Why a double edge razor is technically better than a cartridge based razor system

As Gillette launches its much-hyped Fusion ProGlide Power razor in the UK – I take a quick look at why a double edge razor is still technically superior to a ProGlide or any other cartridge based razor system out there.

For those who use double edge safety razors for shaving on a regular basis, the answer to the question “Why is a double edge razor technically better than a cartridge based razor system?” may seem quite obvious: ‘because you get better results’. However, for the rest of the men out there who use multi-bladed cartridges instead – and let’s face it that includes the vast majority of men in the Western world – they may wonder why they should ever consider changing their shaving method?

Merkur 33C Classic Double Edge Razor
Merkur 33C Classic Double Edge Razor

Well, the real answer to the question above lies within the technology of the types of razor on offer. From a scientific standpoint double edge safety razors certainly have the edge over cartridge based razor systems like the Fusion ProGlide Power razor, Wilkinson Sword Hydro and the King of Shaves Azor.

I recently spoke to American wet shaving expert Mike Sandoval, who runs the Shaving101 website, about why the cartridge razor system was so popular.

Gillette has unveiled the new Fusion ProGlide Power razor in the UK
Gillette has unveiled the new Fusion ProGlide Power razor in the UK

“The cartridge razor system is appealing to many men because it is advertised to be modern and high performing with innovative designs and multi-blade cutting action,” he said. “High-dollar marketing campaigns feature celebrity athletes that promote modern cartridges as the only masculine option.”

So why do double edge razors produce a closer and more rewarding shave?

The cartridge system razor generally works by using its hinge or pivot point to maintain a constant angle on the face while shaving. And while there may be many other features or gimmicks they offer, this pivoting mechanism is the most important aspect of the razor at making the shave quick and easy to use – which is the key advantage of these razors.

“The problem is that the blades of a cartridge are close together with extremely small spacing between each cutting edge,” explains Mike. “The razor is unable to cleanly cutting hair without requiring multiple passes along your skin, catching and pulling long stubble, as well as constantly clogging during the shave.”

On the other hand, while double edge razors may take longer to get used too – with a short learning curve to overcome – you have far more control over the razor and the closeness of the shave itself. Therefore, with DE shavers the process may take longer, with shorter strokes, but you will notice an improvement in the (even more crucial) performance aspect of the shave.

Mike adds: ”The double edge safety razor uses a single cutting edge that tracks along the skin at a much more comfortable angle and cuts the hair cleanly without grabbing or pulling excessively (provided you choose the right blade for your beard and skin type).

Wilkinson Sword's Hydro 5 razor system
Wilkinson Sword’s Hydro 5 razor system

”Although you won’t find many celebrity athletes promoting the double edge razor, there has been a strong resurgence in traditional shaving. Many men are returning to old-school shaving because it is more comfortable and more economical.”

If time really is the most important factor when shaving, a Hydro, Azor or ProGlide may be the answer, but if you are a man who likes to work with engineering excellence that has stood the test of time and has the patience to learn, then maybe it is time to think about leaving those expensive cartridges behind and opt for a results-proven double edged razor.

Gillette launched the new Fusion ProGlide Power razor in the UK this month. It is the latest addition to its growing family of Fusion razors with Gillette’s thinnest-ever blades. The firm says the ProGlide outperforms its existing Fusion razor.

There are two versions of the Gillette ProGlide, a battery-powered model and a manual version. The battery-powered Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power comes with one blade cartridge and is available priced £12.99. The manual version comes with two blade cartridges and costs £9.99.

The Goodfella Safety Razor
The Goodfella Safety Razor (Black)

Over the last few years, I have used many different brands of cartridge based razor system, including the Azor, Gillette Fusion Power Stealth and Gillette Mach 3 Turbo, Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium Energy and Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 and Boots’ Hydro and Titanium Triple Razor, but personally still prefer the excitement and closeness of a DE razor.

The Merkur 33C Classic will always be my all-time favourite, but I would also highly recommend the Merkur Futur 760, Goodfella, Muhle R89 and the relatively new Bluebeards Revenge “Scimitar” Double Edge Razor.

Follow Nick Gibbens on Twitter @nickgibbens

Double edge shaving tips


4 thoughts on “Why a double edge razor is technically better than a cartridge based razor system”

  1. YEAH,double edge razors are better than these cartridge razors.Over the last few years, I have used many cartridge razor system but one day my father told me to use DE razor to shave,that day i really found the difference between both razors.Now I am using double edge razor like my father.

  2. Sameer Sultan

    I used carts for many years before I finally gave up due to my extremely sensitive skin that was constantly plagued by razor bumps and ingrown hair. My shaving regimen has always included proper prep; I shower first, followed by a pre-shave oil, lather and post-shave aftershave splash or witch hazel. I migrated to using straight razors for many years and gave them up when my kids were born due to safety concerns. I’m now using DE’s and with the wide selection available today for blade options, if you do proper prep and choose the right blade for your hair type, you’ll get excellent results. Good luck.

  3. I was in the military for 16 years. I hated daily shaving so much that I gave up on it the second I released from the army. Now I’ve decided to buy a straight razor blade and give it another try.

  4. Agree with Pankaj. Once you get a good DE razor with proper blades (i. e. blades that suit you), and practice your technique there’s no looking back. Plus, the variety of razors, blades, soaps, creams and brushes is far more than cartridge razors and pressurised crap in a can provides.

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