I’ve long bristled under the 3 and 4 blade razors that dominate the market today. Perhaps they provide a marginally closer shave (I doubt it), but I find these enormous razors cumbersome and unable to handle the curves of my chin and neck. Worse, the replacement blades for these products are extremely expensive and hardly worth the dubious marginal difference in shaving quality. The flexible head provides absolutely no value, as there’s nothing that a flexible head provides that a flexible wrist can’t. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that flexible heads actually make things more difficult for people when shaving. Lastly, these blades now come with a lubricating strip that provides no comfort and dissolves after about a week of use, exactly when Gillette wants you to replace its blades…and make them more money. Needless to say, they have cornered the market on men with too much dignity to stoop to the electric but not enough daring to step up to the barber’s straight razor.
I recently became reacquainted with the simple razor after landing in a foreign country and finding that my airline had misplaced my luggage. The simple razor is a single blade, fixed head, no lubricating-strip product that still matches the performance of any 3 or 4 blade product on the market. Because it had only one blade, I ran the blade under water to clear it after each stroke, but I only needed one stroke to catch everything – something I can’t say about the clunking Mach 3. Shaving the mustache, the chin, the neck, and near the sideburns became much easier with a smaller, fixed blade, and it was on this overseas trip that I decided to finally abandon the 3 and 4 blade products that had long frustrated my face and wallet.
Upon returning to the States, where there is someone to sell you anything you want, I quickly went searching for a similar simple blade. Surprisingly, my local RideAid doesn’t carry that product. Without anything as simple as a 1 blade fixed head razor without a lubricating strip, I had to compromise on a 12 pack of Schicks for about five dollars (less than the cost of a single Mach 3, by the way).
The blades on my compromise Shicks aren’t perfect: they have two blades instead of one and sport that gooey strip I have always hated. But they are still extremely small and have fixed heads, and so they still provide a far better shave than the 3 and 4 blade razors I have always previously tolerated.
The point is that for someone who shaves on a daily basis, there’s simply no reason to be trapped in the expensive racket that is the Mach 3, Quattro, Fusion, etc. These monstrosities are mostly here to generate a profit for their producers. A simple razor with as few blades as possible, no lubricating stips, no flexible head, and no batteries or other silly contraptions can still do the job just as well as anything on the market. As far as I am concerned, Occam’s Razor applies even to razors themselves.