Home Page | Gallery | PM Inbox | Forum Index  
 

How I improved my shaves

New to the world of wet-shaving? Grab a desk and be seated! Welcome to SMFU: A place to learn and compare notes about the ABC's of wet shaving. From brushes to creams, razors and more...We've got it all!

How I improved my shaves

Postby 95% » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:24 am

I thought I had figured out shaving as well as I ever would. But recently I began to notice that my shaves weren't quite up to par. My kit (mostly Trumper and Harris soaps and a Gillette ProGlide) hadn't changed, yet some stubble would remain even after four careful passes, especially beneath the jaw line.

The reason for the decline in shave quality still isn't clear to me. Perhaps I have just become more finicky. Anyway, I searched in my cabinet of cast-off shave goods and found a bottle of Jason's 6-in-1 All Natural Shaving Lotion with Jojoba Beads. This is a slippery nonfoaming brushless cream containing abrasive particles. It is virtually unscented. I pumped a dab into my wet hands and rubbed it vigorously into the bearded area. Then, without rinsing it off, I proceeded to lather up with a favorite soap and shave according to my usual routine.

The improvement was noticeable. My shaves are now as good as they can be, even in that tough area below the chin. I attribute this to the jojoba beads, whose mechanical action apparently isolates the whiskers and makes them stand up to the blade. Previously, it was my practice to rub the beard with my regular lather before shaving, but that lather is smooth and therefore less effective as a pre-shave prep.

Generally I'm in favor of the minimalist approach, but in this case the small extra step seems worth taking. So if you have a brushless cream in your stash, one with jojoba beads in it, consider trying it as a pre-shave and see what happens.
Porter
95%
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: North Carolina

Postby fallingwickets » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:56 am

glad to read that you found your missing link, porter :lol:

clive

ps very nice to see you out and about
de gustibus non est disputandum
User avatar
fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
 
Posts: 7114
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:59 am

Postby bernards66 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:34 pm

Porter, Good to hear from you. Each of us is just a little bit different and so, you may have stumbled upon that one wee thing that just happens to nail it down for you. But, I am interested in the fact that you seem to be saying that your shaves had deteriorated from what they had been despite you not making any changes in your routine. Yes, perhaps you have simply grown more picky, as many of us tend to do. But, another possibility is that Gillette is down grading the quality of the cartridges you use as they prepare for whatever their next 'new and improved' version is going to be. Quite a few of us believe that Gillette does, as a matter of course, do this prior to any new cartridge being introduced and that they have been doing so at least since the days of the Sensor. Some, of course, don't believe this but it was the first thing that occurred to me as I read the opening part of your post.
Regards,
Gordon
bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
 
Posts: 27357
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Postby 95% » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:40 pm

Gordon, I appreciate your remarks. I have seen that theory about Gillette here before and have always been skeptical of it. It would be bad business ethics for a manufacturer to deliberately and secretly lower the quality of a product that is being superseded by an updated model, in order to increase the contrast between the two. I can't think of another case where such a thing has been alleged, let alone proved.

But even if Gillette follows that dastardly practice, it can't be doing so with the Fusion ProGlide. The ProGlide is a relatively new product and is heavily promoted on TV. Any successor to it is years away. More likely, I think, is the possibility that I got a bad batch of cartridges. Another is that my water is slightly harder now than it was (though I have no reason to think it is.)

Most likely, though, I have simply become less tolerant of an imperfect shave. That minor stubble under the chin, which no one would notice, has become a challenge that I must finally address.
Porter
95%
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: North Carolina

Postby Squire » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:56 pm

Don't know about you Porter but as I age my face changes in subtle ways and I use a slightly different angle under the chin than I would have say five years ago.
Regards,
Squire
User avatar
Squire
Squadron Leader
 
Posts: 15371
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: Jackson, MS

Postby bernards66 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:55 pm

Porter, Well the last of those three possibilities is, I'm sure, the most likely...the diminishing tolerance, the "challenge", etc. And although I hadn't thought of it, the possibility of a 'bum' batch of cartridges can't be ruled out. That certainly happens occasionally with even the best and most consistant DE blades. In any case, I'm glad you found a product that was helpful in solving the problem. As far as Gillette is concerned, my hunch is that a 'new' cartridge is probably not as far in the future as you assume. It seems to me that the time intervals between new versions has been shrinking as the years go by. I could be wrong, of course...we'll have to wait and see.
Regards,
Gordon
bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
 
