Do more blades really make a difference

mpf9ret

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I stopped using Cart Razors about 6 years ago, and was probably using a King of Shaves with 5 blades, having progressed from the likes of a Mach 3.

A while ago I brought a vintage Schick Super 11 having due to poor photos thought it was a Schick N1.

Recently I had an urge to try it out as a potential Travel Razor, and to date have had 7 really good Shaves with a Schick Ultrex twin blade on board. These days I use SE Razors both Vintage & Modern, and honestly the quality of the Shave attained is as good as some that I get from some of them. It makes me wonder if any of the current Multi Blade are actually any better than this Twin Blade Cart from the 70’s, Judging by the Quality Shaves that I have had I suspect not.
Is anyone who uses modern Multi Blade Carts able to confirm that they are superior to a Twin Blade like the Schick Super 11.
 
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I've often wondered the same. However, it is incredibly difficult to find decent, single-bladed razors, particularly in most shops. Gillette and Wilkinson Sword seem to focus primarily on multiple-bladed razors now.

I couldn't really say for sure whether or not these deliver a superior shave to single blades, as it's been so long since I've even seen one for sale and it's been even longer since I last used a single-bladed razor. However, I do think that shaving with multiple-bladed razors does dramatically increase the chances of cutting yourself. Of this, I am 100% convinced, because it happens to me quite often. In fact, I know that I am having a good day when I DON'T cut myself while shaving!
 
Not used the Schick single blade - my experience of the Gillette Guard has been poor. A single blade, and cannot get on with it. Razor rash and often weepers. The Mach 3 gives me the closest and most consistent shave of any razor. It's a heavier with perhaps more flex and tilt than the Guard. Or may be just the 3 blades are better quality. Not sure. No dramas, close and smooth each and every time.

Recently bought the 2 bladed Comfort, and although better than the Guard, I thought it was ordinary in performance. That went in the bin with the Guard ;) Having kept the handle, I intend picking up a pack of 5 bladed Fusion heads at some point. I have never tried the 5 bladed Gillette's.
 
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Not used the Schick single blade - my experience of the Gillette Guard has been poor. A single blade, and cannot get on with it. Razor rash and often weepers. The Mach 3 gives me the closest and most consistent shave of any razor. It's a heavier with perhaps more flex and tilt than the Guard. Or may be just the 3 blades are better quality. Not sure. No dramas, close and smooth each and every time.

Recently bought the 2 bladed Comfort, and although better than the Guard, I thought it was ordinary in performance. That went in the bin with the Guard ;) Having kept the handle, I intend picking up a pack of 5 bladed Fusion heads at some point. I have never tried the 5 bladed Gillette's.
The Schick Super 11 uses twin blade carts. The ones that I am using are the the Schick Super 11 Ultrex which does not have a lub strip.Beats the M3 IMHO.
 
I've always used Gillette razors and blades of one form or another. I trust them. In fact, I would never use anything else. I use a Mach 3 and I have done so for many years. I am more than happy with the standard of shave that it gives me, which is excellent (apart from the frequent nicks and cuts, as I mentioned above). It's the only brand of razor that I would recommend. I have tried Wilkinson Sword razors, but they always seem flimsy and the blades get clogged up far too easily. They can also be a bit fiddly when the blades need changing as well, though maybe that's just me.
 
Simple answer: yes

I'm using the Gillette Labs format at the moment, which is a five blade razor. There is technology (or techno-babble, perhaps) within these cartridges to align the hair, lift it and with each successive blade, cut it closer. It does. Simple as that. One pass with a Fusion5 or Labs cartridge is better than any one pass with a traditional DE razor and better than two passes (one with, one against) with most. I'd say the same of the Wilkinson Sword Hydro format as well.

I think Gillette have absolutely nailed it with the Fusion Flexball and Labs mechanism. Keeping to a disciplined shave, following beard map as I would with a traditional razor, the Gillette simply sticks to the face ... especially so of the Labs razor. Maintain overlapping strokes and that one pass is way past "damn fine" and approaching "baby smooth" even on a weathered face like mine.

