Shaving have undergone multiple revolutions in recent years, and, as revolutions tend to, we’ve ended up close to where we began. The modern shaver is as likely to be using a finely honed, long-lasting safety razor as they were 50 or more years ago!
In recent decades the cartridge or disposable razor has come to prominence, promising both the safety and convenience that can sometimes elude the, at times ironically, named safety razor. The cartridges of blades that come with your Gillette razor don’t last as long as the naked blade of a safety razor but they provide more convenience: you can safely keep a stock of them in your bathroom cupboard without fear for their sharpness or quality. They’re less likely to provoke larger nicks and cuts too.
They’ve also allowed razor manufacturers to get into an arms race that’s rewarded their design teams with boosted profits as each new model comes out. A cartridge razor is relatively easy to add new features too, from a vibrating handle to more and more blades in the cartridge. These allow companies to boast of these new designs and charge for them accordingly, but it’s by no means a sure thing that they actually add any value! A vibrating razor makes your movements less precise and could lead to you shaving where you didn’t intended to, while extra blades don’t actually represent any advantage. They don’t improve the quality of the shave by much and add more chances for the razors to snag and irritate the skin, causing razor burn at best, cuts and bleeding at worst.
On top of that, cartridges are expensive, and once used, difficult to recycle, making them a danger to the environment.
What this all adds up to is a picture of the modern shaver that looks a lot like a man from the 1960s! High quality retro shaving equipment is available from boutique manufacturers like Czech & Speake, allowing the discerning customers to build a toolset for the perfect shave, including stainless steel safety razors, and shaving brushes and soap, to work up and apply a good lather to the face. This is a vital step – the lather doesn’t just help the razor slide across the face slickly for a closer, safer shave, the process of applying it with a brush actually helps to raise and separate the bristles, making it easier to shave them off!