Take some time over your daily grind.
April 28, 2008 5:57 PM   Subscribe

"One of the biggest examples of the planned obsolescence of modern American capitalism...is the razor. The two blade razor, then the three blade razor, then the five blade razor. Um, these things are okay but...mostly not good. You've gotta go counterintuitive..."

And if you get into it, of course there are modern day authorities on the subject, who'll learn ya good.

And if you get even more into it, forget not, this is the internet - so...

Above all, the vibe I seem to get from the wet shaving community is a sense of damn genuine pleasure to be had in an activity that many regard as an inconvenient chore. There's joy to be had in something most people blaze through as quickly as possible just to get to work reasonably on time. And I've mentioned my love for safety razors to many, and many think that I must be mad to trust my face to such old technology. To them I say: Cary Grant was one finely shaven son of a bitch, wasn't he?

Mefi thought about this some years ago too.
posted by 6am (111 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
posted by yonation at 6:02 PM on April 28, 2008

And yet no mention of the prophecy come to pass?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:09 PM on April 28, 2008 [5 favorites]

A badger hair brush is all right, for the pikers and fifteen year olds who are cultivating that "did I just have some chocolate milk or is it a mustache look", real men rip the head off the badger (preferably Mauritanian NOT the ones from Brussels, which are actually a kind of non-swimming water rat, think Nutria but unable to swim or even float) and lather that up with some Vendigliani Otrusco, which is a Sicilian emollientie di priapari (lit. boner cream). By all means use an English lavender scented creme if all you are going to do is spend the rest of the day comparing man purses down at the emo-record shop, but if you are trying to emulate the real leading male lights of the century you are going to need at least the Vendigliani, the scent of which Graham Greene once noted "... most resembles that of toasted almonds, with perhaps just a tint, a mere suggestion, of stale urine."

Finally using a blade at all smacks of Oscar Wilde on poppers levels of limp-wristedness (you might as well try to have some kind of man-baby and spend the rest of your life baking orange zest muffins). Real men, true men, (like Kaiser Wilheim, the last actual MALE man who ever lived) merely lather up and then, elbows clasped tightly to the sides, perhaps two inches above the kidneys, sprint at top speed towards a coral reef at low tide and with a last light (but masculine) leap, scrape off 1/18th of their face, per side, per day. If no coral is available it is best to grow a beard, as attempting the same thing on pumice or god help us, volcanic rock is akin to living ones' life as a Spaniard.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:12 PM on April 28, 2008 [49 favorites]

The very first episode of SNL lampooned razor advertising with a parody ad for the Triple Trac, three blade razor--seen at the time as a ludicrous idea. Apparently someone took that as a challenge.

[ FADE IN on a caveman on his knees by a river ]

Announcer (V/O): In the dawn of civilization, long before the Bronze Age, man first began his search for the close shave.

[ The caveman takes a club and hits himself in the face. DISSOLVE to the announcer speaking to the camera against a black background ]

Announcer: Since then, man has been ardently striding to design the perfect shaving instrument.

[ Shots of various razors are shown ]

Announcer (V/O): From the straight razor, to the safety razor, to the injector system, amd finally the highly acclaimed twinblade cartridge.

[ The announcer picks up a twinblade and shows it to the camera ]

Announcer: Almost perfect, yet not quite the superlative groom. Introducing the Triple-Trac.

[ DISSOLVE to a close-up of the three-bladed Triple-Trac razor ]

Announcer (V/O): Not just two blades in one system, but three stainless, platinum teflex-coated blades melded together to form one incredible shaving cartridge, easily fitted into your old twinblade holder. Triple-Trac's triple-threat cartridge, with more close shaves than ever before. Here's how it works.

[ DISSOLVE to a cartoon showing a how the Triple-Trac shaves a whisker ]

Announcer (V/O): The first blade grabs at the whisker, tugging it away from your face to protect it from the second blade.

[ The cartoon shows how the Triple-Trac yanks painfully at the whisker ]

Announcer (V/O): Blade number two catches and digs into the stubble before it has the chance to snap back and injure you, pulling it farther out so that it is now ready for shearing.

[ The cartoon shows an even more painful whisker-yanking ]

Announcer (V/O): Triple-Trac's third blade, a finely-honed bonded platinum instrument, cuts cleanly through the whisker at its base, leaving your face as smooth as a billiard ball.

[ Finally, the cartoon shows the Triple-Trac completely shaving the whisker ]

[ DISSOLVE back to the announcer against the black background, holding up a Triple-Trac ]

Announcer: The Triple-Trac. Because you'll believe anything.

[ FADE ]
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:14 PM on April 28, 2008

Yeah, I tried this and came to the conclusion that it sucked. I blogged about it.
posted by Tube at 6:14 PM on April 28, 2008

I don't get the magic in this. Granted, I'm a little annoyed that it's harder and harder to find cheap replacements for my two-blade razor, but why all of the ritual? I shave, in the shower, don't even need a mirror. Never miss a spot. I doubt the whole process takes me more than ninety seconds.

