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Saturday, 30 September 2023


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Mike,If you are really sorry then don't do it. Say to yourself it is a photography site and delete it, I feel better when I write a rant and then delete it. As for Razor blades you can always use electric shavers, I have every morning for 50 years and NOTHING goes to the landfill except the shaver when it wears out after thousands of shaves. It will save you a fortune.

I spent $40 15..no, 25!! years ago on an electric razor that still works like a champ. I'm lazy, reasonably well shaven when I need to be, and don't cut myself which is what I do with a real razor:) Anytime I'm a place where I can't use an electric razor, I don't need to shave, so it works for me:)A little cleaning and oiling twice a year and that's all it takes, although pretty sure the battery is shot.

Shaving is a lot like coffee to me - a simple, GOOD cup of Joe is a thing to treasure and not as easy as it looks, the fancy stuff is rarely worth it, and folks LOVE to make a fetish out of it regardless...but heck, I don't drink coffee, so whaddaiknow?

Your post immediately made me think of one of my favorite lines, from one of my favorite characters, from one of my favorite shows.

"I mean, it's one banana Michael. What could it cost? 10 dollars?" -- Lucille Bluth, Arrested Development.

I consider myself lucky in the testosterone game. I have enough to grow a decent beard, which I've kept for well over a decade, but not enough that I have to shave regularly. In contrast, my dad and my brother can both grow a decent hipster beard in a day and a lumberjack-special in less than a week. No thanks.

It helps that my work (wildlife/evolutionary biology, mostly in the field) permits significant grooming and wardrobe freedom. That's great, because ever since puberty I have despised shaving. Like yourself, I am also fundamentally thrifty (Scottish on my mother's side, all the way back to Robert Burns). In high school I asked for a set of hair clippers for a birthday or Christmas gift and I'm still using them to do my own haircuts 30 years later. As best as I can recall, I have paid for only one haircut in that time, in hopes of looking presentable for a wedding (not my own!). The rest of the time it grows until it gets in the way and then I mow it back to 1/4 or 3/8 of an inch and start over. When necessary, I use the same hair clippers to reign in my beard and that's good enough for me.

But... I thought you had a beard?

[Not since 2016 or so. But that's one more solution to the shaving problem.... --Mike]

I bought a 100 pack of Personna double edge razor blades in 2012 for $16.
Bought another pack in 2016 for $10
They’re now $15


(Hmm I went through a hundred in 4 years and am now on my second pack, still having about 20 left. that means that I shave a lot less. I have a feeling that even accounting for the covid period where we all stayed at home in week-long beards (right?) my shaving regime is quite different now)

Shaving - it's for the "other" naked apes.

I have not had a clean shave since Oct. 1976. My wife and son have never seen me cleanshaven.

I trim my face once a week and since I am also bald on top, that is the only place the foil razor (part of the clipper cache of tools) touches me.

Razors - Phfff wast of money and time.

Let us know when you've dug down another layer and reached the straight razors. One purchase lasts a lifetime (or two if you inherit). Your consumables are soap, and every 20 years or so a new strop.

I have been using the Rockwell 6S stainless steel with the dull surface for the last 3 or 4 years and plate number 3.
I love it.

I shave about every 4 to 7 days as I prefer to not to be rushed as I proceed. No complaint from the lady.

Philips 9000 Series electric shaver.

Job done. Problem solved.

Moving on.

And yes, I was once a blade shave connoisseur. So my recommendation is no indolent scribble.

[I never would have thought it was! But, not for me. My face feels weird ALL DAY after shaving with an electric. And they're way too expensive to try out various different ones. --Mike]

I use a 5-blade razor and recently started shaving sideways across my face instead of top down and noticed it works better and the blade lasts tremendously longer. Try it.

As soon as I could I grew a beard, one day on a whim I shaved it off and looking back at me in the mirror was my father...
I was horrified and have worn a beard for the rest of my life.
Sod shaving, life's too short as it is.

I always had a problem with the shaves the three and four blade cartridges gave me so I used 2 blades until I couldn’t get them easily anymore. Around that time 4 years ago, my brother got me a safety razor. A Merkur.

I tried a ton of different blades. The Feather ones were nice but too sharp for me. Gillette Platinum were pretty good. But my hands down favorite is the Bic Chrome Platinum. I buy them on ebay. I find I get about two weeks per blade, and since I bought several hundred, I should be good for a bit. In a year or so maybe I’ll finish off buying a lifetime supply.

Any time I need a new blade, I visit William, of Occam's fame. Infinitely renewable.

I have not shaved since I was discharged from the US Army during the 1960s.

I have used the two-bladed Gillette Sensors for decades; I have no time for five-bladed cartridges.

