OK, decided to re-visit twin-blade cartridge shaving today with my new, improved skills. Not throwing something in a bag for overnight air travel, I mean giving the notorious Hysteresis Effect a fair trial, with good lather, new cartridge, patience. And comparing that to the results I get with my SE and DE razors.
Here's my motivation. On the blade subforum, Steve (SiBurning) recently reminded us of this wonderful study he dug up awhile ago:
On the Optimum Hand Speed for Two-Blade Razor Shaving
It appeared in an applied math teaching publication, but it's worthy of submission to JIR (Journal of Irreproducible Results). Serious analysis combined with humor and silliness.
Anyway, with a boatload of assumptions, they come up with an optimal velocity of about 1.4 inch/sec, and apparently erring faster is better. My usual range is about 1.5-3.0 inch/sec, which brackets it nicely.
Now the real and larger question is whether the "hysteresis effect" actually works in the real world, with all the added complexities the authors recognize.
Tools & Approach
-- Fresh Trac II cartridge in a 1970s vintage heavy brass handle.
-- Mitchell's Wool Fat shaving soap, bowl lathered. [edited...not "Miller's"]
-- My usual ~4 passes (WTG>XTG>ATG + extra work on chin and neck.
I chose a non-pivoting head to let me have some degree of control over angle, maybe, just a little(?)
Well. It certainly was cutting very smoothly and easily on the cheeks. Not really bad on the chin. But no fewer strokes needed there. About the same. Problem is, this is super mild. I had to press down somewhat harder to get it close on the chin, despite the two blades. And very little control over shaving angle. It is what it is.
The initial impression was one of slick effectiveness, but that faded a bit on the chin where I was experiencing some irritation from the pressure needed to cut closely, and really receded when I got to my neck. Lots of strokes, re-lathering, more goes at it with increasing pressure.
So guess what...I actually cut myself on the neck. Hasn't happened in a very long time. I got careless with all the approaches I was trying to get anywhere. I regularly use all these dangerous-looking razors with impunity, and cut myself on a cartridge. Sheesh.
Well, I finally got a close shave...with some neck and chin irritation. The next part, the real test of the hysteresis effect, is going to be how much stubble I have 24 hours later. I'll let you know tomorrow. If hysteresis works, it should have cut closer and there will be less stubble. If not, I'm calling this the hysteresis defect.