Given the fact that I'm going to be doing this invariant, annoying chore for the rest of my life, why draw it out? Spend an extra thirty seconds shaving, you lose three hours a year. If I'm going to waste my time, I'd like to waste it on something fun. You don't see women saying, "What I really need is a slow, drawn-out Brazillian."
posted by adipocere at 6:14 PM on April 28, 2008 [4 favorites]

I refuse to accept that I even need to shave in the first place. So there.
posted by not applicable at 6:19 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Merkur razor used in the YouTube video is a subtle and marvelous instrument. My face looks ten times less red and irritated since I started using one, the blades cost pennies and each one lasts for three times as long as a Gillete Mach3 cartridge.

My two cents...
posted by killdevil at 6:25 PM on April 28, 2008

You do have to go counter-intuitive.

Interestingly, no. At this level the market demands non-linear value.
posted by blacklite at 6:26 PM on April 28, 2008 [5 favorites]

"Given the fact that I'm going to be doing this invariant, annoying chore for the rest of my life, why draw it out?"

Because by learning to savour it, as with life in general, it ceases to become an 'annoying chore'.
posted by 6am at 6:26 PM on April 28, 2008 [6 favorites]

Man, I hate shaving. And I refuse to use anything more complex than a single-bladed disposable razor. Also: shaving is one of the activities that forces people to make odd facial expressions, like applying makeup or drumming.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:29 PM on April 28, 2008

Or having sex.
posted by 6am at 6:29 PM on April 28, 2008

So it's cheaper and easier to shave with a pre-WWII era artifact than it is with a brand new ULTRA TURBO piece of shit? I'm sold, picked up an injector razor off ebay for less than 10 bucks.

Thanks a bunch, free market!
posted by mek at 6:31 PM on April 28, 2008

Fuck that shit. Real men get barbershop shaves with a straight razor. Nothing says "I'm a MAN'S MAN!!!!HU-AH!" like letting another guy near your throat with something sharp. I took my grandpa for a shave a couple months back. Despite a profound lack of short term memory due to the advance of Alzheimer's, he still talks about that shave (I got the idea because I was sick of him having a Vito-Corleone-in-the-garden-scene-with-his-grandson hairdo on account of my grandma being too cheap to do anything but cut it herself). I also took a rather, uh, grubby friend for a shave on the eve of his wedding. He still claims it's the best present he received.

And for my wedding, the girls can go get their hair did; us guys are all going for barbershop shaves. By men with pompadours and tattoo sleeves.
posted by notsnot at 6:32 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

My stepfather had one of these that now sits in my mother's house. I tried it one day out of curiosity. Never again.
posted by IronLizard at 6:34 PM on April 28, 2008

I'm guessing most of you at least have the option of forgoing shaving altogether. When I do that, I don't grow a beard. I grow disconnected patches of wimpy-looking stubble on my face. I fail at facial hair.
posted by Rangeboy at 6:34 PM on April 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

So ... you're suggesting that I learn to enjoy doing the same thing over and over again, rather than saving some time so I could spend it in completely optional ways, filled with variety, upon things of my choice?

You wouldn't happen to be a Buddhist engineer, would you?
posted by adipocere at 6:34 PM on April 28, 2008 [4 favorites]

A badger hair brush is all right, for the pikers and fifteen year olds... Etc.

Ahh, my legacy... Fuck.

I hate shaving, I do it as little as possible.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:40 PM on April 28, 2008

OK, everyone roll out their most macho shave advice.

posted by docpops at 6:47 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I recently replaced my electric razor. It cost me about $50 when I bought it and lasted 10 years.

That comes to about a penny a shave, and I was always pretty satisfied with the results.

I don't know how much shaving cream or replacement blades or blade sharpening costs, but 1 cent a day always has seemed like a pretty reasonable deal to me.

I recently bought a new one for about $65. If it last even 5 years, I'll feel like I've gotten my money's worth.

Of course, when the electricity runs out, I'll have to go back to letting weasals gnaw off my facial hair.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:50 PM on April 28, 2008

I haven't found a lot of difference between the different blade types, but man, using a badger brush and some olive oil shaving soap really is a whole hell of a lot better than squeezing neon-colored gunk out of a can.
posted by infinitywaltz at 6:51 PM on April 28, 2008

OK, everyone roll out their most macho shave advice.
I have an arrangement with the zoo where I get lions to lick the stubble off with the raspy tongues Nature gave them for skinning wildebeest.
posted by Abiezer at 6:52 PM on April 28, 2008 [6 favorites]

I picked up a Merkur safety razor to try and I don't think I'll go back unless I have a burning need to be fresh-faced in a hurry. It does take substantially longer but it's quite meditative to shave in the shower. Enhances hand-eye coordination and all that rot too.

Of course I'm a sysadmin so it's actually in my job description to be surly and unshaven.
posted by Skorgu at 6:52 PM on April 28, 2008

Man, I got my boyfriend a real badger brush and DE razor and shave cream and it was hands down the best gift I've ever given him. It completely eliminated all of the shaving irritation he used to assume comes with the territory. It does take a little while to learn the technique but depending on your level of coordination it's only a few tries before you can get baby butt smooth shave without irritation. He used to despise shaving and now he doesn't mind doing it because it doesn't fuck up his face and neck. It's not really about the elaborateness of the ritual as it is about it being a better way to shave with better results.

