If you have been doing research into wet shaving, you have most likely come across the terms straight razor and shavette. At first sight both of these tools look very similar in the way that they are shaped and the way that they function. This article is to teach you the differences between the two types of razors so that you can decide on which one is best for you on your journey to shave just the way your great grandfather did. Let’s jump right in to learn a little bit about the history and uses.

Shavette vs straight razor

Left: Dovo straight razor. Right: Parker SR1 shavette razor with replaceable blade

Straight razor

The majority of straight razors contain a blade that will fold into its own handle. This design for the safety razor was invented by an English manufacturer somewhere in approximately 1680. And since that time this has been the main shaving tool until the invention of the safety razor around 1880.

Straight razors come with one blade that needs to be sharpened throughout the life span of the razor. The method used to sharpen a straight razor is called honing and stropping. A hone is a stone that is used to sharpen the edge of a straight razor. Hone’s come in all shapes and sizes and there are there are thousands of different techniques to sharpen the edge of your straight razor. Stropping your straight razor is the second part the sharpening process. A strop is a strip of material that is usually made out of cotton or leather. This method is used to realign the edge of the straight razor properly in order to get an efficient shave. This also takes an incredible amount of practice and skill.

Some pros and cons of a straight razor

Pros

Straight razors hold their value incredibly well because they have a very sturdy build with a thick blade. Once you get to good at honing and stropping you only need to re-sharpen your blade every 6 to 12 months approximately. The majority of straight razors have a 3 inch blade which is much wider than most safety razors or shavettes. You also have a wide variety of handles that you can choose from when considering purchasing a straight razor. Once you get good at honing and stopping the blade it actually becomes fun. it is like practicing in ancient art form that has been lost. It just feels manly! Check out our list of the top quality straight razors.

Cons

With a straight razor you only have one blade. So if that played every gets damaged it is not cheap to replace it compared to a shavette or safety razor. Sharpening takes not only a lot of practice and time but extra money for the tools necessary. Most straight razors cost significantly more than shavettes, making the initial investment a lot steeper.

blade comparison

Let’s talk about shavettes!

The first shavette was made by a manufacturer called Dovo. Another name for shavette is disposable blade straight razor because technically that is what they are. Shavette’s were initially invented for use by barbers. Until that time barbers have been using regular straight razors on each and every client. Once blood-borne pathogens became a concern to people, more restrictions were put on using straight razors for health reasons. This is where the disposable blade straight razor came in! Most shavette’s use a double edge safety blade that is cut in half and can be swapped in and out of the head of the straight razor. Other types of Blades have been used but this is the most common type.

Here are some pros and cons of using a Shavette

Pros

The biggest benefit of using a shavette is that you do not need to worry about honing or stropping your blade. Whenever your disposable blade gets dull it’s as easy as swapping a new one in. Also if you damage to one of your blades on accident all you need to do is put a new one in. The initial investment in a shavette is much less than a straight razor. Check out our review on the Feather shavette, on of our favorites.

Cons

One of the biggest problems with shavette’s is that they do not hold their value very well and are kind of flimsy. The blade which is also much shorter than that of the straight razor. You do not get to choose between a wide variety of cool handles. You still need to purchase blades compared to the straight razor where one blade will last you a lifetime!

Conclusion

I hope this article on Shavette vs straight razor was helpful to everyone. There are ups and downs to using both of these great wet shaving tools. Using a straight razor does take a lot more practice to get the honing and stropping correct, but in the end I think it is worth it. Shavette’s are an excellent alternative if you do not want to worry about sharpening your blade. Either way I like having both available to me! Be sure to also check out our articles on the shavette vs the safety razor.

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