A shavette is the convenient cousin of the straight razor. While straight razor shaving requires lots of care and attention to maintain the blade, a shavette simply uses a double edge blade from a traditional safety razor.
Shavette is actually a brand name from premium shaving manufacturer Dovo, who also own the renowned Merkur safety razors.
The disposable blade straight razor features a similar design to a straight razor but is a lot lighter as it doesn’t hold a full blade. Instead the handle supports a small mechanism for clasping safety razor blades.
You can buy shavette blades readymade or simply (and with attention to safety) snap a double edge razor blade in half for some models. They are designed to do this and the holes used to hold the blade to a safety razor also fit a shavette.
These were originally made for barbers to offer razor haircuts. Today barbers also use them for shaving for hygiene reasons since the blades can be changed between customers. But what about straight razor shaving at home?
Many see this has a gentle entry to straight razor shaving by taking out the care of the big straight razor and replacing it with more of the lightweight disposable experience we are used to. However, many experienced shavers warn that this is a totally different experience to straight razor shaving and the two are not comparable.
A straight razor is much heavier and the profile of the blade is different and more forgiving than using a DE razor blade. With DE blades you are still left with the sharp corner as you would with a safety razor, whereas a straight razor is more rounded to avoid cuts, although alternative blades are available.
Kai Razors Standard Folding Straight Razor R-type 1
The Kai Captain Razor is excellent value value comparable to the Feather Professional Artist Club DX and SS. However the DX costs about 2-3 times as much, and the only real difference is in the material used to construct the scales – meaning the handle.
So if you’re looking for a professional quality shavette shave for a good value and aren’t concerned about elaborate scales then this could be for you.
- Best all-round value
- Suitable for use with Kai`s refill blades, such as the Titan Mild or Titan Mild Protouch MG.
- Head is completely removeable for easy cleaning.
Feather DX and Feather SS
The Feather DX is undoubtedly the closest thing to a straight razor without all the time-consuming maintenance.
Made in Japan by Jatai, the world leaders in the manufacture of modern, top end shaving razors and blades.
The blade holder has enough heft to it that you can shave properly using just the blade weight.
Strangely the blade clasp has nothing to grip the holes in the blade so the the blade is held by friction alone. However, quality Japanese engineering should ensure this is perfectly safe.
This is also nicely weighted so you can really shave just with the weight of the blade holder.
The DX’s cousin the Feather SS has rounded edges around the blade clasp in order to limit the angle of the blade – kind of like a traditional safety razor. This safety feature makes it ideal for beginners, although at a cost of some manoeuvrability.
The SS is comparably priced to the Kai Captain, but the shape of the holder does not have the same manoeuvrability as the DX and the Kai.
The Dovo shavette is actually among the cheaper varieties despite Dovo’s elite reputation. This is also the “original” brand that coined the term Shavette.
Overall it is cheap and practical as an all-rounder but doesn’t have any exceptional qualities.
The blades are held firmly in place by a plastic insert that act as a clamp. It is also very lightweight and so shaving requires more manual force than other heavier models. Some people prefer this weight and find it more mobile.
The Dovo comes with different sizes of inserts in order to take different blades. If you insert a short blade into a longer holder then you can easily forget about the parts that are not being shaved. This can be avoided by using longer blades. As shown in the image you can switch between standard double edge razor blades snapped in half and dedicated shavette blades.
Nice and simple, at less than $20 this stainless steel construction comes with a wooden scales and Wilkinson Sword blades to snap in half.
The wood is a bit cheap and light but still a nice upgrade on plastic for the price. The clasp mechanism is solid, although the pivot fastening on the scales does come loose after about a year or so.
I’m on a mission to help millions of people around the world ditch expensive and wasteful plastic cartridge razors and switch to traditional safety razors that are far better for the planet.
I discovered the joy of traditional shaving when I was just 14, less than a year after I even started shaving at all. I loved the time-honoured ceremony, precision and quality of soap, brush, razor and aftershave.
My double-edge safety razor from Merkur is still the same one I use every day, although I’ve enjoyed experimenting with a range of models over the years.
Paradoxically I have also been through a long list of interesting facial hair styles, but have never stuck with a full beard. Instead I am normally sporting very intricate mixes of sideburns, moustache and goatee that makes a good shaving system essential.