Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Reader's Question from the Mail Bag

Another reason to shave with a DE....


Dear Shaving Like Grandad:

I used to use a 2 blade Astra. My handle corroded away.  The 3 blade, 4 blade, etc., besides seeming silly, are too bulky.

So I started to use the 2 blade disposables.  Suddenly they don’t work.

I bought a pack of Gillette sensor 2 (or whatever) and they didn’t shave, 3-4 times over my facial hair and it was still there. So I threw them out, and got Schick, and they didn’t work.

I have one two blade left and I have been shaving with it. When it wears out, I am not sure how I will shave.

My facial hair is tough.

Are others running into this problem?


Thanks for writing. My focus, interest, and knowledge is on double-edge shaving -- that is, not multi-bladed cartridge razors, but rather the old fashioned razors that take a single, separate, more-or-less rectangular blade that has two edges for shaving. So you're outside my area of expertise when we talk about cartridge shaving systems, which I have abandoned.

That said, do you mean Atra, instead of Astra? Based on just a bit of research, the Atra was a metal handle that accepted double-bladed cartridges. If that corroded away, likely it was made of a zinc-based alloy such as ZAMAK, and then plated in a protective chrome plating. The plating is done because zinc-based alloys actually will degrade over time when exposed to water. So if the handle corroded, the protective plating must have been damaged allowing water to come into contact with the underlying substrate.

I don't have cartridge-based shaving recommendations, but if you order a $4 Rimei razor as an experiment, and get some trial packages of DE blades, you might try an old-school double edge razor. This razor can be ordered from the following URL:

 If you give this a try, there are several other things you must plan to do:

1. It will take about three weeks to receive the razor, so you have to have a stop-gap shaving plan ready.

2. View some how-to videos on YouTube so that you understand the different technique that DE shaving requires (light pressure, and beard reduction through multiple passes). I recommend that you begin with those offered by mantic59, who has helped many DE newcomers get started more safely and effectively. Find him at the following URL:

3. Make sure your assortment of blade-sample packs includes some Russian-made blades, which tend to be sharp, durable, and reasonably comfortable, but also try Personna -- both the blue (US made) and red (Israeli made) labels.

4. Get an inexpensive shave brush (I recommend Van Der Hagen boar bristled) and a good shave soap or cream.  (Perhaps let me know and I'll send you a low-cost sample of my own Grandad's shave soap for sensitive skin.)

Finally, to answer your final question, I don't receive much feedback on performance of cartridge shaving systems (actually none) so I don't know what's going on, but I'm not surprised.

Good luck to you!

Best regards,

Shave Like Grandad weblog

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