I just recently decided to try a slant bar safety razor to see the difference. I’m actually very impressed and amazed at the difference in cutting style between a straight safety razor vs a slant bar.
Going through a fit of nostalgia, I ordered a retro razor made from bakelite material, and is also a slant bar open comb! As can be seen in the photo above, at first glance the head looks very unique, but that shape holds the blade at just the right angle to act as a scythe/guillotine when making impact with the hair. After doing research and finding the weight of a slant razor should be kept low, I decided to pick up this one from Phoenix Accoutrements. (Phoenix Accountrements) This was probably the third razor I’ve purchased through them, and I’m yet to be disappointed.
Upon first touching it, most people would scoff and say it’s a plastic razor. Bakelite was the first plastic used in the industry, and it’s light & durable. It also has a feel unlike other plastics in my opinion, and that’s why I bought it. The head and handle fasteners are actually metal, which makes it mount up just right with no worries.
My first use of this razor was for it’s intended use: Scalp shaving. Head hair can be kind of rough for safety razors to plow through, and after leaving my hair grow for a week I dug in! With this model, very slight pressure is needed due to it’s light weight… but the word VERY is important. Otherwise, the blade will do collateral damage. Also, due to the extreme angle of the blade the handle is kept higher than usual. This means it’s best to start at 90 degrees and slowly tilt as dragging across the skin at first to get a feel for when the blade makes first impact. Unlike straight safety razors, the cuts are subtle and sometimes so smooth you don’t really think much cutting is happening. To put it into perspective, I cut against the grain on first cut of my scalp and it was like a lawn mower removing a row. The light pressure makes sure the head doesn’t float over the hair, but also isn’t so extreme as to cause skin lacerations. After 1-2 haircuts, the learning is usually complete.
The nice thing is the ability to do multiple passes without severe irritation of the skin, since the blade isn’t causing such trauma as it cuts the hair. This allows a more forgiving second or third pass, and once you have the learned part down then it gets even smoother.
I used a Feather brand razor blade with mine, however I’m going to experiment with Lord, Personna, and some others as well.