Urban Beard Safety Razor – Not for the daily wet shaver
Having bought a few things from Well.ca I now get their sale notifications via email. One of these email came in last week and listed a stylish looking 3 piece safety razor from Urban Beard. In fact, I had seen this razor before but couldn’t remember the brand name. I assumed that this was the one, but in the back on my mind I was thinking of a shorter name. I was also remembering a hefty price tag in the $50 range, which was the original price of this razor and now the 50% off sale was putting the razor at $24.99. I concluded that this was the razor I was eyeing a while back and placed my order.
About 3 business days later, my Urban Beard razor was delivered. Very slick indeed! It came in a nice black box along with a pack of 5 Gillette blades. But taking a closer look at it I realized that the logo on the razor head was not the one I originally seen. That one had a stylish V. In fact when looking at Urban Beard page, you can clearly see the edge of the V on the head. Then it hit me. That brand I was thinking of is Bevel.
Now, I have no idea who got to market first and who copied who on this one, but one thing is clear; the razor from Bevel is identical to the one from Urban Beard. In fact, you can clearly see the bottom end of the “V” on the razor on the Urban Beard site. See picture on the left. Bevel’s sales pitch is that their razor offers a very smooth shave and they offer companion shaving products. Urban Beard on the other is in the “beard” market and they offer beard oils.
Wanting to isolate the performance of the razor, every other variable in the shave has to be “known goods” or products that have served me repeatedly well. I picked the Treet carbon blade as it consistently renders a close and comfortable shave. I opted for the Crown Shaving suite of creams because they offer thick protection and superior gliding qualities making for a smooth experience.
- State: Out of the shower
- Razor: Urban Beard
- Blade: Treet Carbon
- Pre-Shave: Crown Shaving Supreme Glide
- Shaving Cream: Crown Shaving Shave Cream
- Tonic: Crown Shaving Aftershave Tonic
- After-Shave: Crown Shaving Soothing After Shave Lotion
Coming out of the shower it was off to the sink for the shave. Having read up on the Bezel pitch-promise, I was expecting a very smooth shave. The shave was actually far from smooth. The first oddity was how loud the razor was when moving across my face. The razor head and comb are quite far apart from each other making for a resonance cage that amplifies the sound of the beard cutting. The gliding part was not so smooth. In fact, my trusted Treet carbon blade was feeling very sharp and uncomfortable. I could feel getting cut and nicked repeatedly. The end result was a disappointing and bloody experience. Being firmly confident that the blade and the shaving cream suits were not to blame, I started looking a lot more closely at the actual razor and more specifically at the angle the blade was being placed in.
A few things started to become apparent. First off the blade exposure is overly pronounced. This is typical of an aggressive shave setting on adjustable razors. See the below pictures of my Ming Shi 2000 (A Merkur Future wannabe). In the close shave setting the blade exposure is minimal and in the aggressive setting the blade exposure is at a maximum as well as leaving the blade flat.
Here is the Adjustable MingShi 2000 in position 1 – the least aggressive setting
Here is the Adjustable MingShi 2000 in position 6 – the most aggressive setting
Another element that became clear is that the blade was not being angled by the head at all. The head on the Urban Beard razor only acts as a cap. It does no angling what-so-ever. Basically, the blade is at a 90’ angle. Again a very aggressive approach – something that would make sense if you were shaving off a beard. Put differently, a perfect cutting angle if you are shaving perhaps once a week and not once a day. When the beard is long and coarse, you need more cutting power. The picture on the left is how the blade is placed. Note that it does not get curved at all when assembled.
When you look at safety razor, you easily get to the point where they all have to be about the same except for the handle and a few decorative elements. I cannot emphasize enough how this simple element of geometry will make the total difference between a smooth and an aggressive shave and finding a razor that is configured for your specific shaving pattern and beard growth is so important. For my mug that perfect razor is the MERKUR 180. The blade gets curved sufficiently and the razor head and comb create an extremely smooth experience. The Rockwell adjustable razor comes close with its plate No. 1.
This is the Merkur 180. It is not an adjustable razor, but noticed the curvature of the blade. The Purists will notice that this is not the original handle. I am using the Rockwell handle as it is thicker and heavier.
Another view of the Merkur 180. Notice how close the blade is to the comb (the bottom part) leaving nearly no gap for nicks and cuts.
I have to assume that the Bevel razor might actually offer a more angled blade positioning along with less blade exposure as they are catering to the regular shavers. Urban Beards is catering to bearded guys who only need the occasional weekly touch ups. In retrospect, this all makes sense, but my initial deductive reasoning skills did not kick in to stop me from buying this razor. In short, this is not information you can get out of the sellers page or even the manufacturer.
If you are a bearded guy and are looking for a safety razor solution for your occasional touch ups this razor will be a stylish solution. If on the other hand you are a daily wet shaver, this is not the one. 🙂
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