For 29 years — except for a brief fling with an awful electrical shaver — I used a multi-bladed cartridge razor thinking that was the best possible instrument for the job. Every few years I would purchase the new mannequin with yet one more blade only to find it performed the job exactly the same — that is — to go away me with a horrible red rash and irritable skin that would have to be shaved once more the following day and rarely allowed to heal.
By chance in the future I stumbled on a safety razor. I used to be instantly taken by it is old fashioned design and high quality appearance. Then I heard that these things had been really supposed to provide you a better shave than cartridge razors such as your Gillettes and Wilkinson Swords, and that the blades value considerably less. I immediately bought one to present it a go however expected to be disappointed.
Getting used to using it was a little bit of a studying curve. I’d turn into accustomed to having no regard for the angle of the blade and urgent the razor to my face, after three passes with the safety razor my skin nonetheless felt slightly irritated and I had a few tiny weeping cuts.
Nonetheless, I nonetheless felt so much less irritation compared to my old cartridge razor so decided to offer the safety razor a month’s trial, keeping the triple bladed razor helpful until I’d made my mind up or was in a rush. However, I’ve still but to make use of it.
After doing my research, studying the right blade angle and realising that the weight of the razor applies the pressure quite than my hand, the safety razor was providing glorious shaves. I went from skipping a days shaving whenever I could to let my skin heal to shaving on daily basis with no rash or irritation. I learnt how the hair on my face grows in all completely different directions and the most effective combinations of strokes to use to cut them. I learnt about correct preparation pre-shave which is something I am going to go into in a future post. Best of all, shaving turned from a torturous day by day chore to be endured into a calming, meditative ritual.
So how can a design that was all but deserted forty years ago provide a superior expertise to the fashionable design that replaced it? Why was the design of the safety razor replaced at all? To answer the first question we must have a look at how the cartridge razor works. In all of the adverts we’re told that these products provide the closest shave doable, but how do they do this?
The design is such that the lowest blade within the cartridge both cuts the hair or pulls it. If it cuts the hair it can also pull the hair slightly out of the skin and the second blade will minimize it once more before it fully retracts back into the skin. If it pulls the hair it should do the same thing, pulling the follicle forward and letting the second (or third, or forth) blade minimize the hair higher up before the hair retreats. This provides an in depth shave, but may depart the hair minimize beneath the level of the skin. This is what was responsible for my daily discomfort. I wonder how many males with ‘pseudofolliculitis barbae’ or ‘razor rash’ proceed to shave with these razors that aggravate or cause their condition.
As for the question of why the safety razor design was abandoned, my view is that it was a intelligent advertising and marketing trick by a very large razor manufacturer, perhaps the inventor of the ‘loss leader’ advertising strategy, but I’ll go away it there.
With a safety razor, I found that I might get a shave that felt as shut, i.e I couldn’t really feel that hair was current or make that scratchy sound you get once you run your fingers over your five O’Clock shadow, but not so close that it caused me irritation.
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