During a recent extended trip back east, I discovered that among other things I'd left behind my Feather blades AND my Proraso soap. The only store I could find in small town northern Connecticut was a rather depressing K-Mart with a severely limited selection of shaving supplies.
My fallback on trips with carry on luggage has been Bic single blades disposable razors but this K-mart didn't have them. After much debate, I decided on a Gillette Fusion Proglide with 2 cartridges on sale for $7.99. With some trepidation I picked one up along with a can of Proglide Sensitive canned goo. The dark stormy afternoon matched my mood, thinking about just how badly my face would fare.
Was I in for a surprise!
The canned goo seemed much moister than I remember from years and years ago, lathered up very well, and held water well for a thick and slick lather. Even more of a surprise during the WTG pass; most of the whiskers were gone, with no weepers and no irritation on my neck. Did an ATG pass next due to time constraints and found that my face was clean shaved close with no irritation or redness anywhere. After washing the rest of the goo off of my face, my skin felt reasonably hydrated.
OK, this had to be a fluke, right?
For the next 6 days I continued to use the razor and canned goo with exactly the same results. I even tried putting a bit of extra pressure on my face and no weepers. No ingrown hairs, no redness or irritation, and no breakouts. I did note that on the fifth shave I felt some pulling so I replaced the cartridge mid-shave with the same good results. On my last day, I tossed out the Gillette stuff without any hesitation.
Flash forward to my return home. Day one with a new Feather and I got two weepers, one distal to my lower lip and the other on the margin of my chin. Just out of practice, I thought. Through the rest of the week, I got my usual good shaves with my summer routine (Proraso pre, Proraso green, and Feather blades in my HD.
For reasons unknown (being too close to the summer sun in the Colorado foothills?) I decided to try an experiment. Warning: My long-term peers on SMF may wish to press 'back' on their browsers now and not read any further. It's not pretty. What I'm about to write goes against everything I've learned about wetshaving over the years.
With a coupon and a sale, I purchased a Proglide Fusion Power and 4 cartridges for a grand total of $5. Yep, only five bucks -- please note that replacement cartridges normally go for about $4 EACH. To be fair I also bought another can of Proglide sensitive goo. The powered razor handle was only nominally larger than I'd remembered the non-powered version and the blades appeared identical (Gillette says all Fusion blades work on all Fusion handles).
30 seconds into the shave I knew I'd made a mistake. Hah! Score another one for us dedicated DE wetshavers! The vibration in the razor was akin to holding an adult, battery-operated toy, and I couldn't feel my face at all with the razor. Turned off the power switch and continued with my shave. Another big surprise; the razor performed just as well as the non-powered version and I ended up with as smooth a shave as I've ever had.
Over the past week, I continued to experiment. My face LOVES Proraso green soap with this razor, even with all three passes. Proraso Pre doesn't seem to make any difference, and my face has remained irritation and bump free.
So does this mean I'm willing to trade in my silvertip brushes, my collection of new and vintage DE razors, my veritable marketplace of blades, and a bloated cabinet of soaps and creams? Oh, no! Not even! The price of the refill cartridges alone (still well over $3 each in a family back at Costco) is daunting. But I'm going to stop blindly blasting multi-blade disposable horrors and the accompanying goo. I do feel like Gillette is absolutely bilking modern men on the cost of refills, but that was really King Gillette's idea of how to get rich anyway.
"What? Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? H** no!" -- Animal House, 1978