The straight razor with open steel blades sharpened on one edge, having long-term shaving effectiveness, which remained the most common form of shaving even into the 20th century, became out-fashioned with the arrival of the safety razor during the second half of the century. The reason was clear; user-friendliness (no stropping) and affordability meant that the safety razor with replaceable blades did not require special training with the added protection against open metal razor blades. The first safety razor (by King C. Gillette) was double-edged and could therefore use replaceable double-edged razor blades. These blades were to be thrown away once used because they were difficult to hone (sharpen) unlike the straight razor blade. See our “Prolong Razor Blade Sharpness” post on how to save money on shaving with the same blade many more times.
With every shave it meant you had to spend on a new blade for the safety razor. With the old type straight razor left to the barbers, a modern-type straight razor in a non-open (“safety”) blade form is commonly available in different disposable models. The modern straight-type razor therefore now qualifies as a safety razor. In addition to a less effective shave, over time, since the double-edged safety razor with replaceable razor blades cost more than using the barber’s straight razor, could this modern disposable straight be a cheaper way to get that highly desired closer shave? The overall cost of the environmental impact and regular replacement of your disposable razor cartridge could surpass that of the double-edged safety razor. It is wise to consider these factors when making your choice of shaving system.