I also once tried a cut-throat. One bleeding face later and that was the end of that experiment. However, I found it again yesterday ...

One thing I like is a badger bristle brush and expensive soaps. However, you need so little on your brush the tubs last for six months, so good value in the long run.

When I got a blood clot in the brain and was relieved from career expectations, I happily stopped the tiresome practice of daily close-shaving.

I now use an electric hair trimmer once a week to cut the growth down to 2-3mm (I don't like close-shave electrics either).

My wife complains; she says it stings when I kiss her, but she complained before as well - unless I shaved twice a day - which I wouldn't do for anyone.

Retired in 2005. Started growing my beard that afternoon I walked out the door. Bought an electric trimmer the next day. $20(?). Year or so later, I bought a Harry’s razor set, one handle 2 blade set. Blades last me 2+ years each. Never looked back. You do the math. (Oh, I never buy refills…cheaper to buy the set…YMMV!)

Several, or more years ago I was on holiday by the sea and in the store I saw a battery operated vibrating five bladed Gillette razor. I went back to the house and researched safety razors and bought online a German Solingen steel Merkur brand razor and a packet of those same Astra razor blades you linked to. That packet is still going. I get up early and finish work late. A heavier razor doesn’t skitter across the face. I shave twice too: once with the grain and then across. And it’s a ritual, like the US admiral’s admonition to make your bed in the morning. A proper shave is part of my armour.

PS Randall Monroe in his XKCD comic spoofed the absurdity of progress giving a timeline which includes Gilette releasing the 23 bladed shaver. That was likely after I saw the earlier abomination of the powered vibrating 5 blade version.

I have a double edge razor. Cheap but shiny and made from solid metal. Works well. I just bought a pack of six blades (5 plus one free) and it cost less than a dollar. I don’t shave every day anymore so electric shaver doesn’t work for me. Used one when went to work every day. Old style double edge shaver works well but takes some skill (and care) to get started. Can’t justify spending tens of dollars for shaver blades every month.

I have a beard. But I still shave my neck and, on occasions, my cheeks. No, not THOSE cheeks!

Gillette Atra razor and blades. Been around forever. Cheap razor, relatively cheap blades, lasts a long time and shaves close enough for me. I shave in the shower. I take my bath soap bar and rub it on my wet face to provide some lubrication and swipe-swipe. Not obsessing, no big deal. It's just shaving.

I've been using a Henson AL-13 razor (with Astra blades) for about two years now. It's been a long learning curve, and I used to nick myself a lot at first. Then I discovered I wasn't tightening the handle firmly enough, exposing more of the blade than the razor is designed for. Since then, no problems. It sure is cheaper than a cartridge razor, shaves closer than an electric, and is less irritating than either. Plus they have good customer support and a 100-day money-back guarantee if not satisfied. Happy customer.

I just use electric hair clippers set to the lowest setting and hack everything off my head and face. I do shave the neck area under the jawline, but since it’s such a small area one disposable razor can last six months or more. With this regimen I’ve been able to eliminate shampoo and conditioner as well as cutting way back on the disposable razor expense, but I’ll grant that it’s not for everybody.

Mike --

It is a very personal thing and every face/beard is different. I find that i cannot blade shave daily without tearing up my face so i must mostly use an electric. But every few weeks -- particularly for an evening when i wish to impress the lady-in-my-life -- i blade shave with a five-blade cartridge. OMG is that a close shave; much more so than the electric. She absolutely notices too. It is a little treat for us both.k

On this tempo the carts last maybe a year? Whatever, it is long enough that i don't worry about the cost. "Yes" i find the five blades work better than the three or what-i-remember of the double-edge (fifty years back).

I must say that the electrics are not cheap either: my Braun 9 has a $60 replacement head with advertised 18 month life (but i run to 30 months or so). Still, that's $2/month added to the $2/month cost of cleaner (i use third party) and $2.5/month capital cost (6 year life), yields easily $6.50/month. But at Braun prices that would be roughly double my figure.

I note that, regarding the shaver itself, the battery packs fail and are close to unreplaceable. Even if, as i have, you *do* manage to do so, pretty shortly thereafter the plastic structures holding various oscillating parts or shafts will wear out, making the frame unusable. So six years or so is a good estimate of service life i think.

My experience on shavers -- since 1990 -- has been exclusively Braun; perhaps Panasonic is cheaper in service life terms; i do not know. My face dislikes the rotary heads of Norelcos.

The point is that shaving ain't free however you you "cut" it.

-- gary ray

Totally on topic. Most photos are sharp, and yet most are dull.

Welcome to the club, Mike! I started "wet shaving" around ten years ago. I got fed up with the cost of multiblade cartridges, and hated throwing that bit of plastic in the trash every week or two.

