« Looking back over recent entries... | Main | He's just a downhome Nebraskan »

September 27, 2004

On Shaving

I've been meaning to post something on this very important subject for some time but rapid advancements in lo-fi shaving technology have caused me to hold off, instead waiting for some development, some earth-shattering moment when I will feel comfortable making my feelings known. That moment has finally arrived.

The whole sordid tale of personal care product fetishism can be read in the extended entry.

For most of my life, save for a brief dalliance in junior high with a Norelco, I've been strictly a razor and cream/gel shaver. I've experimented with the shaving brush/cake soap method, but I've always stuck with the non-electric razor. The close shave I desire has never been attainable in any other way.

Over the last few years, the Gillette/Schick battles, reminiscent of Pepsi/Coke and Avis/Hertz, have had my head spinning. I've used the Gillette Sensor, with it's twin blades and lubricating strip. Gillette products have always seemed a bit better than the Schick alternative for some reason, and I've stayed fairly brand loyal. When Gillette rolled out the Mach 3, I quickly adopted it and found it gave me a shave of a closeness heretofore unknown.

Things changed in the last few months. Schick, usually the late comer in releasing new products, came out with the four-bladed Quattro. As I'd been taught over my years of shaving, more blades is better, so I went out and acquired a Quattro along with four replacement blades.

My initial reaction was favorable but I soon realized that perhaps the four-blade barrier was not meant to be broken. I was able to shave quicker, but I found that closeness was lacking. Upon inspecting the blade, I discovered that the blade array was held together by a couple of metal wires running vertically over the face, placing the blades just a little but further from the skin that is optimal. If four blades means a less close shave, I could do without them.

Gillette, perhaps coming to the same conclusion I did, eschewed the four-blade razor, instead coming out with a vibrating Mach 3. Besides blurring the line between electric and non-electric, it also seemed to be more suited to recreational shaving of other areas. I was not biting. Instead, I returned to my old standby, the Schick Injector. While it is a Schick product, it also provides the closest one-blade shave I've ever had.

Which brings me to the reason for this post, the Old Spice H.E. 4x4. It's a disposable, which I don't normally like, but I was out of Injector blades and decided to give it a try after noticing the absence of a closeness-reducing wire across the blade array. Also notable was the presence of four lube-zones. More lube on your razor is always highly desirable.

The experience of shaving with the 4x4 was like no shave I've ever had. Not only was it the quickest shave ever, it was also the closest, with almost no back-tracking or against-the-graining necessary to achive the closeness.

I can't wait to shave again tomorrow.

Posted by Half-Cocked at September 27, 2004 11:38 PM


haven't you seen queer eye? speedy shaving = BAAAAAAD.

Posted by: julee at September 28, 2004 12:18 PM

Of course. I don't use that straight-guy herky-jerky shaving technique. By speed of shaving I'm referring to total time. With the new razor I don't have to spend as much time total because I don't miss spots or unevenly shave spots.

Posted by: Steve at September 28, 2004 01:32 PM

I find that the most important factor in selectig a razor is the distance between the topmost blade and the edge of the razor. If that distance is too great, then the razor will miss the hairs that are found in the crook right under your nose, and that looks bad. Of course that area between the topmost blade and the edge of the razor is home to the lubrasmooth strip, and as Steve points out, you do want plenty of lube.

So how is the Old Spice in that department?

Also, do we know that the Old Spice is really an Old Spice or is it actually something from one of the shaving also-rans like Bic?

And lastly, the Old Spice, as a disposable, may have a dramatically shortened lifespan. Please report back on how both the lubrasmooth strip and the blades last over the long-haul.


P.S. I recommend Aveda shaving lotion. It's neither gel nor foam, which is good because the idea of the lotion is to put lubrication in touch with your face so anything that smacks of foam (and gel is just unrealized foam) is just putting air next to your face.


P.P.S. Shave in the shower for maximum comfort.


Posted by: Thomas at September 28, 2004 03:20 PM

I've been a long-time M3 user - simply the closest shave I've gotten. I tried some of the Schick ones that came out (ie the Diamond and more recently the Quaddro) and nothing came close to the M3.

I really just thought it was a gimmick, but bought it and tried it on a bet. It's really the best shave I've gotten - the vibrating really makes a difference. Closer shave and less razor burn.

Posted by: Tim Marman at October 5, 2004 08:40 PM

Oh and I usually use Edge gel, but recently I've been using the Neutragena Razor Defense line - the pre-shave scrub, the shave gel, and the post-shave lotion.

Highly recommended :)

Posted by: Tim Marman at October 5, 2004 08:46 PM