The history of single-edged (SE) razors, such as the Schick injector razor, dates back to the early Twentieth Century (1935). Double-Edged (DE) razors and blades, as we know them, were invented at the beginning of the Twentieth Century (1900). Although a wide variety of DE-razor models are still being made, all are variations of designs from the past 120 years. I can think of no major improvements to DE designs that are not from the previous century. Thus, it was a surprise that single-edged razor manufacturers are still developing unique and better designs.
Is there an advantage to a SE blade over a DE blade? The first feature common to most single-edge razors is the head sits at an angle to the handle, making it easier to adjust the blade-to-face angle to the optimum.
The second advantage some ascribe to SE blades is they are thicker. King Gillette designed the double-edge blade to be thin, sharp, and cheap so you could replace the blade frequently and never have a dull blade. But it is alleged that for some people, the thinness of the blade increases the likelihood of nicks and other problems.
Most (not all) SE blades are made from thicker steel and do not flex in the razor. The intent is to give the user the advantages of a straight razor or of pre-Gillette razors. Both had to be regularly honed and stropped for sharpness. The SE blades are disposable but more rigid. They are also a bit more expensive (but still less than cartridge refills).
I’ll start this post by describing some SE safety razors that are being sold now that are similar to those from 1935. Then I’ll review some of the newer SE razors.
Just how I remember my old Schick Injector
The first razor I purchased for myself (as opposed to receiving it as a hand-me-down) was a Schick SE-injector razor. The following generic-looking SE razor looks almost identical to what I remember of my old Schick.
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For about $23 on Amazon, you get the razor and a pack of Schick injector blades. The cost of refill blades depends on how many you purchase, where you get them, and who makes them. They are more expensive than double-edged blades, but they can also be used for more shaves per blade before they dull.
A step up from the above product is the Parker adjustable SE razor. It currently is not available through Amazon, but you can purchase it at Maggard Razors and other specialty shaving stores. Maggard’s is selling the Parker adjustable SE for $34.
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The Supply.co makes two models of single-edged razors. The innovation of the SE model is the addition of fins in front of the blade, which they call their Nick Stop Technology. The razor is designed to give a mild shave and minimize the chance of nicks. It uses non-proprietary injector blades, the same as the previous models and invented by Schick. The razor is $59.
Supply also makes an advanced razor, which is adjustable, similar to the Parker Adjustable SE. The Supply Pro is $89 and is designed for advanced shavers who want a more aggressive shave. It does not have the fins of the SE model. Unlike the Parker, which has a large surface dial going from 1 to 5, the Supply SE Pro has an elegant thumb dial beneath the blade with six major click-stop settings and 30 micro settings.
RazoRock Black Hawk
The RazoRock BLACK HAWK Single Edge Razor does not use Schick-style injector blades. You must use blades from Feather or other Japanese makers. The reviews of this razor are mixed. Some say it is too aggressive and not for beginners, while others love it. I doubt I will try the razor, but it is another SE razor liked by some. The razor is just under $38 without blades from Amazon (as of October 2022).
Another single-edged razor using Feather blades is the OneBlade Core Safety Razor. There are three models of the OneBlade razor: The Core, the Hybrid, and the Genesis. The blades for these are not the same as those used in the Black Hawk (detailed above). The Core is made from a mixture of plastic and steel and is designed for beginners, giving a mild shave. The innovation on all models is a pivoting head designed to keep the blade at the perfect angle to your face. The Core is $40, the Hybrid is $125, and the Genesis, all stainless steel construction and the most aggressive, is $350. Only the Core and Hybrid are currently being sold through Amazon.
Razors by Leaf
The next two razors come from Leaf. The Twig and the Thorn are similar in design, but the Twig is the milder razor. The Thorn is designed for experienced shavers who want a more aggressive shave. I was curious enough to purchase a Twig razor for myself. Both are $59.
The unique feature of Leaf razors is they use standard double-edged blades broken in half. You can, of course, purchase pre-halved blades from Leaf, but it turns out to be simple to cautiously snap a DE blade in half.
The final razor I want to mention is also from Leaf and uses halved double-edge blades as well. The Leaf Razor is the answer for those who feel a triple-blade cartridge razor gives a better shave but want to get away from cartridge razors. The Leaf has three blades which you load from halved DE blades. The head pivots to follow the contours of your face (or other body areas), the same as a Gillette Mach 3, Fusion, or any other cartridge system you use. Because you are using DE blades, the cost per blade and shave is much less than with cartridges.
It is too early for me to give you a first-hand recommendation regarding single-edged razors. I have yet to try any of the above and the last time I used an injector razor (Schick) was in the 1970s. But I’ve already given you one hint about my opinion. I’ve purchased the Leaf Twig and intend to compare it to my Merkur 34C soon. The other razor I am curious to try is the Supply.co SE. However, that will have to wait until I thoroughly explore the Merkur and the Leaf razors I already own.