Wax your chin, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Well, three strips and several expletives later and you’ve a sink full of tears to match your patchy stubble.
For a smooth face without the rip-off grimace, ditch the waxing wands and treat your cheek to a slicker trim: from sensitive shavers to one-blade wonders, there’s a better razor for every jaw – and it needn’t cost the earth.
To prove that point, we’ve scythed through the proverbial chaff of facial grooming to find nine of the finest wet-shave razors available today, with blades for every budget.
Whether you’re battling a beard on a daily basis or treating your top lip to a weekly trim, these handles of barbery are sure to whittle your bristle in a whistle.
Gillette Skinguard Sensitive (£6)
Dragging scratchy stainless steel along your jawline is no way to treat those sweet cheeks. After all, a good shave should leave you looking your best, not sore-chinned and crimson.
If yours is a sensitive visage, Gillette’s Skinguard is the way to go: between the blades sits a rubber guard that raises the sharp edges away from your skin, reducing pressure and irritation while still shearing through stubble.
Backed up by a strip of soothing lubricant, seal the deal with a decent balm for a shave that won’t leave you red in the face.
Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Sense (£10)
Use an actual sword to remove bristles from your chin and you risk losing a lot more than your overnight growth. Use this Wilkinson Sword, on the other hand, and you’ll get a clean and comfortable shave without the deadly risk.
Hinged at the neck, the Hydro 5 Sense adjusts to pressure as it glides across your face, taking the strain so your cheeks don’t have to.
And while it might not have the same pointed tip as your favourite katana, it does pack a flip-away lubricating strip that makes it easier to trim those tricky nooks under your nose.
Bulldog Original Bamboo Razor (£8)
Shaving is a wasteful game. Even if you’ve ditched the disposables, those plastic cartridges and single-use serums aren’t doing much for your carbon chinprint.
Keen to go green but can’t rock an off-grid beard? Short of scraping your face with a piece of flint, try this bamboo number from Bulldog: topped with five blades and a soothing aloe strip, its all-natural handle is sure to give your eco credentials a boost.
Shipped in fully recycled packaging, the distinctive trimmer isn’t the final answer to waste-free shaving, but it’s a pretty stylish start – and one that’s sure to get you noticed by yoga pals and pandas alike.
Grüum Oska (£20)
Daily shave getting you down? Go from morning grump to fresh-faced fun with this bold effort from the folks at Grüum: crafted from zinc alloy and built to fit your paw, it plush construction proves that even the humble blade-and-handle combo can be deftly reinvented.
Available in seven technicolour shades, grab one as a standalone handle or sign up for the flexible subscription plan to get fresh supplies through your door as and when your stubble requires. Either way, Oska’s fine and functional form is sure to brighten your morn.
Harry’s The Winston (£18)
Harry’s has become something of a household name in subscription shaving, so it’s fitting that the firm’s finest handle should share a moniker with an equally iconic individual.
OK, so the US brand might not enjoy quite the same fame as the late Mr Churchill, but with razors as lush as the Winston, it really should: crafted from die-cast zinc and polished chrome, the handle’s knurled grips are a dream for the fingertips, while the five-blade top – complete with trimming edge and rubber hinge – is a clear win for your chin.
BIC Shave Club 5-blade (from £2.90)
Want monthly digestives delivered to your door? You need the biccy club.
Want fresh shaving supplies sent on the regular? You need the BIC Shave Club. From the French name famed for its pens, lighters and disposable razors, BIC’s new subscription plan sees foam and five-blade refills shipped out as frequently as your grooming habits require.
Sign up for the starter pack and you’ll also bag a natty metal handle that cuts a dash beside the flimsy plastic shaft you were clutching before. The only downside? Of the three available shades, BIC’s iconic orange is sadly absent.
Bolin Webb R1 Matte (£100)
Family poking fun at your foamy face? Show them your dark side with this matte and moody stunner from Bolin Webb.
Presumably hewn from a discarded Darth Vader helmet, this black-on-black reincarnation of the feted R1 razor is nothing if not sinister. Like the original, it fits perfectly in the palm and works with Mach3 blades. Unlike the original, it comes with a mean dose of foreboding.
And, like a true sabre for your stubble, it even ships with a matching stand – handy if you’ve no henchmen around to hold it. Now hit the Imperial March and lather up.
Mühle Rocca Birch Bark Safety Razor (£92)
Plastic-free, cheaper to refill and built to last a lifetime, it’s a wonder we’re not all using safety razors. You know, the proper, heavyweight ones that have been keeping bristles at bay for more than a century and can still deliver the closest shave this side of a cut-throat?
Give traditional a try with this double-edged number from Mühle: sleek in stainless steel, its birch bark handle marks the Rocca out as a bastion of bathroom style. Like sticking a razor blade to a fallen branch, but beautifully finished and less likely to give you splinters.
OneBlade Core Single Edge (£70)
Sweeney Todd gave blades a bad name but, used correctly, a sharpened piece of the stainless stuff can revolutionise your shaving game.
Take the OneBlade Core: at the business end of its steel-lined polymer handle sits a guarded blade that’s thicker than your average edge and ‘floats’ in three directions, delivering a shave like you’d get from the barber without the risk of a nicked neck and blood up the walls.
It’s better for your skin, too, reducing razor burn and causing fewer ingrown hairs, all while keeping you out of the Fleet Street pies.