This blog might get a little long, but I wanted to write in more detail about what makes our high-quality Carbon Razor special and what we do with the design to make us competitively different. I will attempt to do this in 2 sections. In the first section, we will compare how we are different from plastic disposable razors and in the second section, we will compare ourselves to other safety razors in the market. We are biased, but I will try to bring into the conversation some of the comments our customers have said about us to highlight what we try to do.
Before I get into the details, I will admit that we are not the least expensive razor in the market. In fact, some of our limited and exotic Cx safety razors are some of the most expensive and luxurious razors you can find in the shaving market. The reason for this is since we started Carbon Shaving Co, we wanted to build a sustainable shaving solution and build an heirloom quality product. Webster's dictionary describes an heirloom as “something of special value handed down from one generation to another."
Carbon Shaving Co. designs razors to last for generations. We build our razors with the highest quality and apply a final hand finish to each piece. When we say heirloom, I expect our razors to outlive me. This was personal. When I was a child and first started to shave, my grandfather used a Gillette 3-piece safety razor. I remember shaving with it at a very young age without a blade. It was a very special early memory. I wish I still had that single edge safety razor, but unfortunately, it was lost. What happened was my grandfather was the last of a generation to only know the traditional safety razor, shaving brush, and the wet shaving ritual. It was at this time that shaving evolved into plastic disposable shavers.
It was the early ‘70’s and Wilkinson gets credit for introducing the first blade embedded in plastic. Gillette followed shortly after with their own version. It was the BiC company, who first made the all-plastic disposable shaver. At this time, a flurry of gimmicks flooded the market including multi-blades (up to 6 blades) followed by aloe strips on the cartridge. The theory is that with multi-blades the hair is pulled with the first blade and then cut very close to the follicle with the second blades.
I will get into more detail about how we compare to other non-plastic razors, but it is an easy comparison to see why most safety razors including our Cx lines are better than a plastic disposable solution.
1) The multi-blade cartridges are renowned for the irritation they cause including razor burn and ingrown hairs. Pulling on a hair and cutting causes a lot of irritation. Most tolerate this and never look for alternatives. A safety razor is a popular alternative solution to sensitive skin by having one sharp inexpensive blade.
2) The cost of ownership of a plastic disposable shaving experience is more than a traditional single blade safety razor over the long run. Not only is this cost of ownership more with Gillette and Wilkinson plastic disposable razors, but this also applies to the shaving clubs such as “Harry’s” and “The Dollar Shave Club." The math can get “fuzzy” but based on our research, a customer shaving with plastic cartridges spends $180-$250 per year on cartridges every year... forever!! A safety razor blade will cost you about $15 - $50 per year. It is not even a close comparison in terms of “cost of ownership."
3) The quality of shave can be subjective, but the one thing both plastic razor manufacturers and Carbon Shaving Co agree on is a sharp blade achieves a more comfortable shave. You are much more inclined to swap out a 15 cent blade than you are a 2 dollar cartridge.
4) Our Cx design allows you to clean your blade much better than a cartridge razor. Simply loosen the Cx razor and flush with water after your shave. The large lather holes allow water and air to flush through the razor - a plastic razor cartridge gets clogged from your natural hair and skin cells jamming into the small one way spaces between the blades. These razors are then set in a humid bathroom environment to ferment and grow bacteria. OK I’ll stop...I'm starting to gross myself out!
5) For anybody who is environmentally sensitive and wants to help reduce your plastic use, switching to a Carbon Shaving safety razor is a no-brainer. In the 90s, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimated that Americans throw away about 2 billion plastic razors every year...that was 30 years ago! Plastic disposable razors, like ink cartridges, are notorious for being difficult to recycle because they are sharp, plastic waste with metal molded into the plastic cartridge. Some of the big companies have marketed a recycling solution, and it looks good on social media but they don’t recycle much….sad! I could write a book on the subject but the reality is plastic shaving cartridges are not a sustainable solution.
6) If your wife or girlfriend secretly borrows your plastic razor to shave her pits and legs, you can kiss a sharp blade goodbye! That one shave will clog your razor and dull the blades. Your partner will still borrow your traditional safety razor and safety razors work extremely well for women, as some of the ladies look for an effective straight razor to do the job without any drama. I change my blade almost every shave for this reason but at 15 cents a blade? Again...why not.
I switched from plastic cartridge razors about 8 years ago. My wife still borrows my safety razor and she loves it for her pits and legs. We have much more peace in our house (No guarantees!)
Carbon Shaving Co. avoids gimmicks in our design. We don’t have a heated razor (the hot water does that), we don’t have aloe strips (a good soap will solve this need) and we don’t have an exfoliating bar (a sharp blade does this just fine).
At this point, I want to shift and compare some of the differences between our Carbon Cx line and other traditional safety razor manufacturers you see in the market. I want to take this opportunity to again remind you that our mission is to create a quality product, worthy of becoming an heirloom.
