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Old 10-09-2009, 06:08 PM
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Are twin-blade razors better than single-blade ones?


This column was written in 1983.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...gle-blade-ones

Has there been an updated one?
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2009, 09:24 AM
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Not so far as I am aware. However, I'll put this in the queue for Cecil to consider, an update might be nice.

Alas, when I do that, I have no idea what or when I'll hear back. If there's no new info, he doesn't tell me that he's not going to re-visit because nothin's changed. And even if he does decide to update, I may not hear about that decision for weeks or months or years. So, patience on this front.

Meanwhile, others of the Teeming M's might have some thoughts.
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:32 AM
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Maybe with a nice graph of "betterness" Vs. blade count.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:06 AM
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Now that we're up to 4 or 5 blades, an update certainly seems in order... "no new info... nothin's changed"??, my keister! :-)
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:25 AM
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My suspicion is that it's shaving technique that really matters, not the implement that you choose to do it with.

Currently, I use my grandfather's old 1959 Gillette Fat Boy double-edged razor, and before that, I used a Sensor Excel, and/or whatever multiblade disposable was cheaper at the grocery.

The only advantage to the old razor (other than blades costing about 50 cents), is that it forced me to learn how to shave right, or else I would give myself horrendous razor burn.

The flip side is that I can get every bit as good of a shave with the disposables or Sensor as with the double-edged one, if I shave the same way.

I just happen to think it's cool to do my own personal "Mad Men" bit with the old razor, and it really is cheaper, as long as you don't go overboard with brushes, creams, etc...


(In case you're wondering, the "secrets" to better shaves are pretty lame. The first, and most important one is that you have to do more than one pass with the razor. The second, which follows from the first, is that you shouldn't put any more pressure on your face with the blade than holding the razor itself against your face does.

Basically what you end up doing is taking one light pass that just sort of whacks down the whiskers, and then the second one (at a different angle relative to the hair growth than the first) gets rid of the remaining stubble.) )
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:39 AM
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Here's a few more tips to keep you blade sharp for longer


Guess almost no one is going to read this but here you are: I have used the one single bladed disposable for months at a time. How? I do one drag across maybe an inch of soapy whiskers, then rinse the blade in a bowl of hot water. I do this little by little, always rinsing the blade clean so nothing gets stuck underneath it. When I have finished shaving, I do the most important part. I store the clean blade in the warmest and driest place in the house: on top of the dust filter of the gas ducted heating system.

I have a cleaning business and see so many fancy double bladed razors kept in special holders in shower cubicles, where the metal sits for hour after hour, every day, in the proximity of the natural enemy of metals: water. No wonder these blades lose their edge. Keep it clean, warm and dry and it'll last for ages.
  #7  
Old 10-12-2009, 05:17 PM
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The Economist had an article on the 5 blade Fusion by Gillette a few years back: Moore's Law for Razor Blades? (sub?)

Anyway, the first blade gives the whisker a hard look. The second delivers its Miranda Rights. The third gives it a poke to the ribs and the fourth pummels it into submission. Only the fifth chops off its head.

The Fusion also has a sixth blade on the flip-side for tricky areas.
  #8  
Old 10-13-2009, 10:46 AM
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I don't know. I've used all kinds of blades, and I've found that my Gillette Mach 3 really does work better for me. bump says "The first, and most important one is that you have to do more than one pass with the razor." Perhaps the extra blades have the effect of multiple passes? I find that with the Mach 3, only one pass is generally needed, except for a couple of difficult spots (I use Edge shaving gel, if that makes any difference). And it's not like I'm one of those guys who really doesn't have to shave every day. My beard is quite visible by the end of the day.

A single blade just doesn't do it for me. And other razors don't, either. Just a few weeks ago, I bought some Gillette triple-bladed disposable razors (not Mach 3), and found that they were quite painful to use, and did't give me as good a shave anyway.

On the other hand, I did try one of those four (or maybe more) bladed razors a while back, and it didn't do anything for me that the Mach 3 didn't do.
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:58 PM
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Here's a good thread on how to get a good shave.

