successfully. You can do it too. It's not that mysterious. It's not that hard. Your grandfather did it. Your great-grandfather did it. You can do it too.

Yes, I have, over the last ten months sufered a few little nicks, but I am not currently on the waiting list for a face transplant or anything like that. In fact, I think that within about three months I was largely over the nicks phase.

My shave with my old Sensor used to take about ten minutes. I've got the DE shave down to about 12 now which is acceptable to me. And, every shave my Futur gives me now is an order of magnitude better than the best shave my Sensor ever did.

So, my advice to you is go ahead and get yourself a Futur and matching brush. Get some Dorco blades for your first couple of weeks and some Derbys for you next month or two and then some Bics for a few months after that. I've been very happy with soap from The Gentlemans Quarter (google it). I find that I don't need all of the other magic potions and elixers that some people swear are must-haves. I try to keep it simple, quick, and inexpensive.
 
I love my old Gillette double edged razor. Have used it all my "shaving" life (well over 50 years). Of course I learned to shave using a straight razor; still occasionally use it, but the Gillette is my standard. Even bought an old one at a yard sale to have a spare in case mine went bad. Can still find de blades at numerous places. IMHO, the best razor ever designed.

Keep your electrics, zillion bladed cartridge razors, etc; I'll stick with my old Gillette de.
I don't use a brush or shaving soap, just warm water. I've gotten a few minor nicks over the years, but nothing that required surgery :)

For you guys thinking of switching. Be patient, it takes a couple weeks of using a blade for your beard and face to adjust to the blade and for you to find out how best to use it, but the blood loss will be minimal :)

Rich S
 
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I'll second the Merkur Futur. Been using one for years. I guess any quality brand will do though. I've been very happy with the Futur and don't see myself needing to buy another ever. Solid. The adjustablility is nice to learn with, but I quickly ended up setting it on the most aggressive number and leaving it there.

As far as cuts go, just a few when learning, nothing spectacular. After just a few shaves, never again. Actually less than a disposable. The nice heavy head of the Futur does all the work for you and takes it off in one gentle swipe. No pressing or multiple passes, and no clogged blades. Never had razor burn with the DE.

You might read about folks who complain about the weight or the head size, but, those folks are usually coming from the Mach 3 world. Anyone who pays that much for cartridges and falls for that much marketing hype is likely to be a little soft in the head and slow at learning new tasks.:D
 
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Well worth the effort in my view, it does take a little longer at first-the prep and getting used to(using it again as it is the system I began with)but the results are better and the costs lower in the long run.

Another advantage is the range of soaps&creams, BOUND to be something that appeals&suits. It's totally subjective, all these 'musts' you can hear on shaving forums,temp of water ,weight of razor size of handle, type of brush ONLY aply to what suits you.I prefer a smaller medium length handle as I find it more agile, others need a heavy long handled razor.Same with blades,BIC and Derby are good but for me, Feather are vastly superior(and more expensive)but that's what suits me. Without the Internet, obtaining DE supplies might well have become impossible (chain store monopolies&cartels..)so it's an interesting case of a traditional method being enhanced by new technology.

Experiment and be patient, one thing is for sure it makes shaving actually satisfying,no question!
 
You can still get a cheap brush and some soap pucks at Wal-Mart most of the time. All my de's are OLD
Here's a pic i took one day, this is most of them i think.
Funny story see the one with the really thick handle on it? That is a Stahly Live Blade, you twist the bottom of it up and it has a mechanism inside of it that spins and makes it vibrate like the "new" mach5's.....

IMG_0016.jpg




I actually prefer the shave i get with single edge GEM razors there are two of them on the bottom left, the one on the very far bottom left is barnone my favorite. I've got a few shick injectors that are pretty sweet aswell.
 
Nice picture! A first on this forum perhaps....

What's the very small razor in the second row? Some manner of traveller? Looks a bit like my Merckur Travel razor that delivers an excellent shave and folds up into a tiny leather pouch.
 
Nice picture! A first on this forum perhaps....

What's the very small razor in the second row? Some manner of traveller? Looks a bit like my Merckur Travel razor that delivers an excellent shave and folds up into a tiny leather pouch.



Yea it's a gillette travel razor. It has a small vinyl case that it goes in. Oneside the handle and a pack of razors strap in, the otherside the head straps in. Pretty neat.
I actually got that one, the slim adjustable just to the right of it and the black handled superspeed in the very top right from one of my grandpas.
 
I've noticed the same thing. I have one I bought about 20 years ago and the plating is far superior to those that I have purchased over the last year. They are great shavers for me, so I can live with that, but I would hate for them to break like Kaveh's did. Oh well, I guess time will tell.
Thanks

Spam removed.
 
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this party is a long one. who makes a good entry level de razor and where's the best the best place to buy one? thanks for any input.

I purchase all of my DE Shaving supplies (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE BLADES) from HERE

I've been using a Merkur Progress for about 4 years now and would use nothing else. The blades are where you are going to do some testing to see what works best for you. After about a 3 year trial and error period, I've settled an the Israeli Personna Blade with Derby blades being second. You can find very good deals on those blades with Google search.

