Every brand will tell you that they’ve reinvented the wheel. And that’s just not possible when it comes to time-tested things like brushing your teeth or washing your hair. But in the case of shaving, there are some notable innovations that make shaving easier and less irritable—or even less impactful on the environment. They introduce hesitant cartridge shavers to alternate techniques (and more skin-friendly ones at that), making straight razors or safety razors less intimidating. Or, they build entire regimens targeted at ingrown- and bump-prone skin.
While many shave brands tout “more blades is better!” and suggest that it’s innovation, the below ones are truly changing how we shave. If do-it-all electric shavers and at-home subscriptions were the innovations of the last decade, then consider these the most notable evolutions of the current one.
First of all, Leaf’s got the eco-friendly angle: no plastic. Their 100% metal razors keep unnecessary waste out of the environment. But as for shaving itself, Leaf’s razor is a beautifully designed safety razor masquerading inside an ergo-friendly, pivoting cartridge design.
For anyone used to shaving with a standard-fare cartridge, this will be an easy and nick-free upgrade, but a far closer shave (and with far fewer bumps). Best of all, users can load anywhere from 1-3 safety blades into the razor, depending on how close of a shave they want, or how sensitive their skin is.
Plus, Leaf inserted more spacing between each blade, to lessen the strain that most overcrowded cartridge blades cause. From chins to bald heads to underarms to legs, there’s nowhere Leaf razors can’t cut (ok, maybe just the one no-fly zone, with such close blades).
These two brands are often mentioned hand in hand, in that they’ve designed products with the same solution in mind. The safety razor can be a daunting device for a cartridge-trained class of shavers.
Supply and OneBlade have fast-tracked its renaissance—and muted newcomer hesitation—with their beautifully designed single-blade razors. There’s no learning curve with these devices, both of which nestle the heads of the razor against the chin at a proper angle, and allow fast, close, easy shaving.
Their blades are affordable and easy to load (Supply’s from the side, OneBlade’s from the rear), and their armies of converted customers are proof that a single blade can make much closer impact (and leave far less irritation) than a 6-blade cartridge.
While many brands have entire shaving assortments available—from pre-shave oils to post-shave splashes—few have so successfully targeted the bump-prone shaver from the start, not to mention build an entire brand around that notion.
Tristan Walker, Bevel’s founder, also runs its parent company, Walker & Company (think of Bevel as their men’s brand, and the upcoming Form as their women’s). Moreover, Walker & Company’s mission is “to make health and beauty simple for people of color.” These industries have always been whitewashed, which significantly impacts non-white consumers (considering different hair textures, especially). And as it pertains to shaving, Black men’s facial hair generally tends to curl more readily—which leads to far more ingrown hairs and bumps.
So, bringing it back to Bevel, Walker has created an entire brand foremost for Black consumers, but by way of doing so, Bevel is also for anyone with ingrown- or bump-prone sensitivities. That’s why there aren’t any cartridge blades in their assortment, and rather a safety razor and electric shaver. No matter one’s sensitivities, follow their regimen for a safe, clean shave: from a hair-raising shave brush to an aloe- and allantoin-packed cream, to a salicylic-acid-tinged post shave. It all keeps hairs upright, pores unclogged, and skin disinfected + healing quickly.
As other brands scramble to make themselves more inclusive (not just to non-white consumers, but also to the most sensitive shavers, regardless of skin color), look to Bevel for the new standard. They’re expanding quickly into all facets of skin and hair care too.
The most daunting shave of all, the straight razor shave, is one often best saved for barbershop deployment. Few people will try this at home, but Morrama has designed this easy-to-use “Angle Razor,” which uses traditional derby blades and loads them in to create a straight-razor effect. It’s terrific for full shaves or beard detailing, and travels much more safely, too, considering the blades are loaded with each use. And, given that name, one very important design detail is also obvious: the head of the razor has an ever-slight angle on it, which helps navigate the most difficult part of the straight-razor shave: How on Earth do I hold it?
For more articles pertaining to shaving, you may want to check out our articles on:
Whether to invest in a shaving brush
Best shaving soaps/creams/gels
What is shaving soap?
How to keep your edges and sideburns clean in-between cuts
Photo via Morrama