My technique has evolved somewhat. I used to be a slave to the multiple blades, but once I got to the Fusion (18 blades plus nuclear power for $500 a week!), I decided that the madness needed to stop. I settled down to the Mach3 Turbo which seems to give me the best mix of cutting and comfort.

I've tried the double-edge razor, I have a nice German one at home. The only problem with that one is I just can't do it by touch, I *have* to watch myself in a mirror shaving with one, for obviously bloody reasons (the technique is completely different from cartridge razors). Since I like shaving in the shower in under five minutes, that rules out the double-edge for anything other than special occasions when I like to make a ritual of it.

That said, the single most important thing I've done is convert to a badger brush with high end shave cream. Makes ALL the difference in the world. I'd just rub the ol' Edge gel on my face and slice away; now, with the brush, it really works the moisture into the hair, and the fancier stuff smells much better.

Here's my routine, YMMV:
1. Step in shower
2. Wet face
3. Wash hair first-- this allows the water & steam to open up your pores
4. Use brush to work in lather
5. Shave down, lather, shave sideways, lather, shave up.
6. Apply a little shave oil to the rough spots and then do an "oil pass"

Step #6 was a revelation. I've tried shaving oil before, never got anything out of it when I applied it before lathering up like usually directed. But I read somewhere about using it for the "spot shaving" *after* you're done, and wow, it really works-- right when your face might be a little burned, the oil soothes the skin AND makes it a lot easier to get those last extra hairs in the hard-to-shave spots (for me, around my mouth and just behind the chinline on my neck. . . ouch!).

Anyway, the bottom line? The longer you take, the better your shave. It's only 5-10 minutes out of your day, make the most of it.

Last edited by davekhps; 10-13-2009 at 12:59 PM.
  #10  
Old 10-13-2009, 03:59 PM
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What is shave oil? Different than shaving cream?

I used to use the Mach 3 and found it far superior to the single blade. Then I used an electric for awhile and that works as long as you keep it it oiled. Then the Mach 5 came out and holy moly I'm not sure I'll ever use anything else. The battery power might be a bit much but I love this blade. As long as you keep it clean and dry between shaves it is awesome. Sometimes I'll have to resort to a single or double throw away razor and I always, always, come away with cuts and knicks. Never with the Mach 5. YMMV and all that

Hijack: I remember reading somewhere that someone actually went to jail for industrial espionage and it involved stealing plans for the Mach 3 or something similar. Anyone have a link? I couldn't find one.
  #11  
Old 10-13-2009, 04:35 PM
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Another vote for the Mach 3; I was dubious at first but it really provides a superior shave over single/twin blades (haven't tried the 4- or 5-blade versions). Even my wife switched; after borrowing my razor once, she ditched the Bics for her own Mach 3.

Also a vote for brush and shaving mug with soap; on days when I rush and forget it (I shave in the shower), I will inevitably see the difference later in the day.
  #12  
Old 10-14-2009, 12:41 AM
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I love my Fusion (5 blades) Last week I had to buy new blades i got them for my quatro instead because i couldnt aford the ones I wanted. In my experience I like 5 blades more then 4 and 4 more then 3, Not because of the closeness per ce but I feel it glades better. The fusion has a handy razor on the other end to even out your side burns, nice touch. I never did try the AA powered one
  #13  
Old 10-14-2009, 02:48 AM
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I vote for the Fusion and/or Mach 3. Everything else just seems medieval by comparison. I seem to get a closer shave out of them and much less irritation. They also seem to last forever, I can use a cartridge for several weeks without changing it. There's really no going back after you use them. I don't know if it's the number of blades necessarily, it might have something more to do with the way they're positioned, material used, etc. because none of the other brand multi-blade razors work as well imo, though they're all light years ahead of normal disposables. Whatever the deal is, it works.
  #14  
Old 10-14-2009, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rack-a-Bones View Post
What is shave oil? Different than shaving cream?
Yes. See here at the Art of Shaving.

Again, they label it "pre-shave oil," and you'll see that as the most common description. The idea is to apply the oil to your face before you lather-- this helps get a closer shave AND helps the blade last longer.

Alas, I never had any luck with this, and frankly, it's counter-intuitive given that every other shaving rule says your face has to be wet, wet, wet before you apply shaving cream or gel; applying oil to your face kind of contradicts this.

