13 August 2009

So Long, Gillette

The Merkur...It's not a Ford

A while back I posted a photograph of my (old ) medicine cabinet. Very slap - dash. Nothing to really write about. Took all of five minutes. Kind'a like this one. But the response was amazing. More comments than I've ever recieved and lots of great advice...

One suggestion I took was from Robert:

"For a razor, you might ditch Gillette altogether and try a Merkur HD and their double-edged blades. The handle will set you back a tiny bit, but you'll more than make up for it on the back end with less expensive blades. As long as you're careful, you'll find them more forgiving than a Mach to the Nth Power blade. Also - it won't look like you're parking a toy rocket ship in your medicine cabinet."

Wise words, sir.

So, it's been a week now. How is it? I compare shaving with a Merkur to stepping out on a frozen lake. There's some apprehension and I'm taking it very slow but with Gillette blades pushing $40 for eight - - it's well worth the risk. And it looks so much better than the blue and orange rocket ship. You know, if word gets out that a simple safety razor is this good and this cheap... Well, I wouldn't want a be a brand manager at Gillette.

25 comments:

Drake said...

I have a merkur Long Handle. I haven't looked back since. best investment this face has ever seen.

The Preppy Pauper said...

I've been shaving with a safety razor and shaving brush for about 6 months. It's like night and day compared to the usual drug store fare. Still learning to not push the blade to hard and let it do the work, but I can shave now without nicking myself. I bought a Weishi razor and Feather blades on eBay. You're right, safety razor blades are much more inexpensive than regular blades and provide a much better shave. You can file the 3 blade/4 blade/battery vibrating doo-hickey razors under "Newer is not necessarily better".

skorpeo said...

after cashing in the IRA account to purchase the last batch of mach III blades, the wife was told by the cashier at the grocery store the blades for the "ladies version" are less expensive. i think i like the idea of the safety razor better. not a good idea to bust out the "girly razor" in boot camp.

Weihenstephaner said...

The brand of blade makes all the difference, and it is a very personal choice. I started with the Merkur blades and worked my way through Gillette (Swedish), Crystal, DORCO, and Feather before settling on Derby as my blade of choice. I then bought a pack of 200 Derby blades for less than $50 and have not looked back. Several sites offer sampler packs of blades (e.g. westcoastshaving.com, razorandbrush.com, even amazon.com, etc.), which I found to be a worthwhile investment.

Anonymous said...

Tintin,
As soon as the husband uses up all those f*cking razor blades I purchased on sale and I run the towels through the extra wash/bleach cycle to get out all the blood stains, this is going to be my next purchase. My father used a mug with shaving soap, a badger hair brush, and a straight razor his whole life and I don't ever remember him cutting himself. D

The Duck said...

I switched to the Merkur in April. Never looked back. Saving money is great, but a super close shave is more important.

Memphis88 said...

I've been looking at getting a safety razor for a while now. Just how easy is it to slice yourself up, at first?

ADG said...

Man...is this really true? I'd love to ditch my 40 dollar a month 4 blade bullshit habit if I cna learn to use these options without killing myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I'd take a chunk out of my neck with this thing

The Preppy Pauper said...

Memphis88 You'll cut yourself a little, but have a styptic pencil handy. One dab, a little sting, and the bleeding stops immediately. Just don't push as hard against your face as a cheap drug store razor. After a few weeks, I almost never nicked myself again.

Anonymous said...

How often do you change the blade in a safety razor?

Robert said...

Tintin -

Glad to see you took the advice and that the new razor and blades are working out. The comparison to ice skating after one has been off the ice for a long while is an apt comparison. A double edge does need to be handled with some care, but it's worth the trouble. Derby blades are also a good call, though I've been happy with Merkur's as well.

Now all you need is a tube of Musgo or Proraso shaving cream...

David V said...

I learned to use a safety razor as a teen. It took only a couple of shaves for it to come back after 40 *mumble* years. I went back to a brush and soap a couple of years ago.

Yankee Sloane said...