Posts: 27357
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Postby Squire » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:06 pm

Oh I'm sure they've got something in the planning stages but really don't care cause I'm not buying it anyway.
Regards,
Squire
User avatar
Squire
Squadron Leader
 
Posts: 15371
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: Jackson, MS

Postby rsp1202 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:36 pm

I've heard good things about the Jason product but hesitate to use anything abrasive as that would seem to cause other problems I don't want to deal with. Surprisingly to me, the Schick Hydro 3 razor system gives an extra-close shave, especially in my problem area similar to Porter's, but without any added irritation. The gooey gel apparently makes a difference, and it does wash off, eventually.
Ron
rsp1202
 
Posts: 2586
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:17 am
Location: SoCal

Postby 95% » Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:34 am

Ron makes a point about Jason's that I ought to have made in my original post. Because jojoba beads are an exfoliant, Jason's should probably be avoided by men with sensitive skin - those whose skin can react badly to fragrances in certain shave creams, soaps with lanolin, etc. While I'm not in that group, I'm careful not to tempt fate by using too much of the product or by scrubbing too vigorously.

I've tried the Hydro and can't deny it gives a good close shave. But the slime it releases was disconcerting to me, so I went back to the ProGlide.
Porter
95%
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: North Carolina

Postby Squire » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:04 am

Porter after reflection I believe your shave is the same as always you've just become more particular.
Regards,
Squire
User avatar
Squire
Squadron Leader
 
Posts: 15371
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: Jackson, MS

Postby 95% » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:48 pm

Could be, Squire. I've had one or two other Eureka moments in shaving that turned out to be mostly in my imagination. Still, for now at least, I'm finding the jojoba-bead preshave treatment to be helpful. But only by a little.
Porter
95%
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: North Carolina

Postby Ouchmychin » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:05 am

One thing that I notice with the Fusions is that I always have to polish with a DE to get to true bbs. I also have gone a route similar to the one you used. I don't lather and I tried shaving oil with lather and that worked, but now I use a grease (Vaseline) that is heavier; and I use brushless shaving cream to wet the Vaseline. Screwy but it works for me.
Ouchmychin (Pete)
User avatar
Ouchmychin
 
Posts: 1108
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Postby 95% » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:16 pm

Pete - I know you have a good thing going with that offbeat methodology. If you're still in the experimentation mode, however, you might consider finishing up with the battery-operated Fusion ProGlide. While I generally avoid the vibrating razor, I use it for my final "polishing" pass.

My problem with the brushless creams, and certainly with Vaseline, is that I'd miss half the fun of shaving. I enjoy working with a brush and soap and inhaling the refined fragrances of the best soaps. So even on a day when my shave is less than BBS, I can still count it a success.
Porter
95%
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: North Carolina

Postby Ouchmychin » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:46 pm

95:
I do use the proglide for some of my starting passes. For me it is in the class of non-DE razors. I also like the pleasures of lather shaving, but not every time. It is not worth the extra care I need to use.
Ouchmychin (Pete)
User avatar
Ouchmychin
 
Posts: 1108
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Postby harper » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:58 am

95%, I find I have the same problem but attribute it to my beard and skin somehow changing over time. I have found that if I use one specific razor over a couple of months or more I do not get as good a shave at the end of the period as I originally got so I change razors and my shaves improve. I find this true of a DE or cartridge razor. I find the best combination for me right now is to use a DE for my face and one pass over my neck and then switch to a Power ProGlide for my neck ... which requires me looking up and shaving blind ... my beard seems to grow in every direction on my neck.

As for Gillette dropping the quality of its cartridges this does not make sense to me. About the only thing that they could lower the cost on is the steel and plastic used in the blades and they only two components ... and not the largest cost components... manufacturing and distribution eat up a much higher percentage of the product in tems of making razor blades so it is not logical that Gillette (or any company) would take a chance on reducing its reputation by reducing the quality of its products. This is important because a reputation for bad qualilty transfers for one product usually transfers to all the other products made by a company regardless of how good the other products are or are perceived to be.

Perhaps someone here has an example of Gillette doing that but so far all I see is anecdotal evidence which is interesting (possibly right, too) but it does not make the case.

