As someone plagued with easily-irritated skin and coarse, dark body hair, shaving is the least desirable part of my beauty routine. While no one should feel pressured to rid their bodies of completely natural hair growth, it would be nice to have a shaving option that doesn’t produce painful ingrown hair and inflamed razor burn in the process.
Dr. Snehal Amin, co-founder and surgical director of MDCS Dermatology, told HuffPost that if you want a close and irritation-free shave, you might need to throw out that disposable plastic cartridge razor for good.
″[Cartridge razors] usually house two to seven thin single-edged blades. Most of the cutting is done by the first blade, which gets dull rather quickly. The rough blade then tugs on the hair without completely cutting it, causing irritation and inflammation,” Amin said.
He also explained that the lightweight designs typical of plastic razors means they don’t stay on the skin in a steady motion and require added pressure to effectively cut hair. This translates to unnecessary hair tugging and peeling and stretching of the skin, which can cause ingrown hair and irritated hair follicles.
The superior alternative isn’t actually anything new, but something similar to the single, straight-edge razors that barbers have used for years. Almost always constructed entirely of metal, weighted razors house a double-edged blade in a stable, immobile head. The heaviness and stagnant angle are what give these safety razors an advantage over their flimsy drugstore competitors.
“With a weighted razor, you use the weight of the razor to do the shaving while it glides over your skin, rather than pressing the blades into your skin as with disposable razors,” said Jonathan Keren, co-founder of Maapilim, a company that specializes in grooming care.
Keren said that weighted razors can be a more efficient option for coarse hair that grows in different angles, making them a suitable razor to use on all regions of the body, including thick hair on the face or bikini area.
And if you’re looking for ways to reduce your impact on the planet, most safety razors are intended to last a lifetime ― unlike short-lived disposable options that end up in landfills after a few uses. Keren suggested purchasing a recyclable plastic-free blade bank to safely contain used blades, as blades should be replaced every five to seven shaves, according to The American Academy of Dermatology. This route is often more cost-effective in the long run since replacement blades are relatively inexpensive.
For people accustomed to traditional disposable razors, the idea of using a weighted one may seem intimidating. However, Keren said that it has a minimal learning curve.
For areas like the face and bikini line, “I’d recommend three passes: first with the grain, another against and a final pass against it, and for legs, a single pass against the grain is best,” he said. Make sure to use a light touch and an emollient shaving cream, oil or soap.
If you’re ready to lather up and get a close shave, keep reading to see beautiful weighted razors that will last a long time and look good on your bathroom counter. They may even make you enjoy the act of shaving.