The Dovo Shavette is a modern twist on an iconic straight razor. Classic straight razors have sharpened steel that flips out jackknife-style. Traditionally used with a badger hair brush, mug of warm foamy soap, steam, and hot towels.
A throwback to vintage male grooming.
You can catch a glimpse of this setup in films showcasing an older era. Sometimes they show a man shaving himself, but just as often it’s a trip to the local barber. With good reason, wet shaving requires skill, patience, and finesse.
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The Dovo Shavette straight razor isn’t quite what people think of when they picture their Grandfather’s razor. This particular product is a lightweight stainless steel razor with disposable blades.
Traditionally the basic construction was a handle (sometimes called a scale) constructed from wood, metal, mother of pearl, ivory, bone, or even animal horn. The handle connects to a pin pivot hinge. The opposite connection is a single, solid metal piece.
That piece starts with a ‘tail’ on one side of the pivot that allows the shaver to open the razor. The ‘tang’, or handle is on the other side of the pivot. This connects to the ‘spine’ and the ‘edge’. The tang is designed to give the shaver an ideal spot to grasp for fine motor control.
What the Dovo Shavette does differently is including a plastic insert that slides into the spine. This allows the shaver to change out the blades with standardized single or double edge disposable razors (they can easily be snapped in half down the center).
The result? The straight razor shave without spending one second on blade sharpening or polishing.
- Comfortable grip, lightweight and easy to manipulate
- Easy to travel with
- Disposable blades eliminate the need for sharpening, inexpensive to replace
- No blade clogging
- High quality stainless steel
- Straight Razor Shaving has a learning curve
- Could be too small for men with large hands
- A bit difficult replacing the blades
- The razor itself feels like it’s easier to break
- More likely to cut self (while changing out the razors)
Features and benefits
First and foremost, razor uses disposable blades. The benefit of this is that you get the straight edge shave without all the extra work it took to take care of the blade. Unless you’re, say, a chef that cares for his own knives, chances are you are largely oblivious to just how much time and effort it took to maintain a blade properly. Blades do eventually wear out.
This, of course, depends on the preferences of the shaver. Some people like the extra work of doing things the old fashioned way. If that’s you, then there are other razors you might consider looking at. If on the other hand, you like the marriage of tradition with modern convenience, the Dovo Shavette is a match made in stainless-steel heaven. You’ll always have an edge that’s sharp.
Multi-blade cartridges have a few problems that products like the Dovo Shavette get around. To fit in 2-4 blades into a cartridge, they need to be packed tightly together. That’s problematic because they get clogged with stubble easily. Some brands of cartridge razors are actually quite difficult to clear, adding to the frustration of the shaver. Straight edges don’t have this problem because there’s nothing to clog.
The second advantage over cartridge razors is the price. Disposable blades are very affordable. You can buy the highest quality stainless steel razor blades available and not come anywhere close to the yearly expense of cartridge razors. The cost savings alone makes it worth your while to try the Dovo Shavette.
No dancing around it, with a straight razor you’re more likely to cut yourself. They were largely replaced in the market by the aptly titled ‘Safety Razor’. What makes them so safe? Engineering. Safety razors were designed in such a way that removed much of the possibility of human error.
The result? The reduced need for shaving skill resulted in the reduced development of shaving skill. This of course, is no reason to avoid the straight razor. The skill required can be learned by anyone, they only require patience and a steady hand. If you’re lacking in either of these, maybe stick to the cartridge razors.
Concerns specifically with the Dovo Shavette are mostly lumped into two groups:First, changing out the blades has an element of risk that’s worth pointing out. Replaying the blade on a double edge safety razor requires dropping the blade into place.
The Dovo Shavette requires you to slide an insert out, replace the blades, and slide it back into place. That means that there is a potential for shaver inattention or slippage to cause a lateral motion of blade and skin.
Can you replace the blades safely? Yes. But it’s also true that there is room for human error here that doesn’t exist in the double edge razor, the cartridge, or the traditional straight blade.
The second is the material it’s built out of. The plastic insert makes it lighter, but also makes it decided less-indestructible. If you’re a bull in the china shop, chances are you’re the reason that Dovo sells replacement parts online.
There are most definitely models available out there that will survive a rougher treatment. If you’re the sort that thinks you’ll break something delicate in a month, then you’ll probably break this in a month.
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If you’re already sold on the concept, Dovo released this alternative that takes a step in the direction of ‘Classy’. The olive wood handle introduces some elemental beauty.
Comes in at a higher price point - shavers will have an identical experience with more attention paid to aesthetics. Not quite the holiday gift I’d hand off to a grizzled mountain man, but gets a little closer to a traditional look and feel.
This razor leans in the other direction. For those that like the idea of a straight razor with disposable blades, but want to move further in the direction of a product with a machined look. It comes in at a similar price point as the Dovo Shavette but has two notable differences.
One, there’s no plastic at all - which may appeal to some on an aesthetic level. Two, this product is manufactured in India - which may be a turnoff for some simply because India doesn’t have the same long-running tradition of razors that Germany does. Same blades of course, but the all metal design might lead one to think it’s a heavier product (which it is not).
One final shavette worth throwing in the mix for contrast. This one had a look much closer to the classic straight blade razor. Similar price point with a polished black horn handle, and like the Parker relies on the metal arms to hold the blade as opposed to the Dovo’s plastic insert. Beautiful look and feel with without blowing your budget.
The Dovo Shavette blurs a few lines when it comes to wet shaving. Straight razors typically have one blade that you’re stuck with, so there’s an incentive to take care of it. Double edge razors went the opposite route by using the replaceable blades.
The Dovo Shavette creates a category halfway in between. You can shave straight blade style while with blades that are always sharp because replacement blades are very reasonably priced.
Since it uses the same blades as the double edge safety razor, this is an easy addition to anyone’s shaving arsenal. For some, this could be their gateway into straight razor shaving, for others it could end up being their go-to shaver. Reading other people’s reviews on the web, the main contingent of people that don’t like it seem to be people that wanted a high-end straight razor for a bargain price.
To be fair, this isn’t intended to be a luxury item. It’s intended to be a highly functional item. Yes, it’s light, and yes it has a plastic component. Does that mean it’s a bad product? Most definitely not. If you want to dip your toes into straight razor wet shaving, this is a great place to start.