Cheers for the comment, would appreciate it if you could send a few of your readers my way,

http://yankeesloane.blogspot.com/

Enjoying the blog.

Kind regards,
YS

Anonymous said...

To anyone wondering about whether you'll cut yourself...

It's a /safety/ razor. You have to try really hard to get anything worse than nicked. It's all for nought, though, if you don't soften your beard properly before shaving.

FWIW, I prefer Israeli Personna blades. New Gillette blades are the worst, Merkur blades are only slightly better (than Gillette).

The best blades I've used are some NOS Gillette platinum-coated razors that came with a NOS Gillette razor I bought.

Kirk said...

Tintin-
I purchased an old gold plated Gillete safety razor at a flea market for $1. I bought a pack of eight blades for $7. I use a badger brush and soap in a mug. A couple nicks here and there but otherwise one of the best investments I've ever made involving shaving.

Anonymous said...

i second derby blades- i just got a 100 on ebay for 9.00
I keep a gillet mach wahtever in water - the blade lasts months that way - and use that for touch up (under the nose, etc where a safety razor can't reach) ....
there is a whole wetshave forum- google it - they go into proper methods - the first time i tried shaving i cut myself literally a dozen times but now, if i go back to non saftey (mach whatever) i cut myself more than w/ safety.

Chico said...

I love my merkurHD. DON'T push. Have a light touch and trust the razor to do the work. The blades are cheap so change them every 3-5 shaves so they are super sharp. that's the real benefit, super sharp blades everything instead of trying to stretch a 12 dollar mach6 for a third week.

Erik said...

My dad has...but does not use a razor from 1943 from Shick-Oster. Very nice piece. About a 3 inch shaft. I'm too afraid of tetanus to use it but nice to look at.

Currently, I'm in college and shower in a group shower at the fraternity house; so I use a simple Mach 3 as it is easy to clean and easy to lose in a bad scenario.

In other news...back to school tomorrow and back to fratting hard and showing people what classic looks like. Love Central Illinois Summers. Haha.

CK Dexter Haven said...

I bought a Merkur a few months ago. All good, until i sliced myself rotten. Took out a big chunk. And, after that, i seem to keep getting nicks. And, i change blades every 3 shaves....

I was hesitant to use it again, and went back to my Mach for a while.

You just can't take anything for granted with one of these things. Still, though, i don't know what my mistake was. I just saw the thing take a bite out of me, and still don't know what happened. Took about a week to heal. No scar, though. I was actually worried i had done some permanent damage....

Dale P.L. Chadwick said...

I'm still trying to work my way to buying a horn razor, much less something as serious as this! haha I think I'll stick to the Gillette 5 blade and take it easy. I had no idea they still made razor's like this, though. Awesome find.

You might want to check out Gerald Murphy's "Razor" as an ode to this find. He's one of my favorite artists.

Giuseppe said...

Good man. I've been using one since I was 18...I'm a little hung up on the "old days".

Now I have an old Gillette razor that belonged to my grandfather. I don't know about all these fancy blades everyone's talking about, but I find that Wilkinson Sword, $1.39 for eight, work just fine.

p.s. it's the dull blades that'll cut ya. Keep 'em sharp and fresh.

Drake said...

I made a big mistake with mine yesterday by not fully winding the handle back in, leaving the blade at an odd angle. Bitter red razor burn will remind me to be more careful.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Agree with Anon 16:09, I use the tiny blade on the Gillette Mach-latest-Fusion to touch up under the nose; the only issue I've had in the three years I've been using my DE.

I started when my father-in-law gave me his old Gillette safety razors and "upgraded" to a Merkur, although it is much more difficult to replace the blades with its configuration. The only real damage I've done to myself was trying to snap the cap back on.

Do check Amazon and eBay for the blades -- very good deals. I'm off to look into those Derby blades.

Bobtrumpet said...

Better shaves await using a DE razor, brush and real shaving soap/cream (not canned goo).

There are several web forums which deal with this, all with pretty good folks and lots of good info:

badgerandblade.com
shavemyface.com
theshaveden.com