Friday, January 15, 2016

What Shaves Better...

Which shaves better: disposables or double-edge razors?

Of course, it's a trick question similar to asking what drives better: Ford or Chevy? Of course, the answer depends on many other variables beyond vehicle manufacturer such as type of road, what is being transported, and the other individual factors that matter to you.

Same with razors.

If a man is just taking a standard shave, which is a single with-grain pass, and is using a light touch (that is, not pressing the razor excessively against the face, and just letting the sharp blade do the work) the shave is likely to be safe but probably not too close irrespective of what gear is being used. At least that's been my experience when using razors with between one and three blades in the shave head.

Which brings up a point: the four-, five-, six-, and even seven-bladed razors appear to be designed for the man who will only take a single pass in his shave. For some men this is a matter of expediency; they don't want to take the time to cover real estate twice. (Yet many of us know that touch-up strokes for a closer shave don't have to take much time -- or even a distinct second pass. See my article on the regional unishave.) Other standard-shave takers aren't even aware of the possibility of safe second passes; many think this is a formula for in-grown hairs.

I suppose that if a man is determined to take only a single pass, then a multi-bladed razor with more than three blades might give a better shave. (In my limited triple-blade experience, three blades aren't much better than one for a single pass, and may be more irritating when used for multiple passes or multiple strokes in the same spot. I have no experience with more than three blades.)

If I limit my discussion to single-bladed options such as a DE razor compared to the Bic Sensitive disposable, then it depends on DE choices. With razor-and-blade combinations that are well suited to my skin and beard, I can get a more comfortable, more effective, more face-friendly shave with my DE gear. If I choose a razor-and-blade combination that is poorly suited to my face, the Bic will give the superior shave.

I must also come back to the point that DE shaving is a more ecologically-responsible choice. If one deposits used DE blades in a steel recycle bank and then follows through and recycles them, there is very little that ends up in a land fill. I know that there are grizzled guys out there who are scoffing, believing that disposable razors pose no significant ecological burden. But of course, one has to look at the big picture. If millions of men (perhaps billions) are using disposable razors, then the ecological burden is significant. The whole idea of routinely and constantly using any disposable product is incredibly stupid and irresponsible unless the product is easily and quickly degraded into harmless, common, earth-friendly materials -- and how many disposable products meet those criteria? (Hint: virtually none.)


So make mine old school, please. Any day I'll take a vintage Gillette Tech or a Merkur 15C open-comb razor with a Personna Platinum-Chrome blade (the red label), thanks very much.

Happy shaving!

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