A++++++ would buy again!!!!11
posted by hindmost at 6:57 PM on April 28, 2008

So my husband shaves with an electric razer, and his cheeks are smoother (following it) than mine. Given that there is absolutely not possibility of ever cutting yourself with an electric razer, and it's really easy -

what is the appeal of scraping your skin with a sharp thing that draws blood and leaves scars?

(okay, maybe I'm projecting from my experiences shaving my legs - my ankles may never recover. But if I could be bothered shaving on a regular basis, I would so go electric.)
posted by jb at 7:00 PM on April 28, 2008

(sorry, I really am asking what the benefit of wet shaving is - I heard once, but forgot what it was suposed to be.)
posted by jb at 7:01 PM on April 28, 2008

As soon as he said you may cut yourself once in a while I realized double edged razors had not advanced at all from when I first used one 55 yrs. ago.
posted by notreally at 7:06 PM on April 28, 2008

Dunno. The cordless electric razor seems like the ultimate way to make the whole hassle go away. No way I'm putting a sword next to my carotid before I have at least two cups of coffee. Admittedly, I make coffee with fresh ground beans and a french press...
posted by Ella Fynoe at 7:09 PM on April 28, 2008

I switched to a wet shave and double edged razor three years ago, and I've never regretted the decision.
posted by (parenthetic me) at 7:09 PM on April 28, 2008

cheap razor, dry shave, done...
posted by HuronBob at 7:14 PM on April 28, 2008

That first guy actually mentioned buying his blades at Bed Bath and Beyond, and then later unironically uttered the word "wussification."
posted by scatman at 7:14 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I tried using an electric razor once, and it felt like the machine was trying to pull all the beard-hairs out of my face simultaneously.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 7:15 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

jb - its mostly a sensitive skin issue. If your face doesn't turn red , splotchy and get ingrown hairs from an electric razor then go for it. When I was younger, my parents bought me a couple different electric razors and they all wreaked havoc. I used mostly a Mach3 for 10 years or so but now am using a Merkur Future DE and the whole procedure takes no more than 5 minutes - any quicker and I know I'll have nicks or some burn.
posted by jeffmik at 7:15 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Big Shave
posted by acro at 7:24 PM on April 28, 2008

leotrotsky beat me to it. That comment of Divine Wino's is in my top five Metafilter comments of all time.
posted by painquale at 7:26 PM on April 28, 2008

I tried using an electric razor once, and it felt like the machine was trying to pull all the beard-hairs out of my face simultaneously.

Ugh, same here. Then I got a good one. (not expensive; just good) Now shaving takes less time than ever, getting a cut is frickin impossible, and there's nothing more to buy.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:28 PM on April 28, 2008

Recent convert here. I decided to go wet about two months ago and picked up all the necessities (Gillette 3-piece, badger brush, a hundred or so Dorco Blades at less than a dime a pop, and a puck of Mug shave soap) for less than $40. It took about a week to get the technique down and the process takes about five minutes longer than my old Mach 3 routine, but damned if I don't get the closest and most satisfying shave ever. Sometimes it's the best part of my day. Plenty of instruction on youtube, too. In short, I recommend this for anyone who doesn't mind taking ten minutes to shave and enjoys a close shave. The first month after I switched over, I was in awe, constantly running around and telling people to feel my face.
posted by The White Hat at 7:37 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

/insert rant about the disposable Mach3.

I really like the new shaving cream from Edge - it comes out of the (unpressurized) tube as a thick foam lather - is using a badger brush and shaving soap really worth going the extra effort?
posted by porpoise at 7:38 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I should add that I have all the paraphernalia and have gone electric anyway. For one thing, I'm trying to cut down on water use. I'll take 30 seconds of electricity over an additional 10 minutes of drinking water down the drain.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:49 PM on April 28, 2008

OK, everyone roll out their most macho shave advice.

I usually just rub my face around in the cutlery drawer for a few minutes.
posted by No-sword at 7:59 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I just glare at my stubble every morning, and it retracts back into my face.

That's how fucking tough I am.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:05 PM on April 28, 2008 [9 favorites]

Ye ol' fashioned DE razor is spiffiness itself, right up to that moment when you have to go on blood thinners, and suddenly sharp things -- especially razor-sharp things -- are verbotten.

