If you received a shaving kit over the holidays, or perhaps you just picked up one of the best safety razors on the market – chances are that you will want to explore the wide world of razor blades in order to attain the best shave ever.
While the double edge safety razor’s weight, size, and blade exposure can all have a large impact on the performance of a blade – by and far the biggest determining factor on whether a shave is close and comfortable will boil down to the best razor blade that compliments your hardware, regimen, skin, and whiskers.
Now before we dive into all the details, we just want to make this important note:
Every man’s skin and whiskers are different.
What may be perfect for one person could wreak havoc for another.
Therefore, razors such as the Feather, which so many men praise due to its sharpness, also is loathed by many men as well since it will deliver unsightly cuts during their shave with incredible ease.
Therefore, when testing out new razor blades, it’s very much a ‘your mileage may vary’ case.
When it comes to selecting the best razor blade for you, unequivocally the best option is to buy a variety pack.
Instead of investing in a 100ct package of blades you may not particularly like, a variety pack will allow you to try the best razor blades on the market (many of them we list below), without having to buy 100 at a time.
While we will touch on the supporting products that will enhance your shave in just a minute, let’s just briefly cover the basics.
Employing The Right Technique
While we talk a bit about the proper shave technique and whether you should shave with or against the grain in this article – here are just a few of the key highlights.
Before you ever touch a razor blade on your face, you want to make sure that you study how your hair grows in.
A technique that may have worked for your father or favorite YouTuber may not necessarily work for you.
Therefore, be sure to pay careful attention to the grain growth as it can make a huge difference in razor performance and ultimate comfort.
Secondly, when shaving with a double edge safety razor, if you want to get that ‘baby butt smooth’ shave, then you will want to make sure you run the blade across your skin in three passes:
- With the grain
- Across the grain
- Against the grain
Each pass will cut the whisker lower and lower eventually delivering smoother results.
Lastly, when it comes to making the appropriate pass with the razor blade, you want to have the blade at the optimal cutting angle of 30 degrees.
If you are coming from a disposable or cartridge based razor background – this is something that you never had to think of as the manufacturer had always set these blades at the optimal cutting angle for you.
For better or worse, you must hone in on this key cutting angle to get a close and comfortable shave time and time again.
Too open or close of an angle will cause severe irritation, or worse, nicks and cuts.
Will The Best Double Edge Safety Razor Mean It Will Also Be The Sharpest?
Not exactly, when deciding on the best double edge safety razor blade for your skin, the results can vary wildly as we will outline in the reviews below.
Blades tend to be either sharp or smooth.
A sharper blade doesn’t necessarily mean it will deliver the best results every time. A sharper blade will increase the chances of delivering a nick to your skin. Even the most seasoned experts may experience nicks with sharp blades.
Of course, with sharper blades, you will likely need less passes as the blade is going to be much more aggressive. This means that you might be able to achieve a baby butt smooth shave with only a pass or two (largely dependent on all the other factors in your shave).
Contrary to sharper blades, there are smoother blades.
What does ‘smoother’ mean?
Simply that the cutting angle isn’t as extreme and therefore takes more effort for the blade to cut the hair follicle.
With more effort exerted by the blade, smoother blades may decrease the likelihood of a nick, but conversely increase the chance of irritation.
Therefore, when selecting a razor blade that’s suited best for you, its largely a game of give-and-take to hone in on the perfect one.
Generally speaking, if you have coarser or thicker whiskers then you will want to gravitate to blades that handle this hair type better (i.e. Feather, KAI, etc.) as opposed to blades that are smoother that are more applicable for men with thinner whiskers (i.e. Gillette 7 o’clock, Astra, etc.)
Beyond blade sharpness, metal grades can also vary wildly and there is no exact science behind what will work best for you – this is why we so heavily recommend starting with the variety pack if it’s your first foray into experimenting with blades.
However, in our reviews below, we will try to be as explicit as possible in order for you to make the selection on the best safety razor to match your skin type.
Is Your Razor Too Aggressive?
Beyond the smoothness and sharpness of the razor blade, an incredibly important consideration to take into account is the actual double edge safety razor handle you are using.
Whether you are using a Merkur Futur or an Edwin Jagger DE89Lbl, the blade exposure on the head can vary wildly. Even in the comparison above, the Futur is an adjustable razor that can change its blade exposure on the fly.
Why does this matter?
Well, an overly aggressive blade exposure may save time on your morning shave by cutting the hair lower, however, may be compromising comfort leading you to long term discomfort.
Therefore, if after you try out a few razor blades below, and find that your shave comfort isn’t improving, yet your shave technique is on point, then you may want to take a look at replacing your double edge safety razor in order to get one that might be more or less aggressive.
A Brief Look At Other Shaving Products To Enhance Your Shave
While we eluded to this earlier, the biggest impact on the overall comfort of your shave beyond the razor blade and handle itself will be the supporting products that you are using.
