Straight vs. Shavette vs DE -- which gives YOU a better shave?

Discussion in 'General Shaving Talk' started by Bax, Sep 11, 2022.

  1. Bax

    Bax Well-Known Member

    EXSUM: I think I get a better, closer shave with the clunky old DE Super-Speed!

    DISCUSSION: I've been exploring shavettes and straight razors a lot lately. I've been using a Focus R-28 with great success and very positive results (just 4 nicks early on, up to 28 shaves now). Thought I was doing great. So I tried a straight razor... picked up a vintage Salamander and Steve56 honed it for me (thanks again, Steve!). It performed about like the Shavette. Yay! I felt the thrill of success. I painstaking honed another razor, a vintage "Shorty" (using Steve's Salamander as my guide/model and tons of internet how-to videos); I used lapping film 3 and 1 micron, and a leather strop. It seemed to take FOREVER, and my arms felt like I'd been banging on my forge all afternoon, rather than honing a razor. It was a monotonous workout, But in the end, I was pleased with the results! I'm no equal to Steve in my honing skilz, but I was pretty happy with the hone I finally got on it. I figure I did as well as an average run-of-the-mill Civil War soldier could do in the 1860s. The Shorty gave me a shave about like the Salamander. By this point, I was pretty full of myself and my coolness for being able to shave confidently with SRs and Shavettes. I think I may have stood a bit taller and I think I felt a new manly hair grow on my chest. Yep, I was a Cool Kid for sure, now!
    I'd been using the Shavette almost exclusively for almost a month, interspersed with a few test-drives with the Salamander and Shorty. But a couple of days ago, I had to quickly do my "Three S's" and get out the door, so I grabbed my old 1950s DE Super-Speed and did a quick 2-pass shave. I was astounded at how much BETTER the Super-Speed did in two quick passes than either the Shavette or the SRs could do in twice that many passes! "What kind of diabolical anomaly is this?" I wondered.
    The next day, I did an experiment. I shaved half of my face with the Salamander, half with the Shorty, 1 pass WTG. I got a shave consistent with what I was used to from my Shavette. So I did a 2nd pass WTG with the Shavette; didn't feel like there was much, if any, change. I used the TTO Super Speed for my 3rd pass WTG, and it was a huge improvement! That was weird. So I did the same test routine (only ATG this time) on my cheeks and jaw, and got the same results. The old TTO Super-Speed was outperforming both SRs AND the Shavette! I kept doing similar comparisons between the 3 razors on different spots on my face and got the same results each time. I lost track of how many passes I ended up doing. A lot. After my shave, my poor face was red, sore, and felt like it'd been cuddling up to a belt sander. But it was a sacrifice made in the name of science, so I was fine with it.

    CONCLUSION: I decided that I could get a better shave with the vintage Gillette TTO than I could get with the expertly-honed Salamander, the novice-honed Shorty, or the Shavette with a new Wilkinson Sword (India) half-blade (the same type of blade used in the DE TTO).

    Am I the only one who gets better performance from a DE safety razor than a SR or Shavette? Or do I simply lack experience? Perhaps I am stooge who lacks the manual dexterity to effectively use a SR or Shavette. After this confession, maybe the Cool Kids won't let me sit at their table in the cafeteria anymore...
    - Bax

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
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  2. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    I get better shaves from my DEs.
    Shavettes and straights are just cool to use.
    But that's me.
  3. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

  4. brit

    brit in a box

    ;):eatdrink047:.compared to straights,de razors take a level of skill out of the shave,one that takes a lot of practice to master.that said..i might say that de offers more consistent shaves of a certain closeness.i like the easiness factor.:)
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
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  5. Bax

    Bax Well-Known Member

    Well, to be fair, I'm only on Day #29 using a straight, and I've used DEs for over 2 years now... so I'm a lot more skilled with a DE than a straight.
    - Bax
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  6. brit

    brit in a box

    you'll get may feel a higher degree of achievement when you do due to the skills involved.i have read that folks get better shaves with any razor after mastering straight razor shaving.personally i wouldn't know as i don't use straights.but i do use skin stretching techniques and good prep with de's and get excellent results.the shaves do feel a touch better if i skip a day,but that rarely happens these can only shave to skin level or you start removing layers..;).so it's all about "How" you get there,the end result should be the same/similar..:)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2022
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  7. lightcs1776

    lightcs1776 Well-Known Member

    I get the best shave from DE razors and get a better shave with straight razors than shavettes. The issue with the straights is that I don't use them daily and may not be getting the honing done as well as I might be able to with more practice.
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  8. SterFry

    SterFry Active Member

    Hmm... Well, shavettes give me the longest lasting BBS while requiring the most technical skill. I suppose this would be my standalone 'short' answer if judging by end result alone.

    Traditional straights aren't far behind in BBS duration, still demand some technical skill and require relatively expensive maintenance - both monetarily and temporally. Definitely the coolest way to shave, I think.

    DEs are fast, easy and provide the most shave in relation to the amount of time and effort put into them... so they win, hands down, for efficiency of just getting the job done. A DEs gives me 90% the results of a straight with 30% the effort.
    brit likes this.
  9. Zykris

    Zykris Well-Known Member

    I’ve have used all three. DEs I get pretty good results for a face and head shave. Shavettes are kind of a hit or me so much that I gave them up. I tended to get more nicks than I’d care to admit. straight razors I get consistent shaves both face and head from. In my experience, it takes just as long to do a straight shave as it does a DE. From a money perspective, if I only had straights, I’d be well off for the rest of my life. For a relaxing experience, hats off to the straight. Convenience, well that would have to go to the DE or S.E. department. But that’s just my experience and personally findings.
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  10. Lancre

    Lancre Well-Known Member

    For me, it's DE.

    Straights look to be high-maintainance, certainly more up-front investment and you start way back on the learning curve.
    Shavettes Eliminate the initial investment, but still a lot to learn. If I let my beard grow for several days, on my neck it would look like a satellite photo of the Caribbean during hurricane season, but the grain would be primarily left to right (actually more like Seattle to Baltimore). I can't figure out a way to shave that ATG with a blade as long as a straight. With a DE it's a piece of cake.

    Just my take.

    Edit: added "on my neck" and "that"
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2022
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  11. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    XTG on the neck is my most difficult pass with a straight edge, be it a regular straight or shavette. All the the rest is easy.
    DE or SE, piece o' cake for that XTG neck pass.
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  12. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire

    I’ve never used a straight, but have used DE’s & shavettes. DE’s work better under my arms; I find shavettes a bit awkward to use there. On the legs, shavettes can be just a bit closer, though I am still learning too use them well.
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  13. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    For a quick "Mop-up" of the whiskers, a DE with give you a DFS and a BBS shave, if several passes are made, and some cleanup work. . A properly honed Straight Razor can get you a BBS shave with 2 passes, and little to no cleanups. It might take a little longer with the Straight Razor, but it is well worth the extra effort.
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  14. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    I get the closest shave from an artist club pro super blade. I really don't think it matters what kind of razor it is in, either.

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