Razor Blades -- Point Of Diminishing Returns

I have been shaving with basically the same disposable razor for years, namely a two-bladed, pivoting head offering by either Schick or Gillette – not overly brand-loyal, I purchase whichever of the two they have at the check-out counter. I find that either one does the job well.

Which brings me to my question. I really don’t keep up with all the new technology nor the hype that comes with it, so I haven’t been interested in trying nor keeping-up with all the added blades that keep coming out. Never mind the vibrating ones. But I just happened to read an ad in one of the latest C&D mags for what I think is the latest of these gizmos, the Gillette “Fusion Power Phenom.*” Hell the name alone makes me think of any number of kid’s games, but what actually caught my eye is the fact that they are now up to FIVE blades! Last I knew, it was all of three.

So my question is: if two blades are better than one (and I’ll grant that from my own experience), three should be better than two and four better than three and so on…but till what point does this reasoning hold? Aren’t five blades already a bit over the top or can they logically add more resulting in a softer, better shave?


*Warning: Found that website nightmarish to navigate.

I found that the best innovation is the vibrating part. My Gillette M3 Power is the best razor I’ve ever had.

I’ve used my Fusion quite a lot, having gone through maybe 50 blades with it. To be honest, for me the M3 Power gives a better shave.

But there’s a big difference from the vibrating blades. I’ll never go back to an unpowered razor again. And there’s really no reason to - one thing I like about the M3 Power is that it can use the older Mach III blades, which are about half the price of Fusion blades. I find they last longer as well.

The only advantage the Fusion has that I can see is the little trimmer blade on the back. If you need that, I guess it would be handy. I find the M3 does all the trimming I need just fine, but then I don’t have facial hair or sideburns.

If you haven’t tried a powered razor, give it a try. You can pick up one of those sample kits for little more than the price of the blades alone. If nothing else, you’ll get a AA Duracell out of the deal. But I think you might be surprised at the different they make.

No, five blades is the limit:

Also see this graph from the Economist.

Thanks, Sam, appreciate your response.

I’ll follow your advice and give the vibrating ones a try – though I highly doubt I’ll give-up disposables as what drove me to them is the fact that handles get all gunky/gooey rather quickly. I just use the disposables two, three times and chuck 'em. Love the convenience and neatness. Though I bet – if they haven’t already – they’ll add the power option to them soon if it’s as good as you say.

But the question still stands. How many more blades will they add, and if so, will that really make a difference in the quality of shave?

On preview (had this tab open for ages)


That’s simply hysterical! Thanks. Best laugh I’ve had all day. The second strip bit is genius too.

Rivals just about anything I’ve ever read in The Pit.

Could you please explain the difference between a Hyperbolic curve and a Power-law curve? Beyond that, are they not saying either way that we could get up to 14 blades? :eek:

I was skeptical too about the Fusion, but for me at least, it is the best I have ever had. I never get cut by it, it’s sharp and gives the closest shave I’ve ever had and one cartridge lasts me a month.

I buy others and they seem to last one week at best, whether I use them or not.

I didn’t believe Fusion was that good, but at least for me, I can’t recommend it enough.

Either way we get to an infinite number of blades.

With the power-law curve it’d take another 90 years to get to 14 blades. If the hyperbolic applies (and it seems to have the better fit so far), we’ll get to 14 blades in about 2011, and 14,000 blades some time in 2012.

They’re just different ways of modelling the number of blades as a function of time. The hyperbolic curve, though, predicts that we should reach the Razor Singularity around 2020, when every razor will have an infinite number of blades and a man can become clean-shaven with the power of his mind. It’ll be an exciting time.

Um, what exactly do you shave if… wait, this is going to be one of those “I’m sorry I asked” questions isn’t it?

FWIW I use the cheapo disposable razors, a new one every shave. My face grows in fast, so no matter what kind of shaver I use in the morning I’m stubbly by the end of the day.

I meant I don’t wear a beard or mustache, of course.

That, and my dog stays incredibly smooth and kissable.

I love the shave I get with the Fusion, and I don’t even have the vibrating one. And I don’t even use the little trim blade, even though I have sideburns and a goatee. I recently tried going back to the the Mach3, just for comparison . . . and I’ve gotta say, three blades just aren’t enough.

I’m resisting temptation to upgrade to the vibrating model . . . so far.

Okay guys I want the payola too, who do I talk to after gushing about multi-cutting edge shaving systems?

Your doctor. He should be able to sew up the open wounds on your throat right quick.

What, exactly, is the advantage of a vibrating blade? It was never considered a good thing to get a shave from a barber with shaking hands, so how is this an improvement?

When you cut something with a knife or saw, do you move it back and forth, or just press down on it?

I honestly believe that my 3-bladed razor gives me a closer shave than the 2. I haven’t tried more blades.

I will also say that the double-headed razor that you put on your finger (which is 3-bladed) did not make shaving any easier. Maybe I have used a traditional one too long, but these just feel awkward. I will throw mine out once all the blades go dull. (A long time, I don’t need to shave that often.)

I have the women’s version of the 5 blader.
I too, was very skeptical - but I was given one for free.
Damn thing lasts forever.
I can get at least 6 weeks or longer of leg-shaving out of one cartridge, versus a max 2 weeks on a 2 or 3 blader.
So, they are definitely more expensive up front, but once I factor in how long they last, it’s definitely worth it.

Thanks guys, most informative even if we can’t really come to a definitive conclusion. I did notice this morning that the disposable razors I use are actually three-blade jobs: The Schick Xtreme 3 and/or the Gillette Sensor 3. Note the “3” there? Genius here didn’t till today. :smack: But I guess that shows I’m much more up to date than I previously thought – and that I’ll also have to vouch for three being better than two.

So those of you raving about the 5 bladed Fusion could very well be right my skepticism aside.

However, I think we’ll agree that when this glimpse into the future comes to happen it’ll be simply a shaving Nirvana:

– bolding mine.

My only question would be: will we be be able to will hair to grow as well? If so, it can’t happen soon enough for me. :wink:

This, however, I have a hard time believing:

– bolding mine.

Mind you, I am not calling you a liar, it’s just that I’ve never heard of such a thing. I mean I was told once by a barber that you could use my beard-stubs as a stylus they are so hard when coming out, so I can’t imagine any sort of blade lasting me more than five/six shaves tops, never mind a whole month!

Good for you if that’s the case though.

LOL. Well then you’ll find me even *less *credible… I often go months without getting a new blade. My beard doesn’t grow quickly enough to shave more than a 2-3 times a week and it is rather light. I think I made a plan to replace it at the first of each quarter, just so I knew I had done so. Of course, I don’t always remember to do so.

I was a two blade guy for decades and frankly thought all the hype about 3 and 4 blades ridiculous, not to mention the $100 million or whatever it was Gillette spent on development.

Recently though I switched to a new model, the Shick Quatro, because it had a 5th blade on the reverse side that could be used for trimming. I had a full beard but needed that to keep the lines nice and professional looking.

About a month ago I went ahead and cut it all off and, in doing so, now use the Quatro on my entire face. Unbelivable. Never did I think a razor, 4 actually, could perform a task so perfectly and effortlessly. Okay, I’m sold. 4 blades are waaaay better than 2.

A powered razor, eh? Hmmm…