Talk about spending dumb—gentlemen, stop the insanity by saying no to the multiple-blade shave.
SPEND SMART | George Giannakos is 24 years old and has been shaving with a safety razor for almost five years. He learned how to shave using a multiple-blade system, but when his dad brought home a steel safety razor with a single, double-edge blade, the very one pictured here, and began using it routinely, it wasn’t long before George and two of his three brothers slipped into the groove. Now, five years on, two of the initial three and their father continue to shave with safety razors and see no advantage in returning to a multi-blade world gone mad.
What’s So Great About The Safety Razor?
Not only is shaving with a safety razor way, way less expensive than using a multiple-blade system, it’s an equally bona fide way to shave. Quick history lesson: According to Wikipedia, the multi-blade system was devised by Gillette (and competitors) as a way to distinguish themselves in the marketplace (the double-edge blade is a generic, ubiquitous design) and to brand their own unique blade systems. Gillette’s two-blade Trac II disposable cartridge razor introduced in 1971 unleashed the blade wars that continue today. (In an interesting aside, King Gillette, the company founder, is considered by many to be the father of freebie marketing. During WWI, he gave soldiers free safety razors with the world’s first disposable double-edge blades to get them hooked on a throw-away product. It worked.)
Multi-blade shaving is funny when you think about it, says Robert Graham, co-owner of Momentum Grooming, where Giannakos purchased his safety razor. “How can five blades dragged across your face be good for your skin?” Graham says there’s no hard evidence that more blades do a better job than one blade can do. “It’s all about marketing, really.”
Momentum sells everything you need for an old school shave: safety razors ($38 to $92), stainless-steel blades ($8 for a pack of 10 German blades—that’s five to seven shaves per blade), badger brushes (that along with hard soaps create the “Santa Claus lather” you see in movies) and alcohol-free, plant-based shaving creams and gels that hydrate and slick the skin for just pennies a shave.
Some guys are reluctant to try a safety razor because they assume they’ll get more nicks, cuts and razor burn if they use one, and that shaving will take more time. “You’re not going to cut yourself any more than you would with a multi-blade razor,” says Graham, “and the learning curve is about two shaves. If it currently takes you five minutes to shave, you might add two minutes to that time initially. After that, it’s business as usual.”
Giannakos loves the ritual of shaving with a safety razor (he’s so hardcore he’s now learning to use a straight blade), using the badger brush to make big lather that feels “like a cloud” on his face. “Razors are a classic case of bigger not being better,” he says, “What was wrong with three blades, or two? Hey, what was wrong with one?” —C. Rule
In Vancouver, Momentum Grooming is located 1237 Burrard Street, 604-689-4636; check out their products and services at www.momentumgrooming.com