Is The Safety Razor Making A Comeback?
Is the safety razor making a comeback? Or is it just a niche market for a bunch of men yearning for the days of old? We are to here to tell you that yes, absolutely yes, the safety razor is making comeback. It’s a confident statement, but that’s the sort of thing we do around here. But we also do have evidence to back those claims, so let’s take a closer look.
If YouTube Says It Is True....
We all know that if you find it on the internet, then it must be true. In the spirit of that thinking…..
Something You May Not Have Know About The Safety Razor
Shorts and Facts over on YouTube has an excellent, quick video called History of Safety Razors. Here is our summary of the video: the safety razor reached the peak of popularity after WWI, thanks to a rather smart deal Gillette made with the US Army to issue every soldier their own safety razor shaving kit. (They wanted our soldiers looking fresh, sure, but apparently lice was also an issue!) These soldiers brought their safety razors home and continued to use them, and the safety razor was king of the block until Gillette introduced the first cartridge razor, designed to be even easier and more convenient to use (not to mention more profitable for Gillette).
Then, in 1971, the razor blade arms race began with the first ever two-blade razor, which led to the three-blade, and on and on until we get to the seven-bladed, and now heated monstrosities of today’s cartridge razor world. Popular media has long seen the joke here. Saturday Night Live predicted the 3-bladed razor as a joke, and then later on, MADtv made a parody commercial of a 16-blade cartridge razor! The idea behind the multi-blade cartridge razor is that the first blade pulls up the hair, the second blade cuts the hair, the third blade cleans it up, and so on. Remember that “pull-and-cut” strategy, because we will be coming back to that later. If “pull-and-cut” sounds painful… that’s because it is.
The video wraps up by mentioning that many people are beginning to return to the safety razor as a way to save money, since the cost of cartridge razors has skyrocketed over the past few decades. That’s going to be a common theme here, but we have more evidence for the safety razor comeback than just one video.
Not Convinced. How About "Traditional" Media
In the article Shaving on the Edge (Both of Them) the New York Times reports that one major safety razor retailer reported a 1000% increase in sales of safety razors from 2009-2014, and that growth has only continued.
They attest that the ever-increasing number of products designed to soothe irritated skin are all trying to combat the real problem: the cartridge razor. According to The Times, safety razor manufacturers say that their razors practically sell themselves. Once someone experiences the superior shave that a safety razor provides, they go out and tell their friends.
Online communities like Reddit groups and YouTube channels dedicated to the art of the traditional wet shave sprang up and grew rapidly in popularity and influence. The safety razor comeback is a movement of the people! The article also gives some great tips on how to best shave with a safety razor. They do a good job of hitting the highlights, but we’ve got some more information on that subject for you right here: How To Shave With A Safety Razor.
Fake News, you say? Let's Try A Fancy Source
The Fashionista (fancy enough for you?) article Why Your Grandfather’s Razor is the New Shaving Trend backs up our assertion and starts to point at some reasons for this trend.
The two most common factors, they say, in the safety razor comeback are the cost savings and the quality of the shave. But they also point out the environmental benefits of switching to a safety razor. Less packaging means less waste, and most recyclers won’t accept plastic cartridge razors because of how complex and difficult to actually recycle they are.
The Fashionista article breaks down the science of why cartridge razors cause more irritation on the face (or wherever you’re shaving.) The pull-and-cut strategy of the cartridge razor can actually cut hair below the skin, causing ingrown hairs. Interestingly, the doctor referenced in the article says that it’s your technique, not your razor, that causes irritation, but then in the same paragraph, he also says that traditional safety razors are better for men who experience a lot of skin irritation. So, fix your technique, but also, use the right tool.
The Closing Argument
We find it obvious that cartridge razors force bad technique because of their design. The frame separating the blades from the skin means that you have to apply pressure to get a close shave, and pressure causes irritation.
Five Blades Razor Lifting Hair
And Irritating Your Skin
Lifting A Hair Can Cause
Hair To Be Cut Below Skin
Which Can Cause
Cartridge manufacturers know that this is a problem! That’s why they spend so much effort putting lubricating strips and aloe dispensers and other gimmicks onto their razors.
The safety razor comeback is all about solving the actual problem, which is the cartridge razor itself.
Finally, there are the numbers. Is A Safety Razor Cheaper to Use? Simply put, yes. The referenced article breaks the numbers down in detail, but the main point is that we think you can cover all of your shaving needs (blades and all) for $18 the first year, and only $10 per year after that. Compare that pricing to the leading cartridge razor shave clubs!