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Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor-West Coast Shaving

Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor

In this West Coast Shaving Daily Shave video, Eric does a side by side comparison of a safety razor vs. a cartridge razor. And you might be surprised by the results. Watch the video to see his complete break down of the experience.

Wet Shaving Methods

Men’s grooming, wet shaving, traditional shaving. Whatever you call it, the practices of shaving, personal hygiene, and self care have been around awhile. The resurgence of interest in older practices in recent decades has created some rabid fans and followers. But what about contemporary shaving practices? Is there a place for the cartridge razor? 

(Note: Although there are contemporary practices of older methods, Eric is defining traditional & contemporary as follows for his purposes. Traditional wet shaving method is creating a lather with a shaving brush on a specifically designed shaving soap and shaving with a safety razor or other single edge blade. Contemporary wet shaving method is shaving with a canned or aerosol shaving cream and a multi-blade, disposable cartridge razor.)


  • Eric is not a hater of cartridges. While lots of people have dramatic stories of atrocities committed by such methods, Eric doesn’t. For years, Eric was like many of the masses today who took a disposable-head cartridge razor into the shower and made quick work of a shave. His fall into traditional wet shaving came from the sheer delight he experienced as he delved into a world of scents, soaps, and sensation.
  • For this shave, Eric conducted a shave with contemporary methods on one side and traditional methods on the other.
    • Contemporary method shaving with Gillette Foamy Regular shave foam and Gillette Mach3 (3 Blade) razor.
    • Traditional method shaving with Fine Accoutrements shaving soap lathered with a Semogue 830 brush and double-edge safety razor.

Benefits of Contemporary Wet Shaving

  • Time. For a quick shower shave, a cartridge razor can serve you well. It is usually a quick and convenient, in-and-out way to groom.
  • Ease of use. There is little-to-no learning curve to a cartridge razor. You can pay and play.
  • Money. This one is a tricky one. Replacement cartridges add up over time (and certainly outpace the price of a replacement double edge blade), but contemporary method shavers don’t usually outspend wet shaving enthusiasts. 

Benefits of Traditional Wet Shaving

  • Me Time. This type of shaving slows you down a bit, but not in a bad way. A little extra time spent on yourself is not wasted.
  • Close, comfortable, less irritating (for some). Many wet shavers have dramatic experiences with the radically different shaves they get with a cartridge vs. safety razor. In large part due to the exceptional soaps/lather, exfoliating brush, and single edge of the blade, they get a much less irritating groom.
  • Money. IF you can avoid the rabbit hole and not get sucked into this amazing hobby, then there are cost benefits associated with traditional wet shaving. After your initial investment in the tools (razor, brush, blade, soap), purchases are few and far between and much cheaper on the whole than cartridges. However, many who embrace this way of shaving find that they do it for more than just the savings. In fact, they might find themselves paying much more as they dabble in scents, soap formulas, brush knots and handles, new razor designs, and more.
  • The experience. Over and over again, traditional wet shavers tout the experience of their shave as a “game changer”. They are willing to take a bit more time, expend a bit more energy when the outcome is so much better. They enjoy the meditative process of the shave and find it far and away more enjoyable than contemporary methods.

Eric’s Take Away:

Comparing a safety razor vs a cartridge razor was a fun little experiment. Both sides of his face ended up being equally as smooth. “Proof positive that both wet shaving methods work,” says Eric. “In summation. . . do what you want. Do what makes you feel good.” 

What makes you feel good? Are you a die-hard blade-and-brush-man? Do you find a little wiggle room for a disposable razor at times? Maybe you are still sold on the cartridge-in-the-shower shave? Let us know what trips your trigger in the comments below.

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Mike McDermott - October 11, 2019

Hey Eric, I’m with you, I started to save money, fell in love with it and went down the rabbit hole. But my hobby turned into a small business, I make my own soap and brushes

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