Shavettes: The Truth About Disposable Straight Razors

Discussion in 'Articles' started by PLANofMAN, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. lindyhopper66

    lindyhopper66 Well-Known Member

    I have a Weck hair shaper and it does use the Personna blades and it is the same general blade as the injector blades in thickness and having the metal folded over the top, but the blade length is not the same. It is longer than the regular injector blades.

    I tried the Weck, the Parker SR1 and the Feather SS RG copy, the CJB and had trouble getting a safe shave with any of them. After trying those I took some of the advice from other straight razor users and bought a straight razor. I still nick myself in learning, but not as bad as with the shavettes. They get close...but too close. I get raw skin with them. I'm sure after a certain amount of time, I could learn to use the shavette better, but much prefer the straight.
    Terry and PLANofMAN like this.
  2. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    I would recommend learning with a straight, they are more forgiving. Mastery of a straight will usually give you competence with a shavette. I get a bit more burn with the shavette than the straight, but then again, I am a newbie to the world of shavettes.:D I'm learning quickly though.
    Terry likes this.
  3. thevez2

    thevez2 uses Gillette's new Tarantula Razor - 8 blades!!

    Weck Sextoblade is my favorite shavette. It is the closest style shavette to an actual straight razor. The main thing to note about shavettes is that the technique is much different from a straight and even different shavette styles require different techniques. The learning curve can be quite steep. It took me quite a while to get blood free shaves from my Parker. Whether you get a shavette or a real straight, the best advice is to use it religiously and don't give up. Eventually you wil figure out how to hold and how much pressure is required. A shavette can be a good cheaper intro to straights, but I prefer to think of them as completely different. A real straight is much more forgiving. If you can master a shavette, you will have no problem with a straight.
    Terry, PLANofMAN and Switchermike like this.
  4. Ryan B

    Ryan B Knight of the Soapocracy

    This was a very informative, well written article. TBH, I have never had any interest in using a shavette. They just don't appeal to me. I did get one used on lining my hair up in Puerto Rico at a barber shop... Figueroa did a killer job lining me up. That's the only way I would use one. However a straight razor... That's an article for a different day.
    Terry likes this.
  5. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    I'm hanging in there. I suffer from a constant case of "Well, I get a great shave with this, I wonder if that one is better." If it is interesting and/or unusual, it ratchets up the "I want" factor tenfold. Despite the fact that I own a least five razors I get incredible shaves from, I'm always on the lookout for something new. The small blessing in all of this is that I haven't been cursed with a desire to chase current production razors...yet. The feather Artist Clubs are really tempting me.
  6. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    I have heard that the Kai Captain will take the Personna shaper (not the Personna mini shaper) blades in addition to the regular Kai and Feather straight blades. Can anyone confirm this?
  7. madmedic

    madmedic Resistance Is Futile

    Many years ago I tried one of the DE Blade shavettes,and promptly shredded my face. The right angled corners on the DE blades were the problem. I had always had a hankering for the Feather AC and had success with those razors. While the blades are incredibly sharp, the corners are rounded and cause less damage than a DE blade. I then tried traditional straights, and am now revisiting the shavettes. With the lessons learned from using the Feather AC, I now get great shaves from all 3 systems.
    Terry and PLANofMAN like this.
  8. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    The blade these gentlemen are referring to that works with these Weck razors are the Personna Shaper blades.
    Not to be confused with the Personna Mini Shaper blades (which are standard injector blades). Fromm Hair Shaper blades also work in these razors.
  9. Monkeylord

    Monkeylord The Lather Lord

    Great article, very informative.
    I just got my first shavette that uses snapped DE blades, a cheap buy online, but I'm thrilled, was a bit afraid of shredding my face at first, but it turned out to be a quite nice experience and a close and neat shave :)
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  10. Lavachild

    Lavachild Active Member

    I got started with straights because of a barber I go to from time to time. She uses the shavettes. When I told her I was going to take up using straights, she was a bit concerned. She says she can't imagine someone using a straight on themselves. Being a woman she of course has never used it on herself. I figured that was why she had the perspective. After reading this thread I think perhaps it was shavettes she thought I would be using to learn and that was why she was worried.
  11. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Never assume...Most likely she has not, but there are women who shave with straights. As for her viewpoint, you will find that most people (including many hair stylists and barbers) think that shaving with a straight razor is the equivalent of starting the lawn mower, propping it up, and inserting one's face into the blades. Suicidal at worst, and "Someone's going to get hurt" at best.
    Monkeylord likes this.
  12. Steve Payne

    Steve Payne New Member

    Bought a Dovo at Sally Beauty supply to see if it would give me an idea of whether or not I'd like straight razor shaving. The only thing I learned is how it feels to cut yourself -- A LOT. Put on some after shave & had to yank myself out of the ceiling. Shaving hell -- yes, there is one and yes, I visited it. The ONLY good thing to come out of the experience was that the razor was cheap, the blades were cheaper, and there's no WAY shaving with a real straight razor could be any worse than that piece of excrement.

