Gillette Fusion - Credit where credit is due

#1
I recall my first post here ...

After a succession of horrible shaves with what was my only razor, the Gillette Mach 3, I turned to the internet for help as something was seriously wrong. I'd used Wilkinson Sword Retractor disposables since starting to shave and when I felt flush enough for a Gillette, I bought into the Gillette Sensor which became the Sensor Excel. I think I skipped the Sensor Excel 3 and got the Mach 3 upon release.

Things were fine back then with softer hair and younger skin, but years on that format was not helping me at all. I found this forum literally in tears with a face full of ingrowers and horrendous irritation to boot, cursing the very name Gillette.

And that was that. I got into traditional shaving, enjoyed running through all manner of double edge razors on the market, found vintage, found the 1912, found happiness. Years passed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the loft sorting out some things and happened upon my old Gillette Mach 3 razor. There was also a box fresh Gillette Fusion which I think I'd been given or it came free with a magazine, or something. The Mach 3 went in the bin as it was old, scabby and carried too many painful memories for me. The Fusion, on the other hand.

I decided to try it ...

Using the original Gillette Fusion with what I think was the period version of today's orange Fusion 5 blade and some Gillette Series 3x gel, I found the shave most agreeable. Intrigued, I contemporised and bought in the Fusion ProGlide Flexball razor. More impressed. Further intrigued, I found the Fusion ProGuard Chill for a near giveaway price and perhaps expecting better again was a little disappointed, but still impressed.

What I now know is that my technique with the Mach 3 was all wrong. Too much pressure, too hurried, too much scrubbing, too much against the grain, too little patience. I've no desire to try the Mach 3 format again but given what I know now, it's no doubt nothing like the monster I made it into. Shaving right, the Fusion could do its thing without me messing it up. It slips, it slides and in my (famous) single pass with just a little brushing, I get a good quality daily clean and presentable shave. No issues. No weepers. No irritation. Just lather up, shave, rinse and then splash with cold water. Good enough. Later on, just because I'd also apply an aftershave.

I have now had a couple of weeks shaving with both the original non-Flexball handle and the Flexball, and just today bought the Fusion ProGlide Power (Flexball with battery) and a can of Fusion ProGlide 2 in 1 gel. Less impressed. That said, it's the first time I've ever (I think) used an electric razor or one that vibrates. I might need a little time to get used to the format.

The Chill blade was pretty good, I suppose - it's got a rubber fin just below the blades and cooling gloop either side. The regular ProGlide blade was really good with a slightly narrower silicone fin bar than the Fusion 5, which seems to suit me just right. My favourite combination so far is most definitely the Fusion ProGlide with Flexball but using these older (orange) Fusion 5 blades, which I bagged a pack of 10 at Sainsbury's for an eye-watering, but bargain sum nevertheless £18.50 (£1.85 per blade).

Yes, it's expensive and that in itself is the reason that so many of us look away from Gillette. We then go on to spend thousands on razors, blades, creams, soaps, aftershaves and other accoutrements when actually a single razor, can of gel and perhaps a bottle of splash will do it without making any sort of fuss, pomp or ceremony of the matter.

So, credit where credit is due ...

Gillette have most certainly got a cracking means of shaving here, chock full of colour, technology, gimmicks and science. All in the right amount, too. You can ridicule the Dyson meets Flymo looks, but it works. It works well. You can vilify the company for the insane mark-up and quite ludicrous pricing, but people pay it. Because it works. It works well. You can sneer at the cans of gloop while smiling, quite lovingly at your meticulously collected vintage soaps and individually selected artisinal pots. But that gloop works. It works well.

Gillette - that best a man can get? Well, yes, I think it is. At a price.
 
#2
Yes. Nothing beats the Fusion Flexball for ease of use and closeness of shave. And boredom.
The cartridges are expensive, but they do last. I'm still on the first one since I bought the razor over a year ago. Although I think I have used it thrice during that time.
If you have used SE/DE razors for a while and have your technique sorted, modern cartridge razors will give you great shaves when using the same technique.
BUT: WHY? I'm having so much more fun with a 1912, with an old injector, a lather catcher, even with a DE.
You lost me with the gloop. I don't do vintage or artisan soaps, but I do enjoy a good face-lather. Gloop is more boredom than even I am willing to take.