Having done the electric shaver thing years ago (and having experienced every burn, bump and painful facial irritation known to man as a result) I ponied up for a *good* Braun cordless electric, and I haven't minded the switch at all.
posted by deCadmus at 8:24 PM on April 28, 2008

If you really like your polluting, plastic overpriced 2-3-4-5 blades razor, and are scared of shaving with something that actually cut hairs instead scraping your face, at least please let go the horrible, polluting, overpriced foams and gels and give real shaving cream and badger hair brush a try. Cheaper, and much better for your face (really, shaving should not be painful!).
posted by ddaavviidd at 8:47 PM on April 28, 2008

I'm sorry, but I refuse to take shaving advice from a man who blatantly does it wrong. Seriously, watching that video, all I could think was, "For the love of all that is holy, slow down man!" The idea is to use long, controlled strokes. Quick, short chopping motions are a great way to hack your face into little bits.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 8:48 PM on April 28, 2008

I've always hated shaving---I had to start when I was 12. 12!! I've always hated shaving my neck, it's always been a hassle. The hair grows a million different directions and is always irritated. I started on disposable single blade bic's, barbasol, and brut cuz it was my dad's.

Then around 18 or so I got that Nivea cream jizzy razor---you know, the one that spooges on your face? Yea, that sucked. SUCKED. I would have been better off taking a weedwhacker to my face.

Since then I've tried the 3 blade and the 5 blade and the disposable and the replaceable. I tried shaver's secret, 10 different kinds of shaving cream. The doctor recommended I try ladies leg shaving lotion. I've used my granddad's strop and straight razor (excellent results on the RIGHT side of my face, can't do anything on the left), and then about a year ago I read a wetshaving article on lifehacker.

Read up, got myself a Merkur HD, and some "feather" brand blades after reading reviews on amazon. Got a can of green barbasol for 89 cents. I still have the same can, because you need just the tiniest amount. I elected not to go brush-and-bar route because I didn't have the cheddar at the time.

Now, I never cut myself. No razor burn. Amazingly close shaves. Cheap shaves. Faster shaves because I can glide over areas I had to meticulously watch before.

It's totally accurate that for me, wetshaving turned a chore that I absolutely HATED into something I look forward to doing after a nice hot shower. You know, that "me-time" that boys aren't supposed to want.
posted by TomMelee at 8:55 PM on April 28, 2008 [5 favorites]

good timing with this post, the past few days I've been seriously considering making a switch to a straight razor or maybe this. to each his own, but a big part is to make the act of shaving enjoyable. So it takes little time, the dude in the first vid took less than 5 minutes and used water less than 30 seconds, and obviously he could be much faster. I'm pretty tired of paying nearly 50 bucks a pop to get new blades for my Fusion. And that's at Costco. I travel and stay abroad a lot and it's not always easy, and never cheap, to find blades. So, actually use less water and actually spend much less money all around to have a closer shave that's enjoyable, and easily and inexpensively travel with a years supply of stuff. The only thing is, I know I'd cut myself often, and I bleed rather freely. Too much beer or something.
posted by dawson at 8:57 PM on April 28, 2008

Ah not the single blade fanboys again.
posted by jouke at 8:59 PM on April 28, 2008

I have much better results with no shaving cream at all. Less irritation, etc. What's up with that?
posted by smackfu at 9:02 PM on April 28, 2008

I've suffered a lifetime (almost, I started shaving at 13) of painful and ugly ingrown hairs on my neck because of the 360 degree direction those hairs grow, and even though I sport a (completely gorgeous) full beard I still have to subject myself to shaving there (i.e., my neck) unless I want to look like a homeless wolfman. So I like to get advice on shaving, I really do. What I DON'T like is the DOUCHEBAG MACHISMO in this fucking horrible narrative. Not only that, but the ... shaver doesn't even understand the meaning of "planned obsolescence." The existence of new products doesn't mean the old ones are obsolete- the mere fact that he can still purchase the old-fashioned safety razors is proof of that. Even the modern triple blades aren't "obsolete"; I've been using Mach III's for at least 12 years now and have no problem finding replacement blades.

Oh, and about those safety razors- I started with them and cut myself with them just as often as I did with Bic single blades and Trac II's. It wasn't until I started shaving with triple blades that I found any sort of relief from that, but of course I might have been using the old ones wrong.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:05 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Fuck everything, we're doing five blades. Obligatory Onion link.
posted by fieldtrip at 9:24 PM on April 28, 2008

"Nivea cream jizzy razor" sounds like the badly-translated title of a Japanese BDSM flick.
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:25 PM on April 28, 2008

"I don't own a TV" : Entertainment :: "I shave with a straight razor" : Shaving
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:39 PM on April 28, 2008 [7 favorites]

What's a good electric razor? I tend to let my beard go fairly often and getting back down to smooth skin sucks with either of the electric razors i have, especially the chin hair.
posted by empath at 10:00 PM on April 28, 2008

Fuck it, let the beard grow! I'm too tired; I'll do it tomorrow.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:12 PM on April 28, 2008

Aside from that, my routine is cordless electric, Monday morning after showering (bristles nice & soft) followed with a quick skim from a disposable razor to catch any stragglers. Each disposable lasts a few months, as they have little work to do.

By Friday, it's all designer stubble, in keeping with my rock'n'roll IT-cowboy image.

Weekends are all for motorbikes, whiskey & cigars, carpentry, sailing & koala bear wrestling, none of which require me to look like some kinda babyfaced nancyboy.

