Buying the gentleman’s salon razor on eBay can be as painless as the perfect shave with the correct well-researched approach. They are generally available in a variety of materials, styles and designs, and eBay sellers tend to also include a variety of extras with their listings, such as extra blades, leather strops for sharpening, storage options such as carry pouches, and shaving creams and pastes.
This buying guide will take the potential buyer through each aspect of buying salon razors, with the purpose of addressing all the potential considerations necessary for the perfect buying experience.
What are Salon Razors?
On eBay, a search for salon razors will typically list straight razors, where the shaving blade folds into the handle, or scales, when not in use. It’s conceivable that they are known as salon razors because the proper usage of one used to be a main component in barber colleges.
They can also be referred to as ‘cut throat razors’ or ‘open razors’ because the razor has to be opened before it can be used. A popular shaving tool since the 1700s, using salon razors requires a considerable amount of skill, time and maintenance, as opposed to safety razors and the more modern electronic razors, which are more forgiving for the unskilled user.
As such, the usage and ownership of salon razors has long been a source of pride. Salon razors need to be regularly sharpened with a strop, which is a long piece of material, usually leather, and honed with a honing stone to keep the blade sharp. Some sellers on eBay also advertise disposable salon razors that do not need honing.
Types of Salon Razors
Salon razors typically have the same general appearance: a straight razor connected to a handle by a pivoting pin. The razor blade slides out from the handle to be used and rests inside the handle when not in use. The straight razor usually has one curved edge that is slightly thicker than the other extremely sharp edge. The thicker edge acts as a natural stopper, preventing the blade from going all the way through the handle when closing the razor.
Semi-circular in appearance without any sharp corners, so is less likely to be affected by under skilled handlers
The lack of sharp corners makes it the least accurate point type.
It is recommended for new users.
Also called spike or sharp point.
Ends in a very sharp point perpendicular to the cutting edge of the razor, forming a square.
Better than the round point for shaving small areas, but unskilled handlers may pinch the skin during use.
Also called oblique point.
Resembles a quarter circle cut at the end of the blade, with a sharp, angled curve.
Ends in a sharp point like the square point, but has a slight curve to it. Useful to shave difficult spots like under the nose
There can be secondary edge types formed from a combination of the above such as the half round point, which is a rounded edge with one linear segment.
Choosing the Best Razor for You
There are a variety of salon razors available on eBay, and in general they vary in terms of type of blade and type of handle, which the following tables will demonstrate.
Razor blade styles differ in terms of the point type, which is the shape of the profile of the blade, the grinding method used to shape the blade, and the blade’s width. Each factor plays a role in the functionality and effectiveness of the razor itself. The blade is usually made from stainless steel, but some eBay sellers sell titanium-coated steel for extra durability.
Type of Grinding Method
- The type of method used for grinding the points into the blade will affect the curvature of the blade cross-section.
- A hollow grind has a concave appearance whilst a flat or straight grind will have a linear appearance closely resembling a wedge. A hollow grind usually produces a thinner blade.
- The grinding method affects the hollowness or thinness of a cross-section of the razor blade, or its curvature.
- The blade is most effective in cutting when it is thin as possible. As such, the grinding method that removes the most material from the blade without compromising its integrity is always preferred.
- Some high-end razor manufacturers may limit their production exclusively to hollow ground razors.
This is measured using the distance between the back of the blade and the cutting edge, when the razor is open, usually in units of an eighth of an inch.
- Blade widths usually start from 3/8” up to 7/8”. In rare occasions, 8/8” may be produced. The most popular blade width is a medium 5/8”.
- A wider blade carries more lather from the shaving cream or paste, acting almost like a scoop during each shaving stroke. This can mean that the user can shave for a longer period of time without having to rinse the blade clean.
- A narrower blade is easier for shaving tight facial spots such as under the nose, but its smaller surface area means it will get filled with shaving cream much faster, thus needs to be rinsed more often.
Ebony, Boxwood, Snakewood, Cedar, Bocote Rosewood, Olive wood - good for homemade replacement handles.Hard, dense and lasting quality woods, suitable for long-term, intensive use.