I do like the Wilkinson Sword Hyro format, particularly the one with the extra pivot behind the head (Skin Protection Advanced, I think) which allows almost the same sort of three-dimensional movement as the Fusion Flexball or Labs. Almost. I think I prefer the blades in the Wilkinson Sword to Gillette, but it's so minimal ... and only an impression one gets after a number of continuous shaves with any given format. I like the Wilkinson Sword format because the gloop strip can actually be entirely removed. That said, their gloop strip (pods) is ... erm, forgive me, very good!

Whether the latest crop is better because they employ more blades or whether that is so because the technology is better (fins, guides, blades and so on), I can't answer that. I would have thought three blades really ought to have been enough, but there must be micro-stubble that a futher couple of blades manage to resolve ... or maybe the first blade and then the second take excessive wear and so to deliver what feels like a consistent experience across, say 20 or 30 shaves the extra blades come into play. Certainly the move away from a fixed head to pivot (Trac-II to Sensor) was an advance and then the move to both pivot and turn with the Flexball to accomodate skin contours in two directions was the next advance.

There must be an upper limit, though. I've not tried a six or seven blade cartirdge, but given I find the Sensor better than the Trac-II, Mach3 better than the Sensor and the Fusion5 better than the Mach3 ... well, I remain open on the matter. When the Dorco Pace 3D Motion hits the UK, I guess I'll find out - I know I can get the Pace 6 Pro in the UK, but the 3D Motion is the Fusion/Labs equivalent mechanism.

So, why persist with a traditional razor, then? Why is the fixed head II still so alluring? Why is the Sensor or the Mach3 still so well regarded? I guess we could look at the retro, vintage and antique car collectors for an answer to that.
 
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I must agree with Paul @pjgh. Nothing gives me closer shaves than a Gillette Flexball.
Nobody likes a Flexball more than I do. Except maybe Paul and a few others.
Thinking about it - most people like a Flexball more than I do.
It's just so awfully dull and boring.
If I can choose between the closest Flexball shave and the excitement of a 120-year-old lather catcher...
... it's an easy choice.
 
I would agree that the Flexball Fusion 5 derivatives give a remarkably quick, smooth and close shave. In terms of pitting them against a DE, i would say that IMO the Fusion 5 shave grows back much quicker for some reason i cant quite figure out, even against a DE shave with a milder razor / blade combo. Cant quite figure it out, but multi-blade shaves definitely seem to grow back a good few hours quicker than any DE shave.

If i want the "ultimate" shave, i set my Progress high on 3 or more and go very carefully for 4 passes, then rinse it all off as usual. Then I use the Fusion 5 Flexball very, very lightly on a well wetted face - just plenty of water between passes. It picks up all the micro stubble and arkward places the DE has skipped and its a genuine and very impressive "BBS" that will stay that way for 6 or more hours in my experience.

I should add my facial hair grows very quickly and I have spent a lifetime of having cart and electric travel battery razors scattered about home/work/car for top-ups in the late afternoon. Equally i have had a former life living with red shaving rash around the neckline, which drove me to DE in the first place.
 
I must agree with Paul @pjgh. Nothing gives me closer shaves than a Gillette Flexball.
Nobody likes a Flexball more than I do. Except maybe Paul and a few others.
Thinking about it - most people like a Flexball more than I do.
It's just so awfully dull and boring.
If I can choose between the closest Flexball shave and the excitement of a 120-year-old lather catcher...
... it's an easy choice.
That's the exact same reason I seldom shave with injector razors, even though they provide me with amazing shaves. Same can be said for my Trac II razors as well. Who wants a boring shave?
 
Simple answer: no. I’m glad I made the switch from carts to DE back in 2012. I get a much better shave with less irritation and I could never imagine shaving any other way. That’s just how it is for me though. I’m pleased that many of you are happy using whatever cart system you prefer. It’s about getting the results you like in a fashion you prefer. For me that’s a DE every single time.
 