I will quote reviews in the following sections of this blog. You can see these reviews and all our reviews here.
We offer 4 distinct base plates to choose from to get your perfect shave. We offer a mild plate for sensitive skin, our original design for more blade feel, a + plate for those who shave every 2 days and the ++ plate for those looking for an aggressive razor or if you shave 1 time per week. This is just the half of it...with blade choice you have more options. A Gillette Nacet blade is milder and a Kai blade will increase the efficiency...if you give us a heads up we would be happy to include a variety pack of sample double edge (DE) blades so you can explore and find the perfect shave for yourself.
“...it really is a jewel…” - Pete M.
“...like a Swiss watch…” - Igno
“...This will make a highly collectible DE Razors to pass on to future generations who appreciate its Craftsmanship.” - Chris
If you get out of the plastic disposable mindset and ask yourself what razor would I want to have for the rest of my life and which razor do I want to pass down to the next generation, the terms “jewel” and “Swiss watch” come to mind as adjectives that best describe the heirloom characteristics that we are trying to achieve. We often use the watch industry for inspiration as example, we were the first company to use the “perlage” pattern finish on our safety razor surfaces, we did this on a few Limited run Cx single-edge razors.
We were the first and the only razor manufacturer to use stainless steel Damascus in our razor builds. Mokume is also a unique material we use. These materials are typically used for high-end jewellery and watch cases but we took this to another level by developing a process to precision machine this material for safety razors. Adding to the mystic, we don’t make many using this material and with the patterns found in this material, each piece is truly one-of-a-kind. You won’t find these pieces mass produced. Each of our Cx razors are machined and finished in Minneapolis USA. We choose to have our metals sourced domestically or in the case of the Cx-316L stainless single edge razor we also look to the UK and Germany for their quality steel. In terms of stainless steel grades we also use the premium grade of 316L stainless steel, we talk more about stainless steel grades here. All other metals, including our exotic material and titanium are sourced and forged in the USA.
“While the other two razors have more of a matte/bead blasted finish, this has a nice polish finish that makes it look a little more elegant and high class.” - Mike
Our Cx line has a high polish finish, it is the most expensive finish to apply, and it requires numerous steps, including sanding with different grits to achieve a polished surface. This has multiple benefits beyond aesthetics including 1) A polished surface is easier to keep clean with fewer cracks and crevices for dirt and bacteria to collect and 2) A polished surface is less likely to corrode. Check this blog where we get very geeky on finishes and their pros and cons!
“Accurate balance & handling which is so intuitive, giving you total control from the moment you pick it up. This is what a perfect d/e razor looks like….” - N0gz
Ergonomics is the process of designing products that fits the people who use them. To us ergonomics means the Cx razor is an extension of your hand...
One of the key elements we considered was the “balance” of a safety razor, we designed our Cx to balance at the finger point that the handle is naturally and intuitively held, we didn’t want our razors to be top-heavy or handle heavy. All our Cx models balance right where the finger grips the handle.
While maintaining balance we also considered overall weight. We designed our razor based on a vintage 1945 WWII Gillette Tech razor which weighed about 46grams. By incorporating Titanium and carbon fiber we created the lightest custom razor, the Cx-Graphite with carbon fiber handle, which weighs about 31 grams. As of the writing of this blog, it is currently the lightest DE razor on the market(Tell us if you know a lighter one!). We offer this model periodically...some people prefer a heavier razor and we have a range of weights and materials.
“...it's probably one of the best handles I've used….” - Nate B.
We took great pride and went through many prototype variations before we created the R2 and R3 designs. The shape and contours of the design allow for an intuitive feel and orientation as to where you are holding the handle.
Thin Head design
Like the vintage 1946 Gillette Tech razor our Cx head design is very thin. This serves to solve 2 problems:
1) “...the thin design of the head makes it easy to get a close shave under the nose.” - Matthew and
2) the thin head reduces the overall weight of the razor. “The slim profile of the head is utter perfection.” - Chris
Unlike most DE safety razors on the market we offer a pinch design that supports both the top and bottom of the blade, tightening up the leading edge of the blade, making it stiffer similar to a straight edge razor(aka "Cut throat" razor).
Web Plate Design
“The web base plate is nice and light and also allows the soap or cream to pass through with ease.” - Mike.
Our objective with our most recent, unique web design was not only to lighten the razor but this design also allows water to flush the razor more easily and allows air to circulate through the razor allowing it to stay cleaner and to dry easier.
Kind of a buzzword in terms of a business strategy and business model but we think it is best, we don’t sell our products through retail, we believe a direct relationship with our customers is best, it allows us to advise, work out problems and support our customers with the level of service you would expect with a quality product. If you have a problem, ping us and we will make it right...you won’t get the “Contact the manufacturer directly” line from us!
Have any questions? Help is an email or a DM away, we are happy to answer any questions to help you find your perfect shave, we would love to chat! Click here to send us a note!