Rinse'n'repeat next Monday morning.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:18 PM on April 28, 2008

I agree with notsnot.

I'm a girl, and I've only been in a barber shop once. I was planning on reading while I waited for my boyfriend at the time to get a cut and shave... but I couldn't stay. The place was so overtly masculine that... I just had to go. I'd never felt that way about anywhere before and I haven't since. (I'm not much of a wimp about that sort of thing either, my job, hobbies, and general circle of friends all have at least 80% men).
posted by nat at 10:23 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

In my experience, electric razors were even more expensive and wasteful than disposable blade razors. I went through 3 electric razors at $30-$70 each in 5 years because... new screens and blades were $15-$30 each and needed replacing every 3 months or so, and two of the razors were discontinued, along with their parts, requiring a whole new system. Also, my skin really required preshave electric lotion. The dusty, grimy mess was unpleasant.

I read about straight razors and old school wet shaving, and tried a Merker safety razor ($35) with a cheap plastic handle brush and cheap soap ($6 ea) from Walgreens, and have not regressed in 2 years. I shave my whole head now, and the experience is pleasant and meditative and satisfying. Have purchased a better brush since. Planning to move to a straight razor soon.

I still shake my head in disbelief at the shaving supplies aisle of any drug store or grocery store -- it boggles my how many brands of cream and disposables are available. You're lucky if you can find a cheap shaving brush or disc of real shaving soap.
posted by asfuller at 10:36 PM on April 28, 2008

Faces and facial hair are all different. Electric razors, even the huge-money expensive one I splurged on, could not cope with my neck up where it meets the jaw hinge, leaving little tufts of stubble. Also, it took too long, and was helpless if I let my stubble grow out a day or two.

Single blade razors, no matter how much hipster cred they're imbued with, don't get the job done. They scrape the hell out of your face, no matter how careful you're being. I mean, look at the guy, you can see his chin and lip turning beet red. Screw that.

I use a down-market brand of triple-edged razors, and shave in the shower without lather. The blades are thinner and sharper than the old-skool DE blades, and you apply almost zero pressure for a closer shave because of the way the blades are arranged and the head is shaped. No redness, no scraping, no nicks.

Two blade heads are OK, but three blade heads seem to hit the right balance for me. Four blade heads tend to have either the trailing or leading blades scrape or nick on each pass. Generic razors tend to have the blades misaligned, at which point, using a chef's knife is probably a better idea. Expensive brands tend to be more cheaply built than mid-market brands, relying on advertising rather than quality.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:40 PM on April 28, 2008

The thing about shaving is (duh) everyone is different. If I could drag a mach3 over my face in the shower and get away with it I would, but all modern multi-blade razors give me incredible shave rash and ingrown hairs. I don't mind electrics, and used one for ages, but they're a pain if you skip a day or two, and I rarely bother to shave on weekends. A DE works really well for me, doesn't take me hours and the blades are dirt cheap. What's not to like?
posted by markr at 10:47 PM on April 28, 2008

I don't understand why anyone would want their face to be like a baby's ass.
posted by fuq at 11:16 PM on April 28, 2008

Because some women prefer it that way, and the suckers who believe the ads fall for it because a baby-smooth jaw is *always* rewarded in razor ads with an admiring stroke from a beautiful woman.

Obviously, the razor advertisers don't want to let on that any women can actually find stubble sexy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:30 PM on April 28, 2008

Thanks, guy! Now do your butt!
posted by sexyrobot at 11:50 PM on April 28, 2008

I learned to shave on a safety razor identical to the one this guy's lauding. It sucked ass. Took a long time and I always ended up bloody.

I use a Fusion Power now, shave myself as close as a baby's ass in a quarter the time, and I have never cut myself. The refills cost a lot of money! So what? They're great. (You can get them for about 1/3 the drugstore price on amazon.com.)

So yeah, add me to the chorus singing "hey forget you, buddy" to this guy. His face is asymmetric and he has bad hair, too.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:59 PM on April 28, 2008

Gillette Fusion 5-blade, freshly-showered face and no cream. I can't remember the last time I nicked myself (which means I will do it today.)
posted by emelenjr at 12:18 AM on April 29, 2008

Too right, markr. Twin blade / triple blade razors never gave me a good shave, and irritated my skin so terribly that I was convinced I was doing something wrong. I can only guess at what evil a 5-blade razor would inflict on my skin. I was turned off electric razors after my GF at the time bought me a Braun that was useless - it took ages, gave crap shaves, and clogged so badly I had to clean it out once or twice each time I used it.

Strangely enough, I used to get the best results by shaving with nasty Bic twin-blade disposables and even nastier generic-brand made-in-Israel cartridges sold by the local supermarket. Then I re-discovered the delights of the old-fashioned double-edged "safety" (it's a relative term!) razor. Baby smooth skin, no redness or irritation, and much fewer nicks and cuts. Great - until the local stores stopped carrying blades, so I drifted back to shitty shaves from Schick and Gillette.