TL;DR: Great razors - can't be bothered.
 
#3
Have you tried the Feather F System carts yet Paul?

I’ve found the MR3 Neo to be a much better razor than the Gillette Fusion (both with and without the flex ball) and it’s excellent for head shaving.

The newer F3 Samurai Edge is a monstrosity to look at but also works surprisingly well.

The cart prices are around the same as a Feather Guard and the addition of a razor pit extends the life of them significantly.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#4
Have you tried the Feather F System carts yet Paul?
I haven't actually, Andy. The farthest I went into cartridges was to the FII for use with vintage Trac-II razors. Excellent blades, possibly the best of the Trac-II type. I can imagine the F3 is more so. Blimey! Yes, that Samurai Edge is something ... that's for sure!

TL;DR: Great razors - can't be bothered.
I hear you ...

You know I do love my 1912s and those vintage Gillette Techs. I've got a very busy life at the moment and have to switch about exactly when I shave - sometimes evening, sometime morning, sometimes with lots of time, sometimes time is pressing. Whatever it is, I don't have a lot of time to potter. I just have to get shaved.
 
#5
I recall my first post here ...

After a succession of horrible shaves with what was my only razor, the Gillette Mach 3, I turned to the internet for help as something was seriously wrong. I'd used Wilkinson Sword Retractor disposables since starting to shave and when I felt flush enough for a Gillette, I bought into the Gillette Sensor which became the Sensor Excel. I think I skipped the Sensor Excel 3 and got the Mach 3 upon release.

Things were fine back then with softer hair and younger skin, but years on that format was not helping me at all. I found this forum literally in tears with a face full of ingrowers and horrendous irritation to boot, cursing the very name Gillette.

And that was that. I got into traditional shaving, enjoyed running through all manner of double edge razors on the market, found vintage, found the 1912, found happiness. Years passed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the loft sorting out some things and happened upon my old Gillette Mach 3 razor. There was also a box fresh Gillette Fusion which I think I'd been given or it came free with a magazine, or something. The Mach 3 went in the bin as it was old, scabby and carried too many painful memories for me. The Fusion, on the other hand.

I decided to try it ...

Using the original Gillette Fusion with what I think was the period version of today's orange Fusion 5 blade and some Gillette Series 3x gel, I found the shave most agreeable. Intrigued, I contemporised and bought in the Fusion ProGlide Flexball razor. More impressed. Further intrigued, I found the Fusion ProGuard Chill for a near giveaway price and perhaps expecting better again was a little disappointed, but still impressed.

What I now know is that my technique with the Mach 3 was all wrong. Too much pressure, too hurried, too much scrubbing, too much against the grain, too little patience. I've no desire to try the Mach 3 format again but given what I know now, it's no doubt nothing like the monster I made it into. Shaving right, the Fusion could do its thing without me messing it up. It slips, it slides and in my (famous) single pass with just a little brushing, I get a good quality daily clean and presentable shave. No issues. No weepers. No irritation. Just lather up, shave, rinse and then splash with cold water. Good enough. Later on, just because I'd also apply an aftershave.

I have now had a couple of weeks shaving with both the original non-Flexball handle and the Flexball, and just today bought the Fusion ProGlide Power (Flexball with battery) and a can of Fusion ProGlide 2 in 1 gel. Less impressed. That said, it's the first time I've ever (I think) used an electric razor or one that vibrates. I might need a little time to get used to the format.

The Chill blade was pretty good, I suppose - it's got a rubber fin just below the blades and cooling gloop either side. The regular ProGlide blade was really good with a slightly narrower silicone fin bar than the Fusion 5, which seems to suit me just right. My favourite combination so far is most definitely the Fusion ProGlide with Flexball but using these older (orange) Fusion 5 blades, which I bagged a pack of 10 at Sainsbury's for an eye-watering, but bargain sum nevertheless £18.50 (£1.85 per blade).

Yes, it's expensive and that in itself is the reason that so many of us look away from Gillette. We then go on to spend thousands on razors, blades, creams, soaps, aftershaves and other accoutrements when actually a single razor, can of gel and perhaps a bottle of splash will do it without making any sort of fuss, pomp or ceremony of the matter.

