China has a population of 1,324,655,000, so there are very roughly 500 million men of shaving age. And an extremely popular means of shaving seems to be traditional double edged razors using the standard blade. So there may well be more real shavers in China than in the rest of the world put together! Obviously these shavers need equipment, which means that China has a rich razor manufacturing industry. Some of these razors find their way to the West, so we can get to play with them too.
So far I have come up with 11 main brands, but there are probably more.
Weishi. These are pretty common, easily available on eBay. They even have an English language website. There are four different models, dependent upon the materials they are constructed from. We get the 2003, which is an all aluminium copy of a Gillette Super Speed. It is very well made and is a mild shaver which is sensitive to being at the correct angle, when you get it right it is very effective. This is the razor in the starter kit that I sell.
Shenglong. A heavier razor than the Weishi 2003, probably made from chrome plated steel. This is another Twist To Open (TTO) razor, but this time the knob is just under the head. This is a very aggressive razor indeed to use, to the point where it is difficult to shave with. I have not seen these on eBay and bought mine from a local discount store.
Ming Shi. Highly rated this is another TTO, it is quite light and is made from stainless steel, zinc alloy, copper and ABS. This is sometimes sold under the Shaving Factory name and seem to have a close association with Derby in Turkey. On eBay it is sometimes sold as Ming Shui. It is a fairly mild shaver but not as mild as the Weishi or a Gillette Super Speed.
Flying Eagle. Made by the Kwang Yung Safety Razor Set Factory in Shanghai, this is a 3 piece Tech type razor, available with different coloured plastic handles (including pink!) as well as with metal handles. Most versions seen in the West come in a nicely embossed travel tin and it is reckoned to be a fairly mild shaver. Sometimes these are known under the brand names Suifupai and Seagull.
Concord. Another three piece Tech type razor that is well spoken of. It is quite commonly available on eBay, sometimes at very low prices indeed. Well made it is another mild shaver.
Junjie. This 3 piece Tech has a mixed plastic/metal construction and seems to be only sold in the West by Uxcell. For $3.99! There was an earlier TTO Junjie model.
Shogun. Pretty similar to the Concord, but with a shorter handle. Not so highly spoken of.
Vincent. Sometimes known as Bigwig Rifeng. Another TTO razor with the knob at the bottom of the handle. It has received some scathing reviews and can be bought on eBay.
Nanjie. This looks very similar indeed to the Vincent.
Timor. This is available from Connaught in the UK (and some other retailers). Yet another bottom knob TTO, available in three different finishes. Connaught say it is Made in China for Giesen & Forsthoff (Solingen).
SHV65. A gunmetal or chrome TTO bottom knob razor that is on eBay. The supplier is Lloyd’s Tobacconist & Engravers.
It is worth pointing out that these are brands and not manufacturers. So two or more of these may be made in the same factory, even on the same production line. Also this is in no way an exhaustive look at Chinese safety razors, this is just what can easily be seen from the West using the internet. I am sure that there is a lot more out there. If you know of anything please add it to the comments at the bottom of this article.
These razors are mostly very cheap to buy and they make a change from the usual suspects that most Western traditional shavers use. So which ones to add to the collection? Definitely the Weishi and Ming Shi TTO razors, these are well made and well respected razors in widespread use. With the Tech type the Concord can be bought so cheaply that it would be rude not to. The Flying Eagle is more expensive but the handle and tin box are a bit special so it is worth it.
I guess I’m going to have to check amazon and ebay more often. 🙂 I was going to do a video about < $20 razors, including the Weishi, Feather Popular, and Merkur Bakelite, but I may have to get some of these as well. FWIW I have a Ming Shi too but its ghastly: very poorly made and very aggressive.
I totally have a Seagull razor. Very cheap and comes in a cardboard box. Looks exactly the same as the Flying Eagle. One of the few razors I can buy over the counter in the Caribbean here. I get a good shave with it provided I find the right angle.
