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June 16, 2013



It's not the shaving that wears down the blade (unless you shave your legs, the rules are different for women,) it's the exposure to water and air between shaves. Use your thorough cleaning and drying method after shaving, then put your razor into a glass of mineral oil - with the sensitive blade edges smothered in oil, no air or moisture touches them, it'll last several times longer than would be possible just leaving the razor sitting out.



Thanks for the great advice. Considering the cost of blades, it's a worthy investment.


Get a real razor and stop irritating the Hell out of your skin. Buy a safety razor (I'm fond of my cheapo Merkur). I use my razor blade a few times maybe three, then toss it. Blades are about 10 bucks for 100 depending on brand, etc. It's more cash up front for the razor, but the cash you save on blades will make up the difference in no time.

Bonus points: actual metal looks and feels better than the plastic crap on the Mach3 AND you get a much much closer shave.


A really good, fairly inexpensive disposable razor is the "Bic Metal" if you can still find them. They used to be in all drug stores, supermarkets, etc. Now they're out of favor----but you can still find them online. Single blade---metal bar---close, comfortable shave. For the most part, I use Wahl electrics----best blades/motors in the business, cheap-assed cabinets to keep costs low---so they aren't "in style" the way Norelco, Panasonic, Braun and others are. They are also noisy----but they give a great shave and last forever---which is why barbers use Wahl for their clippers. Best shavers for the money, bar none.


Another new Chinese DSP radio, Shouyu SY-X5:


Ditto on the Merkur Progress- a nice razor. Uses double edge blades. It's adjustable, which is a lot more important (in my crackpot opinion) to adapt the razor to the different brands of blade rather than to adapt it to your face (They've been making these blades since 1904 and dimensional standards, if any, are a bit loose.)

If you don't know what blades to use companies like West Coast Shaving will sell you sampler packs. I've used blades I bought at WalMart $1.80 for 10 and they weren't especially good- that was a long time ago so it's not the same brand they sell now. But they were lousy, gave me a lousy shave, while just about anything I got imported from overseas worked fairly well at least. It is as if the old style razor blades sold in the US are only meant to encourage you to buy something more expensive, but that would be a Conspiracy, and the Honest Businessmen would never do anything like that!

Another possibility is the old Trac II razor, another favorite of mine. But don't get Gillettes. For SOME REASON the Gillette Trac II blades aren't good any more- they seem to have gone to hell the minute Gillette had something more expensive to offer. Funny how that works.

If you do want to try a Trac II type razor I would suggest the Bump Fighter for $6.28, and then THROW AWAY THE BLADES THAT COME WITH IT. http://www.amazon.com/Bump-Fighter-46-0221-Razor/dp/B0011Z3WXU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371413029&sr=8-1&keywords=bump+fighter+razor
You are only buying this for the handle. The Bump Fighter blades are great if you're bedeviled by razor bumps, but if you aren't, if you're just looking for a good shave, you don't want them. They are carefully engineered not to shave you too closely, which is exactly what you don't want (unless you have razor bumps). Instead, I would recommend EITHER the Personna Twin Pivot Plus or Personna Twin II. The Twin II is meant to fit a Trac II, the Pivot Plus will fit either Trac II or the pivoting Atra type handles.

You could also go to Dollar General and get their Korean-made Trac II / Atra knockoffs for, I think, $1.25 for 5, but those fit a bit loosely on my Bump Fighter handles. The Personnas fit perfectly.


Jesse, what kind of blades do you use with the Merkur? Is it as safe as the Mach 3 in the shower? I don't use a mirror.


I vote for DE razors too but the caveat is they're not as safe to use until you're experienced with them. If i'm in a hurry I can't beat a two blade "Sensor" or three blade shave (three blades are overkill though). A DE shave is more enjoyable, almost relaxing, and you don't cut yourself if you take your time. I also discovered that aloe vera gel is a far more effective and cheaper alternative to shave gel, since it doesn't foam, doesn't dry up and contains no soap so it comes off easily. Better for your skin than all those chemicals too.

Jesse Menn

My experience with the safety, DE razors was I had a few knicks the first two times (both times my Adam's apple), and can now do it blindfolded. I use this razor, which my future in-laws got me: http://www.amazon.com/Merkur-Model-180-Handled-Safety/dp/B000NL0T1G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371480548&sr=8-1&keywords=merkur and Feather blades, though I'm still playing around with other brands. http://www.amazon.com/Feather-Razor-Blades-Hi-stainless-Double/dp/B001G5FOLI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1371480588&sr=8-2&keywords=feather

I also have an appropriate stand and nice brush, but don't remember the brands/models off the top of my head. Aftershave is Imperial brand: http://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Barber-Products-Bergamot-After/dp/B008FVSVV6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1371480747&sr=8-4&keywords=imperial+aftershave which has the added bonus of being made by some guys in Long Beach. I've been going to their barbershop forever (until I moved to NY).