You've already avoided my first two mistakes: a too-sharp blade (Feather) and a too-cheap razor. Happy now with a long-handled brass Parker butterfly. Parker having a good rep and still being affordable. But I recently had good luck with a cheap razor I bought for travel--the "Goodline" butterfly sold at CVS for around $12, with blades, my recommendation for anyone wanting to dip their toe on the cheap. It's not just me, either; it has a good reputation in shaving circles.

Don't get me wrong, I think multiblade razors with lubricating strips do a better job in a shorter ⏰, but at a cost in both money and autonomy that I resent, and they're nowhere near as pleasurable to use.

But forget razors for a second. I suggest everyone try a decent shaving brush with their favorite soaps. Like most of us, I'm too young to remember that shaving cream in a can is a tradeoff, and after using a brush, I decided that the tradeoff isn't for me, and terrible for the environment. One of those tradeoffs is the freedom to use just about any soap you want to lather up your face. I've encountered few soaps that I can't work up into a rich, satisfying, warm lather with my bargain badger brush.

Shaving oils and lotions are very different options, also worth trying, but the cheapskate in me prefers brush and soap (as do the fidgeter and the ritual lover).

None of the above are for everyone, but you won't know if they're your thing unless you try. Enjoy yourself!

I hope we're not going to get an off-topic post on manscaping someday.

I've switched to a safety razor for the last 2 years and I've never looked back. I think I read somewhere that the secret that Gillette never shares with anyone is that actually only the first blade does any of the work, so a single blade safety razor is all you'll ever need.

I've got a Merkur 34C and a Muhle something or other .. but both give me incredible shaves on whatever blade I put into them: Feather, Parker, Derby, Wilkinson, whatever!

One thing I do enjoy is the pre-shave cream from Proraso (their menthol one!) and using shaving brush and soap. In Italy, the Proraso cream is like 4 Euro ... opposed to 5x-10x the price in Paris!

The manual razor, pre-shave cream, shaving soap, and brush is an incredible luxury in this modern digital, product driven world.

I use generic Atra twin blades and they last a very long time. I don’t shave daily any more but I find that if I clean the blade with an expired tooth brush while I’m shaving they last much much longer. Months for a single blade. I hope saving money doesn’t cost you too much.

Having gone down this rabbit hole myself a few years ago (including quite an exploration of shaving brushes, creams, pre-shaves, etc.) I will say that there is a significant learning curve to achieving a good shave with one of these double edged razors vs the pivoting 5 blade Gillettes and great virtue in keeping it simple. So time must be invested in a learning curve. Secondly, cost and complexity of both the gear and the process don't necessarily lead to the best shave. To wit: The best shave cream I discovered, and continue to use, is "Natural Shaving Cream" by Pacific Shaving Company. Comes in a tube and you just rub it on your face with your hands--no brush necessary. Made of great smelling natural ingredients,and slick as hell. One tube lasts a very long time. Secondly, despite having tried multiple highly lauded double edged shavers, the simple Henson AL13 does a fine job without ripping up your face for a mere $69.99. They will throw in 100 blades for $9.99.

Haven't shaved since 1990. That's both cheap AND easy! (Which puts one poster almost 20 years ahead of me, but I hadn't started shaving yet in 1968.) I remember using an injector razor and solid or tube soap, and a brush.

And the prices on the things now do not leave me at all likely to start. Dunno if it's genetic, I think it's mostly being old and not having made especially secure life choices, so we don't really believe in things staying good.

As you were taught with a hammer or a baseball bat "let the tool do the work". I often shave twice a day - no pressure, no snags, no cuts. Once with the grain, once across; if I'm going for the cheap record then third time against, but that's only with more than twenty shaves on the blade. No music, no rush, just a moment to pamper yourself - a slippery aromatic soap and a pair of wool socks and I'm good to go.

FWIW, I've been using Supply (I'm referring to the company there) stuff since they first launched as it seemed like a good way of getting some plastic disposable crap out of my life. They've slowly moved away from glass and metal to plastic disposable crap with their creams and whatnot, but you only buy the razor thingie once and it lasts forever. Their blades have gone much more expensive but also much higher quality - they can easily last me a couple of weeks per blade and the shave quality is excellent.

I swapped back to a three piece razor (yes, ladies shave other bits instead!) and haven't looked back, soo much sharper than the expensive ones (I noticed they are now hawking their "disposible packaging", completely missing the point, sigh). Much less waste, too. Once my small supply of disposables is gone (bought for taking on holiday) I won't be replacing them.

