4 Different Types of Shaving Blades

Shaving with blades is one of the most common methods for hair removal today. The blades are generally built into a razor, which facilitates a safe, user-friendly shaving process. Men and women alike use razors to remove hair on their faces and bodies.

There are many different kinds of shaving blades to choose from. Deciding which option will be the best for you is often a difficult decision because each blade offers varying pros and cons. While one blade may be easier to use, another may make for a closer shave, and yet another may be the least expensive option.

So, we’ve outlined the main shaving blade types below, along with the key features of each. With this information, you can compare the blades and make an educated decision as to which choice will make the most sense for you.

Disposable Razors

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Disposable razors are the most convenient shaving blade option for many individuals. When it’s time to switch the blades, you simply throw the razor away and start using a new one. You don’t have to spend any time changing the blades and replacing the razor head, as you do with electric blades.

Disposable razors last, on average, between three to ten shaves. This is a wide estimate, and the number of shaves that you use the razor for before replacing it will depend entirely on your habits. To keep it simple, always replace the razor when the blades become dull. You may be able to feel that the disposable blades are becoming dull when they tug at your hair or irritate your skin. Shaving with dull blades can lead to cuts, nicks, and razor burn.

Main Features of Disposable Blades

  • Disposable razors come in multi-packs. The most cost-effective option is to purchase a pack of at least ten razors. Then, you’ll be set for razors for over two months, assuming that you replace the razor once per week.
  • One aspect of disposable razor blades that makes them extra convenient for travelers is that they’re admissible to bring through the airport in carry-on luggage. TSA guidelines allow disposable razors for all flights, so they’re likely your best bet when packing shaving blades for a trip.
  • The best way to extend the lifespan of your disposable blades is rinse them out after each use. This will wash away the hair and shaving cream residue that may clog or break down the blades between uses.
  • Since disposable razors are inexpensive and may be thrown away after just one use, they’re a great type of shaving blade for hosts to keep around for any guests that stay at their home.
  • Disposable razors may have two, three, four, or five blades. Some disposable razors even come with six blades. Razor blade brands offering more than three blades in a razor boast that the additional blades will make more a closer, more efficient shave. However, some note that the extra blades present a heightened risk for skin irritation, cuts, and razor burn.

Electric Razors

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There are two main electric razor varieties: foil and rotary. Foil razors consist of two rectangular blade heads or cutters. The two heads shift forward and back under the foil, which is a small section of metal. Rotary electric blades use three circular cutters in a triangular formation. The cutters rotate, trapping and trimming hair in the process.

Electric razors are popular because their efficient operation often leads to less ingrown hairs and irritation. Also, this type of shaver saves you the hassle and expense of purchasing replacement blades. While maintenance is important and occasionally time-consuming for electric razors, they’ll save you money in the long-term by not requiring frequent blade replacement.

Main Features of Electric Blades

  • Unlike any other shaving blade type, electric razors give users the option to shave dry. This is because instead of a typical blade, which cuts the hair directly, electric razors use blades underneath a foil. The motorized system puts pressure on the skin to reveal more of the hair and trims it, causing it to retract into the pore.
  • Electric razors are often one of the quickest ways to shave. This is because the motorized system does almost all of the work for you and cuts the hair closer to the root. So, you won’t have to redo as much of your face or body to achieve a close shave.
  • Electric shaver models may operate with or without a cord. Cordless models run off of the energy from a battery, so you’re not restricted to a limited area when you shave, as you are with corded models. Some cordless electric razors are rechargeable, while others need periodic battery replacement.

Cartridge Razors

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A cartridge razor is named because of the blade cartridge that makes up the razor head. The cartridge typically includes three to five blades. When it’s time for new blades, you dispose of the entire cartridge.

The cartridge head of this type of razor is designed to shift and pivot as you need it to for a closer shave. The handle is made to facilitate this process and is often made of a plastic material that’s both light and relatively sturdy.

Razor cartridges will often feature a moisture strip that’s designed to create a protective lather over the skin when wet. The moisturizing substance will be coated onto your skin as the razor runs over it. While this feature sounds effective in theory, the moisturizing strip doesn’t often hold up after multiple uses – an additional shaving cream or foam should always be applied prior to shaving to prevent skin irritation.

Main Features of Cartridge Blades

  • Cartridge razors are easy to use – people don’t need to spend any time learning the safe way to handle this type of razor, as it’s self-explanatory. The razor head will pivot on its own and the blades aren’t sharp enough to cause serious cuts.
  • Cartridge replacements are sold at virtually any drugstore or convenience store. They’re typically sold in multi-packs of as many as ten heads. Over the long-term, cartridge razors are one of the most (if not the most) expensive shaving options because cartridge replacements are expensive.
  • If you opt for a cartridge razor, you need to be conscientious in switching the blades to prevent skin irritation. As aforementioned, the blades may be of a comparatively low quality. Also, with multiple blades in a single razor head, it’s more likely that one of the blades will nick the skin or cause ingrown hairs.

Safety Blades

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Safety razors are a popular and practical type of shaving blade for many people. This razor type earned its name from the protective bar positioned between your skin and the blades. The bar is designed, as the name suggests, to create a safer shaving experience with reduced risk for cuts and skin irritation.

Using safety blades may be less intuitive than disposable or cartridge razors, which are generally quite simple in design. Safety razors have two blades, but the protective bar means that only one of these blades will be in contact with the skin at one time. The single blade, as opposed to the multiple blades often included with other razor types, reduces the risk for nicks, irritation, and ingrown because there are fewer blades pressing into the skin. Also, you have complete control over the single blade of a safety razor and can, therefore, angle it to accommodate the curves of your skin.

Safety blades may need to be replaced every five to ten shaves, but it entirely depends on the model that you purchase. To switch out a used safety blade with a new one, remove the head plates from the handle. Usually, this will involve unscrewing them. Remove the existing blade, put the new one it, and secure the head plates.

Main Features of Safety Blades

  • When you shave with a safety razor, you don’t need to apply any extra pressure to the skin. This type of blade is typically made from a higher quality metal than disposable or cartridge razors, so the blade will be sharp enough to remove hair easily.
  • Safety blades may also be called “double-edged” razor blades. It may be called a double edge razor because you will use the edge of the razor head to shave, as opposed to the flat top section of the razor head, as you would with a razor, electric razor, disposable razor, or cartridge razor.
  • The safety bar on most safety blades is perpendicular to the handle so that the user will shave in straight motions. But, sometimes, the safety bar is put at a slight angle. This allows the user to shave with at a diagonal or in a slanted motion. Angled safety bars may actually lead to less irritation and nicks because they enable users to shave with the grain of their hair (which is rarely straight up and down).
  • Safety blades end up being far cheaper than cartridge razors when you calculate the cost over time. While the handle and head plate portion of the razor may be somewhat pricey, given that it’s often made of durable metal, cartridge refills are significantly more expensive than replacement safety blades. So, over the years, you’ll spend less in total on razor blades when you opt for a safety razor.

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