Aggressive vs Non-Aggressive DE'S: how to tell the difference?

Discussion in 'General Shaving Talk' started by tazorac, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. tazorac

    tazorac Member

    I'm still getting my feet wet with DE shaving and don't know all the terminology. Whats the difference between what some people coin an "aggressive" razor vs a less aggressive razor? Is it the blade exposure?

    I've used several different DE'S..and my Feather DE is the only DE that I can use without getting cut. I'm wondering is it because it's "less aggressive".
    brit likes this.
  2. brit

    brit in a box

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  3. Shaver X

    Shaver X Well-Known Member

    An "aggressive" razor gives shaves that tend to be close and more prone to irritation. A "mild" razor gives shaves that are less close and less prone to irritation. That is not to say that shave closeness and irritation are necessarily linked. Those are very general definitions, though.

    If you are getting cut with razors other than the Feather, it could just be a matter of getting your technique totally dialed in. The Feather is known for being mild.
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  4. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    My definition of aggression is that the razor blade holder holds the blade in such a way that makes it more effective in cutting. The edge of the blade is more exposed and there is a gap above and below the blade. among DE type holders. With this type of blade holder, greater care is necessary.

    I consider the Barbasol Floating Head to be such a razor. This razor was made in the early 1930's. Other razors produced during this era include the Micromatic and the Schick injector with Bakelite handle. Just a theory, men from this era probably had some experience using a straight razor or handling sharp edges so that using these razors were of little or no concern.

    Today men wear stubble. To cut several days growth, a razor with a more exposed blade might be more effective and clog less.
  5. Terry

    Terry Tool Admirer

    Agressive is in the hand, efficient is in the razor.
    Some razors are built to cut the hair easier than others.
    So they need more practice to use without any issues.
    If your new to this style of shaving, take your time, development of technique is essential for using the type of razors discuss here.
    Use one type of razor, one type of blade. Use this setup for an extended period, get proficient, then move to the next razor.
    Good luck!!
  6. ghostlife

    ghostlife Well-Known Member

    Aggressive to me is in the blade exposure and blade gap and a bit related to rigidity. Yes, the feather DEs are very mild shavers
    BigMike likes this.
  7. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire

    I think the weight of the razor can also factor in to aggressiveness.
  8. EnglishChannel

    EnglishChannel Well-Known Member

    DE razors fall into the group called "safety razors." That term is descriptive because these shaving tools provide the user with a level of safety or "protection" from the blade. They manage the exposure, blade gap, and to some degree angle of attack for the user.

    Terms used to describe the aggressiveness of a DE (safety) razor are trying to describe how "safe" the razor is to use, with respect to these factors (exposure, gap & angle)

    For instance, some people can get an excellent, smooth BBS shave from a Straight Razor or shavette... tools that provide NO protection from the blade AND do not manage exposure or angle (there is no gap since there is no safety bar). These devices would be by definition very aggressive, requiring that the user manage the contact of blade to beard and skin. They manage NONE of these factors.

    On the other hand most cartridge razors provide a high level of protection from the blade(s), giving the user a "foolproof" shave by managing ALL of these factors.

    So very "mild" DE's are more like that, whereas very "aggressive" DE's are less "forgiving" of your technique providing much less protection, similar to the Straight Razor.

    One last thing. Smoothness of the shave is determined most by the properties and edge of the blade and the angle of attack.

    Closeness of the shave is determined by blade sharpness and exposure.
    Edison Carter likes this.
  9. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    One thing we can agree on is that no one agrees on how to define aggression. I doubt my grandfather back the '20's would have used aggression to describe a razor.
  10. Carson West

    Carson West Well-Known Member

    I've been wet-shaving for a couple years now, and I've found that the most critical skill I've had to develop was using a very light touch, very little pressure against the skin, less than a cartridge razor requires. This results in less irritation and fewer cuts. If the razor has sufficient weight, you can use that weight alone to apply sufficient pressure to do the job. Remember, more strokes with the razor trumps more pressure. But of course excessive strokes can irritate as well. This shavin' thing aint easy.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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