Sales of EVs are growing faster than combustion engine cars and we’re on the verge of cracking nuclear fusion. And yet, here we are, about to persuade you to switch to a double-edge razor, a style that’s been around for – checks notes – over 100 years? That’s because in the olden days, they built stuff to last.
Compared to modern disposable razors, in the right hands, double-edge razors offer a reliably comfortable and close shave. They can also last a lifetime. Plastic razors end up in landfill or bob around the sea for eternity, whereas DE razors use blades that are cheap, plentiful and recyclable, creating far less waste. And, while disposable razors appear cheaper at the outset, convenience comes at the cost of pricey refill cartridges, which clog easily (a recipe for irritation).
On the other hand, DE razors are like walking into Starbucks after a lifetime drinking instant coffee: with so many options, you can find a double-edge razor to suit your ‘double shot macchiato no foam’ shaving style. With different handle weights, lengths and heads – butterfly (fiddly) or screw in (less fiddly) – and closed comb (mild) or open comb (aggressive), a DE razor is fully customisable.
How to choose mild versus an aggressive shave? Aggressive requires fewer passes for a close shave, so newcomers may find a closed comb easier to handle, whereas seasoned DE shavers may prefer open. Just remember to keep your DE razor dry between shaves, stored upright on a stand, to maximise its lifespan.
So, which ones do the pros recommend?
Henson AL13 Razor
This Canadian razor is made in the same factory that machines satellite components. A truly precision instrument, the blade is fixed at 30 degrees and extends at precisely 33 microns, which is the same width as the average human hair. This means that the head is securely fixed at the perfect angle, so you can shave with confidence.
Easy to rinse, it gives a super-close, comfortable shave, and comes in a range of cool metallic tones in lightweight aluminium.
One hundred RK stainless steel blades costs a penny over £8, ensuring a long-lasting and economical supply.
Parker 99R DE Safety Razor
If you’re trying a DE razor for the first time, Parker is a great place to start. Founded in 1973 and made in India, Parker specialise in butterfly door twist, adjustable and three-piece open safety razor styles, offering a comprehensive range at a highly affordable price. The butterfly door twist has a unique head that opens out like a double door.
The 99R is a handsome looking, well made razor, with a longer, easy grip, butterfly door, and a decent amount of heft with the extra weighted handle.
Note: If you’re using a DE razor for the first time, apply very little pressure and keep the skin pulled taut
Rex Supply Co Envoy Stainless Steel Safety Razor
Topping out with the most expensive razor in the list is Rex Supply Co, the premium all-American brand of heirloom quality razors from the same team behind Razor Emporium. Designed, made and assembled in the USA, these marine-grade stainless steel razors are machine milled and individually tumbled, brushed and polished.
Rex Supply Co make three models: the Envoy, the Ambassador and the Konsul. Each is available in two lathed handle lengths (standard and XL) and four finishes: stainless steel and polished, plus deluxe versions in rhodium and 24 carat gold plated.
As a general guide, the Envoy is a three-piece razor that’s great for frequent shavers. The Ambassador gives you full control with a fully adjustable dial that gives a more or less aggressive shave to suit your preference. It has 10 parts and costs double the price of the Envoy.
The Konsul meanwhile is an adjustable slant razor that cuts the hair at an angle, and is best for thicker, coarser hair, sensitive skin and for those who prefer a no blade ‘laser’ feel.
If you’re unsure, go for the Envoy. You won’t regret it.
Edwin Jagger DE89 Long DE Safety Razor
This very reasonably priced, extra-long razor from Edwin Jagger will suit those who find a longer handle easier to manoeuvre and to access those harder to reach areas on the body.
Machined in Sheffield, England from solid brass, triple-plated in scratch-resistant chrome and polished by hand, it has a closed comb and provides a mild shave that’s great for sensitive skin or those who shave daily.
German brand Merkur has been making razors for over 100 years and the 34c is a well-known model that pops up frequently on shaving forums due to its premium construction and the fact that it suits both rookie and experienced shavers.
It boasts a shorter, thicker handle made from chrome and polished steel that’s knurled for extra grip. It has a closed comb mechanism and a ridged tip that lends weight for an overall high-quality feel.
Looking for an affordable razor but don’t want to compromise on quality? Based in North West England, Roché is a new shaving company and the R1 model is a solid, entry-level DE razor.
It offers a longer handle than the Merkur 34c, and offers good performance while looking more expensive than it’s budget-friendly price point.
At the top end of the market there’s Feather, Japanese makers of razors and blades, which wholly deserves its reputation as one of the best brands on the DE scene.
As makers of the some of the most expensive razors, it’s not a starter model, but rather a long-term investment for someone who’s committed to using a DE razor and prefers a less aggressive shave.
A luxury piece of kit, it’s made from 100% stainless steel with a solid, weighted head that feels great in the hand.
Mühle R41 Chrome DE Razor
For the more experienced wet shaver, the R41, from German brand Mühle, is designed for coarser, thicker stubble that grows rapidly. It has a screw in head, open-comb mechanism and offers an aggressive shave to remove dense hair growth.
The special blade angle ensures that during the shave the blade is kept free from lather. It requires tight skin at all times and a light touch. One for the brave.
King C. Gillette Double Edge Razor
The lowest priced model in our edit comes from the American maker of the OG DE razor and proves that traditional shaving isn’t just for the older or moneyed gentleman.
With a screw mechanism, this platinum coated, stainless steel razor is good for tidying up edging, sideburns and beard lines.
Despite the low price, it feels nicely weighted and gives a close comfortable shave, offering an excellent experience for minimal outlay.
Rockwell 6C Double Edge Safety Razor
Another top Canadian brand is Rockwell, which creates razors using weightier metals than aluminium. The most popular models are the 6C and 6S.
The 6C is made from chromed zinc alloy, so it’s lighter and less expensive than the 6S, which is crafted from 316L stainless steel and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
A handsome-looking razor, the 6C has a useful beginner setting to prevent nicks and cuts, a knurled handle and comes in rose gold, chrome and gunmetal.