Shaving: the moment when a boy becomes a man. A rite of passage that can leave you pretty cut out – literally. Like most things in life, good technique comes with experiencebut a well-made razor goes a long way in helping you get the smoothest, closest shave.
Since you’re literally putting a blade in your throat, there’s no excuse for lack of diligence when choosing your weapon. Some basics: you want a razor that can glide over the contours of your face, removing hair without leaving your skin looking like it’s been attacked by a cheese grater. The quality of the blades is more important than their quantity (otherwise we would have razors with around thirty blades now).
Maneuverability is also key. You definitely don’t want to repeat the same patch over and over again. To avoid a leathery look after too much shaving, look for lubricating items such as a moisture strip that will soothe and help repair your skin while you shave (not to mention, roughly indicate when the blade is dull).
“As shaving is such a personal thing, the importance of the right razor is second to none. The weight and shape of the razor will affect how you shave, how you use the razor and how it glides over your skin,” explains Chris Beastall, founder of the famous men’s grooming blog. Monkey to Gentleman. “Be sure to try out a few different handles before you even start looking at blades. Also remember that blades vary in weight, which affects the edge of the blade.”
Be mistaken in front of the bathroom mirror can lead to an aggressive acne-like rash, so once you’ve selected your razor, there are also some general shaving guidelines to follow. Showering before shaving will open your pores and therefore minimize redness. It also means that your skin will be clean, which will help avoid irritation (or worse, infection) caused by dirt.
If you shave every day or every other day, it’s a good idea to change your blade every three weeks or so, says Menu creative director, Lloyd Hughes. “As a rule of thumb, if you feel like you’re putting pressure on your skin to get a close shave, it’s time for a change – [otherwise] you can damage the skin and cause other problems like shaving rash.
How to maintain your razor
Thorough cleaning after each shave is essential. The blades can become a haven for bacteria and if there are hairs clogging them, let it be on your face.
When washing your razor, never
Another faux pas is to dry it on a towel. Even if you think you’re extending the life of your blade, it’s not. Air drying is the best option. Also, that towel probably isn’t as clean as you say.
If you have the money and the inclination, get a new blade for every shave, says Hughes. “Ravers are often sold on the idea of being used for up to three or four shaves, depending on the stubble and how thick it is. However, I would suggest only using them once, especially if you suffer from irritation. Use it, throw it away, put a new one in. It guarantees a clean, clean shave every time.
The best razors for men
It doesn’t seem like a natural progression for a pen company to expand into razors, but Bic’s disposable razors have been a quick and easy favorite since the mid-’70s. The fact that the company’s name has become a verb for the act of shaving should tell you that generations of men have trusted these disposable blades to get the job done.
However, the company is also slowly moving into more sustainable territory, and its Flex 4 razor is a perfect example. It features four blades and a pivoting head to better maneuver the contours of your face.
If you’re looking to invest in a new safety razor or are looking to make the switch (finally), it’s worth making the investment to get the full package. While there are plenty of great options to mix and match, you can often save more money by buying everything together.
What makes this package particularly interesting is the shaving bowl and the inclusion of the brush, these extra parts will really ensure that your shave is as enjoyable as possible.
Of course, the shining star of this kit is Rockwell’s T2 Razor. This safety razor features a “twist to open” mechanism that makes changing blades incredibly easy. It also has an adjustable shave setting, so you can get your perfect shave every time.
Pro tip: Rockwell’s adjustable shaving settings make it easier for beginners to get into the game and avoid nicks and the learning curve.
A brand in constant evolution, which aims to remain at the forefront of innovation. It’s sometimes easy to scoff at its exaggerated ads, but the fact is that Gillette spends more money on R&D than any other shaving company. That’s why they work.
The ProGlide delivers a masterful close shave with ease. The much-vaunted FlexBall technology gives the razor easy maneuverability on granite jaws and the smoother features, thin blades delivering a close shave for sensitive skin. Perfect for the novice and the pro.
Harry’s (subscription service)
Rather than offering a range of ready-to-use razors, Harry’s is a US-based subscription service that has recently expanded to the UK. Its growth is due to the reliability of two affordable razors, designed to the highest standards and beautiful enough to display on the bathroom shelf.
With five blades, a flexible hinge and a precision trimmer, the Winston razor incorporates an ergonomic design with flawless performance in a polished zinc and chrome finish.
king of shaves
This well-established British brand takes the ‘no frills’ approach to razors, in that its products are practical, effective and affordable. Its founder started the company in 1993 because he couldn’t find a razor that felt soft enough for his own sensitive skin.
The blades are made in Japan, where they know a thing or two about sharp steel, but today’s range features modern touches too. The Hyperglide, for example, offers more lubrication thanks to a patented “superhydrophilic” (read: really really slippery) coating on the entire face of the blade. The flexible head allows for a closer shave, and there’s a trimmer blade on the back of the cartridge for edging and definition.
Philips is slowly making its way into the close shave market with a product that is truly unlike anything in the men’s grooming aisle. The OneBlade is a razor-razor-cutter with (no price guessing) a blade capable of moving 200 times per second. This hybrid means you can trim (with three different comb lengths), trim and shave without pulling or leaving a razor burn.
This is a good option if you switch between designer thatch, shorter beards and clean shaven looks, plus it can be used wet or dry and, refreshingly, the blade is designed to last up to four months. Value for money? We think so.
Suppliers of swords and guns, Wilkinson Sword has inside knowledge to spare when it comes to making a razor that shaves close. The company achieved its first safety razor in 1962 and more than half a century later, its German-made blades are still hard to beat.
The Hydro 5 is the pick of the current range, with its hydrating gel strip that pumps moisture into the skin as it moves. The five-blade design also features guards to banish irritation by preventing hair from getting caught between the blades.
It might not be as recognizable a name as some on this list, but Dorco is a 60-year-old family business that has spent years perfecting the art of razors. Made in the tech hub of South Korea, the company has a history of innovation and also creates own-brand products for supermarkets around the world.
The sleek Dorco Classic razor is the world’s first seven-blade razor, with a strip infused with nourishing oils and antioxidants to soothe skin as it works. Even better, its ergonomic design promises that you won’t be surprised to walk through the same area twice.
There are some iconic British brands to be proud of, and Bolin Webb is one of them. The company is a serial winner, revered for its no-compromise approach to design and the quality of its materials.
If there was ever a razor to proudly display in your bathroom, it’s the Bolin Webb X1 Carbon and Stand. The Lamborghini of razors, the body has a carbon fiber top panel often found in luxury cars, capped with a Gillette Fusion blade. Naturally. There are more affordable options in the range, but they all follow the same sleek aesthetic and come with a warranty of up to five years.
Cornerstone (subscription service)
The very definition of sleek minimalism, the Cornerstone razor looks sophisticated without sacrificing performance. Crafted from Japanese chrome steel, the five blades are designed to minimize irritation, while an aloe vera strip soothes skin as you go.
Available through the company’s personalized subscription service, you’ll have the products you need delivered to your door at regular intervals depending on how often you shave.