If you shave your head, you probably go through razors more quickly than men who just shave their face since you are shaving a greater surface area with them. Unfortunately since you shave more, you spend more on razor cartridges. One way you can save money on razor blades while still getting a good shave is by using a safety razor to shave your head.
In case you don’t know what a safety razor is, a safety razor is the predecessor of all modern cartridge razors. It kind of looks like a “T”. The handle is screwed into the top. The blade is placed perpendicular to the handle between a top piece and a guard, when the handle is screwed in this squeezes the blade between the two pieces causing the blade to slightly bend. This bend is what gives you the correct shaving angle.
With some safety razors you can even adjust how much of a bend there is with a dial, this is referred to as to “aggressiveness”. The steeper the angle you make it, the more aggressive it is. Different people will like different levels of aggressiveness. However, a general rule of thumb is that the more aggressive the angle the easier it is to irritate your skin while shaving.
Now that we have the basics out of the way we can return to our discussion about head shaving with a safety razor. Shaving your head with a safety razor is an extremely viable option. Like all things there is going to be a learning curve with it. This is due to the fact that the blade is situated differently on a safety razor than a cartridge razor.
When I started experimenting with the merkur 180 safety razor, I noticed that my natural inclination was to hold the end of the handle further away from my skin than I should have which caused the guard of the safety razor to sit on my face. As a result, I was just pulling shaving cream around my head without cutting anything. What I had to do was to lower the safety razor’s handle so that the handle was “more” parallel with my head. This caused the safety razor’s cutting edge to be in contact with my cheek and enabled me to shave. Once I got that down shaving was a pretty straight forward process.
One thing that impressed me about shaving with a safety razor was how close of a shave I got on my head after my first shave with one. I had about three weeks of hair growth on my head. Although the hair did clog up in the safety razor it was pretty easy to rinse it out. My first pass took me 22 minutes to complete.
While 22 minutes sounds like a long time it’s actually a lot faster than what it would take me to shave the same length of hair with a fusion proglide or with a headblade razor. It would take me 45 minutes to an hour to shave the same length of hair with those razors due to the clogging of the razor with the hair and the difficulty of removing clogged hair from those razors.
My second pass going against the grain only took me 10 minutes to complete. This really impressed me. After the second pass I could see how quickly someone could eventually learn to shave their head quickly and safely with a safety razor. I’m sure with enough practice I could get my time down to 5 minutes per pass. What impressed me even more was the closeness of the shave rivaled that of my head shaves with the Headblade razor.
Probably the best thing about shaving your head with a safety razor is the cost. A safety razor will usually run you around $35 – $60 depending on the type. I picked up my Merkur 180 for about $33 off Amazon. If you’ve been purchasing cartridge razors all of your life you might scoff at having to shell out 30 bucks for a razor handle. This is easy to understand, after all the big razor manufacturers will usually give you the handle for free or at a discount, but you’ve got to keep on buying the blades…
…and as we all know the blades are where the big razor manufacturers get you. Unlike cartridge razors, safety razor blades are extremely cheap. Depending on the brand you can get safety razor blades anywhere from twelve cents a blade(if you buy in bulk) to fifty cents a blade. I can’t say I’ve tried all of the safety razor blade brands out there, but out of the several I have tried I’ve been able to get them to all last multiple shaves. I easily get 3 shaves out of every blade. I’m sure I could get 7 shaves out of each blade if I cared to try.
To conclude this post, if you are thinking about shaving your head with a safety razor, I say give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I must warn you though, there will be a learning curve. You will nick yourself while learning. However, if you stick with the safety razor through the learning curve, I doubt you will ever go back to paying $4 a piece for cartridge razors.
As always leave your questions and comments below… 🙂
Thanks. Very helpful.
Hi Dave, you’re welcome. I’m happy to hear that you found this post useful.
Love your post on wet shaving your head, I started wet shaving a while ago and have been practicing on my head, the biggest problem I have is going against the grain, im not sure if I need a heavier razor or a lighter DE razor? do you shave against the grain? if so do you use a heavy or lightweight razor? I changed my angle a couple of times but with no luck, any input would be awesome! Bald is best Brother!
I do prefer to use a heavier razor, but a lighter DE razor will also be able to cut through the hair. When I first started out I had the same issue of it not cutting through the hair. I found that although I thought I had the right angle, in reality I did not.
You’re most likely using the razor with the razor handle kind of parallel to your head. With that angle you are just pulling the guard across your head and the blade isn’t getting an opportunity to cut. You’ll need to lift the handle so it’s further away from your head which will in turn cause the blade to be at the correct angle to cut through the hair. If you go too far, then once again the blade won’t be in contact with the skin and won’t cut the hair.
It can be kind of tricky starting out. I would recommend shaving your face with it and pay attention to the angle you have to hold it at while shaving your face and try to duplicate that angle while shaving your head. Just make sure to adjust for the contours of your head.