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Safety Razor Head Types Explained

One of the great things about Safety Razors is the choice that you have. Especially with 3-Piece Safety Razors, as the head is a seperate piece and can be easily swapped.

Here are the different Head Types you can choose from. Most of the names given to these heads refer to the safety bar. This is the horizontal bar on the bottom plate that runs underneath the actual blade. It is the most important piece of the head, providing you with the protection from the blade, hence the name "safety bar". Changes in the shape of this bar will give different shaving experiences.

Safety Bar

safety bar

Common name given to heads that have a simple straight safety bar that is flat. This type is often found on vintage safety razors and they tend to offer a very safe mild shave.

The flat bar minimises the amount of hair exposed to the blade, so you will normally need more passes to get a close shave.

These types of heads are usually OK for short stubble, if you have skipped a few shaves and are developing a beard then this type of razor head won't work so well.

Safety Bar Safety Razors

Scalloped Safety Bar

scalloped safety bar

This style has become the most popular, or most common, shave head type. Similar in every way to the "Safety Bar" except the bar is not flat, it has regular undulations that allow more hair to be exposed to the blade.

This head provides a great all round shave and has become a favourite for those with sensitive skin. Good for shaving everyday or longer stubble.

Scalloped Safety Bar Safety Razors

Scalloped Safety Bar Heads

Cobbled Safety Bar

cobbled safety bar

These heads are similar to the "Scalloped Safety Bar" Heads but instead of the smooth undulations the gaps are more squared. AKA as Closed Comb. These gaps act more like a guide, steering the hair towards the blade and maximising the amount of hair cut with each pass.

The "Cobbled Safety Bar" Heads are considered middle of the road aggressiveness. and are great for everyday shavers.

Cobbled Safety Bar Safety Razors

Cobbled Safety Bar Heads

Open Comb

open comb

The "Open Comb" head goes one step further from the "Cobbled Safety Bar" and opens up spaced channels for your hair to pass to the blade, usually considered the more aggressive type of head but can also provide a very "efficient" shave.

Provides a close shave for everyday shavers and also works well with longer stubble.

Open Comb Safety Razors

Open Comb Heads

Double Open Comb

double open comb

Same as above for the bottom plate, however in this instance the top plate of the head is also of an "open comb" type. This top plate style is great for capturing slick shaving soap and giving you a slightly increased buffer between the razor & skin. AKA "Self Lubricating Razor".

A fabulous everyday shaver that will also perform well with longer stubble.

Double Open Comb Safety Razors

Double Open Comb Heads

Slant Head

slant head

The Slant head is a simple concept that many swear by, the "twisted" head holds the blade at an angle that creates a "slicing" motion across your beard.

Very efficient and liked by many with sensitive skin. It does require patience and technique. Maybe not great for everyday shavers but very good a ploughing through longer stubble.

Slant Safety Razors

Slant Heads

Single Edge Head

single edge

More of a different style of head than type of head, the Single Edge Head is just one sided and will usually take either a half DE Razor Blade, or an Artist Club Style Blade.

They are making a comeback in the market and many people prefer their efficiency and looks. Great all all-rounder and perfectly good for everyday shavers. The artist club style heads are wider than half DE.

Single Edge Safety Razors

Single Edge Heads

So now you have a better understanding of the terms used you will notice that sometimes a single term isn't enough to describe a razor head. Good case is above Slant Head by YAQI. It is a SLANT head, but it also has a "Scalloped Safety Bar" and a "Open Comb" Top Plate.

Other terminology you will encounter.

Mild, beginner, intermediate, aggressive, experienced etc. Now this is an imperfect way of describing razors but it's helpful if you understand the idea behind it. Simply put the less blade that is exposed to your skin, the "safer", "easier" or "milder" the shave. The more blade that is exposed the more "experienced" you'll need to be or "aggressive" the razor is.

With this in mind though, you won't have much luck shaving a 2 week growth with a razor that has little blade exposure. You'll need a more aggressive razor with more blade exposure, to be able to mow down that longer hair.

So this is why there are so many heads to choose from.

Are you someone that has to shave everyday? then you'll mainly be dealing with one day growth so any razor will be OK, however you don't want cuts or razor burn from shaving everyday, so a milder, beginner type head that has less blade exposure is just great for shaving everyday.

Maybe you are someone that can shave whenever they want to, so you'll likely need a few heads, one for ploughing through longer stubble with lots of blade exposure, one for a few days growth with medium blade exposure and one for a quick tidy up with minimal blade exposure before going out for a date or appointment.

Have a read about my favourite 4 razor heads.

All Safety Razor Heads