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Straight razors -- need advice

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Greetings, I've been reading the Style Forum for a while, although have not posted before.  Thank you all for your past and future insight. I was hoping someone would have advice to offer.  For many years I've had trouble getting a shave that is as close and "clean" as I would like.  I finally got close (pardon the pun) to what I want using the Gilette Mach 3 and Mach 3 Turbo razor blades, but I am wondering if there is anything better out there.  One thing that comes to mind is the old-fashioned straight razor.  Does anyone have any experience with them?  Are they very difficult to use properly?  Are they as dangerous as they seem?  How difficult is it really to keep it properly honed so I don't slice myself into pieces inadvertently?  Where could I buy a high-quality one?  Does it require special products (shaving cream, etc.) that are different from what I use with "normal" razors?  Finally, is there a better solution?  One important requirement is that it be inexpensive -- I feel that event the Mach 3 razors are a bit overpriced at $9 per 4-pack. Thank you all in advance, artdeco73
post #2 of 9
The last time this was brought up...;t=150 Seems most people were cut to ribbons. Personally, I've yet to find anything better than the Mach 3, and everyone I know uses it - I wonder how the other razor companies stay in business. Apparently there's a Schick razor with four blades, but I've never used/seen it...
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Nick, especially for the link to the earlier discussion of straight razors. I'll stay away. Regards, artdeco73
post #4 of 9
Personally, I've yet to find anything better than the Mach 3, and everyone I know uses it - I wonder how the other razor companies stay in business.
Good point. Ever since its arrival on the market, I haven't seen any of my friends use anything else -- except those that prefer electric shavers. Does anyone else love that black and white Gillette "Best a Man can get" commercial ("You know the feeling. Every guy's had it.")?
post #5 of 9
Does anyone else love that black and white Gillette "Best a Man can get" commercial ("You know the feeling.  Every guy's had it.")?
I think it's absolutely ridiculous.
post #6 of 9
Interestingly enough, the barbers at the Grooming Lounge here in DC, which I recommend that you visit if you haven't done so already, use Mach 3, not straight, razors.  I have never gotten a barbershop shave myself, because I don't really see the point if I have to shave again a day later.  Now if I didn't have to shave for a week, it might be worth it.
post #7 of 9
I still mean to look into those cryogenically treated Mach 3 blades. At the moment I am using a Sensor excel or something (the one before the Mach 3) because I had some of the blades left over and ran out of the Mach 3 blades. I think the Sensor works just as well and the blades are cheaper. This increasing number of blades thing is really getting out of hand. I can't wait for the day Gillette sends me the Mach 900 in the mail, the one that has 900 blades inside a face-shaped handle, and you just lather up and move it 1/8" and you are done. Also the extreme closeness of a shave in my experience correlates only to the likelihood that I will subsequently break out and have to shave around / over bumps the next couple of days. No matter how close I get it it still looks and feels the same in about an hour.
post #8 of 9
Perhaps you all should pluck out your stray hairs like Beau Brummell did after his 2 hour toilette, and shave.
post #9 of 9
I know this thread is a little stale, but I have to add my tips/advice on this topic. I used a straight razor for 5 years (1985 to 1990) because the electrics of that era stank and for some reason the twin-blade razors at that time always seemed to clog up and stop cutting for me. So, after 5 years of continuous use, here's my advice: 1. Don't do it. Even though I perfected the technique (I could regularly shave without cutting myself) I never felt like I got that close of a shave - even after spending an hour sharpening the blade (see below.) I know beards vary, but for my face, both electrics and the 3-blade disposables gave me a much close shave. 2. If you decide to get one anyway, be prepared for some serious exfoliation. The straight razor (on my face, at least) definitely removed some serious skin with the beard. Not enough to bleed, but enough to make using any alcohol based aftershave an extremely painful experience. 3. If you STILL think you want to try this, DO NOT get a stainless steel blade. I had 2 razors, one in SS and one in carbon steel. I was never able to get the SS one sharp - the SS was just too tough (or my patience to thin.) The carbon blade is much easier to sharpen - I could easily get it back to the factory sharpness in a half-hour of sharpening. If properly cared for, the carbon steel will not rust. 4. If you decide to commit to the straight razor, get yourself a good (i.e. as big as you can afford) hard, black Arkansas oil stone - DO NOT use a standard stone or a white AK stone. Sharpen it following the directions it came with (or look them up on the 'net.) Be sure to keep the blade flat and use oil. And for goodness sakes, be careful - I cut my fingers far worse by being careless than I ever cut my face shaving. 5. Remember, the blade is paper-thin and will chip if you look at it funny. If you decide to buy a straight razor, make sure you inspect it for nicks (make them let you unwrap it) and handle carefully after you get it home. Enjoy. Rob
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