Then I saw a cheap Philishave at K-Mart, and thought "hey, what the hell; it'll do OK for travelling". My God, what a revelation! Best 50 bucks I ever spent. I get a better shave dry than I ever did with a wet multi-blade razor, I tap it out after every shave, and brush it out once a week. When it breaks I'm gonna buy another one.

Everyone's facial skin and hair is different. I'm convinced the more blades they stick on a razor, the less people they suit.

UbuRoivas: some of us get the best of both worlds - I get an admiring stroke from a beautiful woman on weekdays, and she gets enjoyably sexy stubble on weekends!
posted by Pinback at 12:25 AM on April 29, 2008

What I want to know is, how do you encourage facial hair? My genetic makeup seems to predispose me to a rather sad form of facial hair - while other guys can grow a veritable forest in a mere three days. It's so pathetic that a passing gust looking at it the wrong way can render my face baby-ass-smooth.

As you might have surmised, I don't spend much attention to shaving equipment; there isn't a need.
posted by WalterMitty at 12:33 AM on April 29, 2008

I find shaving with a Merkur safety razor to be an excellent match for my lifestyle, budget, facial hair and temperament.
posted by sneakums at 12:49 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

So all those YouTube shaving videos? Is this some kind of shaving fetish creeping by under the radar? Like the various smoking fetish videos?

It's hard to imagine why else so many people would upload video of such a banal act.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:40 AM on April 29, 2008

WalterMitty: I would recommend rubbing your face with toilet paper. It has done wonders for my ass hair.

My first shave was in the school toilets with a pencil sharpener blade. Girls can be mean.

My last shave? In January. And my wife likes it. Take that you teenage women and your unrealistic expectations of how males should look.
posted by Dr. Curare at 1:49 AM on April 29, 2008 [4 favorites]

Help, I can't stop talking!

Because the DE razors don't flex like cartridge razors, advice for use generally is to use short strokes to keep the proper angle. Using long strokes with a DE is almost a guaranteed way to lose face.
posted by jeffmik at 3:09 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

"...smoking fetish videos?"

Shaving vids are more instructional...those are just plain weird.
posted by 6am at 3:51 AM on April 29, 2008

I don't shave, I use a hammer to pound them back in and bite them off on the inside.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 4:01 AM on April 29, 2008

Really? I hang 1000 pound barbells from my pubes and walk around the block, pulls the beard right back in.
posted by Dr. Curare at 4:23 AM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

...the old safety-razor that your grandfather used to use...

Actually, the double-edged razor I used was the razor my grandfather used to use. He gave it to me when I started needing to shave regularly. (I'm still not sure if that was grandfatherly regard or a veiled hint that I needed to clean up) In my punk days I used to use it to shave my mohawk into shape. It was a fine razor, up until it became impossible to find decent packs replacement blades. The last pack I bought before giving up had rust on the blades - the pack before that wasn't much better. I know I can buy blades on line, but I'm the sort who can't think 5-day's shipping time ahead.
posted by lekvar at 4:36 AM on April 29, 2008

Don't be skeered. It's just a beard.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:42 AM on April 29, 2008

not applicable writes "I refuse to accept that I even need to shave in the first place. So there."

I'm going to have to write you a ticket.
posted by Eponysterical Police at 5:00 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'd love to be able to stick with the low-maintenance grooming ritual, really, but if I let my facial hair grow I look like a pedophile. I'd like to shave my head too but that makes me look like a nazi. *sigh*
posted by Skorgu at 5:27 AM on April 29, 2008

How does one dispose of the blades? I remember when I was a wee lad, and even a bit older, pops had a slot in the medicine cabinet in his bathroom where one disposed of used blades. I thought it odd, to have decades worth of blades in a wall, then realized they aren't exactly something one drops in the trash and between two studs behind the drywall is as good a place as you'll find...so what's an ethical, safe way to throw them away? Maybe a straight razor is the way to go?
posted by dawson at 5:29 AM on April 29, 2008

I'm not an authority on the subject.
posted by Shave at 5:54 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

The plastic box they come in has a slot in the back. When the box runs out you throw it - and the old blades away. A bit of a waste of steel, I've always thought, but not more so than disposable razors.
posted by Grangousier at 6:08 AM on April 29, 2008

Why would you need running water?

That was directed at those intent on carrying out all their hygiene under the shower. Don't tell me that, having spent those 10 minutes shaving, you're actually clean also without having scrubbed. So it's an extra ten minutes. And a whole bunch of water.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:14 AM on April 29, 2008

I got a steam shave in the barbershop a few months ago. The first time I'd been clean-shaven in a few years. I was so babyfaced that my girlfriend told me she'd never have dated me if that's what I'd looked like when she first met me.
posted by sciurus at 6:18 AM on April 29, 2008

Several years ago I kept noticing that the safety razor blades were dirt cheap when compared to the multiblade razors and replacement heads. In addition to not being a big fan of throwing out all that plastic, I've long been annoyed at the price of the damn replacements - for a while I was buying women's razor heads, because I discovered that the only difference between the men's and women's in that particular brand and model (Gillette? Can't remember) was that the women's replacements were about $2-$3 less than the mens per package. In my endless annoyance I made the executive decision to buy a safety razor the next time I saw one in the store.

