Grooming,  Review

Merkur DE vs Twig SE

I have begun shaving with a double-edged safety razor again after fifty years of single-edge and cartridge razors. I chose a Merkur 34C as my first new DE-razor because it is moderately priced (I found it for under $40), and it is not very aggressive—which is a good place for beginners to start.

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My second razor (back in the late 1960s) was a single-edged razor. There are several new SE-razor designs that didn’t exist in the 1970s, and I was curious to try the Leaf Twig. I purchased a Twig, which is also on the mild side of the aggressiveness rating.

The first time I used the Merkur, I felt some mild post-shave irritation on my neck. Since then, I’ve had great shaves and no nicks, cuts, or irritations with the DE-razor.

Blade in Merkur head

The Twig uses standard double-edged razor blades that are halved. Leaf will sell them pre-halved, or you can easily (and carefully) snap a DE blade in two. The blade is inserted by first opening the top. This is done by turning the bottom of the handle, similar to a turn-to-open (TTO) butterfly-top DE-razors, but instead of two razor blade doors, the top piece raises and turns ninety degrees. Magnets on the bottom of the razor help position the blade before tightening the top.

Blade loaded in Twig

The top depth is less than half a standard-sized double-edged razor (about 3/8th inch vs. 1 inch). Leaf claims it is good for shaving non-facial parts of the body where the size of a double-edged razor might get in the way. I wouldn’t know. I only shave my face or, in the past, my head.

Size comparison Leaf to Merkur 34C

I like the feel of the Twig in my hand. The handle has good heft and is easy to hold, perhaps slightly better than the Merkur 34c.

Weight of Merkur 34C is 79g
Weight of Twig is 74g

The feel of the shave with the Twig was similar to the Merkur. The shave was neither better nor worse with one or the other. However, I had to rinse shaving cream off twice as often with the single-edged razor. This was a minor nuisance. I preferred the double-edged Merkur 34C because I could twirl one edge to the other side and continue shaving with the clean edge. This resulted in half as many blade rinses during the shave. Definitely not a show-stopper, but something to think about.

I’ve had a beard since 1971. Back in the 1970s, when I used a Schick Injector razor, I felt the razor head’s smaller size made it easier for me to see where I was shaving. I’ve often thought that the size of cartridge razor heads made it difficult to see where the edges of my beard were. I no longer worry about this after fifty-one years of trimming around my beard. But the Leaf Twig does let me see more of what I’m doing than I can with a double-edged razor.

My conclusion is the Leaf Twig is a fine single-edged razor. I like many of the design features that went into the razor. However, I do not like it better than the Merkur 34C double-edged razor. The quality of the shave between the two razors is a tie, but the annoyance of having to rinse the Twig twice as often during the shave gives the Merkur or other double-edged razors a small advantage—very small, but still real. Greater visibility of where you are shaving with the Twig is also nice, but as I said, I’ve learned how to trim around my beard with whatever shaver I’ve used.

If you shave delicate areas or have trouble seeing what you are doing with larger razors as you trim around some of your features, you might prefer the Leaf Twig to a double-edged razor.

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