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What is an Adjustable Safety Razor

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By: Adam Williams

The adjustable safety razor is a modified version of the standard double edge safety razor.  With an adjustment mechanism, typically a dial, this razor type allows you to change the blade exposure which directly impacts the aggressiveness of the shave.

Today we’ll share with you more details about the adjustable safety razor, including the design, key advantages, and much more.

Let’s begin.

Related: Best Adjustable Safety Razors

Design Details

Here are some of the notable design details to know when learning about the adjustable safety razor:

Blade Gap

The area between the mount and the razor blade is the blade gap.  Increasing the blade gap results in a more aggressive shave. Conversely, narrowing the gap will make the shave milder suitable for sensitive skin or beginners.

Adjustment Mechanism

How you adjust the blade gap will vary from one razor to another and generally falls into three categories:

  • Continuous Adjustment: With a variable dial built into the razor handle, a continuous adjustment allows you to fine-tune the blade gap to your preference.  You’ll find this method of adjustment on popular razors, including the Merkur Futur, Parker Variant, and Merkur Progress.
  • Step Increments: Rather than fine-tuning the blade gap to your preferred aggressiveness, step increments allow you to quickly adjust the blade gap for your facial hair or skin type.  The step increment can be found in the Feather Adjustable Double Edge Shaving Razor and Parker Adjustable Injector razor.
  • Interchangeable Blade Mounts: Rather than relying on moving parts, interchangeable blade mounts offer another way to change the blade gap.  Brands such as Rockwell Razors include several different base plates with their razors that will change the aggressiveness of the razor depending on which blade mount you are using.

Who likes to use adjustable safety razors?

While adjustable razors tend to be used by wet shaving enthusiasts, they are also suitable for beginners.  Here are a few primary reasons why adjustable safety razors are worth considering:

  • Razor Bumps: If you’re susceptible to razor bumps, just about any safety razor will do an excellent job of preventing them from forming.  When set to a mild setting, the razor won’t be as aggressive, resulting in a light stubble.  When a slight stubble remains, ingrown hairs won’t be a problem.
  • Sensitive Skin: Men who experience razor burn or have sensitive skin often enjoy a comfortable experience that a low setting on the adjustable safety razor can provide.  
  • Thin & Thick Facial Hair: Adjustable safety razors work well no matter what your facial hair thickness might be.  Generally, thinner facial hair works well for a milder setting, whereas coarse facial hair works well a high setting.

Adjustable Safety Razor vs. Regular Safety Razor

Compared to a regular or non-adjustable, double edge safety razor, there are a few yet important differences between these two types of razors.  Here’s what they are:

Pieces

The adjustable and standard safety razor are typically available in one, two, or three pieces.  The one-piece, also known as the butterfly style razor, allows you to quickly change the razor blade with a simple twist of the knob that opens up the razor head, exposing the blade.  

With two or three pieces, both safety razors will have a removable razor cap and perhaps a removable blade mount.  There is no immediate advantage of one type over the other.  Some may argue that the fewer moving parts, the less likely the razor will break or wear down.

Aggressiveness

The most significant advantage that the adjustable has over the regular safety razor is, of course, the adjustment of the blade gap.  When buying a traditional safety razor, if you aren’t satisfied with the shave performance or are experiencing irritation, then you have limited options.

Learning

One of the advantages of the adjustable over a regular safety razor is that some models are more beginner-friendly.  By adjusting the blade angle to the mildest setting, you are less likely to cut yourself while shaving.  As your confidence in technique improves, you can set the razor to a higher setting for closer results.

Composition

The metal used in the razor will vary from one brand to the next. For example, some razors, such as the Rockwell 6S, have a stainless steel body that’ll last a lifetime, whereas brands such as Merkur often use chrome-plated Zamak.  

Passes

When shaving with either type of safety razor, to get close results, one can shave in three different directions: with the grain, across the grain, and against the grain. 

Related: How to Map The Shaving Grain

When using an adjustable safety razor, you can get close results by simply changing the blade gap for the first pass and every other subsequent pass.  This allows for better efficiency while still achieving close results.

Compatible Razor Blades

One of the leading reasons folks consider safety razors is their long-term cost savings.   Adjustable safety razors rely on affordable double edge blades with a universal blade fitting.  One exception to this would be the Parker Adjuster Injector – this razor uses injector-style razor blades – of which only a few types of blades exist – however, they are still relatively affordable.

Using the Right Shaving Creams & Soaps 

While you could use a canned shave gel with adjustable safety razors and get satisfactory results, we recommend investing in high-quality shaving cream or shaving soap.  Better shaving cream will generate a slick lubricating base paired with a cushion that’ll allow the blade to glide and cut hairs with relative ease.  Additionally, good shaving cream will also rely on only a few ingredients, perfect for those with sensitive skin.

Who Makes Adjustable Safety Razors

Given that the adjustable safety razor market is relatively small, the number of brands is limited, with the most notable being as follows:

  • Feather
  • Merkur
  • Parker
  • Rockwell

Wrap Up

We hope that this article was helpful in understanding more about this niche shaving tool and some of its notable advantages.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more.

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