Questions on Switching from a Cartridge to a Safety Razor

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by Tat2d Bald Dude, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. Hi. new guy here (first night here on Badger & Blade) and I was wondering if I could explain my situation to you and get some friendly advice. Please forgive me if my situation sounds humorous or I sound naive or too low-maintenance, but like I said, I'm new here, so I figure the only way to improve is to ask

    First, I'm wondering if shaving with a Safety Razor is more time-consuming than shaving with my current Gilette Fusion Power that I use.

    I currently shave my head and face and the way I look at it, I am currently using a razor that has not 1, 2, 3, 4...but 5 blades, so isn't it safe to assume that the shave I'm currently getting goes 5 times faster than using a single-bladed Saftey Razor is going to go? And is there any way that I can use store-bought Gilette Shave Gel in a can for a safety razor, or do you pretty much have to buy a pricy cream and a brush and do the "mug and brush" thing (even on my head)?

    Also, should I start out with a CVS or Walgreen's-bought safety razor to get the feel of it for a bit and see if I even like shaving with a Safety Razor or should I immediately jump to a high-end safety razor or something like that Merkur HD or whatever they are? (I've seen some of the members on here talk about them in the threads and make them sound like they're the greatest thing since sliced bread)

    And do I buy single-edge razors to load into it or double-edge ones? And what is the difference?

    Also, is it true that when using a safety razor, I am to let the safety razor do ALL the work and I should NEVER apply even a little pressure? And how badly will I cut the heck out of my face with switching or will it not be as bad as I think?

    Heck, what I really could use is a little step-by-step walk-through lesson of "How to Carefully Switch from a Cartridge to a Safety Razor", covering the DO's and DO NOT's (both safety-wise, as well as from an etiquette/"cool guy" standpoint..example: Don't get a safety razor from a CVS, do get only this kind of cream, don't get this cream, etc) of shaving with a Saftey Razor....Would you be willing to provide me with that said "checklist"? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Hello and welcome! I'm new myself... I have only been at it about 3 weeks now. Everything you will read on these forums and other sites is to slow down and take your time... I don't. And i don't think it takes me any longer to shave then I did when I used my Mach 3 Turbo and foamy shaving cream.

    that said, I only shave my face and i have a vandyke. so I don't have that much to shave.

    How many of those blades are actually cutting the hair? With those 5 blades do you find one pass is enough to get the shave you want? Even when i used my mach 3 i would male 3 or 4 passes to get the job done the way i like it. If anything I am calling it a job done with 2 or 3 passes now.

    I used plain old Gillette foamy for the first two weeks. works fine. but i happen to like the good creams now. many of them can still be applied by hand and a tube of prorasso at Target does not cost very much at all.

    OK i don't want to make any waves, but lets just say some of the members here are a little too caught up in heard mentality. Some will insist that only a vintage razor will give you a good shave. I disagree. some may have been a better value but today vintage razors easily fetch $30 - $60 and many of the most popular vintage razors can go for $200 to $300!!! Every face, head, and users technique is unique and you might find one works better for you then it does for others. A modern razor is just as capable as a vintage razor, and there are some pretty snazzy options too.

    Double. Some razors like the Feather or the injector use single edge razors. most of the safety razors you see discussed here are double edge.

    I was worried about the same thing. I would bare down on my mach 3 like a vice grip. Some times popping the cartridge right off! Yeah, it's a skill you have to work at. use a light touch. let the razor's own weight do the work.... You will nick yourself. That's how it is. Don't move the razor head from side to side. Use quick short strokes, don't overlap and clean the razor head often. I think you will find it easier then you might imagine

    Shave tutor, shave tutor, shave tutor, shave tutor! Watch all of Mantic59's videos on YouTube. Heck, I search YouTube whenever I get the chance looking for tips and pointers. With each shave I get a little better.

    I'm a newb like you just giving you my point of view. I'm sure you will get a lot of feedback from the more experienced members.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  3. I don't have any idea where you are getting those numbers from, but they are way way off!! :mad::mad:

    Great shave quality Superspeeds regularly sell for around $20.00 in the B/S/T here. Great quality Techs can often be had for even less than that! I have several I am selling at the moment for $12.00.

    A brand new Merkur 34C (the Merkur HD, heavily recommended to most newbies) can be had for $30.00 plus shipping, and often for less than that for slightly used models.

    Honestly, do some research, before you sprout un-truths, and make yourself look like a fool!
  4. I don't think i am way off. I brows EFAS quite often and i see the numbers. A fool? that's a little harsh don't you think? I just don't have the time to dumpster dive and brows antique stores. Can deals be had? Sure! Are these deals common? not so much.

    It that "$20" you quoted more then the 10 he might spend at Walgreens?