I did not notice mantic59’s post above! Thanks to you and Bruce for introducing me to real shaving!
I noticed Ian Tang (of Frank Shaving fame) sells a nice-looking razor. It looks like the Weishi. Any idea if it’s the same?
I just received the Frank Shaving – it seems to be a Weishi. Haven’t used it.
I just bought two Chinese TTO razors for $5 each shipped to the USA from China from the eBay seller luckystore10. One is a Flying Eagle (at least the blade is) which looks like a Weishi. The other is a Big Roc which can be seen on the case and the blade also reads Big Roc. I haven’t received the razors but only spent $10. I read (using Google search) that the Big Roc is very aggressive but haven’t read anything on the Flying Eagle, I’m hoping it’s good as there are vintage Flying Eagles so it’s an old company and they should know what they are doing. These will be razors #32 and 33 in my collection which consists of 16 vintage Gillettes, a Star 3-piece, a Shick DE and two Schick Injectors, a Pal adjustable, 7 Gems, Edwin Jagger DE89 and a Merkur HD. Good stuff! I hope the Chinese razors don’t break and are not too light.
I used my new Weishi for the first time before. $12.99 of eBay, such a deal. It’s a much maligned razor, but even with the Dorko blade it came with (I’ve others in transit), it did a fine job.
Yep, it’s a little trickier than my Trac II, but I’m hooked.
I found a Rimei DE razor for around $5 in a webshop. It looks very similar to the Concord DE on amazon.com. On the web Rimei is compared to the Gillette Tech razor.
Another popular means of shaving in China would include the straight razor. However the steel of China is not at par with western steel of the past, which is available at a price even China cannot match.
Thanks for your great work. You made my DE shaving experience excellent.
I’ve read about some Chinese brushes on Ebay at incredible prices.
Do you have any info on them.
Also, is it possible to be on your mailing list for future posts?
Best of Health,
Well, OK, it finally arrive, a full month after I ordered it. Well, all right it was from Shenzhen, China, so they get a pass. Interestingly, the sender was “Jerry” which I thought was an odd Chinese name. They also sent it marked “gift” on the declaration, which means they are playing fast and loose with the Customs folks. Now since the damn thing only cost me $2.75 and came free shipping I don’t see how they can possibly make any money on this “thing.” I say thing, because I hesitate to call it a shaver. I have never seen such thin metal on a shaver in my life. It’s chrome plated steel, but the head is EXTREMELY thin. How thin. Well, they shipped it in bubblewrap, but it wasn’t enough. One corner got a pretty healthy ding in it. No worries, I was able to bend it back into shape with just my thumb and forefinger. It’s a standard three piece razor, and the handle is die-stamped, not machined, vertical grooves, and actually looks pretty nice. The Junjie logo is stamped onto the top cover as is illustrated in the example above. Howver my handle was solid metal, not rubberized as in the illustration. The guard is EXTREMELY flimsy. Frankly I’d be terrified to stick this thing on my delicate hide, but I never intended to do that. As I see it, it’s a collectable, nothing more. I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to actually shave with theris thing. I think it would make a nice toy for all the little boys who want to play shave. Of course, you’d have to take away the one razor blade that comes with it… Wrapped in Puce paper from the honorable Tain Fu Brand razor blade company. Not, mind you that there is much chance of anyone actually cuting themselves with this thing, judging on how well the razor is made and extrapolating to the blade. The cover art is a riot: “We carefully Rest assured” which is as cryptic a statement as I’ve ever seen on a shaver package. Then there is “sharp veneer” and “Natural Cleaner”… But the best is the slogan “Let the man feel better!” which sums up what they might say at the emergency room if you actually tried to use this thing with say a Feather blade… The one thing they say on the package that is no doubt accurate is “Give you an extraordinary shave…” Which, given the Great Leap Forward nature of this device is probably all too true, but perhaps not in the sense it was intended. On a scale of 1-10 this shaver gets a -9 on the Shave-O-Mattic scale.
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