What they don’t tell you about a double edge razor.

I got the Merkur Classic Safety Razor for Christmas.  I’d read about wet shaving on blogs like The Simple DollarZen Habits, and Life Hacker.  First of all I stayed away from a straight edge razor after a barber advised me not to when I mentioned I couldn’t find them anywhere, something along the lines of it not being worth the risk and sanitation issues.  With nostalgic eagerness I lathered up for my first shave.  While I think that hemorrhage might be too strong of a word, I do wonder if certain areas of skin near my chin will ever grow back, not to mention the laceration behind my left ear.

flickr:  mthomps00

I got a free sample of the Schick Quatro a while back which tore my face up.  The worst part about that initial shaving experience was that despite the pain it was a terrible shave, I could have gotten the same effect dry shaving with a disposable single blade.  Then it hit me.  Why did I need 4 blades?  And why did I need 3?  I got the Mach 3 because I was hooked after the free sample they sent me on my 18th birthday, but really after shaving everyday for four years I’ve had some bad times with that razor as well.  When were we convinced that two blades weren’t enough?  And if 4 is as good as 3, and 3 comparable to 2, was it really just marketing that pushed us past the realm of a single blade in the first place?

So after my first encounter with the wet shaving I felt a little discouraged.  Luckily I found these two site which have given me the hope that I am essentially learning how to shave all over again and can master it in time.

What I learned:

I think I pressed too hard and my strokes were too long.  I will say though that I am already looking forward to shaving tomorrow.

Classic Shaving

Badger and Blade

Addendum:  Read the continuation of this story here.

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10 Responses to What they don’t tell you about a double edge razor.

  1. Steven says:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of DE shaving. Please check out Leisureguys excellent main post here: http://leisureguy.wordpress.com/2006/07/10/a-guide-to-the-gourmet-shaving-experience/

    His post gives a beginner a perfect base of knowledge.

    Also, a big step to a great DE shave depends on the blade used. There are dozens available. A good starter blade is the Derby. See Leisureguy’s post above for vendor info. A recommended route is a large Blade Pack that has a dozen or so different blades to help you find the blade that works for you.

  2. mantic says:

    Be sure to check out the youtube shaving videos too (link in my name)

  3. Corey says:

    I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the You Tube videos. They were done very nicely though a bit over the top. Great instructions on lathering and preparing your face, but in the third video the guy pulls out a Mach 3 to shave. I did find the other video on double edge razor tips like pulling the skin flat or tight.

  4. Corey says:

    Thanks for the great link Steven! Leisure guy has a great post on shaving.

  5. […] on the third day of using my double edge razor that I got for Christmas which you can read about in “What they don’t tell you about a double edge razor.” Today I am happy to say I shaved scratch free.  Following the advice from a comment on my previous […]

  6. LeisureGuy says:

    Thanks for the kind remarks about the post. And don’t overlook the book.

    In looking at the brush in the photo, I think you might want to upgrade that if you decide to continue with the brush-and-lather preparation. As a cost-effective brush, I highly recommend the Rooney Size 1 (small) Super Silvertip in any of the three styles: Style 1, Style 2, or Style 3. (Imaginative naming, eh?)

    Your technique will improve quickly because you practice daily and you get immediate feedback. Hang in there!

  7. Ronald says:

    Could anyone tell me why they think one makers blade should shave better than another’s blade?
    From what I can tell the dimensions are the same on all of the double edge blades. Even the blade angles are the same within 3 degrees (on the ones I have checked).
    A smaller blade angle may be slightly sharper, but at the have a shorter life.
    The hardness of the blade edge is probably the biggest factor in the blades sharpness and durability.
    We need a ceramic or diamond edge on our DE Blades, then they should last years unless mis-handled.
    Any comments?

  8. Ronald says:

    Has anyone looked at the edge of various maker’s blades under a 10 power magnifying glass, or, better yet, a microscope, to see if they can if they can see a difference in the blade edges?
    I looked at a Schick and a Merkur under a 10X glass. The Merkur has a rough edge. The Schick has a much smoother edge.
    I checked this out after using one of each blades. The Schick gave me 25 good shaves before it started pulling,
    The Merkur blade gave me a worse (it pulled more) shave on the first shave than the Schick did after 25 shaves.

  9. […] Reading: What they don’t tell you about a double edge razor. Mastering the art of wet […]

  10. Merkur Lover says:

    Great article, I love the picture too! I’m addicted to my Merkur Vision 2000, at first, it looked scary (it was my first DE razor), but with time and practice, it’s simply the best shave ever! I only use the Merkur blades, someone told me they are the best, is it true ?

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