The 7 Best Vintage Safety Razor [Since 1930s]

The 6 Best Vintage Safety Razor

For anyone that loves a clean shave, a vintage safety razor is a must-have.

Nowadays cartridge razors with multiple, disposable blades enclosed within a plastic case are gaining ground. They are lightweight, easy to use, and best of all – Cheap. 

However, the problem for a lot of people, like you and me, is that the standard cartridge razors leave us with a less than adequate shave. Why should we have to have such painful aftermath for some facial grooming?

What can we do to reduce the drag and irritation followed by shaving?

Go back in time! 

Not literally, of course, but go back to the era of vintage safety razors, which your grandfathers and previous generations used to use. The single blade is perfect for delicate skin, and glides over it smoothly, leaving it feeling clean and silky. Double-edged safety razors were a tool that can sculpt your facial hair into a masterpiece and, between you and me, it still can!

Not only this, but it’s also way more environmentally friendly (reducing the size of those landfills!) and a lot cheaper in the long run with a blade for a safety razor costing around $.25! Why haven’t you made the switch yet?

Recently, you do have some modern options developed by companies such as Edwin Jagger who produce vast quantities of high-quality safety razors. However, if you want some of the most luxurious shaves, you want a vintage razor. Right back to the basics, while giving you that retro ‘WOW’ factor!

The feeling of owning an antique razor, a rare collectible, is like no other. A lot of these razors are dated back to immense historical events, such as the second world war, allowing you to feel tied in with history. They just don’t make them like they used to anymore, and owning a vintage razor will make you a minority. You just can’t find them anywhere nowadays!

Where Can I Get A Vintage Safety Razor?

It is no secret that if you want to buy a vintage safety razor, you are going to have to do some digging.  

From your older generations

Your first port of call will be the attic of your parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparent’s house. If they fought in the second or first world war, I could almost guarantee they would have had a double-sided safety razor on them at some point.

The only downfall with this is that a razor that old will most likely have defects upon it. Rust and corrosion will completely affect the shave you acquire. Restoration is on the cards, but this solely depends on how damaged the razor is.

Antique stores

Another option is to look for vintage safety razors in antique stores. These are where you will most likely find them cheap and of high quality! I might be the only one who says this, but I personally find the challenge fun!

Reselling sites

Reselling sites, such as eBay, is the easiest possible way to find restorations of the best vintage safety razors – like the ones we list below! 

It is the easiest way to find the ones that will provide the shave you want, whether that is an aggressive shave for you experienced shavers or a fast lightweight shave for beginners!

What Should I Look For In A Vintage Safety Razor?

Determining the best vintage razor for you is a daunting task.

The three types of blades in vintage safety razors are double-edged, single-edged, and injector blades. The most common and favored type is the double-edged, found commonly in Gillette brands.

Safety Razor Aggressiveness

First of all, you need to determine how aggressive of a shave you like.

For a beginner, you want a less aggressive shaver. If the gap between the bottom and the head of the razer is wider, the more aggressive the shave will be. This may cause more irritation if you are not able to get the pressure right, but will also give you a sharper shave. 

Gillette determines the aggressiveness of its razor via a color-coded system, which will be discussed further in the article.

The Razor’s Weight And Handle Length

Other factors that need to be considered are the weight of the razor and the length of the handle razor…

The heavier the razor is, the more useful for beginners. Meanwhile, the length is more dependent on your comfort. If you have larger hands, pick the longer handle! 

The 7 Best Vintage Safety Razor Reviews

Gillette Superspeed Collection 1942-1986 (Our Top Picks)

Gillette Superspeed Collection
Gillette Superspeed Collection

Now, this brand of double-edged razors is extravagant. I couldn’t pick just one. They are a lot heavier than the usual razor and therefore allow the blade to do the work for you.

Therefore, it is one of the quickest shaves out of all the vintage safety razors. The razor heads are not adjustable in this series, but they developed multiple types of razors with different types of heads, that were color-coded to determine the type with ease.

  • The red tip is a more aggressive shave.
  • The blue tip is the mildest shave, great for a beginner.
  • A silvertip is more in between.

The only con I can think of with this type of razor is the limited supply. With Gillette moving from this quality series of razors to the plastic disposable ones, you will have to find one that has been restored.

Saying that, restorations come relatively cheap, and you can actually find them very quickly with a search on eBay.

If you are happy paying a premium for a restored version, I recommend buying from a website dedicated to vintage razors, for example, abovethetie.com.

Gem Featherweight Safety Razor – 1953 (Best Budget Razor)

Gem Featherweight Safety Razor
Gem Featherweight Safety Razor

This single-edged blade is perfect for those of you on a tight budget who still want to experience the luxury a vintage razor can give you.

First manufactured in 1953, this type of razor was heavily promoted on radio shows and posters alike, branding the shaver as being the “sharpest V-Edge of all”. 

Due to the razor being made in surplus, and quite recent for a vintage razor, the lightweight razor is still quite cheap to buy. The plastic handle also makes it quite cheaply made compared to other vintage razors. This is the best budget razor as it does not mean any quality is lost!

