If your sensitive skin has kept you back from experiencing the joys of an old-school safety razor shave, you’ve come to the right place.
Like you, I’ve had many lackluster experiences trying to attain the illusive irritation-free shave. Usually, safety razors leave weepies, bumps, and nasty rashes on my neck.
I’ve learned there’s a lot that goes into the perfect shave. It isn’t just one thing that leads you to that enviable experience. But by a large margin the biggest step is finding the right tool.
There’s no way around it. You need a great safety razor. Like a sword in battle, your razor is first the first line of defence. And all the technique in the world won’t help you if you’re wielding a stick instead of a Katana.
Below, I review the best safety razors for sensitive skin. Plus, I share my tips on the key things to look for in an irritation-free safety razor.
Just because you haven’t had a great shave yet doesn’t mean you should give up. Sensitive skin may hinder you now. But after reading this article, it won’t any longer. Let’s get to it.
Table Of Contents
- Best Safety Razor for Sensitive Skin Comparison Table
- Top 5 Safety Razor for Sensitive Skin Reviews
- Merkur Futur Adjustable Double Edge Safety Razor
- Edwin Jagger Double Edge Safety Razor, Chrome
- Feather All Stainless Steel Double Edge Safety Razor AS-D2
- Viking Blade The Chieftan Double Edge Safety Razor
- Parker Variant Adjustable Double Edge Safety Razor
- What Characteristic You’ll Look for When Buying a Safety Razor for Sensitive Skin?
- My Verdict
Best Safety Razor for Sensitive Skin Comparison Table
Open Comb or Closed Comb Safety Razor! Which One is Preferable for Sensitive Skin?
Safety razors aren’t all made the same and some of them will protect your skin more than others.
The biggest factor to consider is the difference between open comb and closed comb products. To understand this difference, you need to know how a safety razor works.
The “safe” in safety razors originates in the invention of the bottom guard or “comb” of the razor. That’s the metal plate closest to the handle.
All safety razor combs extend beyond the blade to protect you from accidentally cutting yourself.
This comb can be open or closed. Here’s the difference.
Patented in the 1800s, the original safety razors were open comb. The name comes from the look of the baseplate’s guard. They had teeth that exposed the blade, like a comb.
The open teeth allow more of the blade to reach the skin while also protecting you from mishaps.
Because the blade is in close contact with the skin, open combs are aggressive razors.
Aggressive in safety razor language means that they cut more hair per stroke. They’re efficient. But that efficiency comes at a cost: they risk irritating your skin.
With a closed comb the bottom guard is a straight bar which runs across the entire length of the razor. They have more room between the outside edge of the guard and the razor blade.
Closed comb safety razors have been around since the 1930s. They are less aggressive than open comb. That’s because the blade is further away from your skin.
Closed comb razors don’t shave as close as open comb razors, so you lessen the risk of agitating your skin.
As a rule, you want closed comb razors for sensitive skin.
This is not true for every razor, as other factors contribute to how aggressive a razor is.
For example, the gap between the bottom plate and the top plate also matters. But for a beginner shaver, or someone in need of a product for sensitive skin, you can count on closed comb safety razors to cause less irritation.
Top 5 Safety Razor for Sensitive Skin Reviews
The German razor company Dovo has been a staple in the shaving industry for over a century. Forged in Solingen, their products use famous, high quality steel local to the region.
The Merkur Futur is their staple double edged safety razor. They coat the razor’s surface in a thick chrome finish. From the moment you take it out of the packaging you’ll notice the chrome.
This razor looks great. It’s sleek and modern and truly holds up to its namesake. The Futur radiates with a futuristic charm.
The unique two-piece design means you can change blades fast, without having to manage multiple pieces. You just pop the razors head off and insert or remove your blade.
The Futur weighs more than most of the other options on my list, but I argue that’s not a negative. It holds a steady balance zeroed in on the handle’s middle indentation.
As an adjustable safety razor, the Merkur has a gap range from least aggressive to most aggressive, 1 to 6. What I love about the Futur is how easy it is to adjust on the fly, widening and narrowing the gap depending where I’m shaving.
I shave my neck, for example, at 1 because it’s prone to razor burn. And for my cheeks I twist over to a three for a more aggressive shave because they’re less sensitive.
Merkur designed the Futur to operate perfectly with any brand of razor blade. This combined with the easy-to-use adjustable system means you cannot mess up a shave with the Futur. Overall, I think the Futur is a great choice for sensitive skin.
Reasons I Like This Razor
- Dead simple to use; it’s great for those prone to skin irritation.
- Adjustable stem adapts to your preferred sensitivity and aggressiveness.
- All-chrome finish looks great and cleans easily.
- Closed comb for extra protection from irritation and cuts.
- I love the two-piece design because it’s easy to switch out blades.
- The Futur’s sleek style is unique to the market, and well worth the money.
