In its marketing materials, OneBlade calls itself “the best razor on Earth.”
But could a piece of steel ever really live up to this lofty claim?
Inspired by the incredibly close shaves he got from barbers in Italy, financial publisher Porter Stansberry wanted to see if he could replicate the experience at home.
He started OneBlade with only one goal in mind: create the razor that could give the world’s best shave.
Stansberry hired a CEO, Tod Barrett, who then hired Brooklyn-based firm Pensa to create a design around Stansberry’s vision.
Pensa spent over a year on the project, eventually coming up with the meticulously designed OneBlade razor.
We decided to test-drive the OneBlade to see if it was worth the accolades — as well as the hefty $300 price tag.
My first impression when I opened the OneBlade box: “Wow, this is one well-designed piece of steel.”
My second impression: “Oh my god, this is one heavy razor!”
Like other non-cartridge razors, OneBlade has a learning curve. The razor’s head demands to be held at a certain angle against your face, and it gives you very little hint as to what angle that is. It will take a few times to get it right.
However, it’s definitely easier to shave with than a straight-edge or safety razor. The OneBlade is more of a hybrid between the two, combining a steel-spring head with a single blade and metal handle. The razor comes with its own handsome steel stand, which is even heavier than the razor itself.
The blades are a unique, single-edged kind made by Feather, a well-known razor blade factory in Japan. They slide right into the back of the razor.
No other company makes blades for this razor — in order to use the OneBlade handle, you must also use these blades.
Here’s where things get a little tricky. The little papers that protect the razor blades are glued to the razor so that they don’t slide off. This makes them a little sticky, and it’s difficult to insert them into the razor — and a lot harder to take them out.
The glue gunked up the mechanism, meaning the blade sat askew until I could use enough muscle to right it.
Once you do get it to lock, it makes a satisfying click sound. That blade is not going anywhere.
When I went to use the second blade, I ran it under the sink to get the glue off, which worked better.
Pensa spent an entire year developing the razor, obsessing over every angle in the design of the shave head.
The finished product is designed to be insanely close — and you can tell. Shaving with OneBlade feels like no other shaving experience; it’s completely new and unique.
Using the razor
I wasn’t afraid of the hefty razor before I used it, but I definitely should have been. This razor is nothing to trifle with. Though it may look like a regular cartridge razor, it’s really much closer to a safety or straight razor. Meaning: It’s sharp as hell.
As soon as I made my first pass, I could practically hear my beard hairs crying for mercy. Nothing I have ever put to my face has sliced the hair as quickly, cleanly, or efficiently as the OneBlade. It was extremely thrilling, and I have to say it was by far the closest shave I’ve ever gotten. The grip, though made out of pure metal, never slipped in my hand despite the wet conditions.
After I finishing shaving the side of my face, however, things got a little complicated. I could never quite figure out how to manoeuvre the rather large head of the blade around my more delicate features. This resulted in 1) not quite as close of a shave, and 2) a careless slip that sliced the bottom of my lip open. It bled for an hour.
Once I realised the raw power of the razor I held in my hands, I began to fear it. I finished that shave with my plain Jane Gillette Fusion like the coward I am.
My second shave (which was a coward’s week later) went much better. I switched out the blade (OneBlade recommends you use only one blade per shave. At $28 for 30 blades, that’s an expensive habit.) and began to respect the razor’s power. I let it guide my hand, instead of the other way around.
Once I did that, I was able to escape my experience with only a small nick on my chin. Mission accomplished, as far as I’m concerned.
Is the OneBlade for you?
Would I recommend the OneBlade? If you have $300 (plus the $28 subscription for 30 single-edge blades) and are looking for the closest shave you can get at home, there’s nothing else on the market quite like the OneBlade.
However, if you don’t shave that often, aren’t concerned with getting the closest shave humanly possible, and see $300 as a bit much to spend on a grooming implement, there’s no way the OneBlade can seduce you.
OneBlade is purely for the guy who wants the perfect shave and doesn’t care how much it costs. He’s not an “enthusiast” — they all probably use traditional straight or safety razors — but he wants a completely new shave experience, and he’s willing to pay for it.
For everyone else, cartridges will do you just fine.
OneBlade provided Business Insider with a OneBlade razor for the purposes of review. It will be returned to OneBlade once the review period has ended.