The best safety razor blades: There are some things in life you just have to accept for what it is and stop trying to improve it. Using double-edged safety razor blades in a classic razor body that’s been around for over 100 years is one of them.
You cannot get a closer and more comfortable shave with any other shaving razor, manual or electric. Here’s a heads up. The most expensive blade isn’t necessarily the best safety razor blades for you.
What is the Value in Using The Best Safety Razor Blades to Shave?
I’m always finding excuses for not shaving. I rank it right up there with doing my laundry or taking phone calls from alumni organizations and charities for donations. Unfortunately, shaving is not something you can ignore and still earn a living. It’s one of those unavoidable things in life.
Even if you grow a beard and mustache, you’re not free of trimming around the edges and doing a bit of manscaping to stay presentable. I’m in the category of not even being able to grow a beard, so there you have it. I must shave.
With that reality firmly in my mind, it becomes a quest for me to find a way to shave that I enjoy so that the experience is pleasant as an alternative to loathing shaving at all. I have found it after experimentation with cartridge style manual razors and electric razors. My final experiment was with using a manual double-edged safety razor with what I term a real razor blade that I can feel and touch.
There’s some level of satisfaction in being in control of the shaving event and investing some quality time in looking good. After I’m done, I can look in the mirror and know that I did that using my own skills and techniques. Plus, the shave is so close, that the aura of 5 o’clock shadow is nowhere to be seen and the next morning’s shave is easier once you get the ball rolling.
So, what is the value to you in using the best safety razor blades? Let’s talk about it.
It's the Least Expensive Method of Shaving that You’ll Find but with Class
We are talking a lifetime value advantage over any other type of razor. The razor body itself is made of alloyed steel that actually feels substantial in your hand and lasts a very long time. As a matter of fact, if you’re so inclined, you can buy one of these razors as a family heirloom and hand it down over generations to come. Compare that to the plastic alternatives of cartridge razors and even electric ones.
It would also be advisable to add a quality shaving brush to apply the shaving cream and you have a matched set that adds value and charm to the history of shaving in your family. Both the razor and brush are once in a lifetime buys. Add the best safety razor blades to the mix and you’ll find that those blades are far less expensive than cartridge refills or replacement cutting heads for your electric.
Electric razors have priced themselves out of the shaving market for the educated buyer through their efforts to use technology to try and conquer the closer shave challenge. They have failed in all their efforts to date and will continue to fail into the future. The double-edged safety razor in a quality razor handle will beat them every time.
100 super stainless doubled edged safety razors will last you for about two years (104 weeks) and cost significantly less than 4 cartridge razor refills that will last you about 20 weeks. So, if you end up being between jobs for a while, you can still keep a smooth face and chin for all those job interviews you’ll be going to.
The Quality of the Shave is Unmatched
Well, there is one way to beat the closeness of a shave with a safety razor and double-edged blades and that’s with using a straight razor. But, unless you’re a very brave person, you won’t use a straight razor yourself. You’ll head off to the barber shop and let the expert do the work. Even then, you’re not guaranteed to walk about with a nick or a slice somewhere.
Regardless of the marketing hype and TV commercials, neither a cartridge razor with 4 or more blades or an electric razor will shave as close no matter how many skin irritating passes you make over the face and chin.
Safety Razor Blades are the “Green” Alternative
It isn't obvious from just looking at the various shaving devices and their accessories but the safety razor and double-edged blades require far less of a production facility and the use of light, heat and power to use petroleum-based chemicals to make the plastic bodies and packaging materials of cartridge and electric razors to get their products to market.
Each stainless steel safety razor blade is packaged in thin paper wrappers and the metal razor and blades are put in a form fitting holder for shipment in a cardboard box to the retail store. We could get really picky and compare the energy required for a sink full of hot water to the electricity required to run and recharge an electric razor too.
It’s a Demonstration of Masculinity
The world is simply too fast-paced four own good. Lost in the mix of the daily grind are the personal things that distinguish men as masculine. Shaving with a safety razor is one of those things. It requires skill, technique, and a steady hand.
It's one of "those" things that your Dad always took you aside and talked to you about as you began showing the signs of manhood. It was a male ritual of the most private type. It is you against the razor to master the art of shaving. Your masculinity hangs in the balance.
The 5 Best Safety Razor Blades
The first thing I’m going to do here is direct you to the video below. The choice of a double-edged blade is really a personal experience and doesn’t follow too many rules.
Cost is a big driver and I will quantify that but the quality of the shave is highly subjective depending on your skin conditions and the aggressiveness of the blade when mounted on the razor. S, my method is to rank the blades by cost from one to five. The rest is up to you in making your choice.
Derby Extra DE Razor Blades
All Derby razor blades are manufactured from stainless razor blade steel strip from Sweden, hardened and ground by utilizing the most advanced equipment. All Derby razor blades cutting edges are deposited with chromium, ceramic, tungsten and platinum by advanced spluttering equipment for optimum edge strength thus longer shaving life.
These razor blades are coated with a polymer for optimum shaving comfort from beginning to end. Each Derby blade is subjected to a detailed quality control inspection at every stage of manufacturing processes by state of the art quality control equipment.
The Derby brand is known for its low price and the smoothness of the blade as it glides across your skin. While it meets my two primary criteria of cost and versatility of use, the blade is only as good as you think it is. You can’t go wrong on the price, so I recommend you start out at the low end of the cost scale until you hit on the blade that suits your style and expectations.
