Is Classic Shaving Right for Me?

Classic shaving, also called wet shaving, uses double-edged safety razors, single-edged safety razors or a straight.  It also includes making lather with a shaving brush.  I believe Every man should at least try classic shaving, though I’ll lay out the facts, so you can decide for yourself.

Benefits of shaving with a multi-blade cartridge:

  • No skill required
  • Very forgiving

Disadvantages of multi-blade cartridges:

  • Some men get razor burn, especially on the neck. Multiple blades can cause whiskers to be cut below the skin line, which can cause ingrown hair.  I also have concern that multiple blades can push little pieces of whisker and other material into the hair follicle, causing irritation. 
  • An $8 cartridge is much more expensive than a $.25 double-edged razor blade that lasts the same amount of time. Fortunately, Competition is reducing cartridge price.
  • Profit focused marketing. Cartridge shaving isn’t better than classic shaving, rather it has advantages and disadvantages.  This hasn’t been the message from the large corporation marketing machines.

Advantages of classic shaving:

  • The experience. Shaving is a very masculine ritual.  I go to a Zen like meditative mode with shaving - just me and the edge of the razor blade, using the same focus a musician uses with their instrument. For many, multi-blade cartridges have turned shaving into a plastic chore to be completed as quickly as possible.
  • A closer, more comfortable shave.
  • Less irritation – the challenges outlined above for cartridge don’t apply.
  • For many, it takes a very masculine ritual and changes it from a plastic chore to a pleasure.
  • Higher quality lather.
  • It’s kind of badass, especially with a straight.
  • Cost – classic shaving can be much less expensive. This is a nice advantage if savings focused or on a fixed income.  You need some things to get started, then is costs roughly $.25 per week for a blade and $10-30 per year for soap.  There is one brand of widely used that is $.10 per blade.

Disadvantages of classic shaving:

  • It takes skill. Plan on a few nicks and cuts while you learn.  In the beginning, it can take 30-45 minutes to shave.  Plan on starting on nights and weekends.  Once you develop the skill, a double-edged safety razor is just as quick as a cartridge.
  • Classic shaving isn’t nearly as forgiving as cartridges.

We see a lot of folks try and leave classic shaving.  I would suggest a straight razor for those who go into it willing, motivated and prepared to invest time in learning.  The same for a double-edged safety razor, though to a much less extent.  Many folks who go back to cartridges will no longer use canned shaving cream and will use their shaving brush and soap for making lather. 

In closing, there is no reason you can’t do both.  Get the enjoyment of classic shaving when you have time and cartridges on busy mornings.  Further, you can start your shave with a straight or safety razor and move to your cartridge razor when you are ready to complete your shave.

Now, go have a great shave!


  • Thank you for commenting Martin. We personally prefer classic shaving, though cartridge razors do a good job for a lot of people.

    Pete Hendrix
  • Very nice article. Gives both sides an even shake.

    Martin G Anderson

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