I know I am a pain but I love CBN!
"you're stuck grabbing your ankles whenever you have to pop for those $2 blades... ouch."
Which AS splashes are the most moisturizing?
I'm sending this link to all of my non-believing friends.
[SIZE="1"]Member of [URL="http://badgerandblade.com/vb/group.php?groupid=24"][COLOR="DarkRed"]Shaving Canada Rasage Canada[/COLOR][/URL][/SIZE]
That is a straight razor by Bill Ellis
joel (at) badgerandblade.com
I like the article, but strongly object against one aspect: the 'get a real razor... sissy'-part. While I have no doubt that the cartridge razors cannot be a one size fits all-solution, I have never understood this wildly condescending tone people use on any shaving forum whenever the devices are mentioned.
The fact is: at least I can get good shaves from cartridges. I even get perfect shaves from them. With that I mean: no irritation, no nicks or red spots, no razor burn, no ingrown hairs, and BBS every time I put down the razor. It is nowadays rare that I feel the alcohol in my AS splash too! (No jokes about having flayed my skin to the bone so that I am not capable of feeling anything anymore, please.) I do not have the equipment to make a video, and I doubt my SO would like it very much if I opened up our house to those who wish to witness the 'miracle' up close---but I am very confident that the quality of my shaves easily matches that of experienced DE shavers.
I don't think I am the exception, really. And that is because I think that most guys only start to pay attention to their shaving technique when they move on to a DE (and especially straights). They picked up all these bad habits, either from bad examples like shaving commercials or simply because they really didn't know any better. In any case, once they switch, the basic rules of shaving are finally applied: properly prepare, never use pressure, and pay attention to grain. With that in mind, I'm sort-of amazed to read the blunt statement that '[...] having the recessed blades means you need to apply pressure in order to get a close shave (which creates irritation and ingrown hairs)...': well then, apparently I am doing something very wrong then coz I sure as heck am closely shaven while not using pressure; nor am I suffering from irritation and ingrowns. The trick is, of course, that all the rules can be applied equally well to cartridges. You do not need to use pressure to get at the hairs: just use multiple passes like you've been taught with a DE (or straight). Don't shave at random: instead do WTG, XTG and ATG passes. Don't shave in long swoops as shown in the commercials: take it easy, doing short overlapping strokes. Prepping: well, hair is hair and blades are blades, so it's rather stupid not to prep since it only makes the shave easier. I have a strong suspicion that many sort-of ignore the major improvements these in hindsight rather obvious rules bring and attribute them solely or too much to the other make of razor.
Since I have been shaving with the same make of razor for about 5 years now, with the last year and a half following the rules I just mentioned, I could easily tell the effect they had. Before, I could not shave more than every third day, had to be careful when going for BBS, and always had problems with ingrowns and burning aftershave; now I can shave whenever I want, am always BBS without too much effort, the last time I had an ingrown was due to a pimple, and as I mentioned aftershaves don't even burn anymore. I even think I have less allergic outbreaks---mainly hives from cat hair or sweaters rubbing against my skin---than I used to. The improvements are all due to technique. And, admittedly, better creams, but as I was a brush user from the day I started shaving 20 years ago, I was not entirely unfamiliar with the effect of good old-fashioned lather. (In fact, it was because of the decreasing availability of my shaving cream that I searched out shaving forums like this one---the very idea of turning to canned stuff made my skin crawl.)
There are other things which make me frown. The landfill nightmare due to the plastic containers? Be serious. If we're going to compare containers then we need a full-scale LCA of the paper wrappings of the DE blades too. And some use little plastic holders. The plastic is easily combustible, so how that contributes to the landfill nightmare is rooted in anything but reason. Do cartridges easily clog? Well, the Mach3 I use is far more open than the bulky metal head of a DE---one or two sideways strokes in a basin of water and my cartridge is clean again. With the DE this is definitely not as easy. Losing effectiveness mid-stroke? Have you ever shaved with a cartridge? I get a distinct impression that you have not, or are forgetting the effect of the basic rules of shaving again. A blade is a blade. Sharp edges dull no matter what given the hardness of hairs (equal to copper fibre). Please do a search on any forum on blades losing their edge before writing such nonsense.
