The Adjustable Safety Razor Makes a Comeback

A growing number of men are rediscovering the venerable adjustable safety razor and finding that it offers a far better shave than current offerings.

Top Safety Razor Gift Ideas


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The Merkur Futur Safety Razor, Satin Finish is the Porche of safety razors. Made in Germany by Merkur, the Futur is adjustable, meaning you can tweak the blade angle, which is nice for newbies who want a "safer" safety razor shave. Click here to check the specs...


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The Merkur Model 180 Long Handled Safety Razor is very similar to the 34C, it has a nice feel and heft to it, but it has the longer handle that some men prefer. I thought I 'd like the longer handle when I started shaving with a safety razor, but actually fell in love with the shorter handled 34C. Either work great, but I like the 34C. I feel like I can get around the curves of my face easier without the long handle in the way. I have larger hands and the short handle of the 34C is no problem. The 180 is very popular: ranked near the top at amazon.


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Tweezerman Badger Hair Shaving Brush. I've been using this brush everyday for the last year. It's a great little badger hair brush that whips up a nice lather and is priced right.

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Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Soap is one of my favorite soaps. It has a wonderful smell that isn't too strong. I know this sounds corny, but I feel like a real man when I use this soap! ;) It makes the wonder gel junk in a can seem downright girly. It lasts a lot longer than the canned stuff, so don't feel like you are spending too much.


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Merkur 34C and Sample Pack of razors. I use this razor everyday and love it. It is the Merkur 34C, sometimes called the "Classic". I has a nice heavy feel that makes those 5-bladed plastic razors feel like toys. Once you (or your husband, father, boyfried, etc.) start using a nice Merkur safety razor, they'll never go back. I keep one old cartridge type razor around for traveling because I don't want the 34C to get lost! I selected the 34C with the sampler pack because when you are starting out, it's great to sample a variety of different blades. Each set of whiskers is different. Choosing the correct blade for your face is a very personal thing, it's good to try a bunch of different blades! My personal favorite are the Feather blades from Japan.


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Shaving kit set: Merkur Classic Safety Razor, Badger Brush with chrome handle, chrome shaving bowl and Col Conk's Shaving Soap, Made in Germany

I included this shaving set in case you wanted to get everything together. This particular set has everything I'd love to have for myself. The Merkur Classic razor is my favorite and the one I use daily, a badger brush is a must (don't go for the cheapy non-badgers: they don't quite whip up a lather as well); Col Conk's Shaving soap, which is another of my favorites (love the smell and lather); and all with a shiny, snazzy chrome bowl. Reminds me of the bumper on my old '63 Buick!

Still have Safety Razor buying questions? Or comments?

If you still have questions about what to buy, send an email. --Dave

The replaceable, double edge blade of an adjustable safety razor is set inside a metal frame that protects the skin from all but the sharpened edge of the blade. This greatly reduces the risk of deep cuts and gives a sense of confidence to those who are new to the more traditional shaving methods. What sets it apart from other safety razors is that it is, as it's name states, adjustable. This means that the amount of exposed blade can be increased or reduced in order to control the intensity of the shave by increasing or reducing respectively the distance of the blade from the safety bar. Settings are typically changed by turning a dial usually located on the razor's handle. Beginners will want to start at the lowest setting, and work their way up as they get more comfortable with the process in order to safeguard against irritation and injury.

Adjustable safety razors got their beginnings at the dawn of the 20th century, when Gillette introduced the first fixed headed safety razor with disposable blades. These were the first razors to offer the protective metal case that housed all but a small portion of the blade's edge. The adjustable safety razor was the first that enabled the general public to shave themselves. Up until that point, folks usually sought out barbers or other friends or family members to shave them.

Out of production double edge safety razors can be found on eBay. The most popular of the vintage razors are the Gillette Adjustable 9 Settings models The old Gillette adjustables are actually highly sought after and still offer a nice, clean shave when paired with new double edge safety razor blades. Who says you can't go back a few years and find something that still performs well today.

Current, in production safety razor models are manufactured by a number of companies including Parker, Merkur, and Weishi. These range in price from $25 to around $75. Once you've invested in an adjustable safety razor, the best part is that the blades are cheap! Double edge blades are far more economical than disposable and cartridge razors and really give a nice, clean shave.

The three models manufactured by Merkur vary in their internal composition, but are generally operated the same way. The Merkur Progress is their least expensive and least complicated adjustable safety razor. The Progress is a two piece razor with a sandwich configuration, meaning the top piece is unscrewed and removed in order to insert a new blade, then replaced to anchor the and arch blade. The Merkur Futur adjustable safety razor is slightly heavier and larger than the Progress, and serves as middle ground for the Merkur adjustable models. The Futur's blade can be removed and replaced by simply snapping off the top of the razor head. Once a new blade is inserted, the top is simply snapped back into place.

The largest and most expensive of the three adjustable safety razor options is the Vision. It's bulky size makes it more difficult to maneuver small areas, but is good for those who prefer the more solid feel of a heftier razor. The Vision has a nob on the bottom which, when twisted, opens and closes the razor and allow for the removal and insertion of a new blade. The Vision also provides a more vigorous shave and is recommended for more experienced shavers as opposed to beginners. And as with any new shaving techniques, be sure to keep the skin lubricated, and start slowly. Rushing to try more challenging settings before fully ready can result in a painful experience instead of the truly rewarding one intended for those who venture to try this more traditional shaving method. Great deals on all of these adjustables can be found at eBay, Amazon, Shopzilla and Buy.com. The older, out of production Gillettes, of course, can by found used on eBay.

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