That said, like I wrote, I've had a lot of luck with using the oil AFTER I shaved and rinsed off the lather. A little dab of oil across the face, another pass or two with the razor, and I remove that last bit of hair that is always so frustrating to remove.

FYI, to folks raised on Mach3s and gels, the Art of Shaving stuff is pretty snobbish, but the *real* shaving purists think Art of Shaving offers a bunch of poseur stuff. I don't know about that; I've found their stuff to be really great-- their sandalwood stuff smells great, too (to me, AND to the GF).

Also, it lasts a long time-- the 5 oz jar of shaving cream may seem steep at $22, but it easily lasts as long as the cost-equivalent amount of shaving gel.

Anyway, try out the starter kit if you're interested, that's how I got hooked.
  #15  
Old 10-15-2009, 11:47 AM
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I use the Fusion (IIRC **4** blades plus the trim blade?). Works great; yes, use multiple passes to get a good shave.

I used to use disposable 2 or 3's on trips (or if I ran out of blades) and used to get a lot of cuts. I finally figured out the problem - you can push harder on the skin with the 4 blade than with a 3-blade or especially 2-blades. For a safe cut-and-burn-free result, pull the older razors lightly across the skin; just repeat the strokes several times to get everything.

Still nothing compares to the Fusion 4-blades.

Another point - all the advice says "shave with the direction of your hiar", but I found shaving against (and across) picks up the hair and cuts it better than going with the grain.
  #16  
Old 10-17-2009, 09:33 AM
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I tried various twin-blade razors, injection razors, etc, but eventually went back to using the old-fashioned safety razor and double-edged blades with shaving soap, mug, and brush. Aside from the quality of the shave, there is a certain luxurious feeling in the whole hot washcloth/hot lather/shave/hot rinse process. I make two passes, shaving first with the grain and then against it, rinsing the razor frequently with hot water, and get a very smooth shave.

However, if I'm in a rush, I can get almost the same results just using the razor dry, so I strongly suspect I just have an easily shaved hair/skin combination.

(Disclaimer: I have a beard, so am only shaving my cheeks and neck, avoiding all the fiddly, hard to shave areas.)
  #17  
Old 10-21-2009, 03:25 PM
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Twin blades


I swear by my Gillette Good News Trac ll .When I was 18 just starting to shave the military would furnish Shicks single blades which would nick and pull. when it became necassary for me to purchase my own razors I went thru the gauntlet I would but the cheap handle then spend almost $10 bucks for the blades soon I found Gillette Good News disposables were the most consistant, fairly cheap always available style and model .Recently I tried a knock off and ended up giving the entire package away. I can squeeze 3 to 4 good shaves from each Good News blade.
  #18  
Old 10-21-2009, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumb
The only advantage to the old razor (other than blades costing about 50 cents), is that it forced me to learn how to shave right, or else I would give myself horrendous razor burn.
Good lord, man. I think I paid ten bucks plus shipping for my first 100 double-edge blades, which I still haven't gotten through. Check eBay. Currently I'm using an old Gillette double-edge I got off of eBay for less than a sawbuck -- three solid pieces of stainless steel that screw together to make a shaver that will not die. I use a single blade maybe twice. I shave in the shower with no trouble. Rust is no trouble, only soap scum.

It's no wonder they moved well away from this business model. There are still a million of these goddamned things out there, just as useful now as they were fifty years ago, and only pennies a shave even if you're as quick to replace blades as I am. I've never invested in any of these foccacta multi-blade cartridge systems with the pivot heads, lubricant strips or the posable kung-fu action, but I've tried enough varieties of disposable that I don't set any store by the claims of multi-blade systems. The double-edge system is cheap, reliable, comfortable and effective.
  #19  
Old 10-21-2009, 05:54 PM
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I don't know how people can shave in the shower. Not only don't you have a mirror (I guess you could put one in there), but its always been two separate activities for me.
  #20  
Old 10-21-2009, 11:42 PM
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I'm normally an old-school kinda guy, but I swear by my 5-blade Fusion.

