From the 1910s to the 1970s, the standard of men's shaving in the United States was the safety razor — a simple tool that uses a simple blade to do a simple job very well. These all-metal beasts are so durable that your dad / grandpa / great-grandpa probably kept his old razor for decades after receiving it in a military field kit or buying it at a dimestore. Some safety razors made in the 1940s and 1950s can still be used today! Also, the blades are inexpensive — literally pennies back in the day. A man of the time could get a month's worth of blades for about the cost of a cup of coffee at his favorite restaurant.
Furthermore, they are simple enough and safe enough to be used at home, hence the name. Shaving before the safety razor was dominated by the "throat-cutter" straight razor — blades so difficult to handle and maintain safely that most American men of the era either went without shaving or paid a professional barber to do it for them.
The rise of the safety razor ushered in the Golden Age of Shaving. A working man with a high-quality metal tool, once a day, at home. Built to last a lifetime, worked great, cheap and simple.
The reason you don't see them around much anymore isn't that the razors are bad, it's that they're badass. They're so durable and so inexpensive that the big razor manufacturers decided there wasn't enough profit in them. Multi-blade cartridge razors, on the other hand, have more components, less-durable materials, and are more expensive to produce. The big manufacturers realized they could make more money by selling these costlier blades and razors with planned obsolescence. So, in the early 1970s, they started marketing the cartridge razors you're probably more familiar with.
They didn't just add them as an option, though, but instead soon discontinued manufacturing of safety razors and blades almost entirely within the U.S. They deliberately removed the less expensive choice so they could lock you into spending more. That's great for big manufacturers' big bottom-lines, but not great for the average guy out there who now has to shell out the price of a meal for two at a restaurant to get his month of cartridges, all while hoping the tiny clip that holds the cartridge to the handle doesn't break again.
You're out there busting your butt to make ends meet for yourself and your family. You don't need overpriced nonsense. You don't need a company gouging you for extra blades and add-ons that do nothing for you. You need a simple, inexpensive, effective shave so you can get ready for work and move on with your day. We at Badass Shaver Co. believe the best way to achieve all that is with a safety razor.
Dare to be a badass. Get a durable, all-metal razor like your grandpa had. Recapture the Golden Age of Shaving and save yourself a boatload of money while doing it!
OK, so you get that safety razors are less expensive than cartridge razors and have a badass history, but aren't cartridge razors better? Doesn't newer technology mean a better product? NO!
Multi-blade cartridges, by design, pull your beard hair out a tiny bit before cutting. This gives a shave that goes below skin-level. While that's a fine innovation for a close shave quickly, it's not a fine innovation for your skin. If your beard is at all curly or wiry, that hair may regrow in the wrong direction — pushing deeper into your skin rather than coming out the pore. This is what causes razor bumps and ingrown hairs. At best this is painful, and at worst they get infected and cause scarring.
Furthermore, each blade that scrapes across your face takes a little bit of skin off the top. The more blades you use when you shave, the more skin gets taken off. This causes razor burn and rashes. If your face feels like you took a belt sander to it after shaving, multiple blades are usually the culprit, and the problems are worse if you have sensitive skin already.
Cartridge manufacturers try to mediate these effects with lubricating strips and rubber doohickeys and all kinds of swiveling and vibrating bits on the handle. Then they charge you extra for it. Sure, the Mega Ultra Pro-Slider with Frosti-Kool Strip™ is the pinnacle of modern shaving technology, but those high-tech cartridges are only solving problems that the cartridge design itself causes.
With a safety razor, you're using one incredibly sharp blade at a time. That's it. The hair cuts at the skin surface, so there's less chance of bumps and ingrown hairs. And it's only taking the outermost, deadest layer of skin off the top, reducing razor burn and rash. You don't need all the extra, expensive technology if your razor isn't causing problems in the first place!
Beyond all that, safety razor blades are so inexpensive that you won't hesitate to change them out right when you need to. With expensive cartridges, the temptation is to wait too long to change them out (they're expensive!), leaving you with several dull blades that painfully pull and tug your beard.
Don't torture yourself! The safety razor is an unbelievably elegant design. It's essentially unchanged for over 100 years because it works, and works well.