How to Choose the Right Razor Blade

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Rushing to get ready, you throw on that great new dress. Leaning down to put on your heels, you discover that the pesky stubble you tackled yesterday is back with a vengeance. Or glancing at the mirror, you're ready to admit defeat in the daily battle against the dreaded five o'clock shadow.

Shaving has probably been a part of your morning routine since junior high or high school. So why do you still run into the same issues? Razor bumps, irritation and ingrown hairs can ruin an otherwise clean and smooth shave. Maybe it's time to put a bit more thought into the type of razor blade you use.


Irritation can happen when your hair grows back after shaving. Hairs will curl inward while growing, forming ingrown hairs and razor bumps that can be painful and unattractive. The best way to combat these issues is to develop a shaving routine that includes a sharp razor and a shaving gel or cream that works best for you. There are many razor options out there, from electric to disposable, and each will offer a slightly different shave. No matter what type of razor you choose, however, the most important quality is that the blade not be dull.

But from that point, you will want to consider your personal shaving needs when deciding between the different types of razors on the market. Do you have particularly sensitive skin? Will you be shaving just one area, like your face, or will you be shaving areas with different needs, such as your legs, armpits and bikini line? All of these factors can influence which type of razor blade is the best choice for you.

To find out which razor blades will give you the smoothest shave for your skin type, read on.


Skin Types and Razor Blades

With the number of shaving products on the market, it can be a tough task to narrow the choices down to one perfect razor blade for you. If you have particularly sensitive skin and are prone to any type of irritation, selecting the right blade can lessen your shaving woes and leave you smooth and stubble free. When shaving, there are generally two main options for razors: A traditional razor or an electric razor.

Traditional razors are either disposable razors or safety razors. Disposables are cheap and convenient, but they usually have low-quality blades that can irritate your skin. If you have sensitive skin or thick hair, choose a safety razor over a disposable. You will want to choose a razor that allows you to change blades on a regular basis to avoid the problems that come with using a dull razor. Ideally, you should be changing your razor blade every five to seven uses, especially if you are shaving coarse hair, such as facial hair or hair near the bikini area. When using these types of razors, especially if you have sensitive skin, be sure to use a shaving gel or cream to keep your skin from drying out. These also act as a buffer between your skin and the razor, reducing the chances of bumps or irritation [source: WebMD].


An electric razor doesn't usually provide as close a shave as a typical razor, but it may offer less irritation. You can find models that also dispense a lubricant, which may help to protect your skin. For men, choosing an electric razor with a flexible head that will move with the contours of your face can offer a more comfortable, nick-free shave.

Knowing what razor blade is right for your skin is the first step in achieving a flawless shave. Read on to learn if your razor is cutting it when it comes to trickier shaving areas.


Shaving Areas and Razor Blades

For men, shaving can be tricky, especially when trying to work around all of the contours of your face. For women, shaving your legs, armpits and bikini area can pose several sets of difficulties. Can you find one razor that will fit all of your needs? There are a couple things to keep in mind when choosing a razor to fit your shaving routine.

A close shave on a man's face requires a sharp razor and precision. If you choose a safety razor or disposable razor and have prepared your skin well with water and shaving gel, a single-edged blade is acceptable. However, some people prefer multiple blades. Razors on the market today can have three, four or even five blades. You might want to experiment with different blades, but the double- or triple-edged blades should be fine. The most important thing is that the blades are sharp, no matter how many there are. Electric razors are best for those with curlier facial hair, as there is less risk for ingrown hairs or razor burn.


For women, different areas of your bodies have different contours and shapes, and they may be more prone to nicks, cuts and irritation. A contoured electric razor can help out in the underarm area or around trickier leg areas like the knees and ankles. Flexible heads on safety or disposable razors will also help out with these issues, as they will work a bit more with the curves of your body [source: WebMD].

The most important thing around the bikini area is a sharp razor, since a dull blade can irritate skin. This is another good area to use a razor that has a flexible, pivoting head, which will allow you to shave more closely.

As you can tell, there are a lot of options out there for shaving products, and you need to understand what works best with your skin and your shaving routine. For more tips, see the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Lawrence, Star. "Getting a close shave." WebMD. July 1, 2007. (Aug. 19, 2009)
  • WebMD. "Razor Bumps - Topic Overview." June 26, 2007. (Aug. 19, 2009)
  • WebMD. "Shaving Tips for Teen Girls." Feb. 8, 2009. (Aug. 19, 2009)
  • WebMD. "Shaving Tips for Teen Guys." Feb. 8, 2009. (Aug. 19, 2009)