So, credit where credit is due ...

Gillette have most certainly got a cracking means of shaving here, chock full of colour, technology, gimmicks and science. All in the right amount, too. You can ridicule the Dyson meets Flymo looks, but it works. It works well. You can vilify the company for the insane mark-up and quite ludicrous pricing, but people pay it. Because it works. It works well. You can sneer at the cans of gloop while smiling, quite lovingly at your meticulously collected vintage soaps and individually selected artisinal pots. But that gloop works. It works well.

Gillette - that best a man can get? Well, yes, I think it is. At a price.
Cracking read, Paul. I've often wondered how a cartridge razor would work out if I tried one again. My work situation may be changing and see me on the road more often. May need to consider something like a Gillette. Sounds like the price of blades has not improved :eek:
 
#6
It was from the Gillette Fusion Proglide Flexball Power (what a mouthful) that I came when transitioning to DE. Quite honestly I think the design of it is superb. The Flexball is a great idea for areas like the neck and under the jawline. My issues with it are as follows:

Whilst the razor itself is cheap and often at reduced price in supermarkets to lure people in, the cartridges are extortionately priced. It’s rare you see them on offer (a very occasional multibuy one) and they are generally £15 for 4, that is a whopping £3.75 a cartridge. . . . .

My neck was always very irritated and covered in bumps even though I only ever shaved WTG with it. . . . .

I got the most horrific ingrown hairs on my neck which I would end up digging out thus making even more of a mess of my already red neck. With DE shaving I don’t get any ingrowers on the neck and only get the occasional minor one on the cheeks from going ATG, something I’m realising is not for me and my skin really. . . . .

The sheer number of blades to me is just total overkill. It’s been said before but if the idea of a multi blade cart is that the first blade lifts the hair ready for the second one to cut it, then what are the third, fourth and fifth blades actually doing? Cutting the hair BELOW skin level according to numerous things I’ve read and I can believe that, otherwise why would Fusion blades give me ingrowers from just one simple WTG pass on the neck? . . . . .

The cartridges themselves are simply too bulky making it very hard to shave between one’s nose and lip.

So for me the Fusion is somewhat deceptive in that the shaves always felt effortless and comfortable at the time, especially due to the Flexball aspect & the gentle vibration, but over the days and weeks as the long ingrowers revealed themselves, it was a different story. If they did a 2 or 3 blade version of the Fusion with the Flexball AND they were cheaper than £15 a pack, I would give it a try as perhaps that would take the ingrowers out of the equation as I really think it is the presence of FIVE blades that gave me them. Curiously, WS do both a 3 and 5 blade version of their Hydro cart, though I never liked the goo strips on those. I also tried the ‘Chill’ Fusion carts and honestly couldn’t tell any difference.
 
#7
I recall the strips on the Mach 3 being somewhat gloopy and that was something I most certainly did not miss. With the Fusion blades, the lubrication is not gloopy. There's other engineering, too, with the larger area of silicone fine and even a toothed fin just below the last blade on the Power blades for use with the vibrating handle.

Like you @dave79 I wonder if the five blades is indeed overkill. Logically, you would have thought three at most - one to cut/lift, the second to cut what lifted and the third for stragglers. Perhaps five does this twice, like two passes in one go. I can certainly get fully shaved in a single pass with the Fusion system.

I'm very susceptible to ingrowers myself, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out ...

I have been using the Fusion system for a couple of weeks now, with two weeks of the Gillette Guard prior to that. I fence a couple of times a week which is heavy, sweaty and leaves my skin hot and puffy, especially where the mask meets my chin. There's an area either side which is very susceptible to ingrowers and that has entirely cleared up. I don't think I'm falling foul of hairs lifting and then descending subcutaneously; certainly no more so than I might with a 1912.

What is certain for me, and I think perhaps you'll find this if you use a cartridge again in time @dave79, is the technique learned with traditional shaving will almost certainly lend a lighter and more sure touch. The trouble with cartridges is, everyone unwittingly ends up pressing too hard. The design of the Mach3 and the Fusion, distinct from the Trac-II type, where the razor drags behind almost certainly promoted the user to press harder. If you look at the mechanics of this, the head is held under tension by a very light spring and it is imperative that this is not overly exerted that the tension is overcome.