The blades are expensive as hell, but I only make the switch on the first day of each month.
  #21  
Old 10-22-2009, 03:28 AM
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I found that I had to have a Gillette with 3 blades or more to get a close shave without cutting myself. The problem would always be that, no matter how hard I tried, some of my hairs would not come out of the blade. The Mach 3 and Mach 5 have this design where the blade compartment is open to water on both sides, and I could get it clean. Each blade would last a couple months or so.

I finally got tired of paying so much for the new blades. I tried a sharpener, but it really didn't work. I pretty much went to not shaving until I got an electric shaver for Christmas. I thought I was going to hate it. But I found out that I could go over the same spot multiple times without cutting myself, like would happen with any safety razors (even the Gilletes--I just didn't need to go over the place more than once).

Anyways, the reason I brought that up is that my electric shaver has 9 blades, one for each head.
  #22  
Old 10-22-2009, 01:02 PM
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I finally got tired of paying so much for the new blades. I tried a sharpener, but it really didn't work. I pretty much went to not shaving until I got an electric shaver for Christmas. I thought I was going to hate it. But I found out that I could go over the same spot multiple times without cutting myself, like would happen with any safety razors (even the Gilletes--I just didn't need to go over the place more than once).
I use the Fusion and I find I can basically go over any spot on my face as many times as I want without cutting myself (well, maybe if I deliberately slid it directly sideways). It's a huge improvement over twin blade razors. I'm a cheapskate at heart, but I'd never go back to cheap disposables.

I've tried the electric shaver, but the last one I had took too long and never gave me a really good shave (even if I went over the same spot for a long time).
  #23  
Old 10-22-2009, 01:41 PM
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I don't know how people can shave in the shower. Not only don't you have a mirror (I guess you could put one in there), but its always been two separate activities for me.
Well I figure why take 10 min to shower and then 5 min to shave when I can shave and shower in 10min. I don't even need a mirror any more. When I get out of the shower I just check to make sure I got the sideburns level and didn't miss any spots. I've gotten so good at over the years that I rarely have to do any touch up any more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pulp Friction View Post
I'm normally an old-school kinda guy, but I swear by my 5-blade Fusion.

The blades are expensive as hell, but I only make the switch on the first day of each month.
I think up thread I called it a Mach 5, but yes, the Fusion is the most awesome of blades. The blades are really expensive but I only have to change mine every two months.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:26 PM
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Well I figure why take 10 min to shower and then 5 min to shave when I can shave and shower in 10min. I don't even need a mirror any more. When I get out of the shower I just check to make sure I got the sideburns level and didn't miss any spots. I've gotten so good at over the years that I rarely have to do any touch up any more.
I also shave in the shower just fine without a mirror. I know where my face is. I know where it grows hair...just run the razor over those places and check with my fingers to see if I missed anything.

The best part - no whiskers in the sink. Showers are self-cleaning.
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
I don't know how people can shave in the shower. Not only don't you have a mirror (I guess you could put one in there), but its always been two separate activities for me.
Non-fogging mirrors are available. I shower and shave at the same time, and I shave my head as well. Nothing but a Fusion will do. Smoother, faster, no nicks.
  #26  
Old 10-22-2009, 03:28 PM
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Rack-a-Bones said:
Quote:
Well I figure why take 10 min to shower and then 5 min to shave when I can shave and shower in 10min.
How can it take you the same amount of time to shower when you are doing more?

I tried shaving in the shower, but couldn't take the extra time with the water running. I shave with the water in the sink, not tap running.

BigT said:
Quote:
I pretty much went to not shaving until I got an electric shaver for Christmas. I thought I was going to hate it. But I found out that I could go over the same spot multiple times without cutting myself, like would happen with any safety razors
I've had 2 or 3 Norelcos, the problem is they end up leaving my face (especially my neck) scraped raw. That doesn't happen with blades, though I'm susceptible to nicks. I can't stand the rawness, because sweat makes it sting, and I live in Houston. Summers are enough of a bitch without my neck stinging for 6 months.
  #27  
Old 10-30-2009, 04:44 AM
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That's a *really* close shave


Released in 1998, the Mach3 was the result of 15 years and $750 million of research. Thirty-five patents covered this consumer item. The three blades were spring loaded, the high carbon tips bonded to the blade with niobium. Each stroke whisked off 40% more whiskers than before. [sub only: http://www.economist.com/businessfin...gin_payBarrier ]

Irishman: BTW, foil shavers have a somewhat different feel than rotaries. All electrics require about a month to get used to.

