What is a Luxury Safety Razor? What is the Best Safety Razor?

Luxury mens shavers, also called luxury mens razors, are the best premium razor you can buy. They are the most expensive safety razors in the market. These premium safety razors are the highest quality single edge razors you can purchase.

Luxury is defined by the Oxford dictionary as a “a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort”, Merriam dictionary adds  “...adding pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary”.

Luxury watches and sports cars tend to be more well known and established luxury brands. When we think of brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini, its easy to see the appeal in these products. Well made, individually crafted, rare and are the best in their class. These cars start at about $200K. Luxury cars are often hand made and hand finished. The material they use is of a premium nature including quality leather or modern high tech material like composites.

Luxury car - Lamborghini - Matte Black Finish - Luxury safety razor blog

Luxury can also be relative...keeping with in the car industry, the Bugatti falls into the upper level of the luxury car category, selling upwards of $3.3M.

The watch industry is similar...the first brand that comes to mind in high end luxury watches is Rolex. You can expect to pay $5K as a starting point for Rolex. But have you heard of the luxury watch brand Patek Philipp...their most expensive watch for sale at the time of this writing is $26M.

Before writing this blog, we looked at the luxury market and asked what makes an item a luxury product, here is what we found:

1) They are made in small quantities often with limited availability. Hermes Birkin has a notorious 5 year waiting list for its bags.
2) The quality of these products is at the highest level. Louis Vuitton often cites its 1,000 production steps before it ends up in your hand.
3) They are hand finished with superb craftsmanship. Rolls Royce cars are individually hand made in England, very different to the production line of Ford.

Rolls Royce - Example of luxury for Luxury safety razor blog


4) They use premium material. Bugatti cars are made with hand selected calf leather from Columbia. The exterior is made from the lightest and strongest metal alloys and composite, including titanium and carbon fiber.

Bugatti Interior - Leather finish - Luxury safety razor example


5) They have a strong brand identity with heritage and history. Gucci showed this with its 90th anniversary ad campaign with black and white photos of its artists in its first work shop.

Heritage history in safety razors - Vintage artisan making custom products

As you consider these elements of luxury in a safety razor, consider the following:

What metal and material is a luxury safety razor made from?

A luxury safety razor is made with the best material. Our stainless steel and material is sourced from Germany, the UK and USA. If you are considering a stainless steel single edge safety razor, machined 316L stainless steel is the best choice for the most durable product. It has the best corrosion resistance compared to most stainless steel in the market. 303 stainless steel will develop “Tea stains” or rust on the surface...304 is better but still not as corrosive resistant as 316L. I talk in more detail about material here.

Premium 316L Luxury safety razor - shaver - reduce ingrown hairs

Rolex used 316L in its watches up until the 1980’s before switching to a custom alloy of stainless steel commonly referred to as grade 904. Titanium is another alternative if you prefer a lighter shaver. Like the Bugatti...we also use carbon fiber sourced locally. These are the materials you would expect in a luxury safety razor.

We make custom machined safety razors using laminated exotic materials. This material is typically reserved for custom jewelry, luxury watches and custom EDC pieces. Each of our luxury shavers made with this material have a unique pattern, no 2 are alike. The exotic metals we use to make our high end custom luxury razors include:

Damtanium (Titanium Damascus) – normally reserved for knife scales and luxury watches, this material is custom forged grade 2 and grade 5 titanium. We have our Titanium Damascus forged for us by master blacksmiths out of Las Vegas, USA. The layers of Titanium are revealed after we hand polish and apply a heat finish, revealing the deep colors of the different grades and layers of titanium, as light reflects off the titanium oxide. You can read more about this material here.

Stainless Steel Damascus – We use forged grade 304 and 316 stainless steel to make our Damascus safety razors. This is different to the carbon Damascus steel you see in kitchen knives. We then acid etch and finish the safety razor, when finished the pattern, contours and topography of the forged metal is revealed. Like our Damtanium we use another master blacksmith who custom makes his jewelry. This is jewelry quality material custom made to our specifications. You can read more about this material here.

Luxury shaver - Damascus stainless steel safety razor - Luxury single edge razorTake note how the acid corrodes the 304 stainless prior to the 316L. The valleys are 304, the peaks 316L.

