What it the best beginner safety razor?

Discussion in 'Razors, Scissors, & Personal Grooming' started by Sgct, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. Sgct


    Jul 10, 2013
    I am new to this kind of shaving and I wanted to know what is the best beginner safety razor. I have acne prone skin and usually have to shave twice a week. Thanks!
  2. jnich67


    Dec 4, 2006
    There are plenty. The Merkur HD is a classic. I would suggest getting a fixed one - not an adjustable - and learn to use it. The adjustables were distracting for me and I ended up fiddling with it too much instead of just learning through practice. Then it's on to straights! :D

    Just my $.02.

  3. Gollnick

    Gollnick Musical Director

    Mar 22, 1999
    I'm not sure there is one. I started with and still use a Merkur Futur. The one that most suggest avoiding is the Merkur Vison which has two axis of adjustment, a bit complex to start with.

    What you'll be more concerned about is shaving products. I also have oily skin and somewhat acne-prone. But I can select products which are good for me.
  4. unky_gumbi


    Aug 28, 2009
    Everyone will tell you something different is the best one for a beginner, I look at it a bit different. there are basically two roads you can go down, New Modern razor, or antique old razor, and on those two roads there are endless choices of houses to stop at, from really expensive to dirt cheap, supper mild to scary aggressive.

    All I can really share is my personal trip in to DE shaving. I was getting really bad ingrown hairs on my neck and have a huge scare on my chin that would get nicked every time I shaved with a multi bladed razor. I didn't want to buy a used antique razor at that time so I listened to what a lot of people said and read a lot of reviews to see what had the better chance of working for me and fit my budget. I ended up getting a Edwin Jagger DE89L, not an expensive razor, but looked to do what I needed it to do for me. Then there was the blade choice thing, many people will tell you that you have to use blade X and to ignore any irritation you may be getting from it. Stating that it isn't the blade and razor causing the problem its your technique and to stick with it. I on the other hand am dead against that and feel its better to learn with a mild razor and blade and get good with that before using a super sharp blade and aggressive razor. To this day I can not get an enjoyable shave out of a Feather blade unless I stick it in my mildest razor. I have the same problem with Derby blades except even in my mildest razor they wage war on my skin:eek:

    I have since moved on to old Gillette razors and like them better than DE razors made today. I got over the used razor thing when it was pointed out to me that we reuse our silverware every day, and that the razor only holds the "new" blade. That old razor can be cleaned and sterilized quite easy so its not a problem:thumbup:

    If you want a cheap quality razor to start off with find an old Gillette Tech, they are simple and very forgiving, don't pay more than $10 for one, they are a dime a dozen. For a more modern razor, any of the Edwin Jagger DE89 line can be picked up for $30-$50 and the same goes for the Merkur HD line. Those are probably the two most recommended beginner razors out there, and they hold that position for a reason. Get a blade sampler pack from one of the many online retailers, but don`t use a different blade each shave. Use each brand long enough to get a feel for it, but obviously if a particular blade is causing discomfort and pain while shaving, STOP!! you are doing something wrong. Do a bit of reading on technique and prep because even a blade that doesn't work for you, your face should not hurt while shaving.

    Right now my go to setup is a Gillette New Standard, with either a Persona Red or Blue blade, used with Proraso Green shave soap, followed by some Captains Choice bayrum aftershave, but I have over 20 old razors and I switch it up from time to time depending on my mood. That is what works for me, but it is in no way saying it would work for you.
  5. David Martin

    David Martin

    Apr 7, 2008
    The New Standard is a very good razor. I use mine not so often. Not because of the shave, they are just so nice to look at it makes me hold back. My 57 Gillette Super Speed gets used every week and I really enjoy the shave. I strop the Feather blades and they give a soft smooth shave. DM
  6. crazyengineer


    Apr 2, 2011
    I use vintage safety razors when I travel (straights at home), I just make sure that they aren't plastic and boil them for a bit to sterilize them. works great (also takes the gunk off from what I have found).

    I second the gillette tech razor.

    I too am acne prone, had bad acne in my early teens and still have it, though, not as bad. wet shaving helped it a lot (I mix making a lather with a mug and face lather), clears my acne up really well. as for soap, I would reccomend mama bears soap, I have found it very ncie to use and fairly good for getting a good lather. I do agree with getting a sampler pack for blades, very much worth it, and like was said before, if one is causing pain while you shave, stop using it. I don't agree that it is your fault if you are getting pain (assuming you are able to shave without pain normally aka been using a DE a while). I went through a sampler pack and got good comfortable shaves from most brands, some better than others, but all acceptable, except feather blade, no matter what I did they caused discomfort and pain as I shaved.

    The MOST important thing to remember is TAKE YOUR TIME, if you try to rush, it will not feel good (and possibly not end well). I learned that the hard way, try to avoid that.
  7. bigmac53


    Dec 2, 2012
    I have a couple safety razors in my shaving kit, and I think the best shave I get is from a mid 50's Gillette Super Speed. They are affordable and I find them to give nice close shaves while also being super comfortable. The Merkur HD is another good one.
  8. jkarp_53

    jkarp_53 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 25, 2006
    I love my old Gillettes, in particular the 40's style SuperSpeeds, but prefer modern Merkurs. For a fixed non-adjustable razor the HD (34C) is a great razor, and despite the moniker isn't Heavy Duty in any way but for the weight, which makes it a pleasure to use. I have a heavy beard with sensitive skin and find this delivers a mild yet close shave. This razor is easy to use, and changing the blade simply requires turning the knob at the base. Another excellent razor is the 23C
    with the longer handle, again a mild shaver and easy to use. For adjustables, the Progress is a superb shaver (either long or short handle) because it can be set at different angles, depending on how aggressive or mild you want it, and with practice is the best razor I've ever shaved with.