If you have the top of the line razor blades, handles, shave brushes, and pre shave oil – it will mean nothing if you are using a canned shaving cream.
At Tools of Men, we often state that if there is one product that will ‘move the needle’ so to speak on your shave comfort – it’s going to be the shaving cream.
Shaving cream plays a pivotal role in retaining both heat and moisture when applied to your skin.
This ensures that your whiskers remain soft after exiting the shower, but also shave cream will ensure that your pores remain fully open.
This is key in attaining an incredibly smooth and close shave – time and time again.
Beyond just the comfort that a quality shaving cream can deliver, higher end shave creams will work to moisturize your skin rather than dry it out. Unfortunately, many of the canned shaving creams you find on store shelves are loaded with cheap ingredients like alcohol which will completely dry out your skin.
If you are looking to pick up a shaving cream that isn’t from one of the big brand manufacturers that comes in a can – then we highly recommend checking out a cream like Taylor of Old Bond Street.
How Often Should You Swap Out Your Razor Blades?
Generally speaking, a razor blade should last you anywhere between 3 and 5 shaves.
When first testing out a new box of razors, some wet shavers may tend to test out a new blade for every shave for a week so they can study how it interacts with their skin.
This practice, while a bit costly, will give you the opportunity to measure the aggressiveness of the blade.
Summary of The Best Safety Razor Blades
|Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades||Feather Double Edge Blades||PolSilver Super Iridium Double Edge Razor Blades||KAI Stainless Steel Double Edge Safety Razor Blades||Gillette 7 O'clock Super Stainless||Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades||Wilkinson Sword Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades||Shark Super Stainless Double Edge Razor Blades|
|Cost Per Blade||0.1||0.3||0.35||0.46||0.17||0.08||0.2||0.11|
|Experience Level||All Levels||Experienced||All Levels||Intermediate / Advanced||Beginners + Intermediate||Beginners + Advanced||Beginners||Advanced|
|Peer Review Average||4.6||4.7||4.7||4.4||4.5||4.3||4.6||4.3|
|Details||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price|
Reviews of The 8 Best Safety Razor Blades For Your Double Edge Safety Razor
Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
Crafted in Russia, these razor blades are by and far one of the most popular brands among all men who shave with a double edge safety razor. Their incredibly cost efficient price point at only $.10 a blade make them easy on the budget but nevertheless a fine and close shave for many.
Regarding performance, these blades tend to be a bit more smoother. This shouldn’t be confused with sharper. If you are coming from a background of using a Feather blade and find that you occasionally nick yourself – then the Astra’s slightly smoother edge will likely be a welcome change.
Within the box of razors, you will find each individual blade wrapped in waxed paper to ensure adequate protection from incidental nicks and cuts when loading the blade.
Since these are wrapped in paper and not housed in a self-disposal kit – be sure to pick up a razor blade disposal case along with your purchase.
Overall this is a great blade and is highly recommended by many in the wet shaving community for men at all levels of experience.
Feather Double Edge Blades
One of the sharpest blades that you can buy for your double edge safety razor will be the Feather Hi-Stainless razor blade.
For better or worse, the Feather blade is the sharpest blade that will give you the closest shave possible.
As we covered above that the Astra razor blade tends to run a bit smoother than the Feather – don’t ever confuse smoothness with sharpness.
Even the most experienced shavers that rely on a Feather Hi-Stainless blade for everyday use, may accidentally nick themselves due to the extremely sharp edge.
Given that the edge is so sharp on this particular razor blade, we recommend that this is likely going to be better suited for the men out there that are highly experienced in wet shaving and know the contours of their face extremely well.
With the unforgiving nature of this razor blade, be sure to have your styptic pencil or alum block handy when first giving these blades a try.
Lastly, with a thinner edge on this blade, expect on average to swap out the blade once every 3 or 4 shaves as there may be tiny chips that form along the edge that could lead to discomfort.
PolSilver Super Iridium Double Edge Razor Blades
While not the sharpest blade you can buy, that award goes to Feather, the PolSilver Super Iridium blades are an incredibly sharp blade that should deliver a fine shave time and time again.
From our research we found that these blades do have mixed information floating around regarding their production process – currently its suspended per the manufacturers website as we write this:
However, based on what others have said, these blades tend to come and go with time.
Therefore, if you are lucky to get your hands on them – then you will likely will have a fine razor blade that will perform well.
Beyond the production woes that this blade seems to experience, another point to be sure you get blades manufactured in Poland. It appears there are variants of this blade that have been produced in both Russia and Czech Republic whose performance has varied wildly.
From a cost stand point, these do cost significantly more than the Astras ($.10 a blade) commanding a $.35 a blade price tag.
These are terrific blades if you are looking for a strike a balance between sharp and smooth.