I switched to a German Merkur 34C as a 'test' years ago, expecting to upgrade later, but I've never needed to. Like others on here, I tend to prefer the less sharp blades. I tried Feather and they're wicked and a bit risky!
Others have said it, but I'll re-iterate, it's a learning process! I can now shave pretty quickly with no nicks, but at first it was a bloodbath!

Oh, I've also picked up a couple of vintage DE razors from antique and what we in the UK call Charity shops (second hand donated goods).
I stick them in the dishwasher on a hot was and they come out like new!

I always wonder what the Romans did? Not to mention toilet stuff....

I switched the DE razor blades about 7 years ago & my wife says I look better shaved. Bought a used Gillette superspeed on ebay and never looked back!

Welcome to the club. I switched about 15+ years ago after a Schick cartridge razor tore strips of epidermis off of my face. I bought a heavy gauge Mühle razor which is beautifully made, durable, etc. But eventually I decided it wasn’t quite right in the hand, or at least I wasn’t able to be as proficient with it as I wished.

I’ve gone through other vintage razors - I really liked a Schick Stainless until it gave up the ghost; fit and finish wasn’t up to that of the Mühle.

Last year or so a friend (seller of vinyl :) ) offered a Gillette Adjustable at a great price, so I jumped on that and have not been tempted since. (Note: If I wanted another razor, it would probably be a Rockwell.)

As for blades my #1 is Feather. All DE blades are very cheap by cartridge standards, of course, but the Feathers are probably the most expensive, and by a lot. And because I am just as Scottish as you my next stash will probably be Astra Superior. They are sharp (enough) and very smooth. Same for the Gillette Bleu a “French’ blade made in … Russia, but aka Swedish Gillette. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If I come across another Adjustable at a good price, it’s yours.

Like a few others, I use Merkur shaving gear, I bought it as a set with stand, badger brush, and soap holder. I don't recall what I paid, but it was at least 15 years ago. I use Taylor of Bond Street shaving soap.

I fell down the shaving rabbit hole on the internet and 'researched' lots of ways to shave. I had become frustrated with the multi blade arms race. I had been shaving with a 2-blade cartridge that I liked due to its pushbutton cleaner of the space between the blades, but it got discontinued. I found the increase of blades increased my incidence of ingrown whiskers. I totally understand why servicemen in the armed forces are exempted from shaving standards since this is a problem far more for their skin.

After a brief foray into injector style, I landed on double-edge safety razors. That Merkur is one hefty device. I find it is easier to control with a light touch. A light razor requires a strong grip to control. Here, as in hifi tonearms, mass is your friend, giving a solid platform for stability.

I use Feather platinum coated blades, shave every 2 or so days. By routine, I change the blade on the first of the month, but honestly, I could go longer. How much longer? No idea. I buy them from Amazon 100 at a time. I might have enough on hand to last until retirement in 10 years.


I switched to DE razors well over a decade ago now. Money was definitely a factor, but it also helped me get rid of ingrown hairs, a common side-effect of the multi-blade cartridges.

And back then I paid 50 bucks for what was probably a life-time supply of blades at 5 cents a piece. If that won't last me till retirement...

As someone else said: The handles are generally BIFL (buy it for life) items, so once you've picked one that suits you, you can just stop worrying about it and go on with your life.

By her request, I got my wife a lady-version too, to her great pleasure. The price mark-up on lady-catridge-razors is, amazingly enough, even bigger than on the non-pink variants.

Happy to read about your shaving experiences.

I think a 'best shaving solution' really comes down to individual hair types. I have quite thick hair, and never found an electric razor that works. Others will have a different experience. I used disposable for a while, but mostly gave them up for the same reasons everyone else does (I still have some for travel use, when I'm lazy).

Initially I purchased through a store that sold 'sample packs' of blades, so I could sample a few different brands. Some people swear by the cheaper blades (I've found them inconsistent and won't last as long) and others swear by the (relatively) more expensive ones. Sample packs allowed me to experiment, then buy in bulk.

I now use a safety razor, at first with Polsilver blades, now a Feather razor with Feather blades. It's a great shave if I take a couple of extra minutes, and now that I've found a combination that works for me, it's very cheap. Once you find a combination that works (and give it time to make sure you're happy).

I only wish I had committed years ago, the savings would have been vast.


Another one here who's been using a safety razor for years. In fact I've never used a multi-bladed razor – before this I'd only ever used electric shavers.

Initially I tried using a brush and a bowl of soap, because it seemed like the "proper" way to do it. But I found I couldn't consistently get the consistency right. Eventually I heard of shaving oil, tried that and haven't looked back. More consistent, plus I can see what I'm doing without soap in the way! One tiny bottle lasts me ages.

P.S. The pleasure I often get from a good DE razor is not so distant from the pleasure I often get from a good mechanical all-metal camera.

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