Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Typical Shaving-Review Video: A Time-Saving General Summary

In considering my latest purchase, the plastic Merkur 030, the red-and-black so-called bakelite razor, I reviewed many video reviews on line -- as well as videos on other razors. Some videos were as short as a half minute -- usually showing the razor without blade installed as though it were an automobile or other object of beauty to be admired; others ran 20 minutes or more showing the reviewer (or worse, adolescents) shaving. Below is a generic summary of most videos.

Introduction: "Today I'm showing (blah, blah, blah....)

Show the razor: Usually quick, moving images. Often without blade installed. When blade is installed, the few views that actually could be helpful to help understand how the razor will shave, they come and go so quickly that the video is not helpful at all.

[Same-day update] When the blade is installed, it is done in the reviewer's hands in a rather unsafe, fumbling way, which also stupidly doesn't optimize the likelihood that the blade will self center. (See my old article on the best way to insert a blade into a two- or three-piece razor.)

Lather and shave: This is the see,-it's-really-a-razor-that-can-shave-whiskers part. Painfully long in duration and idiotically short on meaningful information. Different reviewers will make radically contradictory comments ON THE SAME RAZOR such as "a rather mild razor" and "quite aggressive, really". So anyway, most demonstrate that the razor shaves (and shaves and shaves and shaves....) -- duh! They also discuss the razor's weight: "A nice heft" or "a bit light." Razor-handle length is frequently mentioned. (Most reviewers lack design knowledge beyond weight and length.) Also, their shaving methodology is often rather random, careless, redundant or some combination, with no explanation of the thought behind their method (likely because there is no thought behind their method beyond doing what others have said to do or what they are accustomed to doing).

Summary comments: "You just saw I shaved with blah-blah razor, blah-blah soap, and blah-blah brush. I got a surprisingly close shave.... blah, blah, blah..." These comments are about the same whether shaving with a Muhle R41 or a Weishi 9306. Yet whether they liked the shave or hated it, who cares? This has nothing to do with your experience, which, most importantly, depends on you, your shaving habits and technique, the blade you choose, etc.

There. I just saved you potentially hours of wasted time watching silly shaving-demo videos.

A meaningful video or review would have the following:

  • Protracted close-up views of the razor with blade installed 1) looking down on the top cap to show blade reveal, and 2) from the side looking down along the shaving edge to show blade exposure (that is, where the blade edge lies in relation to the shaving plane formed by the top cap and the safety bar/comb) as well as blade-bar span (the distance from the blade edge to the line along the bar/comb that touches the face) and the curvature of the blade in the razor head. Other views may be helpful for a given razor design. 
  • Brief, yet thoughtful comments on the design and shave character. (Unfortunately, most reviewers lack sufficient knowledge to do this meaningfully.)
  • If the reviewer is going to shave, it should be accelerated fast motion unless they have something interesting, useful, or novel to discuss and demonstrate in their methodology.
Now you have my thoughts. Thanks for the opportunity to rant.

Happy shaving!

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