Why use a Straight Razor?
Tired of stubble by lunchtime? Looking for a new way to shave?
Straight razors are generally acknowledged as one of the best ways to eliminate facial hair and slow the growth of five o’clock shadows. Unlike safety razors, they don’t have any flimsy or plastic parts to get in the way, and unlike electric razors, they don’t need a master’s degree to operate. Straight razors are the way your grandfather did it: smooth and simple.
But what if you’ve never purchased a straight razor before? How can you determine the best brands from the merely passable? There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a straight razor. What does “shave ready” mean, anyway? What impact does it have on you?
Consider this your guide to good straight razors. If you’re ready to throw away those weak safety contraptions and shave like a real man, here are just a few of the best straight razor brands on the market.
What are the best Straight Razor Brands?
Hen & Rooster
In a world of ultra-thin blades and increasingly poor production values, one brand has committed themselves to the thick, durable design of their forefathers. Hen & Rooster straight razors have barely changed since 1845, the date of their origin, making them one of the oldest and most reliable products in mens shaving supplies. Their factories even remained in Spain after an American takeover, proving the company’s devotion to a good thing that didn’t need altering.
They may lack the special features of modern razors, and they aren’t for the finicky shaver who requires three-point oscillating blades and self-foaming microbeads to get the job done. But Hen & Rooster razors are the ones that will stay functional where others break down, wear out or fracture into fiddly parts. If you want a no-frills, no-fuss straight razor, look no further than Hen & Rooster.
– Weighty blade
– Simple construction
– Mid-range price
– Nostalgic, time-honored brand
One of the more affordable razor companies in the industry, Fromm blades offer a close shave without any facial gymnastics. They’re particularly popular among first-time straight shavers who don’t want to spend a lot of money on their razor in case they don’t like it; Fromm will only set you back $50 or so, and they’re easy to use and even easier to clean. The blades are made of carbon steel that take no time at all to clean and rinse.
One noteworthy drawback of the Fromm is that they aren’t “shave ready,” meaning the blades will need to be sharpened before use. This can cause confusion among newbies who have never used a strop or honed a blade before.
If you’re willing to make the effort, however, you won’t find a better razor for your entry into the world of wet shaving. The Fromm will last for years until you feel ready to upgrade to a more advanced model.
– Low price
– Precise shave
– Easy handling and maneuverability
– Great for beginners
Giesen & Forsthoff
When a regular straight razor just isn’t enough, look to Giesen & Forsthoff for something grand. These luxury razors are handcrafted with dark woods and hollow ground carbon for a close, comfortable shaving experience. They’re one of the few brands that do come shave ready, meaning you can pluck them out of the box and start your morning routine right away, though you’ll need to be careful not to nick yourself on their light and needle-like blades.
As for the handle, you’ll have your choice of wood, metal, acryl or even buffalo horn. Each blade comes with a sharp and beautifully polished design that declares its sophistication to the world. The amount of visual detail in every product is matched only by its strength in use.
When it comes to cost, Giesen & Forsthoff razors are on the pricier end, starting at $120 and easily climbing to $150 or more if you opt for additional features or special inlays. But they’re worth the money when you consider them an investment in exceptional personal grooming. You simply can’t get a better shave outside of a salon. In fact, some salons and barbershops even use Giesen & Forsthoff products themselves!
– Precision shaving
– Ornate and handcrafted design
– Shave ready right out of the box
– Customized handles in exotic materials
– A luxury brand
The single most affordable straight razor on the market, Luxor is for men who don’t care about labels and imported bull horns. They’re the simple solution to modern shaving needs. Their blades are made of sleek, surgical-grade steel, and their handles are designed for easy gripping and maneuvering around the chin. Even their locking arms have been constructed for comfort. They won’t pinch or nick, and they’re strong enough to handle years of daily use.
If you regularly break cheap, flimsy razors with your morning stubble, consider trying something new with the Luxor. It won’t strain your finances, but it just might give you the smoothness you’ve been looking for in preparation of job interviews and date nights.
Note that the Luxor isn’t shave ready. You’ll need to either purchase a strop in addition to the blade or make arrangements for professional sharpening with your barber. This somewhat offsets the low price of the razor itself, but it’s still one of the cheapest ways to get a close shave.
– Sharp surgical blades
– Convenient handling
– Most affordable option on the market
– Perfect for everyday use
Wait! Don’t scroll past! Razors from Thiers-Issard may be expensive, but that’s because they’re more than just grooming accessories. They’re works of art. C135 blades shine extravagantly in the light due to their mirrored finishes and high-luster polishes; deep, dark scales of ebony and ram horn add weight to every razor. Grind types are available in both full and half-full varieties. Even the spines have been customized and detailed down to their desert ironwood bones.
Still not impressed? What if you learned that certain models come with dreadnought point blades for hard-to-reach hairs? What if you could buy a razor with a stunning 7/8″ blade encased with hand-worked scales?
This isn’t a brand for the first-timer straight shaver. This isn’t even a brand for the experienced barber who isn’t willing to lay down money for the best. If you have the income, however, or if you’re ready to step up your game and stop playing around with cheap blades, Thiers-Issard is truly one of the best straight razor brands on the market.
– High-gloss precision blades
– Handles of ebony, ivory and ram horn
– Varied grind types
– Luxury with every cut
Parker is a unique brand in the shaving industry because their razors can be used both as straight shavers and as safety razors. For example, the Parker SR1 accepts single-edge and split double-edge blades, making it a kind of hybrid between modern shaving tools and the more cutthroat straight razors. You can customize it to be lethally sharp or comfortably safe as need demands.
As for performance, while Parker lacks the precision of more high-end brands, it definitely offers good features for its cost. For example, you don’t often find genuine stainless steel in this price range; brands usually go for aluminum to cut costs. Parker is setting the curve when it comes to affordable but durable blades. They also hold their angles extremely well, giving you greater control of the razor and reducing the likelihood of cuts and slips.
If you hate having to hone your razor, or if you’re looking for a cost-effective model where the blades can be replaced instead of sharpened when they get dull, Parker may be the brand for you. It isn’t the most luxurious one out there, but it’ll get the job done just fine.
– Accepts several blades
– Rounded ends for safety and flexibility
– Ergonomic handles
– Affordable in both the short and long term
– Good for beginners
There’s no such thing as a “typical Dovo.” These razors have made a name for themselves through their innovation and style, and as such, you’ll find $30 razors with bamboo handles alongside $150 razors emblazoned with red satin finishes. They’re great for the man who enjoys a little style with his shave.
One downside of their unique design is that their functionality tends to fluctuate between razors of different makes and models. For example, their Bismarck brand might have a completely different handling than their Diamant brand even though they’re both made with steel blades and shoulderless hollows. Each design is so one-of-a-kind that it’s simply impossible to gauge their utility until the razor is actually in your hand.
If you’re willing to take the chance, however, Dovo razors can be some of the best. Not only will they provide a great shave, but their catalogue is so expansive that you’re sure to find something you like. Whether you’re looking for simple steel razors or gold-plated carbon blades with olive wood handles, Dovo has a straight razor for you.
– Smooth, flawless blades
– Unique designs
– Prices for all budgets
These are just a few of the best straight razor brands currently available for purchase. If you’re tired of suffering uneven or unprofessional shaves, it’s time to do away with all the plastic and embrace sharp blades that really know how to cut. If it was good enough for your ancestors, it’s good enough for you.