Personna DE Stainless Steel Blades (Blue)
- Glide-coated stainless steel blades are now 25% sharper
- Individually wrapped new dispenser carton allows removal of one blade at a time
- For use in most safety shaving razors
This one ranked second on my cost and versatility list. The blade is constructed so that it fits just about any razor you can find. I initially used this blade some years ago when I found a safety razor that my father had given me which was a safety razor that his father had given him. It was an ancient razor.
This Personna blade was the first one I found that would fit in it. That was good enough in its own right to become one of my favorite blades. The reasonable cost (not much more than the Derby’s above) solidified its position on my list of favorites.
The sharpness of this blade caught my attention right from the start because my skill at wet shaving was still in its infancy. But, I learned the hard way and came to respect this blade for the closeness of the shave. The staying power of the blade was average and needed to be replaced after a week’s worth of shaving. But then, I opt for a sharp blade sooner rather than later anyway. If my beard wasn’t as coarse and heavy as it is, I’m sure I could have gotten two weeks out of one blade.
If sharp blades at an attractive cost are high on your list, this is a blade to try.
Astra Superior Platinum
- 20 Packs of 5 Blades -- Total 100 Blades
- Sharp, Smooth and Comfortable
- Highest quality blades made to fit different double edge safety razors
- Fits all Standard Double Edge Safety Razors
- Outstanding Longevity - retains sharpness and smoothness for many shaves!
Let’s take another step up the cost scale with the Astra. This blade is actually made by Gillette in Russia. This blade comes to its reputation through its European heritage as this blade is the blade of choice by many barbers on the European continent.
The reviews on this blade intrigued me enough to try them out and I’m glad I did. These are stainless steel, coated blades with a platinum plated edge. The Astra blades are known for their smoothness, unsurpassed sharpness, and durability and represent the top of the Astra product line.
At the price, it was a no-brainer to give them a try. The blade lived up to its reputation on the very first shave. I took a shower to soften up the hair and skin and put on a pre-shave lubricant and shaving cream and had at it.
The blade literally floated over my skin leaving me with a baby soft feeling when I ran my hand over it. However, I put the results to the acid test and asked my wife to rub her cheek against mine and give me an opinion. The smile was enough to convince me that she liked it.
Polsilver Super Iridium Blade
This blade is going out of production but it’s still worth a mention from the price and versatility point of view. I was lucky enough to have a five blade box of these blades given to me by a friend. So, I gave them a try and was impressed with how they performed.
You can still find them if you’re interested but I suspect the price will go up as they become harder and harder to find. The great performance of the blade makes me wonder why they are not producing the blade anymore. My guess is poor marketing.
Polsilver is another Russian-made blade from a well-respected factory in St. Petersburg. It always ranked high on every safety razor's list of the top blades. This blade is a non-aggressive, forgiving blade that treats the face and neck skin gently, minimizing the razor burn.
It isn’t the sharpest blade on the market and dulls quickly for those with a heavy beard. Maybe, that’s why the blade is now out of production. The price didn’t match the performance. However, for a man with light facial hair, it might just be the right blade for him.
Gillette Silver Blue
- 20 Packs of 5 Blades per Pack Total 100 Blades
- Great and affordable Razor Blades
- Gillette Stainless Silver Blue Blades Made in Russia
- Highest quality blades made to fit different double edge safety razors
This blade is the most costly one we’ll talk about in this article. It comes in at 2 or 3 times the Derby and Personna price per 100 blades. That makes this blade a choice in the performance category as the reason why it’s listed. I happened to come by a few of these blades as a promotional deal and gave them a try.
The sharp but non-aggressive nature of the blade is what surprised me the most. The sharpness of the blade is only a step under the legendary sharpness of the Japanese Feather blade.
Yet, when I shaved with it using both a pre-shave lubricant and a shaving cream, I couldn't feel any skin discomfort as the blade literally floated across my cheek and chin. The real test came at the part of the neck right at the Adam's apple.
If a razor and blade are going to snag me, it will happen there. But, letting the razor do the work and not applying any unnatural pressure was the key to realizing a good experience. I just might keep a pack of five around for that "special" occasion.
Finish On The Point
There is no doubt that wet shaving using a safety razor equipped with a double –edged razor blade is trending back into the mainstream of shaving. There are many reasons for it with the most influential one being the skyrocketing cost of the new razors and electric shavers coming into the market. It’s driven people to look for ways to save money on the grooming essentials.
Wet shaving with a safety razor is by far the best way to get a good shave without breaking the bank. In fact, it’s the best way to get the closest shave of any other options that are out there save an expert barbershop shave using a straight razor which will cost you far more than any of the other shaving options.
Companies like Merkur have been manufacturing safety razors and blades since the 1870”s and no amount of new technology has proven to do a better job. Yes, it does take some patience and the desire to learn how to use the safety razor but those are skills quickly mastered. The nostalgia of shaving the way Dad did has some influence on the motivation to go back to the old ways.
The best safety razor blades do the real work in this wet shaving resurgence. Decades-old technology is still effective and cost friendly. The very best safety razors aren’t the ones money can buy either. If you want to spend big money on safety razor blades, you can, but you won’t necessarily get the best shave of your life.
It takes time to find the best blade for you as the experience is unique and personal to each person. This is one case where the old saying, “You get what you pay for,” doesn’t hold true. What you get has to work for you and it takes some experimenting to get there.