It's been several years, like I said. So where the hell can I buy a goddamn safety razor already? I'd really prefer not to go online to pick one up, but christ. There must be some store somewhere that carries them. All I really want to do is look at the damn things and make sure I like the weight and etc. before I drop the cash.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:23 AM on April 29, 2008

Shave writes "I'm not an authority on the subject."

And this is entirely gratuitous. You'll have to come down to the station with me.
posted by Eponysterical Police at 6:46 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

live frogs, sadly you just don't tend to find them in 'real' shops. I'm in the UK (in fairness there are some nice shops in London that carry them) but this place looks decent. Trust in peoples opinions - many swear by the Merkur 34c and particularly the Progress
posted by 6am at 6:47 AM on April 29, 2008

It's a fair cop. Caught by the constubblery.
posted by Shave at 7:03 AM on April 29, 2008

I use a homemade flint cordate bifacial hand axe.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:16 AM on April 29, 2008

I have moved to waxing. I detest shaving myself. I try to wax everywhere possible that I can. Hating hair and hating shaving; also counter-intuitive?
posted by femmme at 7:23 AM on April 29, 2008

planned obsolescence

Are we quite sure about this? Last time I checked, you could buy replacements for the vast bulk of Gillette's 'legacy' range including the Sensor which is almost 20 years since launch now.

Planned obsolescence implies a forced upgrade path to a newer product.
posted by dmt at 7:42 AM on April 29, 2008

I love the advent of triple blades; for the first time in my life, I don't regularly get nicked when I shave.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:11 AM on April 29, 2008

I've a vintage Rolls Razor, and gave it a try once or twice in the days before I went bearded. It was a bit fierce, but I loved the geeky sharpening mechanism built into the case.
posted by raygirvan at 8:25 AM on April 29, 2008

I look forward to the Gillette shaped like your face, inverted. It would have several hundred blades and mean you could shave your entire face in one single swipe.
posted by 6am at 8:33 AM on April 29, 2008

Grangousier, thanks. That's such a simple and elegant solution to my honest question. I guess I'm gonna spring for one of these. I do wish I could 'touch' it before buying, but that seems unfeasible. Just wish I were better informed.
posted by dawson at 9:37 AM on April 29, 2008

Trust in peoples opinions - many swear by the Merkur 34c and particularly the Progress

Further to my earlier suspicions about some kind of weird fetish here, I note with interest that the trader who sells the Merkur Progress through Amazon.co.uk is called the Naked Man Shop.

Now I'm just off to light up a fat Cohiba Robusto while I try and shave myself wearing boxing gloves. Pass the poppers, please.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:47 AM on April 29, 2008

I have a friend who used to work as an industrial designer at Gillette. He told me a story about the way they used to load up a full sized truck with blades (in those days "Contour" duals). One day somebody hijacked a truck. When they calculated how much the thieves stood to gain by this heist Gillette decided to only use smaller vehicles in future. I am sort of impressed that Gillette have managed to con people into paying a margin so big that that have to transport their products in the manner of gold bullion.

But for my own part I am a DE/badger brush bore and I saw, in the youtube instructional shavers, a horrible vision of what I might myself become without a wife who laughs at my pomposity.
posted by rongorongo at 10:02 AM on April 29, 2008

6am writes "I look forward to the Gillette shaped like your face, inverted. It would have several hundred blades and mean you could shave your entire face in one single swipe."

All it would take is one groggy morning and shaky hands, and, wham! You've just removed all the skin from your face.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2008

6am & krinklyfig: see this this 20 year old Mad cartoon.
This thread is a total replay of at least 2, maybe 3 previous threads on single blade shaving. Beh.
But this thread isn't complete without that cartoon.
posted by jouke at 11:47 AM on April 29, 2008

All it would take is one groggy morning and shaky hands, and, wham! You've just removed all the skin from your face.

Goddammit, krinklyfig, do you have any idea how long we've been trying to sell people on the idea specifically so we could loot their lacerated corpses en masse?

20 damn years, and you come along and blow the whole deal! You think schemes like that just pop out? Hell no! There's all kinds of planning, research, victim-testing, concealment of the victim post-testing, brand management, etc. etc. etc.

Twenty years!

Sigh. Now we'll never get to launch. Not one lacerated victim.

My managers are going to be super-pissed.
posted by aramaic at 1:02 PM on April 29, 2008

Safety razors suck, I don't care what these Luddites think. The reason Gillette can sell $2 razors is because they're really good.
posted by electroboy at 1:21 PM on April 29, 2008

This double-edged razor trend is total fucking bullshit.

About three Christmases ago, I sent out the word and everyone bought me all the shaving crap I wanted. I got some Merkur double-edge razors, one of those metal razor holder things (the razor?), a fancy badger hair brush (do badgers really die for this bullshit?), and some fancy shaving cream.

