Gentlemen's FAQs

How do I choose a safety razor?

September 26, 2017
choose a safety razor

If you would like to start enjoying the benefits of shaving with a safety razor, but are not sure how to choose a razor, this guide will get you started.

There are two main types of double edge safety razor and these are, closed comb safety razors, and open comb safety razors. Closed comb or open comb refers to the design of the safety bar on the razor head. The closed comb design is a solid bar and the open comb design is, well, like a comb!

Okay, which one do I need? Well the closed comb design is the most popular being suited to beginners and experienced safety razor shavers alike. It is definitely the place to start. Generally speaking closed comb designs, due to less blade exposure, give a milder shave than their open comb counterparts.This is especially helpful for beginners. You can still get an extremely close shave with these razors and they make excellent daily shavers. I also find they have no problems removing several days growth easily too.

Open comb and closed comb safety razor comparison with Muhle R89 and R41
Mühle  make excellent closed comb razors that are highly regarded for their shaving performance. They are also beautifully made.

The most popular of these closed comb razors is the Mühle R89. The R89 has a knurled handle that provides a little more grip than the smooth handled razors  but I have found the resin handled razors are surprisingly grippy (provided you haven’t covered your hands and entire razor with lather, in which case any razor handle will be slippery).

So if the closed comb razors are so good why would I need an open comb?

Well, you probably don’t. Open comb razors typically shave more aggressively as the blade exposure is greater due to the fact that the safety bar is not solid but is a comb shape. One of the most popular open comb designs is the Mühle R41 and these razors are suited to experienced safety razor shavers, often who have heavier beards. The first time I tried one of these razors I was immediately aware of the increased blade exposure but I didn’t have any issues using it though, and I don’t have a particularly heavy beard. It will give you a very close shave, very quickly, and I now use one of these razors everyday. I enjoy using the  R41 open comb razor but I wouldn’t recommend starting with one. For that, a closed comb razor by  Mühle is a very good choice.

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