Real talk: best shavettes & how they differ from straight razors
Both a somewhat steep learning curve to climb, and a more convenient choice than straight razors.
Ditching all the honing and stropping you have to do with straights sure feels great. But there’s a price to pay: and that’s being more careful with your shaving technique.
I remember my first time shaving with a Parker SRX. Great starter shavette, by the way! I had just made the jump from a disposable razor to a shavette…
Let’s say I learned how those two differ in technique. Real quick!
Funnily enough, since last year I’ve gone back to the full beard look. Which calls for a return to my favorite Hydro 5 and the usual grooming suspects:
But let’s get back to shavettes. Especially beginners struggle a lot with picking the right choice or getting all the nuances right.
The Big Three are Parker, Dovo, and Feather. It’s hard to go wrong with any of their shaving products.
Dovo and Parker are cheap and do the job pretty alright. Feather is a luxury take on shavettes – the Feather SS is the most exquisite shavette shaving experience you can get.
In this post I’ll discuss what the best shavettes are – for both barbers or beginners. I’ll also shed some light on the difference between shavettes and straight razors.
Remember to shave slowly and carefully, guys! Alright, let’s go!
The 3 best shavettes right now
Best shavette for beginners:
If I have to be honest, I vastly prefer Parker shavettes to Dovo ones. I feel they have a better construction. You can’t beat proper stainless steel.
The SRX is a typical Parker razor. It uses a 1/2 DE blade and requires a lighter touch to get things shaved exquisitely.
I prefer it to the Parker SR1 from a purely aesthetic viewpoint. Also, the SRX handle feels a bit better – and handles are quite important. You want proper grip so you can perfect your technique and work more precisely.
The SRX also builds up on the handle with the good weight it has to its construction. That’s what I actually prefer over Dovos, by the way.
Dovo can feel a bit lightweight, which didn’t work that much for me. Me – and my bigger hands, need stability and something more heavyweight!
The blade holder is tight. You don’t want a restless blade that might fall just when you’re about to work on your face.
(Or even worse, while you’re actually shaving.)
Look at its elegance:
Sturdy stainless steel, good price, reliable blade holder and close shaves. If you’re a beginner, the Parker SRX shavette is the starting point you wanted.
Best Dovo shavette straight razor:
Dovo Satin Finish
Are Dovos not satisfactory?
I wouldn’t dare say so! But my personal pet peeve with most of the Dovo shavettes is the amount of plastic used. With the Satin Finish, the only plastic you get is in the inserts.
This is why I’d recommend it over other starter Dovo shavettes. Seriously, the steel body and aluminium blade carrier make a huge difference.
Now, usually Dovos can hold longer blades which is a matter of preference. Some people like to stick to Parker’s 1/2 DE blades…others enjoy the flexibility Dovo offers.
The longer blade support is why some people say that Dovo shavettes actually resemble straight razors quite a bit.
Which is why usually you’ll get different blade holders with Dovo razors. You can swap the holders and insert a 1/2 DE blade, or a full one. Whichever you prefer and works better for you.
So where’s the bad news with this flexibility?
The plastic hinge and what I feel like is a subpar blade holder quality. Parker SRX definitely feels tighter and more secure than the Dovo. Plastic also means you might need to get a replacement at some point.
Last but not least, Dovos are usually higher priced and the Satin Finish isn’t an exception. If you value jumping from 1/2 DEs to full-sized blades, though, it might be worth it!
Best quality shavette razor for barbers:
Fasten your seatbelts, gentlemen!
The Feather SS is a cadillac that’s ready to take you on an exquisite ride. Sure, it’s significantly more expensive than Parkers or Dovos…
…but the feel, the design, the beauty of the blades. This is a next level shavette that has you entering a new world of shaving.
More control, even tighter hold on the blades than a Parker’s, and, of course, the joy of the Feather blades. When ergonomics and shave quality are considered, Feather soars high above other cheaper shavette razors.
The touch to your face is better too. Feather stays true to its name: it’s as gentle as shavettes can be, and a bit more forgiving towards errors on your part. See it in action:
To add to this, changing the blades on a Feather is an easier task compared to other razors.
