Save Money, Shave Better… Safety Razor

Oh, glorious summer. The season of summer Fridays and beach houses, of lake days, float trips, and thinking about hair removal more than we normally might.

This is the story of my now-favorite hair removal tool (aside from waxing and laser hair removal; we’ll save those for another day). Here is the Merkur safety razor, in all its gore and glory.

Thread Detectives - beauty - review - Merkur classic straight safety razor - theory of the leisure class

Stick ‘Em With the Pointy End

My first experience with a men’s safety razor involved blood — my blood, and lots of it.

I was sitting in the bathroom of an AirBnB at SXSW. I needed to remove some nail polish. About to open a tiny, travel-size bottle, I look around the bathroom. “What can I use to break the seal,” I think. “Oh, how about the corner of that shiny metal razor-thing?”

Cut to the razor slipping on the tiny seal, and me tearing my shirt off and shredding into bandages. A fingernail-size flap of skin dangles from my hand, and my left pointer finger bleeds profusely.

“Hi, business end of a safety razor. Nice to meet you.”

Flash forward a year and a half. I’m browsing one of my favorite men’s blogs, and I come across an article on shaving. The accompanying video goes something like this…

Narrator: Bill, what are you doing with those things?

Bill: Shaving, of course.

Narrator: With those things?

Narrator: (indicates consume razor and shaving cream)

Narrator: You’d be better off raking your face with a rusty butter knife and some kerosene.

A better, cheaper way to shave? Sweet. “But you found it on the Art of Manliness! Man…liness. You’re …not a man.” Please. As if any of us would tolerate lower-quality, higher-priced products just because they’re the women’s version of the thing. Men’s razors are the best razors. And you’re telling me this is the best men’s razor? I have to give it a try.

To make a long story short, I got one for Christmas, and I love it. I’ll eventually move towards full laser hair removal, but until then, I refuse to shave with anything else.

How do I use a safety razor? Where can I get one? Are safety razors more expensive than regular razors? Let’s find out.

The Merkur Safety Razor

  1. Use – apply shaving cream like you normally would. With this type of razor, you can also shave with coconut oil, other types of oils, or conditioner, if you’re really desperate. Continue reading The Art of Manliness’ “How to Shave Like Your Grandpa” for further instructions, how to hold the razor, how to change the blades, and more. (Except use it on your legs, not your face.)
  2. Benefits – while safety razors are much better for the environment (at least 80% less packaging), and provide a substantial savings over consumer razors (see below), the #1 reason any of us would likely choose a razor is that it provides the best shave humanly possible. Seriously, I love this thing.
  3. Price – let’s compare the cost of shaving with a safety razor to the cost of shaving with a standard women’s razor. First, we have the women’s razor:THREAD DETECTIVES - beauty - review - Gillette Venus Razor - Amazon - original pricesNext, we have the safety razor: THREAD DETECTIVES - beauty - review - Merkur classic straight safety razor - Amazon listingTHREAD DETECTIVES - beauty - review - Dorco Double Edge Razor Blades for a safety razorHow much would it cost to shave with each of them for a year? Let’s take a look. THREADDETECTIVES - Beauty - Merkur Safety Razor Review - Cost Comparison ChartAs we can see, at ~ $24 per year (for the first year — year 2, year 3, etc. will only run you the cost of the blades), the safety razor is the clear winner.
  4. Where to buy – you can probably purchase these at a variety of places; I got my safety razor from Amazon. I also got the blades from Amazon, in a pack of 100.
  5. Warnings and additional notes – for all the savings a safety razor provides, this type of hair-removal device is not a good idea if you’re sharing a bathroom with small children, or anyone who shouldn’t be left alone with a razor blade. If the story at the beginning of this post didn’t clue you in, THIS TYPE OF RAZOR CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. My brother, after being given one for Christmas, found it barbarous, and refused to use it (and I refuse to use anything else). Additionally, as I’ve discovered through experience, you can’t bring this razor through airport security; or, rather, you can bring the razor, but the blades must be packed in checked luggage, or purchased anew at your final destination.


Have you tried a safety razor? What did you find to be the best products to use with it? Let us know in the comments section below.


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