Today's disposable was a pivoting, two-bladed cartridge-style razor with a lubricating strip and a four-inch handle, manufactured by Gillette. I would estimate that the per-razor cost when bought in a package of ten is about 40 cents (US).
I pretty much shaved in my usual way. The difference between how I used this razor today and how I might have used it years a go is that I probably used a much lighter pressure this morning. Oh, and I also used a buffing stroke for the initial pass and an anti-raking stroke pattern, both of which I would certainly not have done in by-gone days.
I started with a standard shave; that is, one pass, with grain. In the past I would have stopped here. So after I took my standard shave, I gave it a feel with my hand. It was not better than a standard shave with my DE razors; I don't think it was even as good.
I then took a second pass after re-wetting my beard but not re-lathering; there was more than enough residual lather on my face from my buffing-stroke first pass -- in which I didn't rinse my razor. Ever aware of the possibility of in-grown hairs with these cartridge razors, I took my second pass across grain.
Still not quite close enough to suit my mood this morning, I again re-wet my beard (there was still enough lather) and made some touch-up strokes on chin, upper lip, under jaw line, and on my neck.
After that I considered the shave acceptable and cleaned up my gear after applying to my face some witch hazel, then some Gillette after-shave gel (blue bottle).
On the positive side, this razor probably shaved a bit closer than the DE in my most troublesome area, which is under the jaw line. It also was a very low risk shave as cartridge razors tend to be -- yielding low irritation and absolutely zero wounds.
On the negative side, for all the work I did, the shave wasn't all that close on my cheeks, upper lip, and neck. I'm assuming that the lack of an against-grain pass in those areas is a significant limiting factor -- but the risk of in-grown hairs makes the against-grain pass not worth the closer shave. [UPDATE: Since writing this article, I have shaved against grain with this type of razor, and had good results. For me, at least, the risk of in-grown hairs was less than anticipated.] Further, this razor is about twice as costly as my preferred blade, the Personna Platinum Chrome (the red-label blade), and about four times as costly as my various second-tier blades: Astra SP, Personna Super (lab blue), Dorco ST-301, SuperMax Titanium, Lord Platinum Class, etc. Also, the ecological load is higher, with all the non-recyclable plastic to discard. Additionally, the blades of the cartridge razor are much harder to maintain for longevity. I don't know how many good shaves I can get from this disposable twin-bladed razor, but I wonder with some doubt if it can match the twenty-plus quality shaves that I'm currently getting from my favorite DE blades.
To maintain today's disposable, I first rinsed and then shook and blew out the moisture from the twin blades. I then arm stropped the razor head, which, of course, only manicures one side of each blade edge. I then dunked the razor head in mineral oil for a few seconds, and set it in a reused Greek-yogurt cup to drain prior to long-term storage for my next use (if ever).
In sum, I was somewhat surprised by the poor standard shave that I formerly considered completely acceptable. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.
But was it awful? Actually, now that I know what a good shave is and isn't, it was still a bit of a challenge to use effectively, which was fun. However, I wouldn't go back to this razor for regular use. I would use it on trips where I was traveling by air and was only using carry-on luggage.
In all, the close shave, economy and ecological friendliness of the old-school DE razor has me hooked. Just for fun though, I may some time pick up a small quantity of disposable single-blade, non-pivoting razors to give those another test shave and see how they compare to the DE design.