    If that Merkur 34C vintage or new? yeah please don't misquote me. i said there are plenty of great modern razors. I did not say all razors were expensive. man you really need to lighten up. this is not a pissing match. aren't we all here for the same reason?
  5. I have been shaving for about two months, I am continually improving my technique, and have my routine down to a respectable 25-30 minutes now. Most of us don't start traditional DE Wet Shaving as a time saver, we are doing it to experience the best quality shaves possible, with the least amount of irritation possible.

    Honestly the extra blades (beyond two) in a cartridge razor are nothing but marketing hype, with absolutely no benefit; for many people they have a tendency to produce intense irritation, and ingrown hairs.

    You can certainly use shave gel in a can with a Double Edge Safety Razor, but the quality of shave will not be optimal. Good quality shaving creams/ soaps make a huge phenomenal difference in your overall shave quality.

    Not all shaving creams/ soaps are expensive. Van Der Hagen can be had at Wal-Mart for $1.50 per puck, and C.O. Bigelow Shaving Cream can be had at Bath and Body Works for $5.00 a tube. Both are great products, that will last for many months.

    CVS, and Wal-Greens don't sell Double Edge Safety Razors. They sell disposables, and the full line of Gillette Cartridge razors. The Merkur HD (aka Merkur 34C) is what most newbies start out with, but you can also get great quality shaves from vintage Gillette razors such as the Superspeed, or Tech.

    A Single Edge razor resembles the type of razor you might use to scrape paint, it's, however, sharper, and designed for shaving. There are used in a model of razor called a Gem.

    A double edge razor blade is used in a Double Edge Safety Razor, and has two edges, that stick out on each side of the razor.

    If you use pressure, you will get cut with a DE razor. If you are careful, and take it slow, you will have a minimal amount of cuts. If you try to speed through your shave, you will receive more cuts.

    A double edge safety razor works with the principal of "beard reduction". You reduce your beard by small amounts over several passes. You don't try to eliminate your beard in one pass (by applying as much pressure as possible) the way you would with a cartridge based razor.

    Take a look at Mantic59's Youtube channel, he is a absolute wealth of information:
  6. O.K., a slightly different take:

    1. Shaving with a safety razor might be a little more time consuming that what you're doing with your Fusion right now, but it really depends on if you want to put a lot of effort into it for a really close shave or if a comfortable, looks good shave will do. Many head shavers stick with the cartridge razor for their head at first, as there is a learning curve and it will take time learning one thing at a time.

    2. You can use canned foam with a safety razor with no more problem than with your Fusion. While many here like to get into exotic creams and soaps, be aware that you can get off more cheaply than the canned foam with some of the soaps, such as the VDH shaving soap at your local Walmart (less than $2 for a puck that will last a month or two). It's your shave. You can pick and choose how much of the "wet shaving" thing you want to adopt. I'm afraid a lot of us get really carried away sometimes though. :smile:

    3. I don't believe you can find any single blade safety razors these days in the drugstores. People typically buy the Merkurs because they want something new and solid feeling, but (in spite of what a previous poster implied) many of us gravitate towards the vintage razors because you can get perfectly good ones *for cheap* (meaning less than $15 delivered to your door).

    4. The Merkurs and the Gillettes use double edge blades (essentially invented by Mr. Gillette). There are other vintage razors that use single edge blades (Gem, Star, Ever-Ready) and injector blades (Schick, Eversharp). So it depends on what razor you buy. Double edge blades (DE's) are the most common around here.

    5. Regarding pressure, we tend to emphasize the "no pressure" thing because multi-blade razor users are in the habit of applying more than needed. It's just that the pressure *per blade* ends up much higher when there's just one of them. The other change is that the safety razor doesn't have a pivoting head, so you're in charge of that detail. It sounds scarier than it really is. Just approach carefully the first few times and you may find that you have fun.

    There is the *potential* to save money on the consumables, since you can get good DE blades for $.25 per blade typically and get 3 or 4 good shaves out of them.

    I hope this helps. Also take a look at Mantic59's videos.

    - Chris
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  7. Yes, maybe calling you a "fool" is harsh, but it's posts like yours that are greatly misleading to newbies. Your (greatly inaccurate) post, would likely totally turn a newbie off from even trying wet shaving.

    I have looked thoroughly at Wal-Greens, Double Edge Safety Razors CAN NOT be bought there. You might be able to find overpriced DE blades there, but no razors; just the typical cartridge razors.

    That $20 is the typical rate one pays for a good quality vintage Gillette Superspeed in the Buy/Sell/Trade forum here on this site. That is not special deal pricing, just the everyday price.

