A few moments ago, I just finished my 12th shave with the Gillette Fusion Proglide Power cartridge I received with the ProGlide challenge. For this shave I hand-lathered KMF shave cream. The previous 11 shaves (by the way, these were not all in a row--I mix up my routine) were also with KMF shave cream, either hand lathered on my face or done properly with a brush and bowl. Even though this is the 12th shave on the blade, I was able to achieve a BBS shave in 2 passes + touch-up with no appreciable irritation. The shave is fast. Color me impressed.
I've been DE shaving for many years. I got into DE shaving because I was never that happy with my cartridge shaves... I mean, the Mach 3 got the job done well enough and quickly, but I always had horrible acne breakouts after shaving a few days in a row. Then, the Fusion came out... I bought it along with a huge pack of blades at Costco. I immediately hated the Fusion, it was mean to my face caused massive irritations and a lot of acne, so I set it aside and went back to my Mach 3. I was venting to a friend about how horrible the Fusion was (I believe this was in 2006) and he suggested I look into DE shaving. The idea appealed to me a great deal, so I ran with it. For the better part of the years in-between now and late 2009, I DE shaved about 70% of the time with my Merkur 38c using random blades from a huge sampler pack and used my Mach3 the rest of the time.
By the end of 2009, I had ranked my picks for my DE blades. I started looking into shaving forums to see what else was out there. So far this year, acquisition has really set in. I've purchased hundreds of DE blades (my favorites are now Feather, Russian Yellow Gillette, and KAI). I've picked up a Merkur 38b (I like the handle better) and all nature of old Gillettes. Not satisfied with that, I picked up a Gillette Sensor, a Shick Hydra 3, and soon I'll have a Bump Fighter handle and some Personna Trac II blades.
Variety is the spice of life. I'm no longer satisfied to just use the same old razor every day.
The Gillette Fusion Proglide Cartridge is really impressive to me so far. I've never had a blade of any sort give me a 2-pass BBS shave after having already used it for 11 previous shaves. The moisture strip on this thing is starting to flake away--it's extremely thin now and will be gone very soon. I honestly wonder how much longer this thing can last. That said, the astronomical price per cartridge continues to surprise me.
I really wonder how the old Gillette Fusion cartridges were the worst cartridges and worst shave I've ever had while, conversely, the Gillette Fusion Proglide cartridge I've been using for several weeks is easily the best and most durable cartridge I've ever used. There really must be a difference in the metal/coatings. I've often wondered if the old Gillette Fusion cartridges were made out of soft metal on purpose (to sell more replacement blades).
Oh yeah... and one other thing: I really have to wonder if the consumer blades being sold in, say, a year from now, will be as good as the blades in the sampler cartridge. Time will tell.
p.s. I'm still mainly a DE shaver. =)