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Merkur 23C Review

The Merkur 23C is one of the most common entries into the world of traditional wet shaving for a lot of men.  The cartridge razor-like length and mildly aggressive shaving experience make the 23C beginner-friendly safety razor.

The focus of today’s review is to give you a detailed look at what to expect from this safety razor.  This article includes an extended look at the design, specifications, and performance of the 23C.

If you had any questions about the 23C before coming to this review, we are confident that all the information below will answer any questions you may have.

Let’s take a look at this safety razor.

Editor’s Note: We paid for the Merkur 23C out-of-pocket. This article is not a paid review.  This post contains affiliate links.  Tools of Men is independently owned and operated.  Merkur is not aware of this post before publication.

Merkur 23 Packaging & Design

Here’s a look at both the packaging and design of the Merkur 23C:


Like all Merkur razors, the 23C comes in a standard, no-frills box and contains only a single razor blade:

Merkur 23C Packaging

Should this be your first safety razor, then you will want to make sure that you buy a few extra razor blades to have on hand.  You can expect the starter blade to only last about five shaves before needing to be replaced.

Blade Gap & Aggressiveness

One of the best features of the Merkur 23C, and what makes it so beginner-friendly, is the aggressiveness of the shave.

Merkur 23C Blade Gap

As you can see in the picture above, the blade is very close to the safety bar.  This design allows for a mild shave.

Safety Bar

Like most Merkur razors, the 23C features a scalloped safety bar that extends the width of the razor head:

Merkur 23C Safety Bar

The scalloped safety bar helps feed your facial hair into the razor blade with each pass.

Components & Blade Compatibility

Merkur 23C Components

Like most safety razors, the Merkur 23C is compatible with a multitude of razor blades.  Therefore, you are no longer held hostage to a single company’s expensive razor blades.  You are free to test across many different brands to find which one performs the best for your skin and facial hair type.

As evident in the picture above, the Merkur 23C is a three-piece safety razor.  With a separate cap, blade mount, and handle, you can easily clean them. 


Like many other razors from Merkur, the 23C features knurling that extends nearly the entire length of the handle:

Merkur 23C Knurling

The knurling provides a nice bit of grip, especially if your hands are coated with shaving cream.


For a safety razor, the Merkur 23C is light:

Merkur 23C Weight

At 59g (2.08oz), the 23C is similar to a cartridge razor but is significantly lighter than many other safety razors.

Here’s how the Merkur 23C weighs when compared to other popular razor systems:

RazorWeight (g)Weight (oz)Length (in)Experience Level
Merkur 23C592.084.2Beginner
Merkur Futur1264.444.25Expert
Merkur 34C772.723.3Beginner
Merkur 38C1113.924Beginner/Intermediate
Edwin Jagger DE89772.723.75Beginner
Bevel Safety Razor873.074.25Beginner
Merkur 37C772.723.3Intermediate
Schick Hydro431.525.6Beginner
Gillette SkinGuard401.415.5Beginner


As for length, the Merkur 23C stands at 4.2″ long.  For context, here’s how it looks when compared to other razor systems:



The Merkur 23C is composed of a brass-weighted body that has been paired with a die-casted zinc alloy head.  The 23C is chrome-plated to provide it with a shiny finish.  

For long-term value, you can expect this safety razor to last you for several years.  However, if it’s dropped and the chrome plating cracks, it should be replaced.  Other safety razors made from stainless steel may provide better long-term value, but the 23C is sufficient for a beginner.

Country of Origin

Merkur makes the 23C in Germany.

Merkur 23C Performance

To get a better understanding of how the Merkur 23C performs, here are a few essential points that you should know:

  • Beard Length: Two days growth
  • Pre-Shave Prep: Warm shower
  • Pre-Shave Treatment: Proraso Pre-Shave Cream
  • Shaving Cream: Tabac Shaving Soap
  • Razor Blade: Merkur Super (included with the Merkur 23C)
  • Skin Sensitivity: Mildly Sensitive
  • Facial Hair Type: Dense, Mildly Curly


To provide you with an idea of length and density, here’s how the facial hair looked before shaving:

Merkur 23C - Pre Shave


And here’s how the Merkur 23C looked while shaving (analysis of the shave covered later):

Merkur 23C - Shaving 1
Merkur 23C - Shaving 2
Merkur 23C - Shaving 3
Merkur 23C - Shaving 4
Merkur 23C - Shaving 5


Merkur 23C - Post Shave 1
Merkur 23C - Post Shave 2
Merkur 23C - Post Shave 3
Merkur 23C - Post Shave 4


Here are some of the key takeaways on how the Merkur 23C performed:

What We Liked

  • The length of the 23C is very beginner-friendly.  Given that it stands nearly as long as a cartridge razor, it provided a comfortable and familiar fit in hand.
  • The shave aggressiveness for the 23C is very mild.  As evident in the pictures above, there were no signs of irritation, redness, or discomfort.  You could still feel the stubble on the surface after shaving.
  • If you are susceptible to razor bumps, this razor’s mild aggressiveness should help reduce or stop them from happening altogether.
  • While light, especially when compared to some of the other Merkur razors, the 23C was heavy enough to slice through facial hair without additional pressure.
  • Typically sold for around $30, the Merkur 23C provides tremendous value.  Expect the razor to last you a few years and deliver good results.
  • The narrow height of the razor blade cap and blade mount allows the 23C to navigate tight contours easily.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Given that the aggressiveness of the 23C is so mild, should you desire silky smooth results, across and against grain shaving will be necessary here.
  • Like all safety razors, what you can shave is limited with the 23C.  If you shave your head or manscape regularly, you may want to hold onto a cartridge razor for your other shaving needs.

Final Thoughts

If you are on the fence about shaving with a safety razor and the 23C has caught your attention, give it a try.  It’s affordable, provides a pleasant shaving experience, and offers a low long-term cost of ownership.

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Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming and style. When you don't find him reading up on the latest style trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.