    The price I quoted is for a new Merkur 34C; they can be had for that price from several great online vendors.

    I am here to have fun, and offer a fellow newbie some help; offering them help doesn't include supplying them with greatly mis-leading information. :mad:
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  8. Obviously michiganlover and I were both typing (furiously) at the same time! Fortunately, we mostly said the same things. :smile:
  9. Just a minor correction, Gem was a manufacturer that produced a multitude of single edge models. Other than that carry, MI-lover! :thumbsup:
  10. Great minds in Michigan think alike. :thumbup::thumbup:
  11. Despite outward appearances, we're not *all* from Michigan! :smile:
  12. Correct you are. :thumbup1:

    It was simply easier to call the entire line "Gems", since to those not in the know the razors probably look similar, and they all can use the same blades.

    For the Original Poster: Gem was a producer of many models of razor using the previously mentioned single edge blade. They were a competitor to Gillette who was the main maker (and inventor) of the Double Edge Safety Razor.

    Even on this board, the Gems are greatly overshadowed by the various models produced by Gillette, even though both are capable of producing wonderful shaves sure to be "The best shave of your life". :tongue_sm
  13. OK man you are freaking out over a difference of ten bucks. It was hardly "greatly inaccurate" it's not that important. Your attitude may scare people away from this forum, possibly missing out on potential future experienced members. I said in my post I'm a newb. Just relax and just enjoy the forum.

    I'm here to learn and help. so please treat me with the respect you would any one you might meet on the street, work or in your own family.
  14. Michiganlover may have come on just a bit strong, but I'm sure he was just trying to be helpful. Try not to take it personally. You're certainly more than welcome to state your opinion and all, after all this is a discussion forum. :001_smile
  15. Your post makes it sound like the bare minimum you can spend on a vintage razor will be $30. I have at least 12 vintage razors, and the most I paid for any of them was $20.00. Quite a few of them came off of the B/S/T forum here.

    The only vintage razors I know of that would bring $200-$300 dollars are cased NOS/ Mint Fatboys, and the very rare Gillette Toggle. These are not the typical vintage models most people new to wet shaving are after. These are collector specimens.

    I could give a newbie $20-30 worth of equipment (all of it new), and once they learned proper technique, they would receive a shave that is light years better than what is capable with a cartridge razor. Is there more expensive equipment out there? Yes! Is it necessary for a great quality shave? Not at all! :tongue_sm

    To a budget minded newbie, that $10 could mean quite a bit. It's better to emphasize that our hobby can be low cost to enter into, rather than emphasize that there are very high cost razors available.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
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  17. garyg

    garyg Contributor

    It ain't the arrow, but the Man behind it that makes it all work. My 2 cents is find an old Gillette or two and see if the experience is good, . If you just want to dive to the bottom, go to the local China Mart and buy something cheap and report back on how good it felt.
  18. My point is / was these vintage razors are getting bid up. Most of them selling for $30 "buy it now" or can get bid anywhere up to 50. Yes i acknowledge there are $15 razors (plus shipping) but most of what tpeople may find are closer to 30 in my experience.

    That said... my intent was to suggest that he might as well spend $30 on a good NEW razor from a place like Truefitt & Hill. Where (with 20% discount code) many can be had new for under $30....
  19. Luc

    Luc Moderator Emeritus

    Welcome to B&B!

    If you want to make the jump into wetshaving with a double edge razor. I would recommend a Gillette Tech. You can find one on the buy sell trade section of this forum. You will need a razor blade sample pack like the one sold at WestCoast shaving. You will need to try and see which blade is best for you.

    For the time, well, you will need to work the 30 degrees angle and no pressure so it will take longer at the beginning. I was probably taking around 10 minutes to shave with a mach3 but never go the results that I wanted. I currently spend around 15 minutes and get a very smooth shave.

    Mantic's videos (link above) will give you an idea on how it's done.

    I am not shaving my head but if I would, I would use the same shaving soap or cream to shave my beard/head. Someone who actually does it will be better than me to explain this.

    I used to see shaving as a chore and waste of time. Now, it's a hobby. You could go with a single edge razor, double edge or straight razor, that's up to you. Good luck!
  20. I won't dispute the fact that on E-Bay prices are higher, and that $30-60 dollar range might be more of the norm, however, the same quality razors (and often even better quality) can be had in our own Buy/Sell/Trade forum for quite a bit less money.

    I see no reason to use eBay to acquire the more common models (Superspeeds, Techs, Slims) when they are available regularly here for far less money. :biggrin::cool:

    Westcoastshaving (, and Bullgooseshaving ( both sell nearly the full line of Merkur razors, and the Merkur HD (aka Merkur 34C) can be had for roughly $30.00 at both locations.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009

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