 

Mokume-Gane – Originally used to decorate the Japanese Samurai Katana swords, we use a copper and brass forged material. More about this material here.

Luxury Copper and brass Mokume single edge safety razor to reduce shaving irritation, shave burn and ingrown hairs. A timeless safety razor

What finish does a luxury safety razor have?

The surface finish is a critical element to a razors form, function and performance 1) A polished surface will resist corrosion more so.  2) A polished surface will glide on your face better.  3) A polished safety razor will have a smoother surface that is easier to clean and has less crevices where bacterial can collect. A high polish finish is costly to produce, that is why you don’t see it much...

Luxury High polish finish on Cx-316L shaver - Mirror polished surface

The finishing of a safety razor represents about half the time and cost that goes into producing a luxury razor. We were very much inspired by the watch industry with their special hand finishes and techniques, specifically the “perlage” pattern found inside premium watches and "hand lapping" which can maintain tight tolerances and provide the flattest, even surface finish.

DLC(TaC) coatings or “Diamond-like Coatings” are used on luxury watches and in F1 race car crankshafts to reduce friction. This durable coating is known for its slickness and resistance to scratches. These are just some of the finishes we have used on our high end safety razors, borrowed from the high end watch, race cars and jewelry making industries.

DLC coated Titanium single edge safety razor by carbon shaving co - Slick and hard surface

A couple of cheap and inexpensive safety razor finishes that don’t take much effort or cost very little to apply, include a "machine finish safety razor", "bead blasted" finish, electropolish finish and a tumbled finish. These are all mass done mechanically using a machine and don’t cost as much as the numerous, labor intensive steps associated with hand finishing to a high polish finish. In order to get to a high polish finish, hand polishing and sanding is required...there is no other ways to apply a high quality surface finish. I should point out that robots are used to finish Rolex watches now, however at some step they still require a hand finish. I wrote a blog on finishes on safety razors here

Are luxury shavers mass produced?

Metal casting and "metal injected molding"(MIM manufacturing) are the 2 most common ways a safety razor can be mass produced. The parts are shaped in a mold and then coated with a chrome or PVD coating.

The finish we apply to our machined safety razors, limits the number of shavers we can produce. There are no short cuts. We are constantly out of stock, we are constantly improving our design...we make our products in small batches for this reason.

At the time of writing this blog, we have been in business for 4 years. As we build on our heritage as a company, we hold a few principles close to us:

Design

A great respect for the designs of the past and the design process. We modeled our Cx razor after the World War II "Gillette Tech" safety razor used by soldiers in the field of battle. We believe this design was the pinnacle of shaving technology at the time. Following the war, we believe safety razor designs diverted and went on a dark path of gimmicks, plastic and celebrity marketing.

We focus on form and function...the shave quality. We talk in detail about our design here.

Production

All our machining and finishing takes place in Minneapolis, close to home, our safety razors are made in America.

We considered scaling the business and offering cheaper versions, but that is not why I started Carbon Shaving Co. I enjoy making quality products...we don’t make the cheapest safety razor on the market. We don’t want to...we like making small batches and finishing every razor we make by hand.

Craftsmanship

When you find your passion in life...things tend to fall into place. My priority for Carbon Shaving Co. is to hold craftsmanship as the core of who we are. We don’t want to mass produce our shavers and have dominant share in the shaving industry. Instead, we plan to keep craftsmanship, quality and passion central to who we are and what we make. It's the same reason Bugatti only makes 50 cars a year...I know our razors will be around long after I am gone, I take great pride in building each piece knowing this.

Two ironies about a luxury safety razor, 1) It costs less then a disposable plastic cartridge razor over time and  2) Despite being a luxury item, it is also a more sustainable solution vs disposable plastic cartridge razors. Not qualities you would expect in a luxury product.

Is a luxury safety razor expensive?

The answer is No. Compared to the ongoing expense of high priced disposable plastic cartridge razors over time...our luxury shavers are less expensive!


Example:
Plastics disposable shaving starter pack = $20
Yearly price for plastic cartridge razor = $200 per year*
Ten year expense = $2020

*Depends how often you shave and how you buy your plastic cartridges...this calculation assumes you like a good sharp blade and shave every 2 days. You can estimate your costs...