A Few Complaints
- Be careful when adjusting the razor, you can slip and slice your finger.
- Could be too hefty for some users, but I like it.
Edwin Jagger hails from Sheffield, England. A quiet town known for its hardworking craftsmen and quality goods. Started in 1988, they’re a family-run business dedicated to English traditions, quality, and style.
And they make great razors. Their double edge safety razor’s style impressed me the moment I opened the box. I love the heavy chrome finish they lathered all over the razor.
It glimmers in my hand, the bathroom lights bouncing off its surface. It’s a flawless chrome job, and Edwin Jagger should be proud of their work.
This is a three piece, closed comb razor. You twist the head off and it dissembles into two head pieces and a handle. The handle isn’t slippery, even a wet hand can grip it securely. Plus, it’s made of solid brass, so it won’t crack or break.
Holding it on my hand I can tell that most of the weight is in the head. While shaving, the razor leans into your face. That’s not a bad thing but keep it in mind or you risk pushing down too hard.
Shaving with the Edwin Jagger safety razor impressed me. It isn’t an aggressive razor. I’d rate it at and the tail end of mild, closing in on medium. I think it’s a great beginner’s razor, and perfect for sensitive skin.
Included in the smart-looking packaging is a pack of five Derby safety razor blades and instructions on how to shave.
Reasons I Like This Razor
- The closed comb head provides an excellent shave.
- All-chrome finish is flashy without being over the top.
- Well-built pieces of solid brass won’t damage easily.
- Loading the classic three piece system is dummy-proof.
- Mild aggressiveness means it’s perfect for sensitive skin
A Few Complaints
- Users may have to adjust to the weighty head while shaving.
- Although I like the chrome, some could find it distracting.
Feather thrives on tradition. Located in Japan, they built their company on a foundation of quality values that are the lifeblood of their products. Their razors stand out as a symbol of their traditional background.
The AS-D2 double edge safety razor harkens back to the days when the best shaver wasn’t the one that looked the coolest, it was the one that shaved best.
Everything about this razor stands for performance over style. The all stainless steel pieces hold a sturdy weight, about 90g. The center of balance sits around a third of the way down the handle. It isn’t top heavy or bottom heavy.
There’s no worry of the AS-D2 slipping out of your hand. The raised ridges on the handle make for a fantastic grip. The length of the handle is about average and should fit most men’s hands.
The razor’s design reminds me of the 1930s Gillette razors. And as a closed comb razor, that’s exactly what you want. Something that shaves well and leaves no irritation just like the old safety razors did.
The three piece system loads and disassembles without issues. I can load the AS-D2 in less than a minute.
I consider the shave with the AS-D2 mild. Feather dialed the aggressiveness down to a minimum. This makes it a perfect option for sensitive skin.
The safety razor ships in an old-school box and includes a 5 pack of Feather razors.
Reasons I Like This Razor
- A thick bottom guard makes this a great choice for a closed comb razor.
- Durable, old school charm throughout the packaging and razor.
- One of the milder shaves on the list, not aggressive at all.
- The all stainless steel fabrication will last a lifetime, solidly built.
- Easy to grip and well-balanced means it’s good for any level of experience.
A Few Complaints
- Could be too mild a shave for those with a thick beard.
Viking Blades cares about your shave. They’re a family run business that started in 1985 in Victoria, Australia. They believe you need quality products to enjoy a shave as good as your grandfather’s.
The Chieftan safety razor is their flagship razor. It’s also the only butterfly head system on my list.
As a one piece razor, you twist the handle and it opens the head of the razor like a swing gate. Then you insert the blade and twist the head closed.
A butterfly safety razor eliminates the stress of handling multiple safety razor pieces and the blade at the same time. This makes it a great choice for users who have xyrophobia, i.e., the fear of blades.
The Chieftan comes soaked in chrome. On the heavier side, it balances near the head. Combined with the weight distribution, I’d rank it as a medium aggressive safety razor.
With a light touch, this razor would be fine for sensitive skin. It features a closed comb baseplate that extends a good distance out from the blade.
But the weight may take you some time to adjust to. The trick with this razor is to put no pressure on the handle. Let the razor do the work.
The safety razor ships in a felt-lined case with a little mirror installed on the inside which is a thoughtful touch. Also included is a 5-pack of blades made by Viking Blades.
Reasons I Like This Razor
- The butterfly one piece system is by far the easiest to load.
- Medium aggressive, the razor reaches BBS closeness in two passes.
- All-chrome finish is rare at the price point.
- Even with wet hands the handle notches reduce slippage.
- Made of quality materials, the razor should last you years.
A Few Complaints
- Can’t adjust the efficiency of the razor.
- Top heavy, so it may be tricky for some users to learn.
Parker has been in the double edge safety razor business since 1973. They swear by their razors and use them every day just like their customers.