Light touch and let the razor do the work - this is the mantra of traditional shaving and it would bear out with the most modern cartridge systems.
 
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#8
I recall my first post here ...

After a succession of horrible shaves with what was my only razor, the Gillette Mach 3, I turned to the internet for help as something was seriously wrong. I'd used Wilkinson Sword Retractor disposables since starting to shave and when I felt flush enough for a Gillette, I bought into the Gillette Sensor which became the Sensor Excel. I think I skipped the Sensor Excel 3 and got the Mach 3 upon release.

Things were fine back then with softer hair and younger skin, but years on that format was not helping me at all. I found this forum literally in tears with a face full of ingrowers and horrendous irritation to boot, cursing the very name Gillette.

And that was that. I got into traditional shaving, enjoyed running through all manner of double edge razors on the market, found vintage, found the 1912, found happiness. Years passed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the loft sorting out some things and happened upon my old Gillette Mach 3 razor. There was also a box fresh Gillette Fusion which I think I'd been given or it came free with a magazine, or something. The Mach 3 went in the bin as it was old, scabby and carried too many painful memories for me. The Fusion, on the other hand.

I decided to try it ...

Using the original Gillette Fusion with what I think was the period version of today's orange Fusion 5 blade and some Gillette Series 3x gel, I found the shave most agreeable. Intrigued, I contemporised and bought in the Fusion ProGlide Flexball razor. More impressed. Further intrigued, I found the Fusion ProGuard Chill for a near giveaway price and perhaps expecting better again was a little disappointed, but still impressed.

What I now know is that my technique with the Mach 3 was all wrong. Too much pressure, too hurried, too much scrubbing, too much against the grain, too little patience. I've no desire to try the Mach 3 format again but given what I know now, it's no doubt nothing like the monster I made it into. Shaving right, the Fusion could do its thing without me messing it up. It slips, it slides and in my (famous) single pass with just a little brushing, I get a good quality daily clean and presentable shave. No issues. No weepers. No irritation. Just lather up, shave, rinse and then splash with cold water. Good enough. Later on, just because I'd also apply an aftershave.

I have now had a couple of weeks shaving with both the original non-Flexball handle and the Flexball, and just today bought the Fusion ProGlide Power (Flexball with battery) and a can of Fusion ProGlide 2 in 1 gel. Less impressed. That said, it's the first time I've ever (I think) used an electric razor or one that vibrates. I might need a little time to get used to the format.

The Chill blade was pretty good, I suppose - it's got a rubber fin just below the blades and cooling gloop either side. The regular ProGlide blade was really good with a slightly narrower silicone fin bar than the Fusion 5, which seems to suit me just right. My favourite combination so far is most definitely the Fusion ProGlide with Flexball but using these older (orange) Fusion 5 blades, which I bagged a pack of 10 at Sainsbury's for an eye-watering, but bargain sum nevertheless £18.50 (£1.85 per blade).

Yes, it's expensive and that in itself is the reason that so many of us look away from Gillette. We then go on to spend thousands on razors, blades, creams, soaps, aftershaves and other accoutrements when actually a single razor, can of gel and perhaps a bottle of splash will do it without making any sort of fuss, pomp or ceremony of the matter.

So, credit where credit is due ...

Gillette have most certainly got a cracking means of shaving here, chock full of colour, technology, gimmicks and science. All in the right amount, too. You can ridicule the Dyson meets Flymo looks, but it works. It works well. You can vilify the company for the insane mark-up and quite ludicrous pricing, but people pay it. Because it works. It works well. You can sneer at the cans of gloop while smiling, quite lovingly at your meticulously collected vintage soaps and individually selected artisinal pots. But that gloop works. It works well.

