As Gillette launches its much-hyped Fusion ProGlide Power razor in the UK – I take a quick look at why a double edge razor is still technically superior to a ProGlide or any other cartridge based razor system out there.
For those who use double edge safety razors for shaving on a regular basis, the answer to the question “Why is a double edge razor technically better than a cartridge based razor system?” may seem quite obvious: ‘because you get better results’. However, for the rest of the men out there who use multi-bladed cartridges instead – and let’s face it that includes the vast majority of men in the Western world – they may wonder why they should ever consider changing their shaving method?
Well, the real answer to the question above lies within the technology of the types of razor on offer. From a scientific standpoint double edge safety razors certainly have the edge over cartridge based razor systems like the Fusion ProGlide Power razor, Wilkinson Sword Hydro and the King of Shaves Azor.
I recently spoke to American wet shaving expert Mike Sandoval, who runs the Shaving101 website, about why the cartridge razor system was so popular.
“The cartridge razor system is appealing to many men because it is advertised to be modern and high performing with innovative designs and multi-blade cutting action,” he said. “High-dollar marketing campaigns feature celebrity athletes that promote modern cartridges as the only masculine option.”
So why do double edge razors produce a closer and more rewarding shave?
The cartridge system razor generally works by using its hinge or pivot point to maintain a constant angle on the face while shaving. And while there may be many other features or gimmicks they offer, this pivoting mechanism is the most important aspect of the razor at making the shave quick and easy to use – which is the key advantage of these razors.
“The problem is that the blades of a cartridge are close together with extremely small spacing between each cutting edge,” explains Mike. “The razor is unable to cleanly cutting hair without requiring multiple passes along your skin, catching and pulling long stubble, as well as constantly clogging during the shave.”
On the other hand, while double edge razors may take longer to get used too – with a short learning curve to overcome – you have far more control over the razor and the closeness of the shave itself. Therefore, with DE shavers the process may take longer, with shorter strokes, but you will notice an improvement in the (even more crucial) performance aspect of the shave.
Mike adds: ”The double edge safety razor uses a single cutting edge that tracks along the skin at a much more comfortable angle and cuts the hair cleanly without grabbing or pulling excessively (provided you choose the right blade for your beard and skin type).
”Although you won’t find many celebrity athletes promoting the double edge razor, there has been a strong resurgence in traditional shaving. Many men are returning to old-school shaving because it is more comfortable and more economical.”
If time really is the most important factor when shaving, a Hydro, Azor or ProGlide may be the answer, but if you are a man who likes to work with engineering excellence that has stood the test of time and has the patience to learn, then maybe it is time to think about leaving those expensive cartridges behind and opt for a results-proven double edged razor.
Gillette launched the new Fusion ProGlide Power razor in the UK this month. It is the latest addition to its growing family of Fusion razors with Gillette’s thinnest-ever blades. The firm says the ProGlide outperforms its existing Fusion razor.
There are two versions of the Gillette ProGlide, a battery-powered model and a manual version. The battery-powered Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power comes with one blade cartridge and is available priced £12.99. The manual version comes with two blade cartridges and costs £9.99.
Over the last few years, I have used many different brands of cartridge based razor system, including the Azor, Gillette Fusion Power Stealth and Gillette Mach 3 Turbo, Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium Energy and Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 and Boots’ Hydro and Titanium Triple Razor, but personally still prefer the excitement and closeness of a DE razor.
The Merkur 33C Classic will always be my all-time favourite, but I would also highly recommend the Merkur Futur 760, Goodfella, Muhle R89 and the relatively new Bluebeards Revenge “Scimitar” Double Edge Razor.
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Double edge shaving tips
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DE RAZOR? LET US KNOW BY COMMENTING BELOW
More articles by Nick Gibbens
Truth be told, when I first read that Dan was looking for people to write for his blog I wasn’t sure what I could contribute. I mean sure, I’d been shaving with a DE razor for just under a year, but did that give me ‘expert’ status? Enough experience to pass my collected shaving wisdom onto newcomers?
Then I realised that what I could do is just recount my shaving story so far. After all, being twenty-six, I had scraped some sort of blade across my face for a number of years, using a variety of different methods and equipment. In the process I’d made many mistakes, as well as many happy discoveries, turning me into perhaps not an expert shaver, but certainly a happy one.
