The Evolution of Design of Men’s Razors

If you take a look at the design and use of men’s razors throughout history, you will see that they have drastically changed.

The earliest known razors were sharp strips of rock or metal used in the Bronze Age; clearly razors have evolved into more practical forms. In the late 17th-century, the first foldable, metal razors were created; and as time went on, they evolved too.

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The Straight Razor

Dating back to the 17th-century, straight razors were the number one implement for shaving; in second place were sharp knives and daggers. The straight razor is also known as the “cutthroat razor” due to its deadly edge and high skill level.

The design is fairly simple: a long, steel blade is attached via one end to a sheath that swivels out to act as a perpendicular handle.

According to experts, the straight razor is the best razor to use when shaving because of its single blade. Single blades apply even pressure to the skin, allowing the razor to cut the hairs without pulling, preventing irritating razor burn and bumps.

As mentioned, this type of razor needs a high amount of skill to operate safely; maneuvering around your neck and jaw-line with a single blade has been known to cause serious injury – that’s why many men who prefer this type of shave visit a barbershop.

Thankfully, a man with extreme ingenuity perfected the next razor.

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The Safety Razor

In 1904, a patent was issued to King C. Gillette for an ingenious new razor: the disposable safety razor.

This little contraption began the fall of the straight razor and the rise of the modern razor.

The design was rather complex for a razor: a single, detachable, horizontal blade was attached to the top of a stationary, perpendicular handle; what made the safety razor different was the comb or bar attached above the blade that protected the face from injury.

This razor decreased the amount of skill needed to perform an injury free shave at home, while also allowing men to throw away dull blades, allowing a close shave every time. During World War I, the government issued every soldier a safety razor and disposable blades.

By the end of the war, over 13 million razors and 30 million disposable blades were in the hands of soldiers. Men were able to groom themselves at home without the fear of cutting their throats accidentally. However, it still needed quite a bit of skill to use; that’s why Gillette began production of the next razor.

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The Multi-Blade Razor

Multi-blade razors are the most modern design. Similar to the safety razor, multi-blade razors have three to five blades mounted on top of a stationary handle with an aloe strip to moisten and condition as you shave; some are battery powered to vibrate the skin to allow a closer shave.

Most razor manufacturers make multi-blade razors as a priority since the skill level to use them is practically nothing; it is nearly impossible to find straight and safety razors in common department stores, but can be found at certain shops where classic men’s razors are sold.

Multi-blade razors aren’t only for men these days, however; some are advertised to women for grooming needs as well. Although easy to use, multi-blade razors have up to five blades which can pull on the hairs as you shave, causing irritating bumps and burns; that can be prevented by using certain after-shave products, but that’s a different story.

About Donna M.

Donna May is an at home skin care specialist who researches and writes about skin care products, does product reviews, and likes to discover new techniques for dealing with the many different kinds of skin issues that people develop over the course of their lives.