Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety Razor
If the vintage Gillette Adjustable 9 safety razors are the '57 Chevys of the shaving world, then the Merkur Futur double edge razor is certainly the Porsche.
The Futur is one of the few safety razors currently in production, (along with Parker and Mergress razors) and made in Solingen, Germany, has the fit and finish of a fine German sports car. It is chrome plated with either a satin, polished chrome or gold plated finish, costs around $60, and is 4 1/2 inches in length. This razor really feels heavy and solid in the hand, and has a nice feel to the adjustment system. While the vintage Gillette safety razors can only be found used mainly at eBay, the Merkur Futur can be found at amazon.com and other online retailers carrying custom shaving gear beyond the typical Mach 3, cartridge razor offerings.
The Merkur Futur has an adjustment wheel with six settings. The fine adjustment mechanism has a really solid feel and is equally adept at thick coarse beards or light beards, and can be used by men with sensitive skin as well as normal skin. This razor is one of the most popular razors currently on the market for a reason.
Newbie shavers can set the Futur to a more shallower setting so there is less chance of nicks. When starting out, a setting of "1" is best. This will move the blade in closer to the guard at the top reducing the chance of accidental cuts. Once you get used to the Futur, slowly increasing to higher number settings can give a closer shave. Men used to using DE razors or have thick beards will opt for higher number settings. Just make sure you get used to the feel of the razor before using the higher settings. The weight and balance of this razor and the shape of the handle add up to provide a nice, steady feel when shaving.
Replacing the blade on the Futur is a snap, literally. The top safety bar snaps off with a gentle nudge from the thumb so you can clean it or replace the blades easily. Some have commented that his could be a safety issue but most have no problems at all with the snap-off top mechanism.
Review of the Futur DE razor are generally quite positive. This is arguably the best DE adjustable safety razor on the market today. One important final consideration before jumping in and purchasing a Futur (or any adustable DE razor) is that proper technique is critical. The cartridge type (Mach 3, Quattro, Schick, etc.) razors are very forgiving and allow the shaver to get away with using sloppy technique. While the DE razors can potentially offer the best shave you've ever had (subjective gushing, there), without proper technique, the DE razor will not perform.
So what is "proper technique"? Set the razor to "1", get your face hot and lathered with some good shaving soap, and take your time. It isn't difficult, it just takes a bit of awareness. Just remember you are holding a finely tuned shaving machine with a super sharp blade.