Van Der Hagen Safety Razor

Shaving – Razor Review: When my father passed away, I remember throwing out a ton of things that were not necessarily things I would ever use, at least not yet. I remember throwing out a old school DE Razor that after some research, appears to be a Vintage Gillette. I wondered if my Old Man had something there. More research showed that if I did like a DE shave, it could save some money. With my interest peaked, I ran into a razor remotely similar in appearance at my local grocery store and decided to give it a spin. The razor I purchased was none other than the Van Der Hagen Traditional Long Handle Safety Razor (Product Code:401200). Now that $24.99 has left my pocket (for the razor and the razor blades), the only thing left was to try it out.

I took it out of the packaging (which looks great, by the way) and loaded up the razors that it came with.  The razor blades were the Van Der Hagen Ice Tempered Stainless Steel Blades.

I preceded with my first DE shave ever. After reading several other blogs and going for something called a “BBS” shave, I was very excited to give my face a swipe with this razor! So I prepped with Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel Shave Gel shaving cream, just like when I use my Gillete Fusion 5 razor. The results were very interesting…

My 8 Shave Review is as follows:

Thoughts after my first shave (#1):

  • This tore my face up! I had nicks and cuts all over my face
  • Razor burn was even worse than the cuts on my face.
  • The razor glided over my face, and did give me a close shave, but I didn’t even know I was cut until I saw the blood dripping.
  • The razor never tugged or anything, so I had no indication I was getting sliced up.

The agony of this first shave lead me to a ton of research. Why were all these people on other blogs telling me that DE was the best shave of their life? After posting on several shaving forums, I decided to take the following advice and corrective steps before my next shave.

  1. Have a better pre-shave routine (With better products like shave oil or shave gel)
  2. Rub hot water onto my face. (Taking a hot shower before this routine is also preferred).
  3. Get a better shaving cream. I ended up getting Cremo shaving cream.
  4. Make sure I’m holding the razor at a particular angle (30 degrees).

Not really looking forward to Shave #2. I need to take a few days before I try again to let my face heal. This was a terrible introduction to the world of DE Shaving. I obviously have a lot to learn in order the obtain a “BBS” shave with a DE Razor.

Thoughts after shave #2:

Four days later and I can finally feel my face again. While healing was quick, I still have a little residual razor burn on my neck, so I will be extremely careful going over that area. I loaded a brand new VDH Ice blade again just to make sure the last blade wasn’t defective or anything. Now I proceeded to start the routine. 1, 2, 3, 4, (from above) and now I’m ready to get started!

I take the first long stroke against my cheek and everything is looking good. Take the second, and still feeling like a champ. The corrections I have made in my pre-shave routine are really paying off! I finished my whole face with only one cut! But before I break into my celebration dance, I look in the mirror! Dang it!!!! My face is riddled with razor burn! I will contemplate what I did wrong before my next shave. No amount of after-shave will help this razor burn!

Thoughts after shave #3:

I let my recovery time go for three days this time before I tried another shave. That’s how long it took for the razor burn subside. Lets try this again…. This time I took a very long (10 minute) hot shower before starting the 1,2,3,4 routine. Almost like my last shave, the first few strokes felt like a hot knife into butter. This time I did not cut myself one time! Eureka!!! The hot shower actually does wonders. But wait…. it that a trace of razor burn again?

Razor burn was so bad that I don’t even want to continue. One hour after shaving with this razor for the third time, nothing can convince me this is a good idea to try a fourth time. I will be going back to my Gillette Fusion 5 for now.

Thoughts after shave #4:

No more shaves with this razor combo. 8 shave mission aborted.

Thoughts after shave #5:

Thoughts after shave #6:

Thoughts after shave #7:

Thoughts after shave #8:

My overall assessment

I promptly went back to my Gillette Fusion 5. I refuse to shave with the Van Der Hagen Razor/Ice Tempered Blade combination when my face cringes at the mere sight of this razor. I am sure I could have better technique, but I feel like if I have to try that hard for a great shave, then something is wrong.

I would also like to point out that my sensitive skin may not be the best candidate for DE shaving. I do have coarse thick hair, but my skin just can’t handle this razor combination for some reason. Test it out for yourself, but be warned! If you have sensitive skin this might not be a pleasant experience.

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