For those of you who have seen my face on Instagram, you might be surprised to learn that I’m also into wet shaving. While it’s true that I’ve got a full beard, I still need to shave my neck and face with something. About 15 years ago or so I ventured into the world, and never looked back. That brings us to today’s review of the Henson Shaving AL13 Razor.
Now, you might be asking – why wet shaving? I mean, my *insert disposable cartridge brand here* works just fine! And in some ways, you’re right. It gets the job done, and it feels inexpensive. When you realize that you can get a box of 100 blades (say, like these) for $20 that’ll last you between one and two years? Then you realize, whoa, there are cost savings to be had here. And once you get your technique down, you can actually get a better (or closer) shave than a cartridge razor can provide.
Really, the major investment you’ll have up front is getting your razor. The classic recommendation is the Merkur HD line (this was the one I started with), and it’s a good starter, and relatively inexpensive in the world of safety razors. Now that I’ve been spending time with the Henson Shaving AL13 Razor, though, I think this is the one I’d recommend for people starting out.
Why is that? Well, it’s because of the secret super power that the Henson Shaving AL13 Razor has: it has a very small blade reveal. When I was reading the page for the razor, I was skeptical of how much of a difference it would actually make in shaving. I mean, sure they SAY it’ll reduce chatter of the blade – and therefore skin irritation – but how well would it work in practice?
Turns out, it works very well. For my first shaves, I started with the Astra blades that the Henson Shaving AL13 Razor shipped with. Then I tried out my #1 favorite Feather blades, and finally my go-to inexpensive choice, the Wilkinson Sword. While there are minutiae in the differences between these blades, they all worked well enough. Part of it was me needing to retrain myself how to use this particular razor.
For one, with the Henson Shaving AL13 Razor being made of aluminum means that it’s a very light razor. With a heavy steel one (like the Merkur) you can kind of let the weight of the razor do the work. With the Henson, I felt like I need to put more pressure one (in my mind) so that first shave I had some more nicks than normal. As I’ve gotten used to it, though, things settled down and I’ve gotten some very nice shaves indeed.
You might think that with the narrow reveal on the Henson Shaving AL13 Razor that you’d get your shave cream (or shave gel) clogging up the blade. The way they machined the back plate, though, it cleans out very easily (I found creams wash out more easily than a gel) and I had zero issues with clogging. Especially once you’re all done, you loosen the head a bit to let some air flow in, which also works well for clearing the gunk out.
Speaking – on the back plate of the Henson Shaving AL13 Razor, they’ve got a small bit of tungsten where the handle threads on. This gives you a very smooth surface to tighten up against, and I had zero issues with anything coming loose. In fact, I had a shave early on where I forgot to fully tighten it, and it still held fast (that was a more aggressive shave though, since the blade was not as tightly clamped). I like it because it gives you a robust surface for the handle to mate against, making me feel that this will survive the long haul.
So, yeah, I do rather like the Henson Shaving AL13 Razor. For the past three weeks, it’s been the sole razor I’ve used (where I used to rotate through a few), and I’ve actually increased the frequency that I shave, as the irritation and nicks on my neck are much, much less than with any other non-cartridge razor that I’ve used. So, without a doubt, I’d recommend it. It’s not what I’d call inexpensive, but considering it’ll last you decades, it’s rather affordable. And then you’re only paying for $0.05 blades as you go along. The aluminum version is available in eight different colors for $69.99; if you want something different, they’ve got a titanium version for $249.99. hensonshaving.com
Editors note: If you want to see what a pro thinks of this razor, read this review over at Sharpologist
Tech Specs from Henson
- Three-piece aluminum construction with a tungsten thrust bearing where the handle tightens onto the head
- Past that, well, they’re pretty detailed – just head on over to this page for all of it