Why hate Cartridge razors? Gillette vs Schick...
Despite all the negativity surrounding cartridge razors, there are positives to them as well. I will get to that in a moment.
If you think about it, not much has changed. We talk about these big evil companies like Proctor and Gamble/Gillette and Energizer/Schick/Wilkinson with their big marketing vehicle and all that fluff like it was any different back then. Sure, cartridges are more expensive, and yes these companies are trying to make more money. Is there anything new here? Weren't they trying to make more money back then? Once they moved on to making cartridge razors, they could care less about the DE razors or the blades.
The biggest consumer of DE razors and blades is the third world. Asian and African countries. They don't do it as a hobby, they do it because most of them cannot afford these cartridge packs, which target the North American market specifically. This is why you see Walmart stacking more Gillette and less Williams or any other traditional shaving gear. The price for DE blades is cheap because there are dozens of manufacturers using licensed American and European technologies, and have created their own machines.
Now, for the positives. Out of the two, Schick the underdog appeals to me though I can't quite put my finger on it. Is it because they offer a better value? Better pricing? Is it because Schick seems to be more of an innovator while Gillette is just a big bad Bully?
First off, I find many people complain about cartridge razors, and quite frankly, I think that no matter what engineers at Gillette or Schick come up with, they will always complain about it. I have seen them lather up and shave, no prep, nothing. Just fire off some goo into their right hand, slap it on both cheeks, and begin painting like they are the next Picasso. They obviously need to be on B&B where one can learn and get a lot of good advice from experienced shavers who know the value of a good prep and technique without which, ANY razors *even the Star Trek futuristic ones* are useless.
I have used both, Gillette Fusion and Schick Quattro Titanium. After much comparisons, I found that BOTH razors can gunk up, if thick gels and creams are used. Lather made to be Thinner, Wetter, Slipperier, helps avoid gunk ups.
So even though the blades are closer together, the cartridges are designed well enough. Schick was smart enough to put a trimmer on their newest gadget, so some of us can trim down before shaving with the razor. A razor blade/cartridge is not intended to mow down a week's worth of hair. These cartridges are meant to be used as DAILY shavers.
Quattro Power looks like it was made in a rush. It sure is ugly, and I hate to look at it so much, that I had to move on and learn how to hold onto to something sexier. It is a disgusting looking razor, though it almost feels just right in the hand, specially during a shower. But if you want a real grippy and sexy handle, look at the re-designed Schick Quattro Titanium. Not that there was anything wrong with the original handle, Schick continues to innovate. They aren't just adding more rows of blades. They are making their existing product BETTER. I don't see Gillette doing that. Gillette tries to ditch it's older products. Schick has not ditched the Quattro, rather, made it better. Further more, Schick Quattro's blades on the cartridge feel tougher, sharper, and last a hell of a lot longer. It is almost impossible to cut yourself.
The CEO of Men's Essentials (A wet-shaving site based in Canada, terribly expensive by the way) wrote about "the angle of the dangle" and how Schick messed up. Clearly, if one's intention is not to give a fair and unbiased try in order to judge a product, one shouldn't even do it. If you approach any idea with how bad it is or what's wrong with it, you probably won't like the end result either. I'm sorry to say that it's not just the angle of the dangle. Take your beloved DERBY or Redpack blades (or whatever blade floats your boat) You can use them at whatever angle and they give a smooth shave. Well, the Schick's blades are exactly like that. It's cartridge moves in an elliptical fashion, not just on a single point. That function gives the 'angle of the dangle', plus it's superior construction makes the blade last, and last, and last. Before I got into DE shaving, I have used a single cartridge for 45 (yes, 45 -shaving daily ofcourse-) shaves. I can honestly say that I perfected the technique. I never had irritation, or razor burn, ever.
Then you have that lube strip. I actually took one off, and ran water over it, then I held it between my fingers, and sure enough, this stuff is slippery. Whether it really works or not, is beyond me, because I am sure that there is a certain point where you just can't get any slipperier. By the time I am ready to shave, my facial skin is already hydroplane quality surface. The razor glides on my face without effort. I learned how to do that by (still learning) proper wet shaving methods. The reason these Multi-bladed mowers hurt so bad is because most of us who use them with the canned goo don't bother to get the slipperiness right. I'm short on fancy scientific words right now but if you use canned goo, or anything, water is important. If I use a canned goo such as a Nivea gel, I use very little gel, get a thin lather, and add drops of water, so it starts to feel as if it was whipped up in a bowl and feels close to using a soap/creme mixture. The only downside to canned goo is that it tends to magically start disappearing. The answer is simple, just use a little to start off with. I'm talking a tiny dollop the size of a dime.
In the end, no matter which razor you choose, your technique and preparation matters first, and then the razor. However, given that I need a cartridge razor to shave my head with comfortably and evenly, out of the two 'Evil' companies, I would have to pick Schick. And at around $8 bucks (That's $6.96+15% tax) for 6 cartridges, which can last me a year, I think it's the cheapest way to shave my head every 3-4 days.
I also use the Quattro once a week on my face, to even out the stubble length, and it allows me a fresh week of DE shaves. Don't get me wrong, I love shaving with the DE, but I also enjoy using my Quattro just as much.
As for the Fusion, I was sold that by a really pretty cashier at a pharmacy almost 2 years ago as it was on sale. At that time, they came with 3 cartridges. 1 with the handle, and 2 in the back. If you try finding that now, good luck. Gillette products on special? Tell me about it because I'd like to see that day. If there is ever a special, it's usually their Fusion, with something balmy like their Fusion aftershave or Gel which can make a gentleman vomit as it's cologne equivalent would be Axe body spray, or Mach 3 cartridges with Fusion handle and 1 cartridge, sort of like a drug dealer offering a bit of coke along with your joint just to keep him in mind incase you tried the coke.
Gillette products are also much more expensive, without any real innovation behind it. Fusion's 20line blue skin-stretch-prep strip before the blades hit your face, pretty much wipe any cream off your face. The blades feel like a thousand termites who haven't seen a single piece of wood for a decade. And 5 blades? I admit that 4 is bad enough on the Quattro, but atleast it looks decent, and it's about the thickness from the end of my nose to the beginning of my lips, I can fit the Quattro in the middle and simply move the handle, and it's eliptical orbit movement takes care of the rest, but where in the world is the Fusion blade supposed to go on it's single tipping point? It doesn't even fit in those areas. That's why they added the blade on the back folks. But Schick went ahead and did that too. Sure they copied, but again, it only makes their product even better, Practically.
Now that Schick has the almighty Trimmer for under 12 bux, (has anyone seen this thing?, It reminds me of the new Airbus ultra jumbo jet on which they should serve 12 inch subs for lunch), I can only wonder what Gillette will do next. I have to admit that Schick's new product is ugly and could have been better, but I have never used it, so I won't comment. All I know is that it is the cheapest trimmer and I can expect it to be a decent quality product that just works. How long would it work? Who knows.
In the end, I love my DE shaving, I love the anticipation and prep work involved, but when it comes to shaving my head, my choice is Schick Quattro Titanium. If everything is done right with this tool, it remains good for many shaves, outlasting my Mach 3 Turbo cartridges by a long shot.
Last edited by New2DEShaving_Montreal; 04-09-2008 at 02:22 AM.
[FONT="Century Gothic"][COLOR="DarkRed"]I refuse to believe there aren't better ways to obtain what we need from nature. If it requires destruction, torture, cruelty, and disrespect for life in order for me to get the end product, I will gladly pass.[/COLOR][/FONT]