What is the Best Way to Shave Your Head?

An image of a Merkur 180 long handle safety razor, Parker shavette, Dovo shavette, Feather Artist club razor, Dovo straight razor, and Gillette Fusion ProGlide cartridge razor.

Top to bottom, left to right: safety razor, Parker shavette, Dovo shavette, feather razor, straight razor, cartridge razor

In today’s world, you have a lot of options when it comes to shaving your head. However, if you’re trying to figure out what is the best way to shave your head, then there are a lot of things you have to take into account. Some things that you need to take into account are:

  • Frequency of shaving – How often are you going to shave your head?
  • Closeness of shave – How close of a shave do you want?
  • Cost of razors – Is the price of razors a concern?
  • Ease of Use – Some methods require more experience than others.
  • Time needed – Does it matter how long it takes you to shave your head?

To make things more complicated, the above factors are somewhat intertwined. For example, extremely easy to use methods tend to be the ones that are the most expensive ways to shave long term. However, we’ll cover all that in each individual section. In the paragraphs to come I’m going to discuss a variety of razors and each of the above factors as it relates to each type of razor. By the end of this post you should have a pretty good idea of what razor works for your specific situation. Let’s get to it.

Cartridge Razors

I define cartridge razors like you classic Gillette shaving razors that everyone has probably shaved with at some point in their life. We’re talking about the razors that have multiple blades in parallel inside a cartridge that attaches to the handle.

Frequency of shaving

Cartridge razors really shine when you have to shave frequently. They handle anywhere from a day’s to a week’s worth of growth really well without clogging. However, they perform really terrible when you start wanting to shave once every few weeks or a month. Hair will get stuck in between the blade and it just takes forever, 30+ minutes, to finish shaving your head with it.

Closeness of shave

Cartridge razors will give you a close shave. However, a cartridge razor is going to take your hair all the way down to skin. If you’you want more of a rougher look, then you’re going to want to look at the other shaving options out there.

Cost of Razors

Cartridge razors are the most expensive razors to use when shaving. There’s no good way to keep them sharp and reuse them once they’re dull. There are a few tricks you can use to prolong their life, but you will be constantly buying replacement blades over the course of your life. As you can imagine this adds up over time.

Ease of Use

This is another area where cartridge razors shine. They are very easy to use and there is virtually no learning curve with them.

Time Needed

If you shave frequently, then you don’t need much time at all to shave your head with a cartridge razor. However, if it’s been a few weeks since you last shaved, then be prepared to spend 30 minutes or more shaving your head with a cartridge razors.

Electric Razors / Modern Groomers

For electric razors I’m referring to the more recent developments in the shaving world with the Philips Norelco OneBlade being one such example. Basically, the razor looks like a bloated cartridge razor that is batter powered, but the cutting action is more akin to how a set of clippers work. There’s a piece that oscillates back and forth. Hair goes between this oscillating piece and another part and gets sheared off.

Frequency of shaving

Some of the electric razors claim to be able to shave any length of hair, which I agree with for the most part. I’ve tested out the Philips OneBlade with a few weeks of growth and it didn’t phase it at all. I don’t think it would do too well as a daily shaver. They don’t get close enough to do much good if you are shaving every day.

Closeness of shave

For razors like the OneBlade what they gain in being able to shave longer hair, they lose in their ability to get a really close shave. In today’s shaving world with more men growing beards and not shaving as much in decades past, I think this is a good trade off.

If you’re expecting a super close shave that you would get with a cartridge razor, then you’re either going to have to follow up your electric razor shave with a cartridge razor or you’re going to have to look at one of the other razors I’ll be discussing shortly.

One benefit that is unique to this class of razor is the ability to use a guard to shave the hair on your head to a specific lengths. This is only beneficial if you want the length of hair that the guard will let you shave it to.

Cost of Razors

Electric razors and modern groomers tend to cost more than your cartridge razors when speaking just about the handle part. This makes sense because they have batteries in them and oscillating parts presumably making the handles more expensive to manufacture. I would say the replacement blades for electric razors are about the same price as regular cartridge razors.

Their initial price is cheaper than your straight razors and feather razors, but over the long term it seems like they would be more expensive due to the cost of the replacement blades.

Ease of Use

The OneBlade proved to be pretty easy to learn how to shave. I would say it’s slightly more complicated to shave with than a cartridge razor only because you need to read the instructions to learn how to avoid getting nicks. There is a slight learning curve, but it is certainly easier to learn to shave with than a straight razor, shavettes, or feather razors.

Time Needed

No matter what length of hair electric razors are going to be a pretty fast shave. They really shine when it comes to shave longer lengths of hair that a cartridge razor can’t handle.

Straight Razors

Straight razors are what men used to shave with before the safety razor was invented. If you’ve never seen one, then it looks more like a knife than a razor.

Frequency of shaving

Straight razors can handle any length of hair you want to throw at it. They will handle a single’s day growth just as well as a few months growth.

Closeness of shave

Straight razors will give you just as good of shave as a cartridge razor. In fact, for some men they can get an even closer shave with a straight razor due to them being able to shave against the grain with a straight razor without getting razor burn. This is due to fewer blades passing over their skin.

Many men can only do a single pass with the grain with a cartridge razor. While this feels relatively smooth when you stroke your face with the grain, it does feel pretty rough when you stroke your face against the grain.

