Varying differences exist across safety razors, some more slight and nuanced and others more drastic and shave-altering. Understanding these differences between razors, razor heads and razor blades is important as you delve into the wonderful world of wet shaving.
The driving force behind such differences could include manufacturing differences, product feature variations and shaving preferences. Perhaps the greatest variation across razors includes differences in razor head design. Head weight, razor blade gap and standard vs. slant blade settings all have a noticeable impact on how a razor performs, all blades being equal. One area worth exploration, particularly for those with more sensitive skin is the difference in the slant razor over a typical flat-mounted safety razor.
Table of Contents
How the Slant Safety Razor Works
Rather than cut your hairs straight-on like a cartridge razor or traditional safety razor, the slant razor takes the more efficient approach of striking the stubble from an angle. Doing so, puts less direct pressure on the follicle thereby creating more of a slicing effect rather than a blunt chopping effect.
As a result, slant-bar double edge safety (or simply “slant”) razors are typically more popular among those with wiry, thick or course facial hair. The mounting of the double edge blade as a slant on the head of the razor handle, provides a noticeably improved and efficient cutting experience, regardless of the type of hair growing out of that face of yours.
The Mild Cutting Action of the Slant Head Safety Razor
The reduction of blade pressure against the follicles occurs in two directions. Firstly, the slant’s pressure against the skin itself is greatly reduced as you move down (across and up) your face. Secondly, due to the angled nature of the cut against the hair, the slant safety razor is able to be more efficient in cutting hair without needing to add any pressure to the shave at all. You can truly let the weight of the safety razor do the work.
With a slant, the razor pressure against the skin is greatly reduced. The pressure of the follicles and skin against the razor itself are, in turn, also reduced. These two factors make the slant head safety razor a perfect fit for most men (and women) with more sensitive skin. Sensitive skin shavers will experience something very unique:
- With the number of blades (compared to a multi-blade cartridge razor) scraping against the skin greatly reduced, your skin is less likely to break out is things like razor bumps or razor burn. This is the same feature available to a typical safety razor, with a unique twist.
- The slanted cut of the slant razor improves upon the classic safety razor design, putting even less pressure on the skin and follicles, thus reducing the potential for razor burn on those with sensitive skin.
- The slanted angle improves the blade’s cutting ability with less pressure. Thus, the more efficient cutting action of the blade also helps to improve the longevity of the razor blade itself.
Growth in Slant Safety Razors
Because of the reduced pressure of the blade and it’s greater ease at cutting hair, the slant typically requires a bit more skill in operation. Due to the need for increased skill in the slant shaving technique, it is usually ill-advised to use the slant razor as the razor for beginning wet shavers. In addition, newly-converted wet shavers are also less prone to gravitate to something niche within the wet shaving niche. Hence, not only are slants less likely to achieve immediate widespread attention, they are also less readily available.
As a result, it has taken time for slant razors to truly hit their proverbial stride, even among the most avid wet shaving enthusiasts. Thankfully though the internet’s broad ability at reaching into the small, albeit growing, niche demand segments has allowed for the growth and more widespread exposure of products like the slant safety razor, just like it has similarly impacted many toward switching from cartridges to single blade shavers.
Furthermore, those that convert from standard flat DE safety razors over to the slant variety are similarly less likely to go back, just like their DE counterparts are equally less likely to revert to their old habits of cartridge razor use. From our perspective, it’s been an upstream movement that rarely reverts. Consequently, as more exposure and awareness of slant razors grows, their place as a mainstay and away from a niche’s niche is likely to be forever lost.
Shaving with a Slant Safety Razor
When it comes to switching from a cartridge or standard DE shaver to a slant, here are some important considerations
- Experiment with Blades. Blade performance can differ widely. Blade performance can be both enhanced and diminished depending on the razor you may be using at the time. It is suggested you try three or four different brands over the course of a period of time, only holding firm on those that perform the best. Don’t vary too much as doing so can distract you away from nailing and practicing the proper technique. Sample packs are great for razor blade experimentation.
- Experiment with Angle. The angle of the razor in relation to your face is critical and an effective angle can differ greatly between different types of blades. For instance, an open comb razor may be more comfortable using a perpendicular cut than a standard closed-comb scallop razor. To determine the best angle, move the handle of the razor to a more perpendicular angle from the face until the feedback sound stops, then move the handle back toward the skin until it resumes. Some razors require less of an angle to get a good shave. The more efficient angle of the slant is one of those. It’s a more aggressive shave.
- Go Light on Pressure. When using a slant, it is best to use just enough pressure to keep the razor in direct contact with the skin, nothing more. Because the razor cuts more easily, it is important to treat your skin as if it already had a rash or was burned. Be as gentle as possible. Because a slant’s virtue is that it cuts more easily, that virtue can quickly turn to vice if you push it too hard against the skin.
Throughout the experimentation and learning process, particularly if you have never before shaved with a slant, bear in mind you will be much more likely to bleed. Experimenting with the right shaving creams, soaps and other accouterments can also help alleviate the shaving discomforts that can come from a much more aggressive razor.
Interestingly though, the slant safety razor is somewhat of a double-edged sword more than a double-edged razor. On the one hand, it works best for sensitive skin shavers, but only if used with care and precision. If the aggression is not respected, its very virtues can turn to vice ultimately leading to more discomfort, not less. For the experienced wet shaver, the slant will continue to be a much-needed addition to the medicine cabinet of distinguished men. And, we don’t expect that to diminish anytime soon.