iKon H20 Safety Razor
Tired of suffering from razor bumps on his neck, Greg Kahn found relief by putting down his cartridge razor and turning to traditional shaving. He collected a number of quality safety razors, but felt that he could improve upon existing designs. The first iKon Razor was completely handmade on a milling machine and industrial lathe. Greg chose a stainless steel billet for the cutting head, with the handle turned from a piece of 316L bar stock stainless steel rod, because of the sustainability and durability of the material. Over the years, he gathered feedback from wetshavers and modified razor designs based on their recommendations. The result is unique and hybrid pieces, such as the H20 Safety Razor.
When I opened the box of the iKon H20, the first feature that I noticed was the stocky handle – the thick and heavy design for which the iKon Bulldog is famous. The handle has the old-school utilitarian design with precision knurling that provides a secure grip for wet and soapy hands. The knurling is cut uniformly across the handle in a flawless diamond pattern. The bulky handle is easy to hold and maneuver around the face throughout the shave, and the smooth rings at the base of the handle provide the perfect point to grip the razor to hold it at the appropriate cutting angle during the shave.
The cutting head of the H20 is incredibly innovative. The unique "double action" head features an open-comb design on one side and a smooth safety bar on the other. This provides two different levels of aggressiveness in the same safety razor. The comb is helpful during the initial first pass because it does not push the hair down, but guides the stubble up and into the blade for a clean slice. Unlike open comb razors like the Merkur 11C where the blade rests flat against the comb guard, the iKon has a gap between the cutting edge of the blade and the teeth of the comb. This allows more exposure of the blade edge while still benefiting from the open comb design. For the finishing passes, the regular bar allows a close shave while protecting the skin from having too much exposure to the blade.
At first glance, the cutting head is remarkably similar to the PILS DE design. Both heads are nearly identical in shape and size, and the blade remains flat when seated in the cutting head. Both have two blade alignment notches on the bottom of the cutting head that hold the blade in position so that it remains perfectly centered when the razor is reassembled. Both razors are two-piece designs with the bottom half of the head attached to the handle. While the PILS cutting head is stainless steel, the head of the iKon H20 is Aircraft Grade T6 Aluminum. It is formed from solid billets fully machined and polished to a mirror-like finish. This use of lightweight material keeps the razor from feeling top heavy and ensures that the razor is balanced in proportion to the handle.
During the shave, the iKon H20 performed extremely well. My first experience using the H20 was on a few days of beard growth from skipping shaves over the weekend. Using the open comb side of the razor for the first pass, the blade glided easily across my skin making the initial reduction cut smooth and comfortable. The space between the blade and the teeth of the open comb allowed just the right level of aggressiveness to reduce the longer length hair quickly without being too aggressive and irritating the skin. After the initial pass was completed, I flipped to the regular comb side and completed my shave, cutting against the grain and doing spot clean-ups in the typical areas of difficulty, such as the lower neck and jaw line. The regular guard side of the razor tracked smoothly on the skin maintaining the perfect level of aggressiveness while still being comfortable at the same time. After completing the shave, my face was perfectly smooth without a single nick or cut and absolutely no areas of irritation.
Although the iKon H20 shares features of other modern design razors, the quality of workmanship and unique materials give the razor a unique identity of its own. This razor is available at authorized iKon dealers for $149, which is a fair price for this level of quality. Among its competitors in the luxury stainless razor market, it is priced lower and therefore is a good overall value. This razor is recommended for experienced wetshavers that appreciate craftsmanship and versatility, and are familiar with when and how to use the different sides of the cutting head. The unique double action gives the user an added level of flexibility to customize his shave experiences more than any other razor available today.