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HOWTO: Get That Perfect Shave

April 6, 2005

Going from disposable razors to the Mach3, and then from random foams to Nivea gel were both shocking improvements in my shaving experience. But this nice writeup on how to wetshave has me wondering just how much better a badger hair brush and double edge safety razor could be.


From → Gadgets

  1. wassy permalink

    Dude, I did the badger hair brush and safety razor for years. All I got was a bunch of nicks and scratches. The Mach3 rocks – stay with it (there’s a reason new razors exist)

  2. UVR permalink

    Don’t bother with the double edge safety razor. If you’ve used the Mach3, the only thing you will find better is the Mach3 Turbo. I have nothing against the badger hair brush, though.
    If you haven’t seen a DES razor, please note that the ‘double’ edge is not actually double. There are two, single, cutting edges on either side, and you always shave with one or the other, single, edge.
    I used a DES razor+badger hair brush combo for years before moving to the double-edged Gillette Sensor and Sensor II. The Sensor and Sensor II twin-blade cartridges were definitely way better — those were the days when, pun unintended, the twin-blade razors were the ‘bleeding edge’ of razor technology. While the shave with the DES razor was not necessarily more ‘nicky’ or ‘cutty’ than the twin-edge cartridge, it wasn’t as close or as smooth either. Then came the day of the 3-blade Mach3, and I thought I’d hit the shaving jackpot. But then I found a free sample of the Mach3 Turbo in my mailbox and tried that. Ooh!
    If you haven’t tried Mach3 Turbo, give it a shot. You’ll never look at anything else.

  3. Molecules of Hipness permalink

    It also depends on the blades. New Gillette double edge blades available in the US do not have a good reputation. Gillette has a reputation for worsening all their blades except their newest kind. But other manufacturers make decent blades for all the older Gillette razors.
    The most foolproof double edge blades are probably by the German brand Merkur, which cost less than Gillettes. Schick, Wilkinson, and Personna are all OK.
    But the most foolproof shave might be from a Schick injector razor, if you can find one in good shape. The prices on eBay are all over the place, from a few dollars to over $100, depending on model and condition and on who happens to be bidding.

  4. Ronald permalink

    Has anyone looked at the edge of various maker’s double edge blades under a 10 power magnifying glass, or, better yet, a microscope, to see if they can see a difference in the blade edges?
    I looked at a Schick and a Merkur under a 10X glass. The Merkur has a rough edge. The Schick has a much smoother edge.
    I checked this out after using one of each blade. The Schick gave me 25 good shaves before it started pulling,
    The Merkur blade gave me a worse (it pulled more) shave on the first shave than the Schick did after 25 shaves.
    I used to get 60 good shaves out of the Gillette Blue Blade. Now I am doing good to get 30 out of stainless steel, platinum, etc.
    Seems the blade makers are just not putting as good of an edge on their blades just so they will get duller faster.
    I have not tried the Feather Blades yet, but have ordered some, as they have a reputation for sharpness.
    A person should be able to tell just how long, comparatively, a blade will last just by looking at its edge under a microscope.
    The whole thing seems to be a "sting" operation though, as sharp blades could go out for weeks and then start sending out less sharp ones.

  5. JustAnotherGuy permalink

    Well, I used to do the mach 3, and it does shave well. But not 3 dollars worth of well, for 5 shaves. I have a tough lumberjack beard growth pattern. What I’m doing is I picked up a schick injector from the 1950’s off ebay for 5 bucks. It has a bakelite stem and brass head. And I picked up 20 injector razors($4.50) with teflon coating from I think it’s listed as Injector Style, Stainless Steel, PTFE-Coated Blades.
    They end up being 22 cents a piece. So, for pretty much a quarter a week, I get to have a close shave without bleeding to death. You can get cut if you shave drunk or turn your head while it’s on your face, so there is a drawback. And you can overshave if you grind it into your face. But, as long as you don’t have DT’s, it works great. The other razors like the mach3 do shave without cutting, but at 2 bucks a blade, I’d rather it leave a mark just to remind me of how daft I am. So call me cheap, but it’s the closest shave I have ever gotten without the overhead. I haven’t tried a straight razor yet, so it may not be the closest- but I don’t think I wanna go that far. This old school razor is just right.

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  7. Molecules of Hipness permalink

    There have been some changes since I wrote here over 3 years ago. Merkur blades seem to have been going downhill. Schick has been moving its blade production from Germany to China, and – surprise – the Chinese blades have been getting better reviews than the German ones, good enough to make them worth trying.
    The "Ted Pella" blades that someone mentioned are made by American Safety Razor, which makes Personna and many store brands of blade. Among wetshavers, they are known for making a double edge blade usually referred to as "Israeli Personnas."
    Feather of Japan makes an exceptionally sharp blade that many people prefer. It requires a very light pressure, but it also seems to work especially well in a slant bar razor, a very unusual device that currently is made by Merkur, and no other maker I know of right now.
    The main trick with single blade shaving is to be very light on the pressure. You can’t wield your double edge or injector razor like it’s a Sensor or a Mach 3.
    If you really want to get esoteric, you could get a single edge razor. For some reason, the blades are easy to get at places like Walgreens, even though new razors are not available. The blades look the same as common paint scraper blades, but I’m talking about blades made for shaving. Don’t get yours from a hardware store. The ones from Ted Pella with coatings will shave fine, too, and they are inexpensive. Don’t get uncoated carbon steel blades.
    There is one underrated twin blade razor I like that’s become obscure over the years, and the razors are hard to find in stores, though available on eBay for moderate prices. I’m talking about the Schick Tracer or Tracer FX or FX Diamond. These razors are interchangeable, as far as being able to use all the blades with those names. The FX Diamond is the latest, and those blades are probably the longest lasting of the Tracer type.
    Trac II and Atra are no longer available in stores, but they are both still made in Asia under different names. The Atra was switched to a plastic handle before going out of production in the USA, and that partly explains why new metal Atra razors score very high prices on eBay, sometimes approaching $100, though sometimes only getting $30 or so.

  8. I would like to congratulate you now that you are using the traditional style of shaving your facial hair. As for me, I recommend you use the Merkur razors. It will permit a close shave while still offering maximum protection from razor burns and ingrown hairs. Check out the Merkur razors at

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