The first razor I used was the ubiquitous Gillette Mach3, along with a cheap Wilkinson Sword boar brush and a stick of Palmolive shave soap. I guess this was picked out for me by my Dad, seeing as he used a similar set-up with a Gillette Atra in place of the Mach3. I don’t remember him teaching me how to go about shaving but I guess that was the advantage of the Mach3, you could just drag it across your face and it did all the work for you. Just rub the brush all over the soap, lather-up and shave away. At least I was already on the right road of using a traditional shaving brush and soap. It was therefore unfortunate that after a couple of years shaving this way I got seduced by the assortment of foams and gels out there and promptly took a step back.
Between the ages of nineteen and twenty-three my shaves may have been pain-free but they had turned into a chore, and not even a closely shaven chore at that. Due to a pasty Englishman’s complexion coupled with dark hair I had what’s referred to as a bluebeard, a dark shadow of bristle peeking its way through my skin, mocking my Mach3’s attempts to achieve that fresh-from-the-barber’s-shop look.
Things changed when, like many recent converts to traditional wet shaving, I discovered Mantic’s videos on YouTube. This led me back onto the path from which I’d strayed. I dusted off my brush, bought myself a fresh shave stick and soon started wondering how I’d been such a numpty in going for all those gloopy gels and foams. I also ditched the Mach3 as I was fed-up with paying out for expensive replacement cartridges; I switched instead to swivel-headed, two-blade Gillette disposables. This set-up was better. The dry tautness which came from the gels and foams disappeared and shaving itself became less of a chore, but I still wasn’t getting particularly close shaves. I didn’t seem to be able to shave across or against the grain of my beard without irritation, even with the help of Mantic’s videos.
Then in April of 2008 I went on holiday to Italy. Naturally what got me most excited wasn’t the prospect of seeing Pompeii or devouring plate after plate of delicious Italian cuisine, it was knowing that I’d be able to buy some Proraso products (available in most convenience stores) and an Omega boar brush (available in most of the pharmacies). The Omega boar was a significant improvement on my old Wilkinson Sword brush, by now shedding at least half a dozen hairs a shave.
I decided it was time to take the final step in my shaving conversion, lose the disposables, and brave-up to the world of double edge. So I trawled eBay and scored myself a job-lot offering of a Lord razor with a Merkur-style head, some Speick cream and a Wilkinson Sword shave stick. I got some no-name (said to be Personna) DE blades from Boots, lathered-up and started to shave. The first thing I realised was that going from two-blade disposables to DE wasn’t as huge a leap as I’d anticipated. I could hear when the blade was cutting properly, it travelled smoothly over the skin and the hairs waved goodbye, what had I been afraid of? I then re-lathered and went for an across-grain pass, to my surprise the blade happily obliged. With my Mach3 and disposables I’d always felt resistance going anything except with the grain, this was much better. I thought I’d better stop there for my first few shaves but I was definitely hooked, already my skin felt smoother.
Over the next few months my technique gradually improved. I learnt what my face could handle in terms of which direction I shaved, how many passes I could get away with and which blades I preferred. My by-now new hobby saw my collection of soaps, creams and razors slowly expand, as the contents of my wallet rapidly shrank, and I woke each morning actually anticipating my daily shave.
Things were going so well that on his last birthday, I decided the time was right to try and infect my Dad with the shaving bug. I updated his own Wilkinson boar brush with a pure badger, and expanded his usual routine of Palmolive stick, followed by Palmolive stick, followed by another Palmolive stick with some Taylor’s cream and a puck of Culmak soap. I also found him a Gillette flare-tip rocket to try and wean him off his by-now triple-bladed razor. So far he loves his new Culmak, badger and Taylor friends, but is sticking to his triple-blade for the time being. This leaves me in a moral dilemma: continue to coerce and instruct him in the ways of the DE? Or leave him be, give in to my desires and persuade him to part with his rocket, so it can be become friends with my other Gillette’s?
So far I’ve stuck with trying to show him the pleasures of double-edge shaving, but how long my resolve stays strong only time will tell.
More articles by Richard Wall
Due to the increasing popularity of double-edged razor shaving, many people who know little about this product are now curious as to why this is proving to be so “in demand”. The question this poses to these guys is: why would I want to change my shaving habits?
It is easy to get set in your ways when shaving or undertaking any other regular task. If you have been using an electric razor or Mach 3 blade for what seems like forever, you would be entitled to wonder why you should make a change now. In a previous article we looked at the cost factor which, while very important, is not the only reason to make the switch.
For starters, double-edged shaving can be a luxurious process. Affordable it certainly is, but the sheer pleasure you get from your daily routine is unsurpassed, especially when you consider the chore it is to shave at present.
A number of men have simply had enough of the expensive multi-bladed systems and have decided to make the bold change themselves. Word of mouth certainly plays a part as guys tend to discuss these things when they are on holiday together or have just discovered something new and interesting.
You may be used to wet shaving already (Mach 3 users) or have a tried and trusted electric razor and so need an incentive other than money to alter your morning routine. Well, as you start to take the time to perfect your technique with a double-edged blade, you start to understand what all the fuss is about. You not only get a closer, smoother shave, but also start to enjoy the experience.
The double-edged razor is becoming extremely popular again as the modern man starts to consider the way the older generation used to shave. Once people get hooked, these retro shaving products allow them to experiment with all the creams, soaps and brushes etc. which are also available. The accessories just serve to make this daily task even more pleasurable.
Although double edge shaving is synonymous with luxury, amazingly it is inexpensive to get started. Once the initial kit has been acquired not only will you experience a better way of shaving, but you will save money too! With blades costing pennies and luxury creams that last months there is no reason not to indulge in this affordable luxury.
So, why not give it a try, break your old habits and brave this new world of traditional and luxurious shaving products; you never know, in time, you may even come to look forward to it!
The Parker Model 90R “Knightsbridge” Metal Safety Razor comes in at number four in our list of the top 15 gifts to buy Dad this Father’s Day.
The 90R is an all-metal construction safety razor with nickel-plated finish, a butterfly opening, and some great styling on the handle.
Put this together with a decent blade, a nice rich lather and hot water and you get a close satisfying shave reputably out performing the likes of the Mach 3.
And don’t forget the savings in razor blades compared to the cost of the average Mach 3 refill cartridge; this razor will pay for itself!
The Parker 90R is priced at just £19.99 on the Shaving Shack website.
A great gift for Dad this Father’s Day.
It has recently been reported that British supermarket giant Asda is to significantly reduce the cost of its Gillette razors by up to 40 percent.
And while this is an admirable move at last for those who use the brand’s shaving products, especially when you think of how cheap it is to actually make these blades, the fact still remains that razors which utilise disposable cartridges such as Mach 3 and Fusion still do not provide value for money for the country’s men.
The company has decided to finally act against widespread anger from guys who have been complaining about the cost of shaving products over the past few years. Therefore, it is no surprise then that many of these men are turning back towards retro wet shaving products like double edged razors.
Even though the cost of replacement cartridges may be dropping, by over a third, by at least one supermarket, the truth is, Gillette razor blades will still end up being more costly in the long run. As Britain’s men of shaving age are waking up to the thought that double edged razors are not just a traditional shaving product confined to the distant past, but make for a luxurious and much more enjoyable experience, people are growing tired of the gimmick which Gillette started when replacement razors were first introduced.
Marketing can only get you so far, and now men are beginning to take a stand against the rising cost of shaving products from the likes of Gillette and aren’t prepared to shell out a small fortune on blades which only cost about 5 pence to manufacture (with a 4,000 percent mark-up).
They may have been clever in getting top sports stars like Roger Federer and Thierry Henry to promote their shaving products, but this latest move by Asda only goes to show that while the blanket pricing from Gillette may be over, the damage has already been done. For those switching to the affordable yet luxurious world of double edged shaving, all we can do is welcome you to the real men’s club.
17 days and counting… Father’s Day is less than 3 weeks away! And what better way to show Dad how much you really care by treating him to a luxurious razor on June 20.
And they don’t come more impressive than the Shaving Shack “Regent” Nickel Plated Mach 3 Razor.
Stylish, modern and elegant, this is perfect Mach 3 luxury, and number 13 in our top 15 gift ideas for Father’s Day!
