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With the rise in popularity of safety razors, it can be difficult to figure out which model is the best one out there. You could stick with the high-end route only to find that emptying a portion of your savings on something glamorous left you with a sub-par product. Or, you could waste countless hours wading through a sea of cheap knock-offs. Is there a happy medium to be found in the world of single-blade razors?

Enter Van Der Hagen, a German construct with claims of superb quality and ice tempered blades making its way onto store shelves across the U.S. Could this be the best safety razor on the market, finally staking a claim as the happy medium? This Van Der Hagen razor review is about to find out.

THE RAZOR

This is a classically designed safety razor featuring solid brass construction with chrome plating and a twist-to-open butterfly mechanism. It comes as a standalone option with 5 Teflon coated, ice tempered stainless steel blades.

There’s no denying that a traditional wet shave has its advantages over the modern razors continually featuring more and more blades, but that doesn’t mean that all safety razors are created equal. So, what features can you expect from this German crafted model?

HANDLE DESIGN

Aside from the usual brass used to give this product weight, the handle is knurled to provide a solid grip even when your hands are slippery with a fresh shaving cream lather. Now, the company claims that its shorter (3.3 inches) handle provides better control. This is true if you plan on primarily using your fingers, but might pose a challenge unless you have tiny hands.

Traditionally, these models are controlled by the index finger and thumb while resting comfortably in the palm of your hand. The shorter handle takes a little getting used to, but it isn’t a deal breaker in terms of a good shave.

THE BLADE

Like most modern safety razors, this one uses a twist-to-open butterfly locking mechanism. These designs make changing your blade and cleaning your razor out an effortless process. All you have to do is rotate the very bottom of the device to activate this feature.

This is an easy win over 3-piece units since all you have to do is drop the blade in and seal the top back up. It turned out to be a perfect fit each time a new one was inserted.

During shaving, the blade and bottom knob both stay secure while the top holds the blade in at the desired angle. Only a small portion of the razor blade sticks out, making this a mild shave excellent for sensitive skin. Razor burn and ingrown hairs are something you simply won’t have to worry about with this product.

The blades come in a plastic container with a sliding lid that also contains a slot in the back to properly dispose of them once they’ve dulled. Ingenuity aside, the ice tempered steel is not the sharpest option out there. You’ll find that the initial pack wears out fast.

What they lack in their edges they make up for in smoothness. The blades glide nicely across the skin, perhaps a little better than most competitors vying for a spot as the best middle ground razor. If you’re switching from a Gillette or Schick, however, you’ll notice that a safety razor is 10 times smoother anyway.

THE SHAVE

As mentioned, this product provides a mild shave as is. While this is an excellent option for those with sensitive skin, anyone with coarser beard hair should look for blades that offer a more aggressive shave.

A mild shave may require a few more passes depending on how comfortable you are using a single-blade model. However, there is a world of difference between how these models feel compared to multi-blade models. The experience is smoother, gentler, and less likely to leave you with the feeling that your face is on fire.

As with all safety razors, the Van Der Hagen should be used in conjunction with a warm lather and an aftershave lotion to achieve that “just left the barbershop” feeling. It’s also important to mention that you hardly need to apply pressure when using this product. Just let it glide across your face.

DOWNSIDES

It wouldn’t be a fair Van Der Hagen razor review if we didn’t mention the downsides. First up is the short handle. It isn’t all that bad to use, but longer handled models provide better control as you move along the various curves around and under your jawline.

The second drawback is the blades. With the ice-tempered label slapped on them, you might think this is some sort of top-quality product forged from Norse gods. It was disappointing to find out just how dull they were compared to other competitor’s models.

Thankfully, there are countless replacement blades to choose from if you enjoy the wet shave and want to keep this model. The butterfly top allows for a range of mild to aggressive options in varying degrees of sharpness.

IS THIS THE BEST SAFETY RAZOR?

The Van Der Hagen is not a title belt champion amongst its single-blade design group. However, it isn’t boasting to be the only choice that famous clean-cut gentlemen like Daniel Craig or John Travolta would use either.

When it comes to finding a happy medium with decent quality, this German construct hits the nail pretty close to the head. While you might want to pick up something with a little more finesse down the road, the Hagen is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to experience a wet shave for the first time. It’s also a great travel option if you’d rather leave your porcelain handled model at home.

Out of 10, this Van Der Hagen razor review gives it a solid 7.5.