Pros – 

  • Gives a very close, smooth shave. Perfect for those who want to try Single-edged blades.
  • The short handle makes it comfortable and easy to maneuver 
  • Perfect for sensitive skin, due to its very mild shave.
  • The handle texture allows for amazing grip, even when using shaving oil!

Cons – 

  • Not suitable for beginners as more pressure needs to be applied because the handle is lightweight.
  • Might cause irritation if you’re not experienced with safety razors.
  • Might take a few more passes than usual since the blades are straight rather than scalloped.

Golden Shave Double Edge Safety Razor – 1950’s (Easiest To Acquire)

This beautiful double-edged blade has a comb head, which is perfect for those of us with hard and thick hair. It gives them bushy beards a close shave without the irritation. Being able to purchase on amazon is a lot easier and cheaper than other options.

Pros – 

  • Common on the market, so you can get right here on Amazon! 
  • Great for thick hair, thanks to the closed comb head 
  • Difficult to corrode
  • Easy to control from the first start

Cons – 

  • Might cause skin irritation due to its aggresive open comb head 
  • Limited handle size (Only one size)  

Gillette Black Handle Super Speed – 1970’s (Best For Beginners)

Gillette Black Handle Super Speed
Gillette Black Handle Super Speed

As I told you before, the superspeed series was one of a kind. It won’t be the last you hear of it either! The Black Handle is one of the newer developments in the series and is well renowned for being the mildest shave out of all the vintage safety razors, hence why it is perfect for beginners.

Pros – 

  • Perfect for beginners thanks to the heavyweight handle
  • Easily glide over the skin thanks to The scalloped blade
  • Causes less irritation on the skin
  • Common razor so you can buy restorations for a reasonable price.

Cons – 

  • Might be TOO mild for those experienced with vintage safety razors. 
  • Not the best quality from Gillette compared to the previous razors in the series. 
  • Take time to create the amount of passes you need for shaving

Gillette fat handle Tech – pre-war, 1938-1945 (Best Heavy-Duty Vintage Razor)

Gillette fat handle Tech – pre-war
Gillette fat handle Tech – pre-war

This razor is an amazing buy for people with the thickest beards. It has a very original design, with a short, stumpy handle and a serrated pattern for extra grip.

Was introduced before the second world war and became a staple for those who had enlisted to take with them due to it being able to glide through unshaved faces.

Pros – 

  • This razor can cut through your thick, bushy facial hair with hardly any passing. 
  • This fat handle is designed for a clean but more aggressive shave.
  • The design is spectacular. 
  • The triangle holes on the blade and razor provides immense grip on the thick handle.
  • For such an old razor, being engineered pre-war, it is not that difficult to locate and quite inexpensive to purchase.
  • I recommend adding this antique to your collection, as it has such historical presence!

Cons –

  •  If you have large hands, you may have trouble with holding this razor! 
  • Due to the fat handle, the length of the razor is quite minuscule.
  • The pressure you apply could do damage to your skin and leave you with redness and irritation.

Gillette Blue Tip Super Speed – 1950’s (Best For Sensitive Skin)

Gillette Blue Tip Super Speed
Gillette Blue Tip Super Speed

Another entry from the super speed series! This is a TTO (Twist to Open) double-edged razor that is engineered to perfection to give a mild shave that is silky on the skin.

A later development, Gillette found people searching for the milder, smoother shave, and brought this vintage razor onto the market! 

Those of us with skin that is prone to irritation will understand the pain in trying to find a vintage safety razor that will give a close shave, without leaving us with the redness. This is why the blue tip is so useful!

Pros – 

  • Glide over the skin easily thanks to the scalloped blade and the heavy handle 
  • Numerous handle lengths for your customizability.

Cons – 

  • Limited on The market and Pricey
  • Cannot adjust the blade as you like. 

Gillette Slim Adjustable – 1955 (Best Adjustable Vintage Safety Razor)

Gillette Slim Adjustable
Gillette Slim Adjustable

This type of razor was introduced after the war after the realisation that one type of razor may not be practical for all.

There were times when people needed to vary the shave they were getting, after injuries or even just because they wanted a different shave!

This was an alternative to buying a new razor after every shave!  

Pros – 

  • Glide over the skin easily thanks to the scalloped blade and the heavy handle 
  • Numerous handle lengths for your customizability.
  • Has the ability to adjust the blade gap between the razor’s edge and its head.
  • Easy to determine the aggressiveness. 
  • Suitable for “learners”
  • Unique

Cons – 

  • Pricey
  • Quite difficult to adjust if you are newer to the game. 

Conclusion

It is a well-known fact that shaving with a vintage safety razor will never die. It makes you feel classy and takes you out of a world where plastic razors, developed for profits, can stop you from having that perfect shave. 

Furthermore, vintage razors can be a perfect link to your grandparents history and give you the opportunity to step into their shoes, even if it is just for a few minutes!

It is easy to pick a modern safety razor, but if you want to add that extra bit of class, it needs to be vintage!

When it comes to shaving, it really is important to listen to your elders. By this post, I hope you will find out what kind of shave is perfect for you.

If you are a beginner with sensitive skin, just go for the Gillette Super Speed black handle or Gillette Super Speed blue tip.

If you are someone with a thick beard and wants a vintage razor that feels especially linked to history, Gillette fat handle tech – pre-war, would be perfect.

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