I was 60 last week and my daughters paid for a birthday trip to Dublin a city I’ve wanted to visit for some time. This was a huge surprise to me, all they told me was to take two days off work and pack enough clothes for three days. They wouldn’t tell me anything other than that and to have my passport with me at Glasgow Airport for an early morning Thursday flight.
I knew then that I couldn’t take a safety razor with me as I was travelling with hand luggage only. I decided to buy a Gillette Fusion razor at Boots the Chemist at the airport. The Fusion came with two blades and left me £15.00 lighter in the pocket.
I shaved that evening in Dublin with a cartridge razor for the first time in many years along with my trusty Muhle Travel Brush and Executive Shaving Natural Shaving Cream. I feared the worst; in fact I was dreading this shave. Surprisingly, the Fusion shaved me with minimal fuss pretty much smooth on the first pass, after two passes I was shaved close albeit I had a little touching up to do around my chin area. I experienced no post shave irritation, no redness and no tenderness. Frankly, this is not what I expected!
Day two in Dublin and once again I had a great shave with the five bladed Fusion, day three much the same, a good result against all expectations.
Have I got it all wrong? For years I’ve been telling people that cartridge blades are the work of the devil but my three Fusion shaves were fuss free, close and comfortable.
Once back home in Glasgow I decided to continue to use the Fusion and this is when it all went wrong…
My fourth shave with the Fusion was not so good, I could feel the blades tugging at my bristles as if they were pulling the bristles out rather than shaving them. The end result was close but not as close as I get from a safety razor and for the first time with a Fusion I experienced some post shave redness on my neck.
I persevered the next day and the shave was not nearly as good as before, more pulling, tugging and generally the shave experience was uncomfortable, I did my standard three pass shave and this time I didn’t get a close shave. Running the tips of my fingers gently over my skin against the grain of my bristles felt like the finish I normally get after one pass with a safety razor.
Now, this is where I reckon most men go wrong, instead of sharpening the blade with a RazorPit or changing the blade they consciously or subconsciously press harder with the razor to get a close shave. In my opinion, it’s this additional pressure of blades on skin that causes a lot of the post shave skin problems I hear about every working day. Applying too much pressure on a less than sharp blade may lead to redness, irritation, itchiness, ingrown hairs, razor bump and razor burn. Is it laziness that makes men continue to shave with a blunt blade or ignorance? Or, as I suspect is it down to money? You’ve spent around £2.90 for a Fusion blade (Boots online 4 Fusion Blades for £11.79 25 June ’17) and rightly you want your money’s worth so you persevere with this blunt blade resulting in the skin problems shaving with a blunt blade will bring (redness, ingrowing hairs, razor bump, razor burn, itchiness).
I was very happy indeed with the Fusion for the first few shaves, indeed I was shocked at how efficiently it shaved me but to get consistently good shaves from a Fusion blade you either need to sharpen it or change the blade often. It’s unlikely Gillette will improve the lifespan of their blades, why should they? The only way they can make money is by selling you blades. Frankly, it is not in their interests to make blades that remain sharp for any more than a few shaves. We normally recommend shaving with a safety razor is the way to go but we do appreciate that for some men that's not an option. We will continue to recommend Fusion and or, Mach3 blades when appropriate but we will mention to buyers that they really need to buy a RazorPit at the same time.
PS: If you have never been to Dublin you've got to go, it's a fabulous city, fantastic resturants, great history and Peadar Kearney's pub is the best pub I have ever been to anywhere in the world. The Guinness brewery tour is worthwhile and you get a pint of the black stuff at the end.
Written by Brian Mulreany
The Executive Shaving Company
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