    I think the key is to practice your shaving craft; prep is the key and a good soap or cream, along with a good brush, can really make this process enjoyable. Hope this helps and good luck!
  9. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    Lots of good advice. I'll only add, when you find vintage DE razors in the wild, look for things like the blade gap and make sure it is even from left to right and similar for each side. I see quite a few at flea markets and pass on them due to this unless they are cheap enough.

    Old gillettes are great, Tech, Super Speed, Slim adjustable, Super Adjustable. I don't own any new razors anymore, I had a Merkur 23C I gifted to someone else here and only use vintage DE's. Not for any particular reason, just didn't care for the 23C very much and spend very little on old ones.

    Head over to Target and pick up a Van der Hagen deluxe shaving kit for ~$10. It will have a useable brush, a lather bowl and some soap. Its good enough to get you started. I also think the RazoRock line of creams are great for beginners due to the fact that they will almost lather by themselves. Good product, great shave for me. Also, inexpensive at less than $6 a tub that will last you 6 months of everyday shaving.

    Spend you efforts learing how to prep your face/beard and how to make great lather. This will help more than switching blades and razors or technique. Don't be afraid to practice lathering, its hardly wastefull it uses so little product compared to what you get.

  10. Razorlove


    Oct 19, 2015
    If you have sensitive skin, and you're a beginner, then you definitely need a very friendly first razor. You will need to avoid any of the ones that have an open comb, as those tend to be rougher and will most likely shred through your skin. I`d suggest something like the Parker 99R as that tends to be a bit softer and more friendly to errors. You can have a look here at the different safety razors and their aggressiveness. It's going to take time to learn, but it is totally worth switching over. Let me know if you need any assistance, there's some great threads here that show you exactly how to use one.
  11. wazu013

    wazu013 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    I use this Edwin Jagger with Derby Extra blades that cost .10 cents if you buy 100. It gives me a great shave.
  12. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    I will pretty well agree with all the advice rolling so far. One thing to keep in mind is that you will have to try quite a few things before you get everything dialed in, and that's okay. Go scientifically at it, and you should have a good time.

    My setup right now is taylors of old bond street soap, an open comb gillette tech (my beard grows in reasonably thick, so I have some trouble with bar/closed comb razors if I go more than a day between shaves) and Gillette silver blue blades. Aftershave is Thayers superhazel. I would say I'm pretty well average. so you might need gentler products or different methods. after shave is just as important as the rest of it.

    One thing to consider, each soap and scent is going to have at least some effect on your skin, so you might find that you like the shave of a certain soap, but the scent is irritating. Samplers are great for this.

    As a beginning soap, I think mitchels wool fat is really good. It can be a bit tough to lather if you have really hard water, but the shave is very good, and its a good baseline to work from. Same with blades, each razor and person has a blade that works best. And on occasion you'll get a bad blade. Each blade combo will have a certain lifespan, so you will have to also figure that into your calculation. I generally get 6-7 shaves out of a blade, so I change weekly. Some blades start out really good for me, but only last a few shaves, and some are not great, but can go much farther. Prep plays some part, but as you get more in the swing of things, you'll find that you'll be able to tell if you've done it right. I'd stick in the middle of the price range, keep notes, and just see what you can come up with. the bay is a great place to find blades, as a lot of the world still uses DEs and most blades are made in India, Russia and South East Asia. In your case I'd suggest doing a new blade each week, corrosion also kills blades, and that way you will know that its the blade's performance you are working with, not suffering when its just because its an old blade. once you start buying in 100 packs the cost is so negligible that you might decide to go for a fresh blade each shave, and you'll still be ahead!

    Lastly if you haven't seen mantic59s youtube channel, its worth a look. lots of good info there.
  13. TedBundo


    Jul 25, 2017
    The Muhle R41.... JK! i've been doing this for years and that thing still scares me... as someone else had mentioned the Merkur HD is a great choice. It's all about preference but there are some blades that are better for beginners than others
  14. Icehawk


    Aug 9, 2008
    I see no one has mentioned oil - I prefer using a pre-shave oil and then brushing on shaving cream, really helps make the razor glide. Was a PITA when I used regular razors as they would get clogged after almost every pass but the Merkur HD I got cleans pretty easily and I can always unscrew the handle a few turns to open it up a bit for a fuller rinse.

    I just started with this (on my 2nd blade) and I get a decent shave but not quite as close as with a Sensor 3 blade I think, my guess is it's technique since I've only used the DE a half dozen times or so vs the thousands with the Sensor. My only real gripe is that I pretty much can't get into the space right below my nostrils because the head is so darn big, I just use the Sensor for that one spot - now at least those $$$ blades will last forever. Reviews of Merkur's mustache razor leave me unsure if it is worth trying.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  15. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Oil can work for some, just depends on your entire setup. Keep working on your prep and blade selection, and keep in mind that a DE should always be a multi-pass process, where the multi-blade is "supposed" to be a single pass. Once you get your hair direction mapped out, you should be leaving the sensor in the dust.

Share This Page