Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Everyone has their own preferred style of razor, and switching to a new type can be a hassle. But straight razors are much less wasteful than their disposable counterparts and not buying cartridges can save you a good deal of money in the long run.
Whether you’re finally making the leap to a straight razor or are just adding another one to your collection, the blades list below are solid choices. Just make sure you have all the necessary accoutrements needed (and you know what to do without peeling your skin off) to get the perfect shave, or you’ll be sad when your new piece arrives and you can’t use it.
1) Baxter of California: Blue Steel “Not a Replica”
Baxter of California is many people’s go-to brand for all toiletry needs, and it’s easy to see why. No matter what you need—be it pomade, glycerin soap, or even a straight razor—they have it, and it’s a small edge above the competition (albeit with a price to match). Their “Not a Replica” is made with a blue steel blade, which is unique looking without suffering a loss in functionality, and will definitely leave you with a smooth shave.
Available for $295 from Baxter of California.
2) Parker: SR1
If you’re new to straight razors and aren’t sure you’ll like shaving with them, then it’s not a bad idea to start with a cheaper blade. Parker makes a wide range of blades at a ton of price points, and while they’re all good, their SR1 remains among the most well-loved. This model takes disposable half-blades, which makes it easy to always have an edge on your razor, sans sharpening.
Available for $21 from Amazon.
3) Dovo: Shavette
If you like the idea of a disposable blade straight razor but weren’t sold on the Parker SR1, then maybe Dovo’s Shavette model will be more up your alley. This made in Germany razor is constructed from stainless steel and designed to minimize weight, which is great for adding to your dopp kit, although lightness might not necessarily be what you want when you’re actually shaving.
Available for $55 from The Art of Shaving.
4) ShaveSmith: Japanese Style Straight Razor
ShaveSmith might not be based out of Japan, but that doesn’t mean that their Japanese Style Straight Razors are any less worthy. The are made from a single piece of metal with a leather wrapped handle, which is counter to the style of traditional folding straight razors we see in the west. Traditionally, Japanese razors are sharpened only on one side, which arguably gives a smoother shave at the cost of being harder to swap between hands. That said, ShaveSmith actually sharpens their blades on both sides making this product suitable for both right and left-handers, and, quite frankly, easier for most of us to use.
Available for $265 from ShaveSmith.
5) KANETAKA: Japanese Razor
If you liked the idea of the above Japanese-style straight razor (known more properly as a Kamisori) but were disappointed the blade was sharped in a non-traditional way, than look no further. Kanetaka produces true Kamisoris, such as the 45mm Razor. It’s made from two different types of steel, which helps to create a beautifully sharp blade, and it’s wrapped with rubber around the handle. This might not be as attractive as leather wraps or decorative metal and wood handles, but it will certainly give you a better grip on your razor, which can only be a good thing.
Available for $137 from Aframes Tokyo.
Plus One – Marc Weinstock for Vegas Forge: Damascus Straight Razor
Vegas Forge is primarily a materials supplier, but they stock a small range of finished products as well, like this Mark Weinstock’s Damascus Straight Razor. This piece is made from a thick piece of Damascus steel that was ground down to be, well, razor sharp. And this extra-thick blade is housed between a light-colored walnut handle so attractive that you’ll want to frame this one just as much as you’ll want to use it.
Available for $400 from Vegas Forge.