In fact, though I'm getting married in Paso Robles, I'm flying into Long Beach just to get my hair cut there. Check em out if you ever need a straight shave: Razorbacks on 4th and Redondo. The owners used to own Syndicate on Broadway and... Temple? Both are A+ barbershops that completely changed the way I view haircuts and shaves.


Congrats on your wedding, Jesse. Getting a shave and a hair cut at a place like the one you mention in Long Beach is a cultural experience, very retro. I can see the appeal.


I use a Merkur double edge razor too. The blades I ended up with, almost by chance, were 7 AM brand from Bengaladesh, of all places. I didn't break in to recommend them to you because I haven't tried enough other brands to know whether these are good ones. But they work fine for me. I use each blade for one week and then toss it. Since they cost about twelve cents each, delivered, the cost is pretty reasonable.

The biggest secret to a better shave, though, is to have the beard well prepared. Soaking the beard a few minutes extra has made a bigger difference (for me) than any choice of razor, blade, or shaving soap.

You can go to the Badger and Blade site http://www.badgerandblade.com/ and get more shave-geek detail than you would think possible. As with radios and watches, I suppose, you can get as obsessive about this as you want. You can spend all the money you want on it too. Some of these wonderful brushes, soaps, creams and aftershaves can be very pricey.

However, the first step is the biggest. Just ditch canned shaving foam.

Think on this a moment. Canned shaving foam advertises, if it advertises at all, on how thick the stuff is. But its purpose is to soak your beard; a thick foam is a sign that the foam doesn't contain much water. How's that going to work? Answer: Not well.

Then, if you have an inch-thick layer of foam on your face, the part of that which actually touches your face and beard does some good. The entire rest of it is wasted.

If you can afford the fine stuff Badger and Blade can set you in the right direction. If you are on a limited budget though there are some cheap products out there that will do a far better job than a canned foam.

The canned gels, any of them, are a step up.

Shaving cream in a tube is pretty good. Some of it is expensive but the trick here is you should only use a tiny dab. I have used Proraso, from Italy, and Cremo from the US. Cremo has been showing up in a lot of stores locally. I got mine at Wal-Mart, and if it's there, it's everywhere.

Use only a dab the size of a peanut or so. Cremo is meant to be brushless but it works better for me if I brush it into my face with very hot water.

Or you could go really old school and go for a cake of shaving soap and a brush. You can spend a mortgage payment on a good badger brush, but take a look at this: http://www.amazon.com/Van-Der-Hagen-Premium-Shave/dp/B001A3HPT0/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1371483189&sr=1-1 The brush is only boar bristle and the Van der Hagen shave soap is about as basic as it gets, but they work. This is the brush I use and it is fine. I've used the soap too, and it's hard for me to see why you would have to pay more. You can, if you like, but this cheap stuff works just fine!

I've seen the Van der Hagen shaving things at Wal-Mart again, and at Walgreen's and (I think) Rite-Aid, if you're too good to go into Wally World with the rest of us plebes. :D


Oh, yeah, double edge razor blade disposal!

The plastic blade packages I've seen include a blade disposal slot. The plastic box serves as a safe way to toss the used blades in the trash once you're done with them.

Many of the blades, though, still come wrapped in paper inside a tiny cardboard box. This leaves you to toss naked blades in the trash- and your trash guys will not thank you for that.

If you live in an old house your medicine cabinet might have a slot in the back of it, to drop used razor blades down inside the wall. That's a reasonable approach, since it would take about ten thousand years to fill that space up with old razor blades.

They also make plastic razor blade safes, just to hold your used razor blades for disposal. Of COURSE they do.

My solution, though, was in line with my intrinsic cheapness. I got a small can of chicken broth (any canned clear liquid would do) and punched a hole in its top with a punch type can opener. Then I extended the hole into a slot using a hacksaw blade. From this deal I got a nice warm bowl of chicken broth and a steel "blade safe" with enough capacity to hold a decade or so of used blades.

Jesse Menn

Everything Bill said is spot on. If your shaving cream comes in a can it's doing more harm than good. Giving the facial hair/stubble a good soak (or just doing it right out of the shower, or in it, in your case) will help immensely in terms of irritation and closeness. I would suggest a brush, though. I find that unlike just using your hands, you actually get lather on all parts of the hair as opposed to just one side that gets pressed down to your skin.

I'm currently working through some Proraso shaving soap, but with no real opinion. I've used various soap pucks and coffee mugs, but also with no real opinion on them.

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