If you’re trying to decide between a shavette and a straight razor, then there are a couple of things to consider that we’ll discuss in this post. I honestly don’t think that one is better than the other. I definitely like things about each one, but the decision is highly personal based on which advantages you like and which disadvantages you are willing to deal with. In this post I will talk about the differences you will encounter between using a shavette vs a straight razor.
When using a shavette to shave there is very little to no preparation for shaving. The most preparation you might have to do is insert a new blade if the old blade has become so dull that it’s causing shaving with it to be uncomfortable.
When shaving with a straight razor you will need to strop it before each shave. This will add a few minutes to each shave.
Long-term Razor Maintenance
Over the lifetime of the shavette you will have virtually no maintenance. The only types of maintenance I can potentially see is using some rubbing alcohol to clean the blade after you are done shaving with it, but you don’t even necessarily need to do that
A straight razor will need to be periodically honed in order to keep it sharp enough to continue cutting through hair.
Ongoing costs / Maintenance
Shavettes use disposable blades. You will be forced to buy replacement blades as long as you want to continue shaving with a shavette.
All of a straight razor’s costs are virtually upfront. If you plan on doing all the razor maintenance yourself, then you will need to purchase a straight razor, strop, strop pastes, and sharpening stones/fluid. The only recurring expense that you might experience is with strop pastes and sharpening oils.
Although these upfront costs are significantly more than a shavette, in the long-term it might be actually cheaper than a shavette. If you don’t hone your straight razor yourself, then you will have a recurring cost of paying someone to hone it for you.
Shaving with a shavette and straight razor are largely the same with the following exceptions:
- Blade length: Most shavettes take a safety/DE razor blade which is significantly shorter than the blade of a straight razor. This means that it can take more passes with a shavette to shave the same amount of skin area. The only exception to this is a Dovo shavette which can take long blades with the black insert and this gets you closer to the length of a true straight razor.
- Weight: Shavettes tend to be lighter than straight razors. This definitely gives you a different shaving experience when shaving with a shavette versus a straight razor. Personally, I like the weight of a straight razor over any shavette I have shaved with.
- Blade sharpness: Shavette blades are machine sharpened. As a result, the blades can actually be sharper than a straight razor. I think it’s easier to nick yourself with a shavette than with a straight razor. With straight razors I feel that I can sense when the straight razor is about to dig in and I can stop shaving before I nick myself, but by the time I feel the shavette dig in I have already nicked myself. However, the machine sharpened blades can be an advantage when you are first starting out because if the shavette isn’t cutting through your hair you know your technique is off instead of worrying about if your straight razor is properly honed.
- Shaving long hair: When you shave long hair with a shavette there is the potential for hair to get stuck between the blade and the blade holder. This can make it harder to shave with until you clear out the clog. There is no such issue with a straight razor because it’s a single piece of metal. The longer hair just passes over the cutting edge and collects on the side of the blade. There is no place for the hair to get wedged into.
My Personal Preference
I definitely prefer to shave with a straight razor over a shavette because I like the shaving experience. There is some intangible quality about shaving with a straight razor that just can’t be put to words. With that being said, I tend to shave the most with a feather razor, which is similar to a shavette, because of the convenience factor of not having to strop the razor or hone it. Even then, I still get more pleasure out of shaving with a straight razor than a feather razor. The feeling of a straight razor in your hand while shaving is second to none.
Shavettes can be great training wheels for straight razors since they are the same style as straight razors. You can develop the muscle memory to shave with one that will transfer over to shaving with a straight razor. If the shavette doesn’t cut through your hair, then you know your shaving technique is off and needs to be improved rather than having to worry about if the razor edge is sharp. Basically, a shavette takes the blade edge sharpness out of the equation when you are first learning.
Ultimately, the only way to know which one you prefer is to shave with both of them and decide for yourself.