Our Highest price luxury safety razor = $1200 (Our Cx-316L is $279...)
Yearly price for double edge safety razor blades = $40
Ten year expense = $1600 ($679 with our Cx-316L)

When you compare us to other safety razors, yes we are more expensive, but you won’t get the quality, material and finish. We might not be for everyone, but we strive to make the best safety razor...not the cheapest.

Sustainability and Luxury

You can have both, without compromising luxury. Any safety razor is more sustainable than a disposable plastic razor. Our packaging does not include any plastic. If you are going to have an heirloom razor that you buy one time in a generation, we think you should absolutely have the best luxury safety razor on the market.

What is not a luxury safety razor?

I talked about the elements that make up a luxury brand. But what is not a luxury brand? The world is full of luxury brands that have declined. These brands fail by compromising on those element that made them special. Their products are no longer scarce, you can find them everywhere. They discount to move more products in the short term. They no longer use premium material, craftsmanship is replaced with automation. Often times they rely on their heritage to maintain customer demand but the product quality and sole that went into building their brand is no longer there.

A most recent trend in the "luxury" traditional wet shaving industry is a movement to chrome plated, cast, branded safety razors. This manufacturing process involves sourcing chrome plated, single edge shavers inexpensively from 3rd world countries like Pakistan, India or China where environmental controls are lower. In the US chrome plating is heavily regulated by the EPA. Manufacturers will contract with these suppliers to make them a razor and brand it with a luxury brand.

Sometimes a license type deal, sometimes directly....

These cast razors are typically Zamak poured into a mold and then chrome plated. These razors will not last, will break, and are toxic to the environment or to the people who make them.

These razors will fail at the weaker threads or the chrome will crack when the razor is inevitably dropped. You can spot these pieces by the rounded corners and edges, a tight high tolerance machined edge is not possible to cast nor able to be chrome-plated...they die and break at the male thread. In one of my other blogs I tell the story of a son who showed me his late father's broken, irreparable, chrome plated safety razor. It was sad...he couldn't shave with it but he still kept it.

You find these brands promoted with "Best Safety razors" or "Luxury men's razors" articles when you search online. They shave well, are inexpensive, shiny and will do the job but they won't last. Is that luxury? Its not for me to say...

Our machined luxury safety razor might not be your first single edge safety razor. But as soon as you fall in love with traditional wetshaving, begin to discover what a good shave could be and begin looking to get that one luxury shaving kit you can pass down to your family, we are here!

We didn’t start this company to make luxury products…we just found ourselves making what we think are the best safety razors on the market. It just takes us extra time and effort to make our Cx shavers…

I don’t know how to separate luxury and quality...I am not sure you can but we think if you are going to own a heirloom, double edge safety razor to pass down to the next generation, shouldn’t it be a quality tool with a story on how it was made? If you had a product that was going to be on your shelf for the rest of your life, shouldn’t it combine both beauty, form and function?

Each of our Cx models has a makers mark with the year it was made, material noted and a unique serial number or name laser engraved onto the shavers base plate.

If you are interested in a custom razor...shoot us a note. We would love to make your perfect luxury heirloom safety razor that will allow you to shave like the King you are!

 

 

 

Misc. At CarbonShavingCo notes: Wet shaving is a bit of an artistic form. It is personal to your skin type, which dictates the type of soap and shaving brush you will be using. Opting between a straight razor or machined safety razor (disposable razors won't be the best of experiences at all). Use of some hot water to open up your pores and soften the facial hair is a good thing. When it comes to the skin condition, such as sensitive skin, razor bumps and at times hair growth in multiple directions extra care and consideration must be taken to avoid razor burn caused by dry shaving, lack of lubrication, wrong direction, etc.. At CarbonShavingCo, our construction of our machined razors aim to be bacteria-free as much as possible to help avoid allergic reactions by being polished with easy to clean surface, the design maximizes flow of debri, the pinch design reduces gaps for collection of debri and germs, we aim to help people with sensitive skin and prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs. and irritation caused by shaving. We believe that wet shaving is the best approach with a good shaving soap as opposed to using men's disposable razors. Keeping your gear clean is so important if you are sensitive. Join the community of wet shavers today to learn more so you can enjoy your personal spa experience.

 


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