KAI Stainless Steel
Crafted in Japan, KAI is both an extremely expensive blade at about $.46 per blade which is significantly higher than Astra’s $.10 blade price and even the highly regarded Feather at $.30.
Beyond this blade commanding a generally higher price tag compared to the other best razor blades on the market – KAI stainless steel blades are constructed from one of the top Japanese cutlery manufacturers.
What’s significant about the KAI blade, is that many men who may want the sharpness of the Feather blade, but find the frequent nicks or general irritation, will likely prefer the KAI Stainless steel blade as it tends to carry just an ever so slightly smoother edge to the blade.
While this blade may not be suited for extremely thick whiskers, due to pronounced tugging and pulling on the root when passed, many men should find that this blade performs well on their hair.
Generally speaking, it’s a substantial investment for razor blades and is great for enthusiasts looking to try out something new.
Gillette 7 O’clock Super Stainless
There is absolutely no denying the clout that Gillette carries over the shaving world.
While you may have been trying to escape the high prices commanded by cartridge and disposable razors alike – Gillette does actually make a top notch razor for double edge safety razors.
Let’s just say that Gillette knows a thing or two when it comes to traditional double edge safety razors (pssst. – they hold the original patent).
The 7 o’clock blades offered by Gillette will provide an incredibly smooth shave time and time again (usually for about 4 shaves per blade). Their smoother surface (as opposed to sharper) allows for great comfort for men that have medium to thinner whiskers.
In addition, the smooth edge of this blade will be less susceptible surface nicks or cuts that you would otherwise experience when shaving with some of the other sharper blades that we reviewed.
One common point of confusion about this blade, and you will see it discussed wildly online, is its country of origin.
Gillette offers 7 o’clock’s in green packaging. However, where their difference lies is within the subheading of the box. The ones pictured above are Super Stainless – which are the better of the two.
Gillette Super Stainless 7 o’clocks are made in Russia – this is the one you want.
The other product that this is confused with is the Gillette 7 o’clock Permasharp – which are made in India. These blades are considered by many to be inferior to the Russian manufactured blades.
While you may have escaped the high-priced shaving world for a DE razors, these blades are incredibly affordable. Ringing up at about $.16 per blade – they won’t break the bank.
Overall this is an excellent blade for men just dipping their toes in the wet shaving world looking to experiment with a smoother blade.
Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades
One of the most popular razor blades used by beginners, Derby Extra double edge safety razor blades are an incredibly smooth shave that will almost liken the knee-jerk term of dull by some wet shaving enthusiasts.
Manufactured in Turkey, Derby Extra’s are one of the cheapest blades that you can get at roughly $.08 a blade.
Their rock bottom price makes them attractive for men who are still exploring the wet shaving world and all that it has to offer.
Unfortunately, given their wide prevalence among beginners everywhere oftentimes gives them an unnecessary bad reputation.
Since beginners are still learning the contours of their face and perfecting their technique, naturally they are incredibly susceptible to nicks and general irritation.
However, what we found time and time again, is that when experienced wet shavers revisited this blade, they found that it just simply wasn’t nearly as bad as they remembered it (i.e. their vastly improved technique made the blade shine).
While with any razor blade it’s a very much a ‘your mileage may vary’ scenario – these are definitely worth a shot. But before shoot off a bad review about them, make sure you have a perfect technique.
Wilkinson Sword Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
A terrific blade featuring a three-step coating process will allow for a close yet smooth shave with this razor from Wilkinson.
Along the stainless steel edge of each one of these blades you will find chromium to help ward off corrosion, ceramic that will help to expand durability, lastly a coating of PTFE (i.e. Teflon) to help to further reduce irritation.
These blades, given their relatively smoother edge (even though the name infers otherwise), are usually favored and liked by beginners with a relatively average whisker width.
Another nice aspect of these blades is that their price point is in line with others in the market at only $.20 per blade. Expect to get about a weeks worth of shaves with each blade before replacement.
Lastly, if you are near a Walmart you may be able to find these in the shaving aisle as they are widely distributed.
Of course, you can easily order it online from Amazon with just a few clicks of a mouse so you don’t have to leave the house!
Shark Super Stainless Double Edge Razor Blades
If you are an advanced double edge safety razor enthusiast that is also on a budget while also looking for an extremely sharp blade that isn’t Feather, the Shark Super Stainless steel razor blades are likely going to be your best alternative.
Made in Egypt, these blades rival the Feather’s in the sharpness category, which will give you an incredibly aggressive shave time after time.
Just like the Feather’s, these are going to be best suited for the advanced wet shavers out there, if you aren’t on the top of your game, you are likely going to nick yourself given the sharpness of the edge. Therefore, it’s going to be critical that you have your styptic pencil and alum block on hand before giving this blade a try.
Regarding cost, this blade is incredibly affordable as it rings up at about $.11 each.
Expect this blade to effectively cut through coarse hairs and last you about 4 shaves before a replacement should be made.
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