A safety razor is any razor that provides a protective guard between the blade and the skin, reducing the exposure of the blade and providing a safer shaving experience. When most people are referring to “safety razors” they are talking about the classic double edged safety razor design that was first introduced in 1904 by King Camp Gillette. This design enabled men to shave easily and safely in their own homes rather than having to go to a professional barber. This design was an instant success!
In the early twentieth century ladies fashion moved towards sleeveless dresses and in 1915 Gillette introduced a safety razor for ladies to accommodate the new desire for smooth skin. The Ladies safety razor featured a shorter handle to fit ladies smaller hands but as fashion changed and knee length dresses were introduced Gillette extended the safety razor handle to provide slightly more reach for leg shaving. The Lady Gillette double edged safety razor was popular until 1975 after which Gillette ceased to produce it. In fact Gillette started to phase out all their double edged razors about this time as the market was changing.
Companies like Bic arrived on the scene with their completely disposable razors causing a lot of scrambling between the manufacturers to retain their market share. They endeavoured to do this by creating shaving systems that tied you in to their brand. Over the years whilst manufacturers have been busy increasing the number of blades and redesigning moisture strips etc. many gentlemen and ladies have become increasingly dissatisfied with the quality, cost and comfort of their shaving experience.
Due in large part to the internet, there has been a resurgence in the use of the classic double edge safety razor and vintage Gillette razors have been quite sought after. Presently, companies such as Mühle from Germany have taken some cues from the classic Gillette design and have produced beautifully manufactured safety razors that perform exceptionally well. These razors are an excellent alternative to the ubiquitous cartridge systems, enabling gentlemen and ladies to have a far better, more enjoyable shave as well as greatly reducing the cost of shaving.