Those who read my articles on a regular basis know I’m a bit of a barber geek and love trying new gadgets, few of which, unfortunately, impress me. I recently got my hands on the prototype for the new Beluga Razor (the only one in the world currently), and I got very excited. This is one of the most innovate products I’ve tried to date. Check out my review of the Beluga Razor for my thoughts on this soon-to-market product.
The concept for the Beluga Razor is pretty simple — bring shaving with a double edge razor to the masses in a safer and easier-to-use tool. The Beluga accomplishes this nicely. I’ve always been a supporter of shaving with a single blade shaving. I believe, when using proper shaving technique, you get a better shave (especially for those with sensitive skin) than you do by dragging a razor with seventeen blades across your face.
These five-blade razors, some of which are quite good, are simply marketing, in my opinion. Once company came out with a three-blade razor, then another had to match that. The other came out with a four blade razor. Then a five! Stop the madness. We simply don’t need all those extra blades. It’s just hype. For those confused about the term “double edge,” the double-edged blade has a blade on each side so you can turn it around an use the other side, but it’s still a single blade sliding across your face. Using a single blade produces less friction, less irritation, and fewer ingrown hairs, in my experience, than a multiple blade razor (they also rinse clean easier as well).
For many of us, the advantage of shaving with a double-edge blade is cost.
There are over 50 companies which make double-edge blades. I just did a quick Amazon.com search and found a box of 100 excellent Personna Double Edge blades for just $15.78 (that’s around .08 cents per blade). In case you are questioning my math, a double-edged blade actually has two blade edges, so you can turn it around.
Essentially that box of 100 blades is actually 200 blades because each has double-edges. For under 30 bucks, you can shave with a fresh blade every day of the year. Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s, and even Gillette can’t even come close to that. The problem with double-edge shaving is that it can be a little tricky.
The Beluga takes the traditional double edge blade and places it into a tool that will be familiar to those who shave with the mass-market pivot-head things that are the standard these days. Shaving with a DE razor takes a bit of practice, but the Beluga virtually eliminates the learning curve because you already know how to use it.
The first thing I noticed is just how unique looking the razor is — unlike anything I have ever tested. It looks kinda retro, but also modern. And it feels like a very high-quality product. One review I read stated it felt “organic” and I have to agree. The razor head is made from a very solid stainless-steel while the handle is something called Micarta (basically a form of plastic) which look and feels just like wood. At first, I thought “this wood handle was a mistake,” but then I learned it was made from Micarta and thought it was an excellent choice. You can also swap out the handle for a different color if you’d like and the handle contains a small magnet which makes picking up the DE blades easier (and safer). A nice touch, for sure.
The head of the razor contains a thumb screw which releases the bottom half of the head so you can easily insert a double edge razor. Little nubs in the blade holder ensure proper alignment of the blade when the head is closed and the screw replaced. Very simple. Unlike some double-edge razors where to top of head comes off and can be cumbersome to put back together without accidentally cutting yourself, the Beluga head is hinged, and the thumb screw is on the other side away from the shape edge making it very hard to screw up. The head, like most modern razors, pivots to allow you to easily move over the surfaces of your face while maintaining contact with the skin.
In short, the Beluga Razor looks great and feels good to hold. I hope the final production model is just as just as solid. At this point, I’m sure you are probably wondering, “how was the shave.”
Of course, with any razor, the shave’s the thing, and the Beluga did a fine job. As I mentioned, the razor looks unlike anything on the market today and the shave is unique as well. The shaving surface is large, flat, and highly polished. It’s an odd feeling with much less drag than you would expect. I shaved after a few days’ growths and the razor did a fine job of taking care of business — a close shave with no irritation. Maybe not the closest shave I’ve ever received, but certainly better than most. I will say, after the first swipe, I wasn’t sure if the razor actually did anything as there was so little drag, but upon inspection, the shave was close. For some, it may take just a bit of practice to get the best shave (many will try to apply too much pressure), but if you just let the weight of the razor do the work, you’ll get a great result.
The one thing that does bug me just a bit is the side of the head makes it a little hard for detail work and I found it a bit difficult to get a clean shave under the nose and it was harder to figure out where the blade was when edging my sideburns. The razor, to its credit, does have a little mark on the side of the head to show you where the blade is located when it is pressed to your face. I shave in the shower before I’ve inserted my contact lenses, so I never even saw those until I put my lenses in. I hope the final production model will have a smaller head to make it more maneuverable in tight spots, but I can certainly live with this as it is.
Combined with my favorite Duke Cannon Shave Cream and my Badger Shaving Brush, my shave with the Beluga was exceptional — it felt really “old school,” but just as easy as shaving with a modern pivot-head razor.
Price & Availability
According to the Beluga Shave website, the razor will retail for $150 (but you can pre-order one from the Beluga Razor Kickstarter page for $99). Some may think that is a bit steep, but this is a well-made product that should last a lifetime (and they offer a 25-year warranty). Combine that with the availability of VERY inexpensive blades, and quality materials used to make the Beluga, and the price of the razor is a fair trade, in my opinion. Like most good things, you’ll have to wait for this one — the Kickstarter page indicates the product will ship in June or July of 2015.
I absolutely love the concept behind this razor. It’s unique, effective, and well-made. With a few minor gripes, I got a great shave from a product I’ll be thrilled to display on my bathroom counter (the Gillette stays in the drawer). I’m looking forward to testing the final version of this product and will certainly update this review as soon as I’ve got one in hand. When the final product is released, if it is as good as the prototype, it will defiantly be on my list of best razors.