Are cartridges then the holy grail? No, of course not. They are bloody expensive for a start. The design of the Fusion with that orange landing platform is downright stupid. Gillette resorted to putting a single blade on the other side of the cartridge in order so that men could shave their upper lips and other hard to get at-areas. They created a solution to a problem which doesn't need to exist in the first place. As for the Quattro, the titanium-coated blades are so sharp and harsh that just shaving without pressure is already painful. The older 2-blade Wilkinsons and 3-blade Gillettes do just fine---simply because the cartridge head is compact and doesn't get in the way. All that nonsense about lifting hairs, and therefore cutting more deeply does not apply once you've finished the first pass: the hairs will then be too short for the multiple blade action to work. In essence, you will be using 3 single blades at the same time then, which is a bit of a waste of blade metal. Last but not least, the angle of the blade with respect to the skin is fixed, and that can be a genuine problem, as that angle presents the one size fits all-solution which may simply not work with some people.
In the end, what I am trying to get across is this: cartridges clearly have disadvantages, but they are not the disadvatages often mentioned. In addition, they are not distilled evil either, and with care and preparation---the same care and preparation a DE or straight user would apply---you can get excellent shaves out of them if the blade angle and type of metal used in the blades agree with you. (But the metal bit applies to a DE or straight just as equally.) For an introductory article, I find that part to be remarkably nonfactual and patronising. I would applaud it greatly if it were rewritten to be more in line with reality rather than fiction.
Last edited by cymric; 02-04-2009 at 06:14 AM.
Joel, congrats! Nice post!
Thanks for a great post for those of us still learning. Can you post a link to the Youtube video of you shaving with a straight?
Cartridge razors seem to work well for you... and that's great, you should stick with them, and enjoy them - but for the other 95% scouring the internet for assistance, spending more time/effort on a solution that likely cannot work for them isn't the best advice.
Simply put - a DE/Straight CAN work for everyone and is more fitting to advise someone to steer towards. Cartridges aren't one size fits all, where as the aforementioned are. In a piece offering help/advice, i've found fellas most often want direct, easy to understand instruction - sometimes saying things may, or may not work for them is confusing and uninspiring, so again while I state (and feel) you can get a good shave out of a cartridge, they aren't a good fit to recommend to the masses having problem/issues with attaining a superlative shave.
Happy shaving sissy... kidding, kidding - seriously!
joel (at) badgerandblade.com
DIGG here added by letterk.
joel (at) badgerandblade.com
I have to say I agree with the sentiment in cymric's post.
My initial impression is that the article is a bit over the top / prescriptive / preachy for a home page intro. More of an enthusiast's ode to the joys of "traditional" shaving than something that will convince the majority of cartridge / disposable shavers to try a new way of doing things.
I think it would be much improved if it had more of a "YMMV" tone, which is a bit lacking at the moment.
I personally didn't switch away from "modern" razors due to poor shaves. I was very happy with the shave I got from my Gillette Blue II fixed head disposable. I got interested after I bought my first tub of decent shaving soap, which I used very happily with my plastic Blue II for a couple of years before starting to experiment with DE razors.
Perhaps the article could be enhanced by adding a "if you do one thing" suggestion near the beginning, advocating folk to properly hydrate and use a decent shaving soap or cream. These ingredients, with any old brush and a cartridge razor are a quick route to a better shave and in my experience an effective way to encourage people to dive deeper into this hobby. EDIT: rereading the article, this might be better / more easily done by simply pointing out that (a) you don't HAVE to go beyond step 1 if you are happy with your cartrige / disposable razor and (b) you can use a cheaper alternative to a badger brush if you want to.
Having said all of that, I do appreciate the effort involved in producing a comprehensive article like this, and I'd like to thank Joel for taking the time to share his knowledge.
Last edited by colinmono; 02-04-2009 at 07:25 AM.
While I can get a decent-to-good shave with a cartridge, I get a much better (smoother, irritation-free and longer lasting) shave with a DE, SE or straight.
Excellently written, and informative.
"You should always strive to make everything as simple as possible, if not simpler." —Yoram Bauman
Simon Pure Cutlery "Magnetized" Straight Razor, Tweezerman Brush, Tom's of Maine Peppermint.
Dug. It's about time for another membership spike -- we're headed toward our millionth post!
Excellent primer on the subject. I think this will be very helpful to newbies and getting those cartridge-junkie friends of mine hooked on real shaving. Congrats, Joel.