I did everything right. I followed all the directions available online. I consulted men who used to use these razors in ye olden dayes. I really, really gave it a shot for a couple of months. My face hurt and everything sucked. Red bumps that I never had before, the whole process took longer, I hogged the damn bathroom like a girl, and the worst part - a crappier shave than my old electric razor (another experiment from long ago).

You know what gives me the best shave? Shaving in the shower with a disposable Schick triple blade razor and hair conditioner for shaving cream. All depressingly available at your local Walgreens shithole. You shave nerds can have pirates and ninjas shave your ceiling cat or whatever and I'll stick with my ordinary, boring routine that just happens to simply work.
posted by redteam at 1:28 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

The odd thing is that different people report completely different responses - I always got shaving rash from plastic disposables (1-blade, 2-blade and up) which I'd always used; Electric razors also stung and left a rash. After a nearly identical Metafilter thread in 2005 I bought a £3.99 safety razor from Boots the chemist, and never looked back. I also got a discounted box of 5-packs of blades, which I'm still working my way through.

(So it turned out to be really cheap, which was my initial reason for doing it.)

Previously, I couldn't bear to shave more than once a week, now I shave every day.

I'm not trying to say "OMG - safety razors are TEH BOMB!", but that it works for me, whereas the other alternatives really didn't without ongoing pain. Other people seem to have completely different, but equally extreme, experiences. I can't work out why that should be.

The thing I really hate about disposable razors, though: I have a cupboard full of handles, because all the different types have different fittings, and I couldn't remember which was which, so in order to use the (quite expensive, actually) pack of triple-blade-heads-with-lubricating-strip-or-whatever I'd just bought, I had to go out and buy the handle to go with it.

Now it's 15p a blade, and each lasts about a week, and it's a universal standard fitting. Not sure what I'll do when I run out of the big box I got, but no doubt I'll find out.

(I still use the plastic handle I got from Boots. I'd quite like a Merkur Futur, because it looks quite cool, but that's not the point.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2008

Ever since I bought one on a whim from an antique store, I've been a fan of my hand clipper for big work (I can go from full winter goatee to minor stubble in almost no time at all), and standard disposable three blade razors for fine jobs.

I used to love straight razors, but man; it's just a hassle to use day to day. The Merkur linked might be my next thing to try, because while I like a bit of scruff on my chin, I prefer the sides to stay clean.
posted by quin at 3:14 PM on April 29, 2008

jouke writes "6am & krinklyfig: see this this 20 year old Mad cartoon."

Yeah, you know, I actually had that issue, bought when it was first published. Probably still do have it somewhere. I was 9 at the time, too young to shave. Al Jaffee's wacky inventions were great. Looking at the cartoon doesn't make me feel old, but looking at the price does. Not long after the price went up to 75 cents, which really was cheap, even then.

Of course, now I shave, but I use a generic disposable single blade in the shower. One of these days, I'm switching to a safety razor, but I haven't committed to the ritual yet - not at all a morning person. The current way is adequate for me but sort of sucks, really, never actually a good shave. More blades don't seem to matter, but I think a safety razor would. We'll see ...
posted by krinklyfig at 6:35 PM on April 29, 2008

I started wetshaving a couple years ago.

I'll never, ever go back to disposable-heads.

I do so wish I could get ahold of some good blades, though. I can get Merkur's in the next town on the highway; I can't find Dorco or Feather or anything really good.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:04 PM on April 29, 2008

After reading this thread I feel so lucky now to get a smooth shave and zero bumps from disposable plastic razors. I suppose it's the hair and skin type.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 9:49 PM on April 29, 2008

"One of the biggest examples of the planned obsolescence of modern American capitalism...is the razor."

The irony, of course, is lost on a guy who has his easy and cheap pick of every frivolous and obscure shaving accessory known to man from his favorite stores and brands such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Merkur, and Nordstrom.
posted by dgaicun at 5:11 AM on April 30, 2008

looking for razor/brush/soap recommendations as of 5 may, will order via internet shops by 10 may, any input welcomed.
posted by dawson at 3:58 PM on May 4, 2008

If a trustworthy MeFite wanted to figure out how to best get ourselves lifetime supplies of damn fine double-edge razors (Feather, Derby, whatever; there are a half-dozen brands that are generally recognized as top-notch), I'm all ears.

I figure a blade a week would do me, so perhaps a dozen gross. Can't be much more than a 1' cube of 'em!

It'd be a few hundred dollars very well spent.

I wonder if that's a quantity that a manufacturer would be happy to ship directly...
posted by five fresh fish at 5:24 PM on May 4, 2008

fff there is a seller named pauldog on the shavemyface.com forums that is very reputable and many posters there buy from him and will vouch for him. He has a bulk order discounts, it's 20 10-packs for $52.50 and 200 packs for $440.

I ordered 20packs from him along while back and will order again when the boyfriend finally runs out of blades.
posted by hindmost at 9:35 PM on May 4, 2008

Oops, meant to mention that this was for the Feather blades only.
posted by hindmost at 9:36 PM on May 4, 2008

« Older Got a stiff neck while playing...   |   Cornbread Nation Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments