What Is The Difference Between a Shavette And a Straight Razor?
A few guys have asked me what are the main differences between a normal straight (cut-throat) razor and one that is referred to as a “Shavette.” If you want to find out more about straight razors then please click here. There you will find a detailed article on the best types and how you can use them.
Your Standard Straight Razor.
I will try to keep this simple and as easy to understand as I can. There are two types of straight razors; one has a fixed blade that you will need to maintain. You will need to sharpen and hone it to keep the blade in good working order. These are the razors that have been around for ages, and they would be called a cut-throat or a fixed blade straight razor. You can see one in the picture below:
The razor is pictured along with a strop and the easiest way to think of this is that it is a fixed blade that never requires any changing. That means that you will need a leather strop to sharpen it on. My Grandfather had one and my Dad also used one of these. It is also the type that you may see in the old Western movies.
Judging by the shake in that barber’s hand, I am glad that he is not shaving me!!!
The Shavette Style Razor
This type of straight razor does not have a fixed blade. It has blades that can be changed and there are two different types of those. Some of then simply use a razor blade that you break in half, and then attach one half to the razor. Some others at the higher end use specially made blades that fit the particular brand of straight razor.
These are popular with barbers today, simply for hygienic reasons. If a customer comes in for a shave they can attach a blade, use that, and then simply dispose of it and add a new one. With the fixed blade they would have to constantly maintain it and sterilise it after every use.
The most popular of these are made by brands like Dovo and Parker. The prices for these start at around £20 with an average price of around £35. At the higher end of the range you will find companies like the Feather Artist Club. At this end of the range, you will be paying prices of £200+ so an expensive luxury razor.
These are usually made in Japan from the best materials available.
So What Are The Differences?
It just depends on who you ask to be honest. Men like me who are sticklers for tradition will enjoy using the fixed blade and we will also enjoy sharpening it. For people like us it is a labour of love and we take great pride in having a well honed and sharpened razor. Some people argue that the Shavette on the other hand is a much better shave as the blade is sharper. Well to counteract that sharp is not always a good thing. if a blade is “too sharp,” then you will cut your skin more.
I have included a table below showing the differences between a straight and a Shavette as I think that makes it easier to understand.
|Fixed Blade||Removable Blades|
|Needs sharpened||Need to buy blades|
|Blade needs cleaning||Extra sharp so more likely to get cuts|
|More Traditional||Most of these are cheaper|
Any shaving decision that you make will always come down to your own personal choice. We like to stick with tradition as much as we can and as long as it makes sense to do that. The fixed blade gives an excellent shave once you master the technique, and it is worth persevering until you get that right. Here is an article that asks the question should you try a straight razor?
We would recommend doing that first. If you like that style of shaving, then by all means then buy something like a Parker or a Dovo and give the Shavette style a try. Just make sure you have something like a Styptic Alum Pencil available to deal with your cuts. Now don’t get us wrong, over time you can also master the technique of using one of these as well. It does take time though and we think it has a steep learning curve.