Cartridge Razor vs Double Edge Razor: Which Is Better?


Three Blades, Fewer Strokes, Less Irritation?

I remember when I first started shaving in the late 90s and all the men’s grooming commercials were about the newly released Mach 3 razor from Gillette.

It featured a young man with a handsome (and already clean-shaven) face, who walks into his super high-tech bathroom and shaves with his Mach 3, complete with all kinds of futuristic machine sound effects. At the end of the commercial, a woman (his wife, I presumed) drapes her arms around his shoulders and it repeats the motto “three blades, fewer strokes, less irritation.”

I have to admit, the marketing worked on my 16-year-old brain and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on my very own Mach 3. Unfortunately, Gillette razor didn’t perform very well at all and I was left with an over-priced razor, a red irritated face, and buyer’s remorse (my job at Taco Bell didn’t pay much).

With the holidays coming and going, I see the cartridge razor giants marketing their razors to the upcoming generation: their razors are only $2 apiece, they give the closest most comfortable shave, and the razors will last for over a month.

In my experience, these statements are, to put it simply, wrong.

  • The average Gillette Fusion razor cost about $4 per piece
  • The shave is average at best but requires a good amount of pressure to cut the beard
  • The razor’s performance diminishes by about 50% after just five uses.
To be fair, cartridge razors have a place in the shave market – they are convenient and easy to use.

    But there’s a better way.

    More blades are better, right?

    The old myth that cartridge razors give no irritation because you only need to conduct one pass is incorrect. Every stroke of the cartridge razor equals the number of blades on the razor, which means if you have a 7-blade cartridge razor and conduct a two-pass shave, you’ve really completed a 14-pass shave. And every time a razor passes across the face it creates micro abrasions that lead to irritation, i.e. razor burn.

    Additionally, the blades that are used in the cartridge razors are pre-set with a mild (and inefficient) blade angle to prevent customers from cutting themselves. This means that any type of growth over 3 days will require 3 or 4 passes to achieve a smooth shave, and that’s with a fresh razor.

    With every subsequent shave, these issues only get worse. The consumer needs to either commit to a $4 per week razor budget, or settle for inferior shaves day after day.

    Additionally, with the pre-set razor angles, the consumer needs to press the razor to the face to cut the beard, which creates more friction, which leads to more irritation…you see where I’m going with this.

    Is there a better way? Absolutely!

    The Benefits of Double Edge Razors

    Double edge (DE) razors are a beautiful, timeless product that give the man, or woman, absolute control over their shave at a fraction of the price.

    Let me break down the cost first. A 100-pack of top of the line DE Feather razors costs about $20. Each single razor is good for about 4 to 5 shaves depending on the water type, experience, and razor sword. That’s $0.20 per razor blade!

    Sure, the DE sword will set you back an additional $20, but after that you have over a years’ supply for razors for $20. In addition to the economic benefits, the performance of these razors is second to none with only the straight razor edging out their performance by a small margin.

    The single razor design reduces the total amount of razor blade contact while efficiently reducing the beard. This is achieved through the razor angle, or aggressiveness, the sword sets the razor blade in. (I’ll talk more about different razor sword aggressiveness in subsequent blog posts.)

    The razor aggressiveness (the ability to manually manipulate the angle), coupled with minimal required pressure to cut the beard achieves a perfect shave every time. No irritation, no razor burn.

    Now there is a small learning curve when it comes to DE razors, but I mean small. With a little effort and practice, anyone can learn to DE shave with the best of us. I estimate that daily practicing for three weeks will create a proficient shaver out of anyone, but you can have your old form of shaving on stand-by to navigate the troublesome spots.

    Ready to make the switch? Check out my tutorials on how to shave with a double edge razor!


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