If you wish to give up your cartridge razor and change your shaving “tool” you have two options: to go with safety razor (which is also called double-edge) or to select straight blade (also called cut throat). Both options are great and in this article I will try to highlight pros and cons of each variant. I will compare both options and you will be able to make final decision.
If you compare these two options with cartridge device you will find out that the largest and the most important difference is that cartridge variant is very easy to use. It doesn’t require special technique. You just take it and move as you wish. You will not get any cuts because it's safe. But what’s the difference between double edge and straight blade in terms of usage difficulty? Well, every man who used both will say that traditional straight razor is more difficult to use. That’s because it has completely exposed blade and it’s very sharp.
Straight edge requires much more technique because it’s very easy to cut the skin with it. I don’t say that Safety variant doesn’t require any skills. No, it also requires time to master. But it’s easier to learn how to shave with it. Safety variant is safer and thus is easier to master :)
The other important characteristic is the time you spent for shaving. Both variants require more time than cartridge device. But the leader is Straight razor. It requires more time to shave rather than Safety variant. Shaving with straight blade requires more technique and thus more time. All you movements must be accurate. There is no place for rushing.
Double edge razor requires less technique and thus less time for shaving. All your movements must also be smooth and accurate. The difference is not huge though. If you do it wrong and fast you may also get injury.
If you want to have clean face you need to prepare and maintain cut-throat razor with stropping and sharpening. You need to strop it before every shave and maintain it with honing several times a year. You can hone it yourself using special stone or you can use professional services. I recommend to hone it using service for the first time. After this you may purchase special stone and use it for keeping sharpness. Professional hone will cost you about $90 but it will serve forever.
Many people say that Double Edge variant doesn’t require any preparation. That’s wrong! What about purchasing and exchanging blades? It will take you time and money to buy and replace blades. Though replacement process is usually fast it will take some time. Big advantage of Safety Razor is that it doesn’t require any maintenance. You just replace blades and that's all. Thus safety variant is the winner here. You will spend less time for preparing and maintaining it.
Both devices are rather comfortable to use. You can take them with you anywhere. Some people say that Safety Razor is more comfortable because of the size and the box. It occupies less place… But many "cut throat" options are also small and have special case for carrying. On my opinion both variants are rather comfortable. There is no winner in this comparison stage.
Let’s compare initial investments. A good Top-end Straight Razor will cost you about $100. Don’t forget that you also need a strop and a brush. You can find a very good offer where razor is sold with a strop, wax and a brush as a set. Such set costs about $170 but you will have everything you need to start shaving. If you purchase all things separately it may cost more or less depending on what products you select.
You can purchase a good Safety Razor for about $70. A set of 50 blades will cost additional $15. A brush is also required and it will cost extra $15. Total initial cost is about $100. As you see Double edge variant is the winner in terms of money. If money is a very big concern for you, this variant is the best.
On my opinion this is the most important part of the comparison. The process of shaving is much more enjoyable with a Straight Blade! Why? Because it awakens your instincts. It requires concentration and focus. Many people say that it’s similar to drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. It gives you confidence, a lot of positive emotions and it allows to get prepared for the day.
Shaving with Straight Razor requires perfect technique. It’s dangerous if you do it wrong. That’s why when a sharp blade is near your throat you feel how your hormone level grows. It is risky process. It’s similar to drivind a sport bike or to jumping with a parachute. You know you can cut yourself. But you still do it because it gives amazing feelings.
On my opinion, this is the major reason to go with Straight Blade. If you feel it once you will never return back to your cartridge razor. There is no other shaving tool that can give you same emotions!