    Payne out.....
    Terry likes this.
  13. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Your response is typical of most who try a Dovo shavette for the first time. The only advantage the Dovo has over other disposable blade straight razors is the interchangeability of the blades. For a starter shavette razor I recommend a vintage Weck sextoblade. Usually priced at under $10, they take personna shaper blades, which in my opinion are the closest thing to a straight razor blade you can buy on a budget. The Weck also comes with a guard, the equivalent of training wheels. It can be inconvienent switching the guard back and forth for the left and right sides of your face, and most abandon the guard once they get a feel for the razor.

    That being said, I doubt you would have fared any better with a straight razor your first time out. There is a steep learning curve for both shavettes and straight razors. It is worth the time to master them, because they will reward you with a superior shave.
    You are right about that. Most people find straight razors more "face friendly" than shavettes, and I would have to agree. If you spend some time on this forum and others you will find that most people who try shavettes end up cutting themselves up the first week or so they have them. Some give up, some immediately switch to a straight razor and some stick with shavettes and learn to enjoy nick free shaves. I feel your pain and wish you the best in whatever decisions you make.

    If you have the chance, find a barber with a good reputation that gives straight razor shaves. That, in my opinion, is the best way to find out if you would like to start shaving with a straight razor.
    Terry likes this.
  14. Monkeylord

    Monkeylord The Lather Lord

    I've nicked myself with my shavette only once. It's all about technique. If you stick with it , things will become enjoyable :)
  15. Deltaboy

    Deltaboy New Member

    Thanks for the great review!
  16. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    You are welcome. But I would like to point out that it is an article, not a review. It includes opinions and details based on other people's reviews, but it is not, strictly speaking, a review. At the time I wrote the article, I had owned one Shavette - for about 3 days.:ashamed001: I now have four, with another on the way.
  17. vinthechin12

    vinthechin12 Active Member

    What makes more of a difference in the shave, the blade or the razor. And very nice article.
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  18. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Depends on the blade or razor in question, but I would say that typically the user and the user's level of experience makes the most difference in the shave.

    I know, total cop out.:cool:

    It really depends on what you are looking for. A straight razor that shaves like a DE, or a razor that shaves like a straight razor? The Weck Sextoblade razor combined with Personna shaper blades are the closest you will get to a real straight razor shave with shavettes.

    The Kai and Feather shavettes will give you better shaves, but they really don't shave like a straight razor.

    Any shavette that takes half of a DE blade will shave you, but one needs to have a very light touch and a high degree of fine motor control. The Parker and Sanguine razors are probably the best of those razors.
    Terry and Monkeylord like this.
  19. California Cajun

    California Cajun Active Member

    I think it is harder to learn to use a shavette, but I would still get a Parker shavette for $20 if I wanted to try straight shaving. (I do not like the Dovo shavette because it is too small and light in weight.) Then if you want to stick with it, you can get a true straight (which will probably be easier to use) along with the honing and stropping equipment necessary to maintain your blade.

    My first straight was a true straight (the shavette was out of stock and I was chomping at the bit to get started), and it was a blood bath. About a month or so into the experience, I sliced my thumb down to the tendon switching hands and required four stitches. I focused so hard on technique I didn't pay attention to what my hands were doing. (The walk-in clinic doctor was laughing at me while sewing me up after I told him what happened!) Arguably, the shavette wouldn't be able to cut me that deep. Some time later someone sold me a Dovo shavette and I had a terrible time with it. I studied a YouTube video of someone shaving and memorized the choreography to the inch but still got lousy shaves. I contacted the person (via tha shaving forum that sponsored the video) and asked him how I could do everything just like him and still get lousy shaves. He graciously offered to take a look at the razor that I bought as "shave ready" and he discovered that the hone job was poorly done. So that's another pitfall with the true straight, it may not be honed right whereas the shavette uses a machine blade.

    Long story short, my first competent shave was about six months after I started and total mastery didn't come until two years later (I've been at this nearly three years so the last year has been fun). About a year ago I found a Parker shavette and I thought it was great. After mastering straights I tried the Dovo shavette for old time's sake and did just fine, but was still bothered by the light weight and the small size. The Parker was heavy like a straight. I never tried a Feather shavette because I didn't want to pay for one.

    What you need to master the straight is determination, which I had because of my frustration with 40 years of electric and multiblade razors. I can honestly say that I was so bad when I started straight shaving that literally nothing would have worked until I fought through the learning curve. That's why I would have opted for the Parker shavette if I had to start all over again.
    Terry and PLANofMAN like this.
  20. Monkeylord

    Monkeylord The Lather Lord

    I know as many other things it's a YMMV thing but getting the technique down with a shavette was a piece of cake. I think most of this "shavette paranoia" is caused by reading too may bad trip articles on shavettes. I never saw any instructional videos on shaving with one, just figured it out on the road.

    Guys just take it easy, mind your angle and be light on the touch and it will give great shaves ;)

    Two weeks will be more than enough to get the basics.
    Terry and danbuter like this.

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