Shavette vs Straight Razor: What are the Differences & Which One is Best for You?
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The shavette vs straight razor debate has been going on for quite some time. Some men swear by straight razors and others by shavettes. But as a newcomer, before you seek out a winner, you want to understand the differences therein. And this is understandable given that the two tools are too similar in their function and shape.
In this in-depth comparison guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about the individual tools and their differences. We’ll be happy if you can make an informed decision on which to purchase. So without much ado, let’s dive in.
The basic design of the best straight shaving razors includes a blade folding into its blade. The design probably reminds you of your grandfather. This is because the design was invented in the late 1600s by an English manufacturer. And for centuries, they were the go-to shaving tool until the popularization in the 1900s of the now called traditional double-edge razors.
Every straight razor features a single blade that you’ll have to sharpen regularly to have a great shaving experience. Experts refer to the sharpening processes as stropping and honing.
To hone a blade is to sharpen its edge while to strop is to realign its cutting edge for an efficient shave. While the two are important, you’ll strop your razor before every shave and only hone it once in a while.
Overall, they are easy to do, but they need a learning curve to it. Any wrong move and you could ruin your straight razor. If you are a beginner, you’ll have to learn how to sharpen a straight razor.
Is a Straight Razor Dangerous?
Make no mistake about it, a straight razor are sharp and could easily cut through your skin. It’s no wonder they are often described as cutthroat. But don’t let this scare you from using a straight razor. If you’ve mastered the art of wet shaving and holding a straight razor, it’s safe. Aside from this, the other factors that determine the danger levels of a straight razor include:
- The quality of the straight razor you purchase affects the quality of the shave. Always purchase a tool that comes highly recommended and whose blades are in great condition. Once you receive the razor, ensure the scales have a strong hold on the straight razor blades to avoid an accidental snap when shaving.
- How sharp the blade for a straight razor is. A sharp blade slices through facial hair without pulling and tugging. As mentioned above, it’s your responsibility to keep the blade sharp through honing and stropping. Luckily, some straight razor shaving kits include honing and stropping tools.
- The process you follow before a close shave determines the outcome. Before you glide the razor across your face, ensure your skin is warm. You can either take a warm shower or use a face towel soaked in warm water. Proceed to apply the best traditional shave cream for men and spread it with a good-quality shaving brush. Then run the blade over your face using a three-pass or a two-pass technique. As you shave, stretch the skin with your free hand to help the hair stand erect and make it easier to slice closer to the skin. When you are satisfied with the smoothness, wash your face with cold water and apply the best aftershave lotion. Not following proper shaving routines will in cuts and burns.
Pros and Cons of a Straight Razor
- The value of a straight razor is in its sturdy build and thick blade. Once you get the hand of straight razor maintenance, your shaving experience will be heavenly. Now, given their durability, their initial costs end up being a bargain in the long run because the only supplies you replenish are shaving creams, the shaving soap puck, and aftershave.
- It comes with some feelings of prestige and manliness. If you think about it, in a world where people love taking the easy way out, learning how to use a straight razor commands some level of respect. Other straight razor benefits are available here.
- You only have a single blade to work with. Therefore, if it gets damaged, replacing it is equivalent to purchasing a safety razor or a shavette.
- Sharpening a straight razor takes time and practice to get right.
- A straight razor cost more than a shavette does. This makes the initial investment steeper.
DOVO was the first company to make a shavette. A shavette is also known as a disposable blade straight razor, a name that describes its design. At the start, manufacturers targeted barbers because, for so long, barbers relied on straight razors to shave every client that walked in.
And for many, it was not a hygienic option. As such, many regulations were put on straight razors to help preserve men’s health. But with a shavette, a double edge safety blade is used. You will split the blade into two and use one half with the shavette. And when it gets blunt, you swap it with the other half.
What is the Best Shavette Razor?
In the 21st century, there are honestly a lot of great and deserving shavettes. But even then, the one that has the hearts of many experts and beginners alike and therefore might have earned the label as the best shavette – the Feather SS Shavette.
This shavette is durable since it’s made from stainless steel. This means you don’t have to worry about rust. The handle is made from the gum resin and can take heat up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. But aside from the materials used, the shavette has a sturdy construction that, with proper care and maintenance, can last for ages.
Also, the Feather SS Shavette is comfortable, given that it’s relatively lightweight. Its handle fits perfectly in the hand and makes it easy to maneuver the blade on the face. And last but not least, the Feather SS Shavette shaves like a straight razor. The handle comes with three color variations, which gives it a more futuristic look.
How do you use a Shavette Straight Razor?
Like with a straight razor, you need to be extra careful when using a shavette – it can be unforgiving. When you shave, you should pay extra attention to the hand movements, especially above the jawline. Also, you should concentrate on getting the blade angles right and apply minimal pressure as you glide the razor over your face.
To achieve a close and smooth shave, you should get the best safety razor blade. To do this, you will have to read through several reviews and try a bunch of blades. We stress this because every blade yields different results even in the hands of a wet shaving expert.
Pros and cons of a Shavette
- The biggest pro is that you need not worry about sharpening the blade. Once the blade gets dull, you switch it with newer and sharper ones.
- The initial cost of a shavette is lower than that of a straight razor.
- A shavette is lighter.
- Many shavettes tend to be flimsy.
- The blade is shorter. This means you’ll have to make multiple passes to finish the first round of shaving.
- You incur the cost of blade replacement over time.
Is a Shavette as Good as a Straight Razor?
So far, we’ve looked at the two shaving tools separately. It’s now time to have a look at how they compare to each other – shavette vs straight razor. Below are some factors we shall use to rest the debate.
A straight razor has a cutting edge running from the shank to the point. On the other hand, a shavette’s edge is only as long as the blade’s width. In addition to this, the razor blades in shavettes are flimsy while the blade in a straight razor is steel durable.
The inference is that with a straight razor, you take less time shaving because of the length of the blade. With one sweep, a straight razor blade slices more hair than a disposable blade. Moreover, since the disposable razor blade on a shavette isn’t meant to last long, they are often made of inferior quality steel.
Weight and Balance
A straight razor has a steel (stainless or carbon) blade and therefore it’s heavier than a shavette. Because of the weight, a high-quality straight razor will feature an equally heavy handle to balance the weight. On the flip side, the disposable blades on shavettes are small and lightweight. Because of this, and to maintain equilibrium, the shavette handles are often made of light materials like aluminum and plastic.
Why is this a big deal? Well, the weight and balance of a shaving tool affect how well you shave and the experience you have. A heavy and well-balanced shaving tool means you apply little to no pressure when you shave.
On the other hand, light shaving tools (shavette) provide access to hard-to-reach spaces.
Though a straight razor gets a better close shave and a luxurious shaving experience, stylists and barbers prefer shavettes as they are hygienic. Also, barbers use shavettes on beards and facial hair because the blades are easy to replace, and they don’t have to worry about stropping in between shaves like straight razors. With constant replacements, the cutting edges are always sharp.
Also, a shavette blade affords them better visibility on the areas they are working on and, therefore, yield better results.
The Shavette vs Straight Razor Conclusion
And there you have it, a complete breakdown of the Shavette vs straight razor; what the two shaving tools entail, and how they compare against each other. And while both the shavette and straight razor have their pros and cons, one thing is true, they both have a place in the industry.
Ruiru Kibet is passionate about beard care and male grooming. He believes it’s an art form and is happy to share his insight with men across the globe. He’s into wet shaving and evidence-based grooming, a passion that helps him analyze men’s grooming brands, products, and wet shaving practices presenting you with the best recommendations and advice. Kevin's profile on Linkedin.