The key to DE shaving is a good soap or cream and then "LET THE BLADE DO THE WORK"! NO PRESSURE.

Also, there are some very good tutorials on youtube by MANTIC
 
The "no pressure" mantra is just wrong and, I suspect, causes beginners some problems. "Let the weight of the razor do the work" is equally confusing. Unless you lay on your side as you shave, the weight of the razor will pull the razor to the floor, not your face. Obviously, you do need to use a bit of pressure to hold the razor to your face and follow the contures of your face. This is obvious and yet the beginner (and I was there about a year ago) is told in bold, all caps letters "NO PRESSURE". It's just confusing and leaves the beginner thinking "I can't do this. I don't understand this. I don't get it. I'm doing this wrong." And, most hazardously, "my problems, including my nicks and cuts, are the result of pressure and I must focus on no pressure." No. You DO need to apply some pressure, just not very much. So, just relax on the pressure issue, you beginners. It's a light touch, a little pressure, and you'll figure it out quickly and naturally.

The no-pressure-mantra comes largely, I suspect, from people converted from electric razors where you really do have to press the razor into your face to force the hairs through the screen so that the rotating blades (yes, electric razors use blades -- the hairs are not, somehow, cut with electricity, so all shaving really is blade shaving) can cut the hairs. To prevent nicks and cuts, the blades in many cartrige-style razors are either wrapped with thin wires or have little bumps on them. Similar to the electric, these have to be pressed into the face rather firmly to get the a really-close shave (they are literally not intended to give a really-close shave -- they compromise this to safety -- and so pressing them to your face hard to get that super-close shave is really a mis-use of these razors and those who insist on doing this should just switch to a razor designed to give ultra-smooth shaves with minor pressure, e.g. a DE razor.)
 
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The key thing is the angle you use and keeping the shave quite slow,a DE razor being heavier than a modern cartridge razor is a slower steadier instrument.
 
The key thing is the angle you use and keeping the shave quite slow...

This has been exactly my experience. The angle is the most important thing. But the angle really isn't hard to master. Start very shallow and increase the angle until the blade shaves.

One experiement I did early on which helped a lot was to use a knife to shave my left forearm clean and then, after a day or two when stubble appeared, I shaved it again this time using shaving soap and my DE razor. This way, I could actually watch close up as the blade shaved the hairs. This gave me the visual reference I needed. This was a very helpful experiement which I recommend for all new DE users.

The other thing I've learned is to make short strokes. Don't try and draw the razor from your eyebrow all the way down the side of your face to the base of your neck in one swoop as you might have with a pivoting-head razor. Instead, make a series of short strokes, each maybe an inch or two long. It's much easier to follow the contures of your face and maintain that correct angle this way.
 
This has been exactly my experience. The angle is the most important thing. But the angle really isn't hard to master. Start very shallow and increase the angle until the blade shaves.

One experiement I did early on which helped a lot was to use a knife to shave my left forearm clean and then, after a day or two when stubble appeared, I shaved it again this time using shaving soap and my DE razor. This way, I could actually watch close up as the blade shaved the hairs. This gave me the visual reference I needed. This was a very helpful experiement which I recommend for all new DE users.

The other thing I've learned is to make short strokes. Don't try and draw the razor from your eyebrow all the way down the side of your face to the base of your neck in one swoop as you might have with a pivoting-head razor. Instead, make a series of short strokes, each maybe an inch or two long. It's much easier to follow the contures of your face and maintain that correct angle this way.


AMEN!!!

I make very short possibly 1-2" strokes and move to another spot. I try to only run the razor over a place that has shaving cream on it, so if i've just run my razor over it i won't make a follow up pass on this spot. It takes awhile, but i feel like i get less irritating shaves this way. I normally do a WTG (with the grain) pass, and XTG (cross the grain), and then another XTG pass in the opposite direction. On special occasions i throw in a ATG (against the grain) pass just to get baby bottom smooth. I do'nt do ATG very often due to not being very good at it and almost always having irritation a day or two afterwards.
 
Alanp, I often shave against the grain as I like an ultra close shave WHEN I shave.I say when, as I only shave every other day so there's a fair load of stubble to tackle, which makes stress free close shaving easier.
It could be your shaving soap/cream that gives irritation here, try changing it perhaps? Today I used Proraso (got used to the smell)and the stress free results are outstanding,no irritation or rash just smooooth. Short strokes are certainly the realistic ones with a DE, try an eyebrow to jaw 'swipe' with a Feather and you'll have duelling scars......
 
hello all, first posting here so bear with me! :) I converted to de shaving for one simple reason...cost. Beginners (like I was) can find steals and deals at antique stores (I was waiting for my wife to finish shopping when I found my gillette), or flea markets. Cheap is good! The no pressure thing to me makes sense though, esp. with a new blade. The weight of the razors "head" just needs to "lean in" so to speak to your skin, and let a slow, careful motion be your guide. I bleed still sometimes, but usually only when I've just replaced the blade and I'm pressing too hard. Anyhow, great forum! Long live de blade makers! :-D
 
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