Shaving is a morning ritual. Even more than a hot shower, shaving lets us know that we’re alive because we need to be awake, alert, and present in the moment or things could get messy, if not downright dangerous. Like any ritual, shaving deserves the right tools. Gels, creams, and aftershaves may come and go, but a good razor becomes a longtime companion. Here are some of our picks for 2021’s best razors.
And if you’re looking for discounts, take a gander at some of the best electric razor deals we’ve found.
Best Razor Overall: Gillette Skinguard Razor
Cartridge razors are the quickest way to shave, but they’ve gotten a bad rap for causing ingrown hairs and irritation because their multiple blades tend to tug and pull at the skin. This is especially true for Black men or men with coarse facial hair, who have to use a comparatively time-consuming safety razor if they want a clean shaven look. That’s why we have to tip our hats off to Gillette’s SkinGuard series, a time-saving option for guys with sensitive skin, thanks to a comb-like guard placed between the blades to minimize irritation while still allowing for a smooth way to remove their whiskers. Simply put, a new demographic of guys finally have access to a daily shave without having to worry about razor bumps or nicks. That’s why it’s a winner of The Manual 2020 Grooming Awards.
Best Disposable Razor: Schick Xtreme 3 Pivot Ball
The thing about faces and heads in general is that they’re not made up of flat planes. There are curves and bumps, protrusions and clefts. Schick’s disposable feat of engineering conquers all those irregularities with its pivoting head and flexible blades. For a disposable razor the handle actually has a decent weight for good balance, as well as rubbery grips to maintain a firm hold when wet. While this razor can really work for just about anybody, its flexibility makes it particularly handy for guys who want a clean-shaven, bald look on top; as well as for head-to-toe manscaping.
Best Electric Razor: Panasonic ARC5 Wet/Dry Electric Shaver and Trimmer
Again, faces can be challenging places to shave; and makers of electric razors have been working on perfecting a powered yet comfortable shave since before World War II. This system from Panasonic features a five-blade shaving system that makes up to 70,000 cross-cuts per minute for a fast, efficient shave that follows the skin’s natural contours. It is also waterproof if you prefer to shave in the shower. Other details include a built-in, pop-up trimmer for detailing mustaches, beards, and sideburns, as well as a cleaning and recharging station.
Best Safety Razor: Rockwell Model T
Using an “old fashioned” safety razor does come with its own challenges, but once you’ve mastered the technique, it can provide an incredibly close shave. They are great for guys with sensitive skin or for those who are prone to razor bumps (usually caused by multi-blade cartridges repeatedly cutting hairs and forcing them beneath the surface). The Rockwell Razors version is an easily adjustable model, allowing you to customize it to your skin type and facial hair length by simply twisting a dial. It’s easy to change razor blades, has a nice, weighty, balanced feel, and is available in gunmetal, brushed chrome, or white chrome finishes.
Best Straight Razor: The Art of Shaving Shavette Straight Razor
Using a straight razor is not for the timid, but, again, once you know how to do it right, you’ll never go back to disposables or cartridges again. The shave is not necessarily any closer than the other methods we’ve described here, but it is smoother and the shave lasts longer. Similar to a safety razor, it’s an excellent choice for those trying to avoid razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and razor burn. Besides, it is possibly the coolest shaving experience ever with its associations with vintage barber shops and murderous Broadway barbers. This German-made stainless steel version is a great beginner’s choice, allowing for the insertion of a single, disposable blade, rather than requiring the user to become an expert blade sharpener.
Best Cartridge Razor: Gillette Heated Razor
You’ve heard about this from us before, but we’ll say it again. This is possibly one of the most luxurious home shaving experiences ever. It provides the ease and convenience of a cartridge razor shave, with the warmth and indulgence of a barbershop treatment. A stainless steel warming bar heats up almost immediately (with adjustable temperature levels); then Gillette’s best blades, combined with FlexDisc technology make for a smooth shave around the contours of the face and chin. It comes with a magnetic charging station that looks as at home in your bathroom as it does in your spaceship. The replacement blades are a little pricey, so it may be a perfect gift for Dad; not so much for the Grad in your life.
Other Razors We Love
Athena Club Razor
Yeah, yeah, we know. It’s a “girl’s razor.” Whatever. Get it in navy or black and nobody needs to know you’ll want it because it’s angled to feel like an extension of your arm and hand, offering maximum control for your face and any other areas you may be manscaping. It’s made in the USA, and the handle is made from anodized aluminum with a fiberglass internal core, covered in UV-protected silicone for a non-slip grip.
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