Open or Closed Comb: Choosing a Safety Razor

So you have decided to take the plunge and enter the classic wet shaving world. Fortunately for you there are many safety razor options for you to choose from – size, color, finish, etc. Unfortunately for you there are many options for you to navigate. One of the major decisions you will be faced with when purchasing a safety razor is choosing between an open comb head and a closed comb head. But do not fret we will put together this guide to help you along.

The Open Comb Safety Razor

The open comb safety razor, like this Merkur 15c, is easy to identify. With the cutting head having teeth that run along the length of the head the design is unmistakable. The idea behind the design of the open comb is that it will help get the hairs closer to the blade edge while not clogging up the head of the razor in the process.

Why would you buy this?

So why buy a open comb razor? If you are looking for shave that is more aggressive. The tooth design allows more of the razor to touch the skin and work through any thicker hair. The teeth also help lift the hair helping you with a closer shave.

Of course having an open comb design is not the only element of a shave that will provide you a more aggressive shave. The double edge razor blade you are using, or even the make of razor can make a difference in the overall aggressiveness of the safety razor.

The Closed Comb Safety Razor

A closed comb razor, like this Edwin Jagger razor, on the other hand has a straight bar instead of the open comb design for a head. The closed comb safety razor is the more common design of all the razor heads. The safety bar that runs the length of the razor provides some added protection. Depending on the brand the bar can sometimes have grooves in it with the idea of the bar pulling on the skin to make a tighter surface for you blade to cut on.

Why would you buy?

The closed comb razor is really suited for anyone from the rookie wet shaver to the individual looking to upgrade or get an additional razor.  It is probably your best option for your day to day shaving needs. A decent blade, along with adequate prep and your closed comb safety razor will treat you well.

Other Razor Heads

The Slant Razor

Worth mentioning is the slant razor head like the one found on this Merkur 37c. The slant head is designed to act like a guillotine slicing the hair. The blade on the head of the razor is angled, making the blade more exposed on one end compared to the other.  This type of razor is probably best suited for those with thicker beards, or those who don’t shave on a daily basis and have a couple of days growth to get through. This would not make for a great introductory razor.