Tom Trueman, customer services manager at the Shack, says: “This nickel plated Mach 3 razor is absolutely stunning and represents fantastic value for money at just £22.99.
“The handle is perfectly balanced and feels substantial and solid. It comes in a blue gift box (pictured), making it an ideal gift for Father’s Day.”
The razor is 120mm in length and comes with the Mach 3 razor blade.
So forget the socks, jumpers and silly T-shirts, get Dad something he really wants this year!!!
Please check back on Friday for perfect gift number 12, or better still, sign up to our email updates by clicking here.
BEAT THE CREDIT SQUEEZE! LUXURY DOUBLE EDGE SHAVING FOR THE MODERN MAN!
Why are so many people switching from Mach 3? The cost, the affordable luxury and of course the sheer pleasure.
Recently there has been a huge demand for double edge shaving as people increasingly turn away from expensive multi-bladed systems and start to enjoy the daily chore that most men face each morning.
You will save money. As the following example shows, you will actually save money in the longer term. Not bad during a recession, saving money and enjoying luxury every day!
PRICE COMPARISON MACH3 VS DOUBLE EDGE
Based on an average use of one Mach3 cartridge / two double edged razor blades a week
MACH3 CARTRIDGE YEARLY COST
Typical cost for twelve cartridges is £11.99 – (£11.99 divided by 12 weeks of shaving x 52 weeks a year = £51.96 for a year’s worth of Mach3 cartridges.)
DOUBLE EDGED BLADE YEARLY COST
At the Shaving Shack, we do 30 blades for £5.99 (15 weeks shaving at two blades a week). So: £5.99 divided by 15 weeks of shaving x 52 weeks a year = £20.76 for a year’s worth of double edged razor blades.
That’s a saving of around £31 a year and less than half the cost of shaving with Mach3s.
In the first year the saving is more than enough to cover the investment of a double edge razor.
OK, I’m interested! What kit do I need? These are the basics:
Double Edge Safety Razor – by far the most popular for newbies and veterans alike is the Merkur 34C (£28.99) and the longer handled version, the Merkur 38C (£33.99). As a cheaper alternative I would recommend the latest Parker razors (£20.99)
If you really want to treat yourself to a contemporary looking razor then look no further than the Merkur Futur (£44.99), a fantastic piece of German engineering!
Double Edge Razor Blades – buying one of the razors above will qualify you for our free gift of 10 free double edge blades for spending over £9.99 – that’s about 5 weeks of shaving on average and a great start!
For affordable luxury and some great scents, indulge in any of the Taylor of Old Bond Street range (£6.95) offering the best value for money quality you will find today.
So, by investing a total of less than £40 based on the recommended products above you can experience this wonderful world of luxurious shaving and make savings year on year!
Lastly, don’t forget our Shave Points Rewards Program which rewards regular shoppers. Example, spend £60 on products and get 60 Shave Points. 15 Shave Points can be redeemed for £1 so the above example would give you the equivalent of £4 off your next order.
These days, while you are watching anything on TV it is almost impossible to escape from the latest ads describing how great the ‘new’ electric razor blades actually are. These models are so much better than the last, apparently, and will give you the best shave possible. That is, if you believe all the hype.
There is so much money to be made from getting males who are old enough to shave to spend their hard earned cash on the latest all singing and all dancing electric razors. Not only do they cost a packet in the first place, you have to spend a fortune each year on expensive replacement blades.
Therefore, it is no wonder to learn that many blokes are not taken in by this clever marketing but judge their razor solely on results. It is no secret that the old ways are usually the best. Sure, you can always claim to improve on shaving products, but at the end of the day the quality of the shave speaks for itself.
If you need reminding of the benefits of using double edged razors, then firstly, there is the amount of money to be saved. Just by switching from a Mach3 or Fusion model to a double edged razor you will start to notice the extra cash you have in your wallet, which you can put to good use.
The main reason that these razors are superior is the effectiveness and closeness of the shave, with less irritation of the skin. Electric razors pull on your facial hair, leave more stubble and are decidedly uncomfortable to use. It is also a myth that electric razors are faster to use too.
Double edge razors are surprisingly easy to use and the investment in these decent razors is certainly worth it in the long run, as real men can testify. Indeed, many men have tried out these electric gimmicks and have now gone back to a traditional, manual razor.