Real shaving whilst you travel

Real shaving, with a dual edged (DE) safety razor and lather generated with a brush, was the dominant way of shaving on planet earth for about 50 years, practised by hundreds of millions of men. During this half century many of these men travelled and many went to war, whist continuing to shave properly. In fact DE shaving is better adapted for travel than the more “modern” methods. You don’t need access to electricity at the right voltage and with the right pin configuration, like the miniature lawnmowers, that some men use, do. And DE blades are available in far more places than the patented multiblade cartridges are.

The adventurous thing to do is to take nothing and buy locally. Men all over the world shave, so when in Rome do as the Romans do, just use whatever is available. Then when you come home bring it back with you as a memento.

If you want to take your own DE razor with you then there are two routes to go down. The first is to buy a leather sheath for your full sized razor, there are available from Parker and Merkur, some of the online retailers stock them and they are on eBay.

Your second route is to buy a special travel DE razor. Merkur make their 933 travel razor which fits into either a very small soft plastic pouch, or a leather one. It is available with the choice of two standard Merkur heads, the standard straight head with the scalloped blade guard, or the more aggressive comb head. The razor handle unscrews into two very short lengths, so when it is broken down and packed away it is very compact indeed. Which is perhaps why it is a favourite of the military. The Feather Portable is a fantastic travel razor from Japan that fits into a very small case. Manufacture has been discontinued but you can still buy them for less than half the price of the Merkur.

DE blades you can buy just about anywhere, buy maybe not with the same quality as your favourite brand. If you do take some with you remember to put them in your hold luggage. If security find them in your carry on they won’t be happy.

Image from SafetyRazors.co.uk

It is worth noting that when DE shaving was at its peak a popular gift to buy a man was a travel set. This was a small leather case containing a DE razor, a hairbrush, sometimes a clothes brush and two well ventilated metal tubes. One of these tubes was for the shaving brush and the other was for a stick of shaving soap. Mostly these travel sets never got used and you can still buy them in secondhand shops today in mint condition.

Image from SafetyRazors.co.uk

For your brush you once again have two options. The first is to use your regular brush and to find a tube for it. The cheapest is a tubular pill box with a few holes drilled in it. The second option is to buy a special travel brush, which comes with its own tube. Vulfix make their 2190 and Turnback travel models and Simpson their Case and Major models, for instance. So you can take real quality with you.

For your soap or cream you can just use a standard tube of cream, like the 3Ts and other St James’s grooming companies make. This should keep you in luxury when you travel. The alternative is the soap stick kept in a pill box tube, this will last much longer and you have access to some amazing soaps in this form: Arko from Turkey, La Toja from Spain, Tabac and Sir Irisch Moos from Germany and of course the fantastic value Palmolive stick sold throughout Europe.

So as you can see real shaving when you travel is an opportunity to have even more fun, to experiment with more variety. And you can look on with pity at the poor traveller who gets his lather out of an aerosol and who is still a slave to multibladed system razors.

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3 Comments


  1. Holy crap! However, it does say they were “tucked in a coiled belt” so perhaps it is only weaponised DE blades they take such exception to!

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