The Short Handle Razor

There are generally two lengths of safety razor handles out there.  If you read our article The Basics you know that we recommend the short handled version by Merkur. We’re pretty sold on the short handle over the long handle.  You can obviously use whatever is most comfortable for you, but we think there are some compelling reasons for the short handle.

First, the short handle version is heavier.  Don’t believe me, start counting ounces on Amazon and you’ll see the razor we recommended is one of the heaviest that Merkur makes.  This is actually a really big deal, because you want the weight of the razor to do the work for you.  One of the worst things you can do when shaving with a double edge razor is to apply pressure to your tool.  You’ll wind up taking more then just whiskers off your face, and nobody likes that.

Second, your razor is not a squeegee, and you’re not wiping down the windows of a skyscraper. You want to have an intimate relationship with your face, so get up close and don’t use a tool that’s going to put distance between you and what you’re doing. The short handle means there’s nothing bumping against your palm or even your wrist, it’s you and your tool to give yourself a nice clean cut.

Third, have you ever seen an artist stand five feet away from their canvas?  Maybe some of that new post-modern art that nobody seems to understand, but by-and-large artists are close to their canvas.  You are an artist.  Be close to your canvas.  I can’t emphasize this enough that shaving your face needs to be more than a utilitarian exercise if you’re going to enjoy it.

Now all that said, if you’re using a long handle razor that’s OK. Remember, weight is the most important thing – and still more important is the fact that you’re using a double edged razor!

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3 thoughts on “The Short Handle Razor

  1. Somehow, I’ve never quite figured out the “let the weight of the razor do the work” thing. I’ve got a long-handled Merkur, and it gives a lovely shave, but it definitely requires pressure against my skin to function; almost as much pressure as the cheap disposable razors I used to use. And, I’m not sure how you’d shave upwards (ATG) without applying pressure.

    Not that I’m complaining; it still works great.

  2. What kind of blade are you using? Weight and sharpness are the two biggest factors in being able to let the pressure control the cut. In my case I have a very sensitive neck and so any pressure applied, even going against the grain, usually yields discomfort. A short handled double edge blade is the only thing that’s never injured my neck while shaving. 🙂

    • So far I’ve only tried Dorco and Feather (as well as one or two sample blades of other brands). I prefer the Dorco.

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