Q; I want to start shaving with a cut throat razor what do you recommend?
We get this question fired at us by email or ‘phone at least five times weekly.
My answer is always the same – ‘Why a cut throat, how much are you looking to spend and have you used anything other than a cartridge razor before’?
The answers usually are along the lines of “I’ve had a hankering for a cut throat razor since a barber shaved me with one, my budget is around £100.00 and I use a Mach3 or Fusion or an electric razor”.
In conversation with men by ‘phone or email, what strikes me is how much men underestimate the skill level required to use and maintain a cut throat razor. Their expectation is they’ll buy one and within a shave or two they’ll be using a cut throat like a pro, without blood loss and maintaining the razors edge with only a few strokes on a leather strop every so often (assuming they know stropping is an absolute must).
I tell them the reality is that lots of cut throat razors are bought, used a few times then they’re quietly shoved away in a drawer never to see the light of day again. We know from our data that men who buy safety razors come back and buy again and again from us but that’s seldom the case with those who buy cut throat razors.
I let potential buyers know they’ll need to buy a leather strop to maintain the razors edge and stropping will need done every three or so shaves. I also tell them that they’ll get a close shave from a safety razor at a fraction of the cost of a cut throat razor. If they’re persistent and really want a cut throat I’ll say your £100 budget will buy you a decent French or German razor but you’ll need to spend another £50.00 plus on a good quality leather strop. Not forgetting that annually at least the razor will need honed, a good hone will cost £100'ish or the honing can be done professionally for around £25.00. Additionally I labour the amount of time they’ll need to spend learning the art of shaving and stropping a cut throat. Jokingly I’ll always add “remember to buy some Band-Aids too”.
Why do I seem so negative about traditional cut throat razors? Well, the answer is there is a modern day version that in my opinion is better suited to first time cut throat razor users. Let me tell you about the Feather range of cut throats.
They’re made in Japan to extremely tight tolerances, these razors should not be confused with the cheap Pakistani, Chinese and Indian Shavette type razors. Instead, Feather razors are, depending on the model, engineered from solid blocks of either stainless steel or alloy metal and they benefit from good heft for precision shaving. There are six to choose from ranging from £120 to £270 in price. Like cockroaches they are one of the few things that will survive a nuclear war such is the superior build quality on these Japanese beauties.
The main benefit however is the fact that these razors use disposable injector blades that are wider, stiffer and longer lasting compared to safety razor blades. Changing the blade is quick, safe and simple thanks to an ingenious spring loaded, one-touch mechanism the clever Japanese have come up with. As such you can enjoy a great shave every single time as the blade you’re using will be surgically sharp. No stropping, no honing, when the blade dulls you pop a new one in. Feather blades are known for being the very sharpest you can buy yet the design of their cut throat razor heads have a rounded tip which helps the protruding blade glide over the surface of the skin leading to the smoothest, closest shave imaginable. Feather offer a range of blades to suit all beard types and experience levels. My favourites are Feather Professionals, £15.50 buys you 20 blades and in my experience each blade is good for around 10 shaves.
Watch the video here to see how easy it is to change the blade on a Feather.
If you have the budget, time and inclination to maintain a traditional cut throat then please go ahead, we have lots to choose from.
If it’s a close shave with minimal fuss you want, go for a Feather.
If you don’t want to spend more than £120, go for a Feather.
Written by Brian Mulreany
The Executive Shaving Company