I think Parker safety razors are a great middle ground between quality and price. And I’m not the only one. Online customers garner this razor with thousands of five-star reviews.
At 110 grams the Variant weighs more than most of the razors on my list. But the weight distribution sits just above the middle of the handle, closer to the head. With the right angle this razor shouldn’t cause any irritation.
The overall length of the razor is four inches. That’s more than your average length, but still short enough for most men.
Parker plated the brass handle in chrome. It’s not a shiny chrome like some of my other picks. The Variant has an understated, practical appeal. You business casual types that want precision without all the glamor would love this razor.
Because it’s a two-piece razor, removing and loading the Variant is simple. You unscrew the bottom dial until you hear the connection disengage inside the handle. Then you remove the top head portion and install your razor blade.
This is an adjustable razor. You can calibrate the aggressiveness of the blade from 1 to 5. If you have very sensitive skin or are new to shaving, I recommend trying 1 and moving up from there as you get a feel for the blade.
The Variant includes a 5-pack of their stellar blades and a card that details their preferred method of shaving.
Reasons I Like This Razor
- It’s an adjustable safety razor that you can calibrate for the perfect shave.
- The Variant is great for those who press too hard while they shave.
- Built with solid brass, you couldn’t damage this if you tried.
- Glides across your face comfortably, so you won’t get razor burn.
- The two-piece design makes for fast blade loading and ejecting.
A Few Complaints
- You can install the head on the wrong way if you aren’t paying attention.
- Might be too heavy for some users if they’re used to lightweight razors.
What Characteristic You’ll Look for When Buying a Safety Razor for Sensitive Skin?
Although safety razors are simpler than some other methods of shaving, they’re steeped in traditions and lingo. There’s plenty to learn before you make your purchase.
Here’s my list of the most important terms you need to know while deciding on a safety razor for sensitive skin.
The one thing you will want is a closed comb safety razor. The guard on a closed comb safety razor creates a space between the blade and your face, causing less damage with every pass.
You won’t get as close a shave with a closed comb razor, but you will have a great shave with no sensitivity issues. And don’t worry, every razor on my list is closed comb.
Look for a product that isn’t very aggressive. Many companies rate their products on an aggressiveness scale, from mild to strong. You want mild or at the most, medium.
Remember, don’t think of aggressiveness as how much it damages your skin. Aggressiveness means how efficient the razor is. It rates how well the safety razor cuts per stroke. An efficient safety razor cuts more hair, but the side effect is that it causes more irritation.
Adjustable safety razors are a great option if you want a product that can adapt with your skin, or that you can calibrate for certain parts of your face.
Personally, I think they’re great. They usually cost more, but the trade-off is that you’ll use it no matter your face’s sensitivity.
For example, many men have a sensitive neck, but their cheeks are fine. So, you can shave your neck at a higher sensitivity, then re-calibrate for your cheeks.
There are two main formats for safety razors: butterfly and three piece. Butterfly is great for beginners because it’s easier to install a blade. This means it’s safer, too.
The three piece system holds the blade in place snuggly, but you must disassemble the razor to remove it. Neither one is better than the other, nor will they affect your shave. So, choose whichever one you feel most strongly towards.
Safety razors have been around for over a hundred years. Their styles have gone through many iterations.
Some people love the old school look of throwback razors. Others favor the modern touches found with other brands, such as Merkur. The great thing about style? It’s up to you.
I believe feeling good about your razor curbs sensitive skin issues. Because when you care about the product, you’ll take better care of it, and in return, it’ll perform well every time.
Just because a razor is small doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy. The two have little to do with one another. Weight is a factor when you’re dealing with blade efficiency and how fast it cuts.
A heavier razor hits your face harder than a lighter razor. Weight also adds stability. A heavy razor feels solid in your hand, and you’re less likely to drop it or misuse it.
Your hand size dictates how big your razor should be. This isn’t something you should ignore. I can’t stand using a safety razor that’s too small.
You want a fine balance between razor and your palm. A tiny razor will be awkward to hold, and you risk poor form.
Conversely, a overly large razor will cause you to nick your skin or hold it at an improper angle. You want a handle that’s about as big as your palm, maybe a little longer.
Shaving with a safety razor doesn’t have to be stressful, painful, or difficult. It all comes down to having the right products on your side.
With my list at your disposal, I know you can find the right razor. All my options are smart choices. Personally, I’m fond of the Merkur Futur adjustable. It’s my go-to razor, and I like that I can adjust it on the fly.
But remember that once you have your choices lined up, style matters too. So, choose the safety razor that fits your style or that speaks to you the most.
Make sure to have a sweet-smelling lathering soap on hand and a soft shaving brush, too.
Because enjoying the experience, and the tools that give you that experience, can transform shaving from a task into a soothing ritual. Who doesn’t want that?