Various techniques are used to protect the wood from moisture and mould such as: wax, varnish, epoxy resin coating, making the wood more long lasting.
- Horn from cattle, bison, buffalo - Buffalo horn can warp with time.
- Mother-of-pearl (AKA Nacre) - Nacre looks beautiful, but is very expensive, only used by some high-end razors, and can be brittle and crack with time.
- Turtle - Sea turtle hunting is now banned, preventing any legal supply of turtle handles.
- Ivory - Using ivory is now banned, except in fossil form from mammoths.
The use of animal products has declined because of competition from cheap plastics and the ban of some materials derived from endangered species. They are now only found in high-end vintage razors.
Plastics are cheapest to make, thus is the most common for commercial razors.
- Celluloid: developed as substitute for ivory and nacre. Not very common among newer razors, but vintage razors usually come decorated elaborately.
- Bakelite can be used with wood flour added as filler.
- Rubber, natural or artificial, can be used.
- Acrylics can be used.
- Various usual plastics are used for many razor handles.
- Plastic handles often have the appearance of marble or other ornamental designs, and come in a variety of colours.
- Stainless steels: heavier than wood or plastic, but are lasting and noble
- Aluminium: can be found on vintage razors
- Silver: used in high end antiques
Composites with natural fibres, such as laminated plywood:
Micarta, a plastic with natural materials such as linen and paper embedded in it, was used widely.
Extras/Bundles Available on eBay
Some sellers include extras in their listings, which can save you money. Usually the extra items are listed in the initial product description that appears in search results. However, some sellers may advertise their extra items in the longer description, which can be accessed when you click on a particular listing, and then scroll down the page.
Some of the bundles offered by sellers include:
Leather strop, or leather strop and paste: the leather strop is useful for sharpening your blade before use, with the paste enhancing the sharpening process. Pastes are particularly useful for maintaining the edge of a razor that has lost its sharpness, and is generally used once a month during daily stropping. A separate strop is usually used for pasting, as the paste is difficult to remove from a strop, and the blade does not need to be honed, or sharpened when using paste every time.
Extra blades can be bought in a clip-on style, which is less traditional than a normal straight razor where the blade is never changed. The amount of shaving blades sellers offer can vary from ten to twenty double edged extra blades, whilst some eBay shops allow you to buy extra blades separately.
Styptic matches are useful while shaving as they secrete an antiseptic blotting agent, which not only stops the bleeding but also sterilizes the cut. Simply wetting the match activates the agent, which you then wipe over the cut.
Leatherette pouch for safe storage of your salon razor.
How to Search for Salon Razors on eBay
To search for Salon Razors on eBay, find the Health and Beauty category through the ‘Search by Category’ drop down menu, on the left of the search bar. From there, scroll down to the Hair Removal subcategory and there should be a selection of available products on the left-most side.
Choose Razors and Blades, and then pick the ‘Type’ of razor you are looking for. In the case of Salon Razors this, of course, will be the ‘Cut Throat Razors’.
You can also narrow down the results by a series of sub-types such as ‘Cut Throat’ ‘Razors’, ‘Sticks’, ‘Safety Razors’, ‘Razor Blades’ and ‘Cream’.
You can also shop by brand, condition, price, format (i.e. of listing) and delivery types.
Go to ‘More Refinements’ if you want to narrow down your results even further.
Along the top of your search results there are a range of options, such as one that allows you to see results of a particular type of listing, and also to arrange how you can view and sort your results.
There are also vintage and collectible models available.
It may be useful to talk to your seller beforehand if you have any questions or requests, such as more detailed descriptions of any micro-cuts and cracks on the blade or handle and questions about when it was last honed, tightened and cleaned. Most models on eBay are sold ‘shave-ready’, meaning it can be used without honing, and may not need stropping. Vintage models may need both honing and stropping to get it ‘shave-ready’.
It must be noted too that most sellers on eBay will not sell salon razors to buyers under 18.
There are a large range of salon razors and salon razor sellers on eBay, offering a variety of bundles as well as their experience and expertise, so a buyer should never be out of the loop when deciding upon the best salon razor for them.