There are two things I never thought I would do. Base jump and wet shave. I’ve not base jumped yet, but for the last two months I’ve lathered up (my face) and used a traditional razor to make me look less like a vagrant and more like a vagrant with the cleanest shave this side of a Times Square parking meter.
Why are we reviewing a razor? Two reasons. 1) We’re absolutely enamored by the design and 2) Rockwell Razors sent us one to test. That’s right, we’re now CAD professionals and wet razor test pilots, which is like a lot like an aircraft test pilot except we don’t have to fly and we look better after testing.
I never thought I’d use disposable cartridge razors, and I sure as ear hair didn’t think I’d use an old timey razor with double blades. I’ve used an electric razor since the late 1900’s in the vain attempt to shave for the last time. As many of you may know, an electric razor is the soulless get-it-done, out-of-the-way, when-did-I-last-empty-this-thing solution to face hair removal. That’s the surprising realization I had about shaving with an electric razor, after hesitantly and very slowy sliding the sharp blade of a safety razor across my face.
Then it hit me. This is kinda nice.
What is a Safety Razor?
Rockwell Razors designs a whole line of adjustable, double-edge, full-metal safety razors. I’ve never used a safety razor before – I didn’t know they were called safety razors. What is it?
A safety razor is a basic 4-piece shaving instrument where a base traps a double-edge razor against a threaded cap which screws into a handle. Though the first concept was thought to have been designed by William S. Henson in 1847, the disposable double-edge design by K.C Gillete gained popularity after the American troops of WWI received one in their standard field kit.
As the Art of Manliness puts it, “A safety razor is a machine.” They’re solid metal, built to mow through the lush whisker fields of your face, and surprisingly easy to handle. There are a few key things I love about shaving with a safety razor and with the Rockwell Razor in particular:
Easy to use – My biggest fear with using a bladed razor was not being able to use it, or rather, having to learn to use it through hours of shaving and bloody nicks. Though it’s different than slamming an electric razor into your face until the hair goes away, I was comfortable with using it in the first few minutes.
Makes shaving enjoyable – For me, shaving has just been about getting it done as quick as possible. Using a safety razor makes it process that’s enjoyable – starting some music, lathering up, shave, rinse, shave, rinse… it’s all kind of a therapeutic way to start a day. I enjoy shaving now.
Much better shave – Ever have to spend five minutes with an electric razor getting that one hair that won’t go away? I’m not getting that with a safety razor. The shave is smoother but do have to twist my shnoz a bit to get under that thing.
No razor burn – This was another fear. I was convinced my face would be an irritated, bloody mess after shaving with razor. I was shocked that I didn’t. These razors cut hair close to the skin, not ‘lift and cut’ under the skin. This prevents that horrible razor burn, bumps and even worse, ingrown hairs.
Do you use a safety razor? Would love to know if you do. When researching I found Merkur razors to be the best-rated, most well known traditional style safety razor available. You can get their standard razor on Amazon for $28, but they lack some features that the just as basic Rockwell Razors have. There are a few differences I found between Rockwell Razors when comparing it with other traditional style safety razors are:
Adjustability – The base of all Rockwell razors can be changed out to adjust the blade height for whisker length and skin sensitivity. I didn’t think this would be so important, but let’s face it, sometimes we shave every few days, and sometimes we shave every few weeks. I started with size 1, the lowest setting, but have since used the others depending on how long it has been since I shaved. This option is excellent.
Price – The price of the Rockwell Chrome Series starts at $25 (2C – 2 sizes) and that comes with 30 blades (A 100 blade, 2-year supply cost $9.99 on their site). The 6C comes with all sizes and costs $45. You can find safety razor from $13 to $200+ dollars, but all I compared lacked adjustability.
Design – On top of all this the design is fabulous. It doesn’t have a porcelain, faux ivory or olive wood handle. Nope, the Rockwell has a strong, single-piece, solid metal handle, knurled to keep your grip, with a smooth finger hold below the base to make moving and flipping the razor fast. The 6 sizes are designed into three bases, with unscrewing the handle and a flip of the base to adjust the size quickly.
Personally, I love the look of the Rockwell 6S Stainless Steel Razor and the Chrome Series Gunmetal finish is just plain tough looking. The chrome finish will do just fine though and one thing is for sure, I’ll never use a cartridge razor now, and I have no desire to use my electric razor, which I (regrettably) just bought before receiving the Rockwell razor.
I also learned that they’re fairly new to this, making razors now for two years with a team experienced in product design and manufacturing. It started with a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign for their 6S Stainless Stell model, followed by others including the successful campaign for the Chrome Series Razor. They’ve gone on to develop and manufacture their own blades, which also come with each razor.
Would love your to hear your experience with using a safety razor. Oh, and maybe a suggestion for a good shaving cream?