Expert Q+A

I want the best razor. What qualities should I be looking for?

ANSWER:

The razor has come a long way since it was first invented in the Bronze Age. But even given all the advances in modern shaving technology, a lot of men still experience discomfort during and after shaving.

If you’ve already established proper technique and an arsenal of shaving products, then here’s what you need to look for in a good razor:

High-quality materials, thin blades, an ergonomic handle, and add-ons like lubricating strips and guards. A cheap single-blade razor or a dull blade can tug and pull at hair, causing redness, irritation and even infection, so you really want to invest in a high-quality product with multiple blades. (Stainless steel is the industry standard.)

Also, the thinner the blades, the closer the shave and the more you can cram into the same space. There’s no magic number as to how many blades is ideal, but if you have really sensitive skin, you probably don’t want to go overboard -- in this case, the more blades, the more chance of irritation.

Next, look for an ergonomic handle with some etching or texture for added grip and maneuverability.

And finally, look for add-ons like lubricating strips and guards (often called snowplow guards). They provide slickness and comfort, and remove excess product so that the blades can better glide over the skin. Just remember that while a moisturizing strip provides lubrication, it doesn’t take the place of a moisturizing aftershave product.

Once you find a good razor and a blade configuration that works for you, stick with it.

About the Expert

Bret Reichley is a barber extraordinaire in Manhattan’s West Village. He got his start 14 years ago, and he has worked and trained alongside some of the best hairdressers and stylists around the world.

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