Open vs Closed Comb Razor: Which is best?

open comb razor vs closed comb razor

In the pursuit of the perfect shave, a safety razor stands out as a timeless tool, providing a smooth, precise cut preferred by many over modern cartridge razors. The choice between open comb and closed comb razors lies at the core of this shaving technique.

Open comb razors, identifiable by their tooth-like structure, allow more lather and hair passage, making them popular among those with thicker beards or experienced wet shavers. In contrast, closed comb razors feature a solid safety bar, providing a gentler shave, suitable for daily use or individuals with sensitive skin.

This article compares open vs closed comb razors, aiming to highlight their respective pros and cons. We’ll guide you through each razor style, enabling you to make an informed choice based on your preferences. Whether you’re a seasoned wet shaver or a beginner, let’s explore and determine whether an open or closed comb razor is the best fit for enhancing your grooming ritual.

Open comb razors

MÜHLE TRADITIONAL R41 Double Edge Safety Razor (Open Comb) For Men -...

Open comb razors are a type of safety razor distinguished by their unique head design, featuring a row of teeth or a rake-like structure instead of a bar under the blade. This design reduces pressure on the skin, bringing facial hair closer to the blade for a more direct shaving experience.

Open comb razors are often heavier and more solid than other professional razors. This makes them good for people with thick, coarse hair. However, their tendency towards an aggressive shave means they require careful handling to avoid cuts.

They’re great for experienced shavers or those with tough hair. But, they might not be the best choice for beginners or people with sensitive skin.

Benefits of Open Comb Razors

  • Efficient Cutting Mechanism: Open comb razors are known for their distinct toothed or rake-like head. This design lessens the pressure on the skin while guiding facial hair closer to the blade. The result is an efficient cut, reducing the chances of the razor clogging with cream, oil, or debris.
  • Enhanced Lather Contact: The open structure allows more shaving lather to reach the skin. This improves both the glide and comfort of the shave, especially beneficial for those with coarser hair.
  • Ideal for Thick Hair: These razors handle longer or thicker beard hair with ease, as their design prevents clogging even with denser facial hair.
  • Closer Shave: More blade exposure means a closer shave. The teeth position hair closer to the blade, leading to a more direct and precise shave.

Drawbacks of Open Comb Razors 

  • Requires Skill: Open comb razors are more aggressive. They demand greater skill and attention during use to avoid nicks and cuts.
  • Not for Sensitive Skin: Due to their aggressive nature, they might not be the best shave razor choice for sensitive skin or for those who shave daily. They can cause irritation or razor burn.
  • Availability and Price: These razors are less common than closed comb razors, which might affect their availability and affordability.
  • Direct Skin Contact: The lack of a safety bar means more direct blade-to-skin contact. It requires skill to keep the skin taut for a safe shave.

Closed Comb Razors

Merkur FUTUR Adjustable Safety Razor, Chrome Finish, MK-701001

Closed comb razors represent another type of safety razor, designed to provide a distinct shaving experience compared to open comb razors. The closed comb razor head features a straight safety bar underneath the blade, crucial for shielding the skin from direct blade contact.

This bar maintains skin taut during shaving, thereby reducing the risk of cuts or nicks, contributing to their reputation for a less aggressive shaving style.

These razors strike a favorable balance between safety and effectiveness, making them well-suited for everyday shaving. They are particularly suitable for daily use, sensitive skin, or individuals new to safety razors.

The design minimizes irritation, razor burn, or nicks, establishing them as a reliable choice for a regular shaving routine. However, those dealing with longer or more stubborn facial hair, or those desiring an ultra-close shave, may find closed comb razors somewhat limiting.

The Benefits of Closed Comb Razors:

  • Skin Protection: The smooth bar protects your skin from the blade, reducing the likelihood of cuts.
  • Taut Skin for Safe Shaving: The bar helps maintain stretched and firm skin, ensuring a safe and smooth shaving experience.
  • Ideal for Beginners: Closed comb razors are less aggressive and more forgiving, making them perfect for those new to safety razors or wet shaving.
  • Gentle on Sensitive Skin: They are excellent for sensitive skin or daily shaving, removing short hair without causing irritation.
  • Durable: Closed comb razors are known for their durability and cost-effectiveness. Unlike disposable razors, they are built to last, often from high-quality materials that withstand the test of time. This longevity makes them not only a sustainable option but also a more economical one in the long run, requiring less frequent replacement.

Drawbacks of Closed Comb Razors:

  • Challenges with Thick Hair: These razors may struggle with longer or thicker beard hair, possibly requiring more shaving passes or pre-trimming.
  • Less Glide: The design may remove too much lather from the shaving area, reducing comfort and glide.
  • Not the Closest Shave: As they cover most of the blade, they may not provide a shave as close as some might prefer.
  • Difficult to Clean: The closed comb design can sometimes lead to clogging, especially with thicker hair types. Accumulated hair and shaving cream residue between the blade and the comb can reduce efficiency. Regular rinsing and cleaning during the shave are often necessary to maintain optimal performance, adding extra steps to the shaving routine.

Conclusion: Open vs Closed Comb Razor

In the realm of safety razors, the choice between open comb and closed comb styles holds significant weight, each presenting unique experiences tailored to different needs.

Open comb razors, such as the Muhle R41, Merkur 15C, and Parker 24C, feature a toothed head that guides hair directly to the blade. This design is great for thick or coarse hair as it prevents clogging and provides a closer shave. However, they are more aggressive, requiring more skill to use safely, and may not be ideal for sensitive skin or daily shaving.

Closed comb razors, like the Merkur Futur Brushed Chrome, Merkur 24C, MÜHLE Grande R89, have a smooth bar that protects the skin. They are less aggressive razors and more forgiving, making them suitable for beginners, daily shaving, and sensitive skin. However, they may struggle with longer or thicker hair and might not provide as close a shave as some might prefer.

The choice between open vs closed comb razors depends on factors like personal preference, skin type, beard thickness, shaving frequency, skill level, and budget. Open comb razors provide a closer shave for thicker beards, while closed comb razors offer a safer and more comfortable everyday shave.

Experimenting with both types is recommended to find what suits you best. Each razor has its merits and ideal use case, contributing to a more tailored and enjoyable shaving experience.

Last update on 2023-12-28 at 05:00 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Alex William

A 34 year old review writer from LA. I write reviews for MyBestShaver to help people to find their best electric shaver ever. I'm contactable on email | More About Me.

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