About once a month, someone asks a question about Shavettes. Upon reflection, this does not really surprise me. There is not a lot of information out there on shavettes. Reviews and how to's are sporadic at best and mostly limited to you tube. Often, the overwhelming response is just "get a real straight razor." The wikipedia entry for disposable blade straight razors has this to say (inaccurately): "Razors which are similar in use and appearance to straight razors but which use either a standard double edged blade or specially made blades are available. Disposable bladed straights have many of the advantages of straight razors without needing the stropping and honing of ordinary straight razors. Disposable blade straight razors can be resharpened." What is a shavette? A shavette, also known as a disposable blade straight razor, is either a fixed or folding blade razor, similar in appearance to a straight razor, that uses disposable blades. The blades are not resharpened. When used by a barber, they are not even reused. Like Band-Aid, Shavette is actually a brand name that became a general term. In this case, shavette refers to any disposable blade straight razor. (Dovo makes the original Shavette). For ease of use, I will refer to disposable blade straight razors as shavettes for the rest of the article. What were they used for? The first shavettes were developed for barbers. They were used by the barber for giving a razor cut haircut. The shavette was used in place of scissors or clippers for trimming hair, and for shaping sideburns, hairlines and the nape of the neck. In the past, the most popular was the Durham Duplex. The brand and blades still survive today in the dog grooming industry. What are they used for today? Shavettes are still used by barbers and wet shavers. As people became more aware of the dangers posed by blood borne pathogens, stringent laws were passed that regulated the use of straight razors in the barber shops. Barbers began to look for other options to the traditional straight razor. Shavettes experienced a resurgence in popularity as the demand for a disposable alternative to the straight razor grew. There can be only one. There are many different brands of shavettes and also just as many blades that can be used in them. Most people are aware of the Feather Artist Club razors, which take special blades manufactured especially for the feather razors and the various shavettes that take snapped in half DE blades. There are also the few razors that take Personna shaper blades. The shaper blades are better known to us as injector blades. More about the different shavettes and blades later. The differences between a straight and a shavette razor. Shavettes are not entry level straights. They feel different, they shave differently, and aside from appearance, have almost nothing in common with a straight razor. Someone who wants to try straight razor shaving would be best advised to purchase a professionally honed used straight razor and an entry level strop. Does that mean shavettes don’t have any place in wet shaving? Of course they have a place, just not as a starter straight razor. Many people use shavettes to shave with, they just don’t kid themselves about what they are using. Straight razor shavers who choose not to take a regular safety razor with them when they travel often take a shavette along. Shavettes are lighter, have more rigid blades, shorter blade length and are more unforgiving of mistakes than a real straight razor. On the other hand, with a shavette, you do not have to spend time honing or stropping the blade. The differences between shavettes. There is a vast difference between the low end and the high end of the disposable blade straight razor market. There really is not much of a middle ground when it comes to shavettes. The high end shavettes are made by Kai and Feather. The low end razors are made by everyone else. The few razors that fall in the middle ground are mostly vintage shavettes and IBC (Irving Barber Company) and perhaps Sanguine and Dovo. Six names dominate the shavette world. Feather, Dovo, Weck, Sanguine, Fromm and Parker. A seventh is on the rise as well. Irving Barber Company is the new kid on the block, but their first entry, a razor that takes DE, Injector, and Feather Artist Club blades, is a solid performer and is as versatile as the original Dovo Shavette, while offering much more value for the money. The DE blade. Most shavettes use the DE blade... ...or rather, half of a DE blade. The spike points on either end of the edge make these blades the most unforgiving of the shavettes. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend any shavette style razor that only uses DE blades. The mini shaper blade. This actually covers a few different blades... If the Personna blade container looks familiar, it's because it uses the same blades as Schick injector razors. It merely lacks the key, the blades are identical. These blades are a huge step up from the snapped in half DE blades and a short step below... Hair Shaper Blades. In between the Injector/mini hair shaper blades and the Kai/Feather Artist Club blades are the Hair Shaper blades. These blades work in the Weck Sextoblade. The Weck Sextoblade was in production for almost a century and can be found cheaply at online auction sites like eBay or in antique stores. This vintage razor has one huge benefit. It takes modern blades. This one brand of razor left its stamp so deeply on the industry the blades for this razor became the industry standard for hair shapers. And hair shapers are still used today. Modern hair shapers with non-removable guards, unfortunately, won't work for shaving. The blades will. Fromm, Personna, Wilkinson Sword, and Schick all make hair shaper blades. The vintage Weck Sextoblade razor is based on a straight razor design and has a removable guard. Before it became a "hair shaper," it was sold as a shaving razor. In my opinion, the Weck Sextoblade is the closest one can come to shaving with a straight razor without using a straight razor. Weck Sextoblades come with a removable guard, and most people stop using the guard after the first shave. You have to flip the guard around when you switch to shaving the other side of your face, and it's impractical to use during touchups. The blades are not quite as sharp as Feather/Kai, but they are more affordable, easier to find, and can be stropped, just like a straight razor. Here's a "How it's made" video about Barbasol, in the last few minutes the presenter gets a barbershop shave from a barber using a Weck Sextoblade. Feather Artist Club Blades. Light blades for sensitive skin, Professional blades for every skin and hair type (these are the original blades), Super blades for thick or coarse hair growth, and ProGuard blades for the safest shave. Kai Blades. Double diamond hair cut blades. Feather and Kai disposable bladed straights should not be included in the general lumping together of shavettes. They were and are designed specifically for shaving. The shaving technique is slightly different from using a straight razor, due to the wider body of the blade holder, but the resulting shave is the same. CJB is a Korean copy of the Feather razors. It comes in a folding and straight (Kamisori) version. The quality of the finish and materials used are not as high as a Feather, but it uses the same blades and the shave will be identical. The last time I checked, they sold for about $15, but the company does not do international sales. The few that are available are either from a Badger & Blade co-op from a couple of years ago, or recently purchased on eBay. Shavettes have their place as a travel razor, or for those who want a budget version of a high quality disposable straight, but it is important to remember that they were originally created and designed to cut hair, and it is only recently that people have begun using them as shavers. They are DE or Injector razors that happen to look like straight razors and you control the angle of the shave. More shavette resources: Shavette DE blade replacement guide Review of various models of DE shavettes Straight Razor vs. Shavette Comparison of a Sanguine and a Dovo Shavette Comparison of a Mr. C and a Monsieur Charles Shavette It seems I must add an update to this article. A new razor has come to my attention, and this one is neither "fish nor flesh, nor good red herring." It turns out that many members of the Badger & Blade forum had Grandfathers who shaved without base plates or cut the safety bars off of their DE razors. A razor is currently made in India which has the improbable name of the "Barbe Bleue BB Model X doubled-edge straight." This razor traces it's lineage back to those brave men (because women aren't that stupid). This razor has a very long handle and no safety guard. It was dubbed the "Devette." The shave has been described as like shaving without training wheels. Make of that what you will. There is a long thread about it here. No guard DE Gytis had this to say about devett shaving. Please read with the understanding that English is his third language.