Gillette - that best a man can get? Well, yes, I think it is. At a price.
I knew others would start to see the things i've known to be true lol.
In my experience shaving with good carts is not the reason for bad shaves. You'll find the culprits to be poor prep, poor software (can goo) and primarily poor technique. We learn the importance of prep, software and technique when we start DE shaving because if you don't you'll still get crappy shaves and just revert. DEs are just as likely to give you a bad shave and even more it will tear your face up lol. DE, SE shaving and not to forget SR can be a hazardous thing, the blades are not forgiving in the wrong hands. I actually did more damage learning to shave with a DE and SE in my first month than i'd ever done shaving with carts for over 15 years. But hell did I learn quick lol. And after learning I went back to try carts and apply what i'd learnt and the rest is history. I now shave with carts, DE's and SE's in my rota and am happy for it. Whoop long live shaving! Lol
 
#10
Ah, you found it Vinny ... I know you were always a fan of this format.

I am really getting to grips with the powered razor now. Really enjoying that. I can happily divorce my extensive razor collection from the physical process of shaving - it's a wonderful collection and simply that: a collection. I happen to use a small handful for actual shaving, but it's the same ones over and over.

The Fusion format really suits me, gloop and all! It will be interesting to try out my vintage again after a few more month of this ...
 
#11
I'm one of those blokes who has never had any issues with shaving. No rash, burn or bumps.

The only reason I stumbled into the shaving forums 10 years ago was through Googling Blenheim Bouquet and the demise of Noxzema foam.

I've gone through all the various stages as most forum members, tried pretty much all the modern and vintage DE razors and blades, straight razors and disposable straight razors. Tried bristle and badger brushes and all sorts of soaps and creams. I've tried collecting and hunting for rarities.

After a few years of that I just went back to the convenience of the cartridge system. I can pick up a handle and blades and a can of foam literally anywhere on the planet and have exactly the same result as with a Damascus straight razor, Yardley soap and ivory-handled brush.

It's (shaving's) only ever been about looking presentable when I need to with the least amount of faff.

The fact I drive a £200 banger may also go some way to explaining my philosophy. I can sit at traffic lights next to a £100k Aston Martin without even a twinge of envy. If it gets the job done, I'm happy enough.

Horses. Courses.



Sent from my F5321 using Tapatalk
 
#13
I went back to cartridges (Mach3 & Sensor) several years ago and haven’t looked back. I get better shaves with these two cartridges than I ever did in all my years of shaving with a DE or SE. My face is irritation free with no nicks, weepers or ingrown hairs, and I shave every day. In my opinion the quality and satisfaction of the shaves I get from the Mach3 and Sensor cartridges far outweigh their (exorbitant) cost. One thing I’ll never do is trade in my badger brushes and shaving cream for canned foam or gel.
 
#16
I wonder how much what are now vintage Gillettes would have cost relatively when they were what the majority used ... Also the relative cost of blades, etc.? I would not be surprised if at the time blades were quite costly as carts are now. Of course I may be completely wrong, but my initial googling hasn’t revealed much.

I think a lot of it is down to not having been tutored in shaving right from the beginning, so when we start we chop ourselves up with the basic carts and goo. If we had the right technique to begin with we wouldn’t have got into this whole business of spending large sums of moolah.

:)
 
#17
I wonder how much what are now vintage Gillettes would have cost relatively when they were what the majority used ... Also the relative cost of blades, etc.? I would not be surprised if at the time blades were quite costly as carts are now. Of course I may be completely wrong, but my initial googling hasn’t revealed much.

I think a lot of it is down to not having been tutored in shaving right from the beginning, so when we start we chop ourselves up with the basic carts and goo. If we had the right technique to begin with we wouldn’t have got into this whole business of spending large sums of moolah.

:)
I think you have a very good point there as I remember my late father in law telling me that he used to buy one blade at a time and use it until it was almost ripping your face off.

Dave.
 
#18
Randomangle said:
I think a lot of it is down to not having been tutored in shaving right from the beginning,
You have a good point there. My father wasn't around to teach me how to shave, and my older brother had long flown the nest by the time I had to start, so I had to work it out for myself, and made plenty of mistakes. Of course now I've made the move to DE, I have to learn a whole new technique...

Interestingly, to me anyway, I was having a rummage around at my mum's house the other day and found one of my first razors, a Remington Lektroblade, a fixed head twin blade thing with a vibrating handle. It looks like a horrific cheap piece of crap! I can't believe I ever put that thing near my face! I Soon made the move to a Contour...
 
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