Henning Becker, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

The Wrong Razor

I started with the wrong razor—So will you.

I haven’t been shaving with a double-edged (DE) razor for all that long yet, but I’ve already learned something important. I made a mistake when I picked the razor I would begin my exploration of DE-razor shaving. Chances are, you will make the same mistake.

My first DE razor in 50 years. Merkur 34C

My first DE-razor in fifty years was a closed comb model rated excellent for beginners because it was only mildly aggressive. This makes the shave very forgiving. You are unlikely to cut or nick yourself with this razor. Nothing wrong with that. The specific razor is a Merkur 34C. I like shaving with this razor a lot, although many other razors are equally good for beginners.

What was my mistake?

Like many beginners, part of my consideration for a first razor was that I might not stick with a double-edged razor. I wanted to purchase a razor recommended by experts for beginners but didn’t want to commit to the idea of DE-razor shaving fully. If that is what you want, and it is what I thought I wanted, then something like the Merkur 34C is a good choice.

I’ll break my mistake down into two parts. The first was to think I might not like shaving with a double-edged razor. In fact, I love it. Further, I believe most of you will love it too. I’ll admit we are not all the same, and a small percentage of beginners may decide to go back to a cartridge razor. I don’t have statistics to support this, but I am confident that most of you who try a double-edged razor will like it and stick with it.

The second part of my mistake is the razor itself. If I might give up and return to the Gillette Mach3, then a moderately priced, mildly aggressive double-edged razor is a good choice. In fact, I could have done better by choosing an even less expensive model than the Merkur 34C (see my post on beginning razors).

But now that I know I am not going back to cartridge razors, I realize I should have started with an adjustable razor. The advantage of an adjustable is you can change how aggressive your shave is. This is done on most adjustable razors by turning a dial on the handle, meaning you change aggressiveness mid-shave (though some, such as Rockwell models, use different base plates to change the aggressiveness).

Joe Haupt, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Joe Haupt, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are two reasons why you should choose an adjustable razor from the start. The first is if you are a beginner, you don’t know how aggressive your razor should be to give your face and beard the closest and most comfortable shave. The second is even if you discover what works best for you for your typical shave, there will be times when your shave won’t be typical. You may have grown out a beard on holiday and now want to shave it off and need a more aggressive shave. Or maybe you shaved in the morning but need to shave again for a special evening event where you want a less aggressive shave.

Which adjustable razor should you pick? I am shooting in the dark here. So far, I haven’t tried any. I can only go by research and reviews. Nevertheless, I will review what is available in vintage and new adjustable razors and give you my opinions and tell which I hope will be my next razor—in my next post on adjustable razors you can buy.

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