Pros and Cons of Safety Razors (An Honest Perspective)

Before checking out the available razor options on the market, you might wonder, should I use a safety razor? What are the pros and cons of using one?

Safety razors have seen a rise in popularity in recent years. Proponents will point out the quality of the shave, ease of use, value, safety features, and rise in availability as the reasons many men are returning to these razors after years of using disposable or cartridge razors. Many of the cons come down to preference and past shaving history.

With a solid consensus pointing towards using a safety razor, let us dive into why you should use a safety razor as well as the pros and cons of using one. 

Should you use a safety razor?

When searching for a razor to use, the shaver needs to know what other consumers have deemed to be the most popular product. Is that a safety razor?

Safety razors continue to be a popular choice among shavers because of a variety of factors. Interest in safety razors is consistent, much like the results it gives a shaver. In the end, a shaver should feel confident in purchasing a safety razor. 

Google Trends data (September 2020-September 2021)

Google Trends shows a consistent interest in safety razors over the last 12 months. The highest interest correlates with holidays like Valentine’s Day and during periods of holiday travel like Christmas.

Overall, the interest in safety razors maintains a strong average throughout the year with varying peaks and dips, consistent with any other product on the market. 

The decision to use a safety razor comes down to preference and past shaving history. The biggest advantages that a safety razor provides you are ease of use, its value, and its consistency. A safety razor is the best choice for a hassle-free shave. 

However, if you are used to using a straight or disposable cartridge razor, you might find it difficult at first to use a safety razor because of the different techniques used. Also, if you require a specific setup in terms of handle or brand, a safety razor might not be the best option. 

With this information regarding a safety razor’s popularity, let us take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of using a safety razor. 

Pros of using a safety razor

Before deciding on a safety razor as your razor of choice, you need to know the positive qualities that a safety razor has.

The 5 pros of using a safety razor are:

  • Consistently close shave
  • Value
  • Safety features
  • Easy to use
  • Increased availability

Consistently close shave

A major benefit of using a safety razor is that it takes next to nothing to achieve a close shave with it.

With other razor types, a shaver needs to perfect a certain technique to get the best results. With a safety razor, you can get a close shave on the first try, and even better, without skin irritation.

The features of a safety razor, such as the razor guard, prevent an extremely close shave, but over the course of time, a safety razor can be depended on for a consistently close shave. 

Value

Safety razors have a price point in the $10 to $30 range on average and razor blades can be less than a dime each. When compared to a straight razor or a disposable cartridge razor, this is quite the savings.

If you are tired of having to spend money on a razor, and then continuously have to buy expensive blade refills, or facing the initial high cost of a straight razor, a safety razor is the best choice.

It offers value and longevity, something that is lacking with other options on the market. 

Safety features

A safety razor has numerous safety features that are not included in other types of razors:

  • There is a blade guard that prevents a shaver from cutting their skin during use.
  • The blades are designed to not clog as easily, especially compared to a cartridge razor.

Both of these features prevent unwanted skin irritation for shavers, no matter how sensitive their skin is. This can make shaving with a safety razor more enjoyable and less dangerous 

Easy to use

A safety razor is easy to use because there is little practice needed.

For a straight razor, it might take twenty to thirty shaves to form your technique. In that time, you face the possibility of cutting your skin or not achieving your desired shave.

With a safety razor, you can buy one from the store, go home, use it, and immediately have a relatively close shave with little hassle. This makes a safety razor the best choice for beginners first learning to shave, or for long-term shavers who have limited time. 

Wide availability 

After disposable razors and replaceable cartridge razors became popular, they overtook the safety razor’s place in shopping aisles, but many retailers are starting to carry these blades again.

Although they are not as common as disposable as or cartridge razors, safety razors and replacement razor blades are becoming easier to find, both in larger retail stores and online.

With the growth in popularity of safety razors, brands have started making their razors specifically for consumers who are not typically part of the typical marketing audience. Oui Shave, for example, appeals to women, and Bevel is designed specifically for coarse and curly African-American hair.

Cons of using a safety razor

Before deciding on a safety razor as your razor of choice, you need to know the negative qualities that a safety razor has. Here is a list of four potential negative qualities a safety razor has.

The cons of using a safety razor are:

  • Not the closest possible shave
  • Razor disposal
  • Different technique needed 
  • Lots of preparation

Not the closest possible shave

While a safety razor can be depended on for giving a consistently close shave, it will not give the closest shave possible. Compared to a straight razor which is just that, a bare blade, a safety razor is designed to protect the skin from cuts and irritation. This comes in the form of a razor guard that prevents the razor from coming into close contact with the skin. 

If you are looking for a consistently close shave without the hassle, then a safety razor is perfect, and a good razor will constantly outperform a disposable razor or plastic cartridge.

If you are looking for the closest possible shave, a safety razor is not for you, and you should be in the market for a straight razor.

Razor disposal

A safety razor creates less waste than a disposable razor or a replaceable cartridge head, but it is not necessarily as convenient to throw away.

When disposing of a used safety razor blade, you must use more care than with other razors in order to protect yourself, anyone who may share your bathroom, and those workers who may be responsible for collecting your garbage.

Instead of tossing it in the trash can, you should collect your used razors in a sharps container.

Different technique needed

The downside of a safety razor is that while it is easy to use, the technique needed is vastly different when compared to other razors.

When handling a straight or disposable cartridge razor, a shaver needs to use a certain technique to achieve results and prevent injury or skin irritation. That technique may not translate well when switching to a safety razor, which can cause frustration or undesired results.

While a safety razor might be better in the long run, if you are used to using another type of razor, understand that there is a learning curve when switching over.  

Lots of preparation

With a safety razor, you have to do a lot of preparation to get your hair and skin ready to shave.

This can include mapping out your hair growth patterns, using a beard brush to scrub the hair, finding a quality shave cream or gel, and needing several passes to get results.

Check out this article for tips on getting the best shave possible out of your safety razor.