Not used the Schick single blade - my experience of the Gillette Guard has been poor. A single blade, and cannot get on with it. Razor rash and often weepers...

IMO if you are getting those results with the Guard then you are obviously using too much pressure or going over areas too much which is common with disposable/plastic razors.

That's the exact same reason I seldom shave with injector razors, even though they provide me with amazing shaves. Same can be said for my Trac II razors as well. Who wants a boring shave?

I do, I don't want the drama of razor "hopping" with umpteen different razors like some do. I only use injectors for multi-day beards however as they are so perfect for that. I use some sort of Tech for 99% of my DE shaving as it gives great shaves when administered properly and is "uneventful". i.e., no surprises.
 
It depends on how many is many? I think the holy grail is a smooth shave with a single WTG pass. That's what the TV adverts for Gillette Labs hints at. Theory is that what the first blade misses the next blade cuts and what that blade misses the next blade cuts and so on up to 6 blades (Dorco; DSC, QShave Black Spider). But the theory doesn't work in practise and the solution is to add more blades which similarly doesn't work

Personally, I still use a cartridge razor - Sainsbury's Men Advance 3 blade razor (£2.50p for the razor and £3.50p for a pack of 4 cartridges) for tidying up mainly under the nose after shaving with a single blade DE or SE. Because the bulk of the shave is done with a DE or SE razor the cartridge lasts for a month or more. But I am trying to get away from Multi blade carts: I have on order a Gillette Guard from ebay (£6.99p for the razor and 19 carts) and a Penny Shaver from APShaveCo (£19.50p for a razor and 4 carts including shipping from USA to UK).

The problem these days is there is so much competition resulting in so much choice and so much profit. I remember back in 1967 I bought my first DE razor at the age of 16 from the NAAFI at RAOC Junior Leaders Battalion, Deepcut Nr Aldershot and there was only one on offer which I bought - a Gillette Tech made in USA. Similarly out in Civvy Street we would buy whatever the local chemist was selling which was invariably a Gillette, give it a scrub with a wire brush when we changed the blade and when the plating wore off back to the chemist for a new razor. A world away from today.
 
... Personally, I still use a cartridge razor - Sainsbury's Men Advance 3 blade razor (£2.50p for the razor and £3.50p for a pack of 4 cartridges) for tidying up mainly under the nose after shaving with a single blade DE or SE. Because the bulk of the shave is done with a DE or SE razor the cartridge lasts for a month or more. ...

Same here. I use a DE and always get close, smooth results, but i finish up with a Fusion 5 Flexball for cleaning up right under the nostrils (using the Fusion 5 trimming edge on the back of the cart), as i cant get a DE head in close enough there.

For the very best possible BBS shave i will sometimes finish up the DE shave by going very, very lightly XTG and ATG on my neck with the Fusion 5, using just water as lube, to get the areas of micro-stubble left where the DE has skipped and bumped a bit around the adam's apple area. I just can't sort this area with the DE, even with every type of skin stretching i have tried. Maybe it's something i am doing wrong, but the Fusion is quick and effective at this.

The Fusion 5 cart will last about 3 months used this way before performance is noticeably off. I ignore the fact that the "lube strip" will have gone white or even fallen by this point - it doesn't seem to affect the shave performance much anyway if you lather up properly with a decent soap / cream

To put this in perspective, if i just shaved with Fusion 5, it would be a great close shave, but i would end up with razor rash around the neck and it would grow back in around 6 hours, whereby any DE shave takes around 12 hours to grow back to the same extent.

I am convinced the flexball floating / swivelling head is an important development in shaving performance, as is multi-blade.

On a different note, i got a Harry's Razor for my birthday and having used it a couple of times i found it a bit "meh" compared to the Fusion. It's OK, but Harry's cheap wobbly head isnt a patch on flex ball imo and the blades don't seem as good as Gillette.
 
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