Last edited by Measure for Measure; 10-30-2009 at 04:45 AM.
  #28  
Old 10-30-2009, 12:28 PM
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I've used a Schick Adjustable Injector since I was 15. It's hard finding blades anymore, except on Ebay. Once in awhile an old drug store sells off their stock.

I recall in the 80's Schick sold a twin blade for the injector razor. I used them for awhile, but quickly realized they dulled quicker. Plus the shave wasn't all that much better than a single blade. So, I went back to the single. Remember Teflon blades? Another gimmick that wasn't worth the cost.

A quick tip. Never take a razor you care about to the hospital. I had my stuff unpacked and went in for my surgery. I woke up in intensive care. The hospital staff repacked my stuff and cleaned out my room. Somehow my bag of stuff got misplaced. I lost the razor I'd used since I was 15. Thirty-five years gone!!!! Thank goodness for Ebay. It cost $40 to replace a vintage one like I had.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-30-2009 at 12:30 PM.
  #29  
Old 11-01-2009, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
Irishman: BTW, foil shavers have a somewhat different feel than rotaries. All electrics require about a month to get used to.
So true. I think when people have a bad experience with shavers, it's cuz they used a rotary shaver. Those either yank hair out (painful) or leave raw areas around the sharp edges of the face (jawline).

Foil razors (Braun for example) are a world of difference. And they do take 4-6 weeks to get used to.

Blade razors give a "closer" shave because there's more ex foliation going on - getting your skin wet, then rubbing it with the razor pulls off an outer layer of skin along with the hair. You are technically getting a closer shave. This is a big reason it takes so long to adjust to the electric razor - not so much ex foliation, it takes your skin and hair time to adjust to the new cutting method.

I've also seen people talk about using an electric razor with your skin oil as a lubricant, or using some other lubricant. IMO, you should always wash your skin with something that removes oil (soap, foaming wash, etc.) before you shave. The oil protects the hair, including protecting it from the shaver. Leaving oil on the hair;
a) makes your hair harder to cut
b) dulls the blade faster
c) doesn't give you as close of a cut (because the oil and oily skin keeps the razor from cutting the hair as close to the root)

I've experimented with shaving half of my face (and half of my head, I shave my head bald also) with an electric razor (Braun) 6 hours after a shower, then I washed the skin thoroughly and shaved the other half. The half I shaved after removing the skin oil was noticeably closer and felt nicer to the touch.

I've repeated that experiment several times to the same results.

I also think that shaving just one time with a razor means you have to start your 4-6 weeks of re-acclimation to the electric razor over again.
  #30  
Old 11-01-2009, 04:09 PM
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With respect to disposable shavers, blade quality plays a big part. I began using single-blade Wilkinson Colors as a result of reading Cecil's column. They gave me the best shave I've ever had. Then Wilkinson was sold to Schick, and the quality went way down. The razors were exactly the same in appearance, but the shave wasn't as close and they dulled more quickly. I switched to Gillette and now use the Mach 3.
  #31  
Old 11-01-2009, 08:40 PM
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I am another fan of double edge razors and shaving old school with creams and a brush. I can get a far superior shave compared to that of a fusion or Mach3. I have a bad combination of sensitive skin and thick beard. With a Mach3 I could get a close shave but it would irritate me like crazy. I hated shaving back a couple years ago. The irritation went away, and the shave was just as close with switching to an old Gillette Superspeed (well after an adjustment period of getting rid of all my bad habits that cartridges let you get away with). The only down side is it takes me 10-15 minutes to shave (you absolutely must take your time and do multiple passes with a DE razor). Considering I actually enjoy shaving now, I don't mind getting up a tad bit earlier.

I actually don't think DE razors are for most people, but I highly recommend anyone that shaves on a daily basis at least picks up a shaving brush and some decent cream. The difference in the protecting qualities (not to mention the smell) of a good lather versus goop from a can is pretty remarkable.

Check out http://badgerandblade.com/for more info
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