An important point to consider, by the way! Feathers fit single edge blades, so you can’t go the DE way here.
This thing will last you for a while. What else would you expect from Japanese grade quality? Bonus points for the curved spine that makes this shavette look like a hungry predator.
As it is exactly this: a premium beast ready to take you on your ultimate journey to perfecting the art of shaving. Pair it up with some Feather Proguard blades so you minimize the risk of cutting yourself even further.
This is easily the best combination in the shavette world. A great entry to your road to straight razors, if you want to walk that mile. It even looks like a straight!
Straight razor vs shavette: what’s the difference?
I mentioned that before, but with straights you need to hone the blades and do some stropping. Owning a straight razor is significantly more complicated than having a shavette.
So you either get a honing stone and some strop, or turn to a professional for your straight razor’s maintenance. This costs more and requires some additional efforts on your part. Generally you’ll need to sharpen things up every 6 months or so.
With shavettes, you simply change the blades. That’s all. Easily done with a POP of the disposable blade. No rocket science, and no need to perform any maintenance.
In fact, if you try to hone a shavette blade, it’ll probably bend: it’s just too thin for that.
Shavettes are also quite inexpensive if you go with Parker or Dovo. Straight razors definitely require a bigger initial investment.
Do you get the same shave quality and end result?
Generally, yes. Those two operate differently, but there’s not that much difference in the resulting shave.
However, shavettes are less forgiving. You need to be more careful with them, and perfect your technique slowly. Getting nicks, cuts or weepers is easier to ‘achieve’ with a shavette.
Some people also mention the awesome designs you can get with straights. Sure, there’s a lot of customization going around there, while some shavettes look more…well, bland. I didn’t care much about this, though.
A more tangible difference is the blade size. As shavettes use 1/2 DE blades, the blade width you get here is significantly smaller than a standard straight.
Hint: you can use both of these tools to shave your head too. I recommend you to be twice as careful in this case, though. Also, always make sure that your slick bald head is properly protected from the sun or cold weather.
What are the best blades for a shavette?
It really depends on what you’re looking for.
A standard choice for 1/2 DE blade shavettes are Shark’s half blades. Quite inexpensive and sharp, delivering smooth shaves without fail.
Astra blades or Personna blades are well-suited for beginners. Some might call them “milder” blades, as in, making the shavette a bit more forgiving for those who have just started out.
If you want to use longer blades – as some Dovo models do, or the exquisite Feather, you still have quite a bit of choices.
I mentioned the Feather Proguard blades – these are single edge, and will get you as close to the straight razor experience as possible.
Definitely the best in their niche, though they run somewhat pricier. Great for beginners too.
A few basic tips on shaving with a shavette
This grooming tool is all about technique.
What I mean is, don’t worry about getting a close shave the first few times. You probably won’t, until you get the hang of it.
I’ve seen people do the grave mistake of going several times over their skin with a shavette. Why? Because they didn’t get close enough the first time.
Don’t do that mistake. You can guess what happens otherwise.
You’ll start getting proper shaves once you perfect your technique.
Blade angle, positioning, motions: these are the fundamentals. You’ll get the hang of them after a few needed trials. Practice and hone them.
Remember to touch lightly, shave slowly, and pay attention at all times. Go over the skin only once or twice, training your technique.
By the way, if you’re wondering what to supplement your shavette with, I might be able to help. Check my review of Every Man Jack’s shave cream – it’s worked wonders for me!
If you’re prone to ingrown hairs – which is a sad reality for a lot of us, make sure you stock up on some astringent too. I’m a fan of Thayers witch hazel products, but there’s a huge selection of good toners.
For those gentlemen who prefer the bearded looks – make sure you take proper care of that hair. To help you out, I’ve done a hands on review on Kent combs. Inarguably, the best choice with a history of more than 240 years.
If you’re moderately interested in styling tips, be sure to also check my quick guide on sunglasses/glasses and face shapes. Especially applies to bald men like me, as our noggin is in dire need of a proper framing!