There are fads, and then there are internet hipster fads. The safety razor has to be about the silliest internet hipster safety razor fad ever created. I’m here to tell you that the safety razor flat out sucks and people are just buying into some “feel good” idea of a better shave.
I’m writing this article to help cut through the usual safety razor propaganda and explain why people use them (they’re cheap).
If you genuinely believe you’re getting a good shave, please reevaluate your experience. It isn’t until you go to the safety razor and go back to your plain old disposable razor that you truly notice the difference.
Myth: Safety Razor Provides The Best Shave
This has to be about the most annoying of all the spouted hipster comments on the subject. The talk of a “superior shave.” As I mentioned above, you don’t notice how bad a safety razor is until you use it and go back to your old way of shaving. I suppose at one point, I bought into the hipster safety razor kool-aid and thought I was getting a great shave.
For travel, I went out and bought some cheap two-blade disposable non-name brand razors. But, man, oh man, was the shave close. My face was smooth for once. I was blown away at the difference.
The typical rebuttal you’ll hear from the hipsters regarding this point is that there is a degree of skill. The safety razor is enormous, heavy, and straight. You need to practice and develop a skill to get the “best shave” possible. Well, this is very true. If you put as much time into practicing with a safety razor as you did with a disposable razor, you’d still be getting a better shave from a disposable. Being “good” at shaving works for all technologies, rendering the rebuttal moot.
These internet hipsters won’t tell you that you need to do a few shaving runs. This significantly increases the time it takes to shave and increases razor burn potential and other annoyances that come from running a blade across your face repeatedly. If you think one pass with a single-blade safety razor will get anything, think again. After you finish round one, you need to lather up your face again and go at your hair in a different direction. Usually, during this round, I start to draw blood.
The fact is that the safety razor doesn’t provide the best shave. It only creates a sense of hipster superiority, nothing more.
Myth: Safety Razor Has Excellent Accuracy
I wish this were true. The number of times I’ve kissed my girlfriend shortly after a shave, only to have an “ouch” come out. The precision of safety razors is pitiful at best. I still need to use a disposable razor to get around the trickery parts, like around my lips. Since the razor is heavy, oversized, and inflexible, it’s next to impossible to get those tough spots. Watch out.
Get too close to those lips, and the blade will rip them open. Get too far away, and you’re left with sharp stubble that annoys your women. A simple disposable razor is the only item with the accuracy to take care of them.
Furthermore, I’d like to point out that when you have a big clunky chunk of metal as a razor head, you can do some damage to your face. I know that the standard argument is that you should be careful, but it’s like being careful with a match in an oil canister. You’re just asking for it.
Another trouble spot I have is at the bottom of the nostril, where it meets your “mustache” area. Getting the hair close to that is hard. Finally, you have the big chunky head with a tiny spot that will cut. A few times, I’ve gone a tad too high and cut the side of my nostril. It’s such a precarious cut that it’s hard to stop healing and avoid repeated ripping.
The fact is that the safety razor has such a big clunky head that there is no chance of getting any precision or accuracy with what you’re doing. The ironic part is that these internet hipsters will describe all the negatives of the safety razor as the user’s doing, but if you have a good shave… well, it’s not the user’s doing – it’s the razor.
Myth: Safety Razor Has Been Used For A Long Time, Therefore Better
I often hear this argument a lot. I don’t think anyone would deny that the safety razor has been used for a long time and that the straight razor has been used for even longer. It comes down to the logical fallacy here. People have been bowel movements in the woods for a long time. Therefore it’s better than the toilet. No. Logic doesn’t work that way. Just because you’re grandfather used a safety razor doesn’t make it good. I doubt I’d see you picking up a lovely black and white television with the 12-channel dial.
Why anyone would buy into an argument is beyond me. Internet hipsters don’t have to be wise. They have to feel competent. The safety razor is old technology, and in the evolution of man, we have moved on to better technologies. The argument is just so ironic. Why not try 1950s cancer treatment instead of 2014 cancer treatment? Your argument seems to suggest its superiority of it.
The fact is that safety razors are old, and being old doesn’t make them better. Instead, technology evolves and grows to provide the consumer with something better.
Fact: Using a Safety Razor Gives You a Smug Sense of Satisfaction
This is the biggest payout to those that use the safety razor. They like that they can talk about it and look down on people who don’t buy into this “smug culture.” Then, when they’re at a social gathering, they can talk about how they use a safety razor. It’s more “manly.” It’s more “cool.” It’s “different.” It’s a “counter-culture.”
Oh, you still use a disposable razor. Oh, let me educate you on the better way. I think the best part is when they run into other people that use the safety razor. It’s hardly counter-culture when every hipster is using it.
If you follow them to their little lairs on the internet, you’ll find that they love to look down on everyone that hasn’t bought in. Just take a few minutes to look through Wicked Edge on Reddit to get an idea of what I’m talking about. The place reeks of smugness.
Fact: Safety Razors are just a Hobby
This is just a sad fact. There is nothing wrong with having a hobby. They’re great to have. When you turn your hobby into a superiority complex, well, that’s when you cross the line. Let’s say you had a hobby, making your leather shoes. This is a very traditional practice, reasonably related to a safety razor. It would help if you had specialized equipment.
There is a learning curve. It’s a long process. It takes a lot of work. Finally, you end up with a finished shoe. You can be proud, and you should be because this took a lot of work. But you probably wouldn’t go up to people and talk about your “superior shoe.” You’d know that this is a thing you like to do. You do it because you enjoy the process. You’re not out to market your hobby as the better option.
Suppose you’re interested in an older type of shaving; cool, if you like the hobby, fantastic. You’re not superior for enjoying it, but it certainly is interesting.
Fact: Safety Razor Users have a Safety Razor “Identity”
This is not a unique phenomenon, but something that I’ve noticed with all the internet hipsters growing in size. These people end up identifying with the product that they use. But then, they get all offended when someone challenges it by simply choosing a different product.
Not only are you not allowed to disagree with them, but if you use a disposable razor, you’ve committed an act of war with them. It’s the same with people who identify with their computer or cell phone brands. Apple Apple Apple. No Android Android Android. Who cares?
Are you that insecure that you can’t take a little criticism? You identify so much with using a safety razor (or any product for that matter) that it overshadows your own identity. It’s sad. It’s pathetic too. Grow up.
Fact: Safety Razors are only used by Cheap People
This is the most vital point to take away from this article. When you hear the myths above, if you challenge them, all arguments will fall back to this. It’s cheaper to shave with a safety razor. It’s true. You will save more money down the line for a more considerable upfront investment. I’m not opposed to this argument as it is the only thing you’ll hear from internet hipsters that is true. It’s cheaper.
But something being cheaper is a lot different than a better shave. This is inevitably where all the irony lies. The safety razor is marketed as a superior shave. It’s sold as something I man should use if they care about their shave. It’s marketed as the better option.
It uses ancient technology. It doesn’t provide a better shave. It’s chunky and oversized, making it hard to have a good shave. And it just doesn’t do as well as a cheap sale no-name brand disposable razor.
Final Thoughts on Safety Razors
If you’re cheap, broke, don’t have a lot of money, or value your money elsewhere, these are legitimate reasons to own a safety razor. I encourage it. But don’t act smug like you’re better than others. Don’t pollute the internet and social engagements with the same old talking points that don’t stand up to reality. No one needs to hear the propaganda you use to justify your exceptional cheapness as something superior. If you need to feel superior, consider talking up the role-playing game of Dungeons and Dragons and acting as the Dungeon Master.