Cost of Razors

Straight razors are far more expensive initially when you buy them, than any other razor. You have to buy other accessories such as a strop and sharpening stones to maintain the razors edge over the course of this life. However, these accessories are typically a one time purchase leading to there being no recurring costs. This means shaving with a straight razor tends to be quite a bit cheaper over the long term than other shaving methods.

Ease of Use

Straight razors definitely have a learning curve to them and you way more likely to nick or cut yourself with one than you are with other razors. However, once you have the muscle memory down it becomes as easy to shave with as a cartridge razor. It just takes more time and practice to develop the skills to shave with a straight razor than a cartridge or electric razor.

Time Needed

When you first start out, it’s going to take you longer to shave with a straight razor than other razors because you don’t have the muscle memory or skill. You’re going to have to learn how to position it correctly to shave the different parts of your head. However, once you have it down it will probably take slightly longer than shaving with a cartridge, electric, or safety razor if only because you don’t want to rush things and nick or cut yourself.

For longer lengths of hair it will take less time to shave with a straight razor than a cartridge razor. It will take about the same time as an electric razor, but you have the added benefit of a closer shave than what you could achieve with an electric razor.

Shavettes / Feather Razors

Shavettes and feather razors look like a traditional straight razor, but they take disposable blades. Shavettes typically take a safety/DE razor blade that’s been snapped in half. Feather razors typically take a specialized blade specifically manufactured for that razor. The feather razors have blades that are closer to the length of a straight razors while most shavettes are the same length of blade as a safety/DE razor blade since those are the blades they use. The one exception is a Dovo shavette has a special holder/insert that allows you to use “long blades” which are longer than the feather blades and almost the same length as a straight razor’s blade.

Frequency of shaving

Feather razors and shavettes can shave the same lengths of hair as a straight razor. They handle long lengths of hair well.

Closeness of shave

Just like a straight razor they can get as close of a shave as any cartridge razor and many men can shave against the grain with these razors without having to worry about getting razor burn.

Cost of Razors

Feather razors are just as expensive as straight razors. They have the added cost of having to buy replacement blades for them, but you don’t have to purchase a strop or honing stones for them. Shavettes are a lot cheaper than feather razors and straight razors. The shavette handle is slightly more expensive than cartridge razors, but less expensive than electric razor. The blades to the shavette are drastically cheaper than cartridge razor, electric razor, or feather razor blades.

Since the feather razor and shavettes have replaceable blades, there is the potential to re-condition the shaving edge to extend their shaving life. I’ve never done this personally, but the possibility exists.

Ease of Use

I would say shaving with shavettes and feather razors are probably the most demanding of any razor. From my personal experience, I nick myself more often when shaving my head with a shavette and feather razor than I do with a straight razor. I feel like I know where the blade is when shaving with a straight razor than with shavettes and feather razors and can stop when I feel the razor digging in without cutting myself. By the time I feel the shavettes and feather razors dig in I have already nicked/cut myself.

Time Needed

Just like straight razors there is a learning curve that will cause you to take more time when you are initially learning to shave your head with it, than if you were using a cartridge, electric, or safety/DE razor. However, once you have the muscle memory down it will probably take slightly longer for shorter lengths of hair than other shaving methods, but it will be quite a bit faster shaving longer lengths of hair.

Safety / Double-Edged (DE) Razors

Safety/DE razors are the forerunners of the modern cartridge razors. However, instead of having it’s razor blade locked inside a sealed cartridge that can’t be opened, the blade is placed between two metal pieces which are then screwed together. This sandwiches the thin blade between the two pieces of middle and gives it a slight bend which puts it at the proper angle to shave your face.

Frequency of shaving

Safety/DE razors fair a little better than cartridge razors when it comes to shaving longer lengths of hair. However, they suffer the same fate of hair clogging them. When they do get clogged with hair you do have the benefit of loosening the pieces of metal that secure the blade which gives you the ability of washing away the clogged hair a lot better than with a cartridge razor. With daily shaving they do just as well as cartridge razors.

Closeness of shave

Safety razors can get just as close of a shave as cartridge razors and any other razors. Since there is only one blade there is less of a chance for razor burn if you do decide to go against the grain.

Cost of Razors

Typically, safety razor handles are more expensive than cartridge razor handles, but less than expensive than straight razors, feather razors, and electric razors. Depending on the model of safety razor you buy they can either be more expensive or less expensive than a shavette.

Safety razors really shine when it comes to the cost of their replacement blades. The blade is just a flat piece of metal with a hole in the middle and two sharpened edges. This means it doesn’t take as much machining to produce as other replacement razor blades. It’s not uncommon to find safety/DE blades for tens of cents per blade. If you are willing to buy in bulk, then you can easily push this cost down to a few cents per blade.

Furthermore, since you can remove the safety/DE blade from the razor you can actually re-condition the blade and potentially extends the life of it. At the very minimum, you can flip the razor blade upside down which will expose the other side of the blade.

Ease of Use

Safety razors are a bit more difficult to use than cartridge razors, but they are easier to learn how to shave with than straight razors or feather razors.

Time Needed

It takes about the same amount of time to shave with a safety razor as it does with a cartridge razor for shorter lengths of hair. For longer lengths of hair they perform a bit better than cartridge razors, but they lag behind straight razors, shavettes, feather razors, and electric razors.

Conclusion

As you can see there are benefits and drawbacks to each razor when it comes to shaving your head. You just have to take into account each factor we covered and determine which factors matter to you most and the make the best decision for your situation.

0 comments… add one

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.