Before I retired I consulted to many of the world's largest corporations over the past half century and I have yet to see a company deliberately downgrade its previous products in order to sell its new product(s) although many companies do discontinue previous products, sometimes for that reason. Downgrading existing shaving products may happen but I don't know of a case of it happening because in many ways, sales of past products is a cash cow for companies since most or all of the original costs have long been covered.

I remember a guy filing a complaint about Lemon Up (a shampoo that Gillette said contained a certain percentage of actual lemon juice) indicating that Gillette did not use real lemon juice in making the product. The case was dropped because Gillette showed the prosecution all the barrels of lemon juice they used. They also backed this up by disclosing the number of bottles of barrels of lemon juice they used along with the number of containers of Lemon Up shampoo made during the same period.

We did not publicize this because it would only have encouraged others to wonder about whether or not real lemon juice was used. Sometimes being right is not the only answer.

I am not saying no company ever puts out shoddy products because they do. I had nothing to do with Gillette when it put out that lousy band razor that shaved like the lid you get when you open a can of corned beef nor was I working for Toyota when its cars seemed to rust even faster than the big US made rust buckets.

And some companies certainly are in and outers, others are outright dishonest but the major international compananies did not become major international companies by making inferior products and cheating the public. They do not last but, then, the people behind them do not expect them to last ... they are only in for the short and profitable haul ... sort of like the guys who pushed derivaties or reinsured themselves as some insurance companies did.
harper
 
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:10 pm

Postby Ouchmychin » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:53 am

harper,
I am 80 yeas old and can still recall Gillette Blue blades and Gillette thin blades. Both of those were inferior to the new stainless steel blades both in sharpness and especially in longety. My local drug store had to hide them under the counter because if a Gillette rep saw them they would pull their product from the drugstore. As for the downgrading of blades/razors, I have gone through trak 2s, Sensors, Mach 3s and a couple of other products that seemed to me and my acquaintences to suddenly be less sharp or long lasting when a newer razor was introduced. I seem to recall several threads here when that was occurring. Of course it is all anecdotal, but I can see that the reason does not have to be manufacturing costs. Gillette has long practiced upgrading to newer, more expensive lines that don't really cost more to make, like the number of blades per cartridge wars.
Ouchmychin (Pete)
User avatar
Ouchmychin
 
Posts: 1108
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Postby harper » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:48 am

Ouchmychin, as a fellow octogenarian (81) I like you point and have to say you may be right but, again, it is anecdotal and I have never come across any examples of it that can be substantiated. I am not saying you are wrong but I can't say you are right either because we are dealing with opinion and not facts.

Has it happened? I don't know and I have not seen any examples of companies which did. I do know that Gillette made lots of money out of its existing blades because shavers (excluding those who bought TRAC 11 razors as fast as they could be produced ... so fast that Canadian production could not come until about 9 months after US production and as a result people travelling to the US put them on their prime shopping list to bring back) do not migrate to new products always in large numbers in most cases (not true today with Iphones and similar products which is killing the traditional cell phone companies) so existing products remain important profit centers.

To my knowledge Gillette did not cheapen its previous carbon blades when it came out with the Super Blue (still as far as I know its sharpest production blade) and it did not cheapen the quality of its Super Blue when it began production of its not as sharp SS blades althought carbon blades no longer were bought in the same quantities they were before Wilkinson tore up the DE blade market.

One reason people tend to think quality has changed is that new blades and razors usually give better shaves than previous ones and if they go back and try the older ones they think they are not as good as they once were. On the other hand, not all blades are made equal and, in fact, both sides are sharpened and honed by different equipment on manufacturing lines (or were in the plants I visited in North America and overseas) so it is quite logical that some bad cartridges are made and even DE blades can be good on one edge but not the other.

I am not defending Gillette nor any company since I no longer consult to any of them so I have no axe to grind. I just would like to see concrete evidence that any company has done this.

As an old timer I am sure you also remember the radio and TV jokes that went around about people bragging how many shaves they got out of a Wilkinson? The SS blade spelled the end of carbon steel blades in much of the world but not all the world and some shavers ... a few on this forum ... still use them. Personally, I see no reason to but that is a choice and thank the lord not a necessity.
harper
 
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:10 pm

Postby 95% » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:05 am

I think I have seen it alleged here that when the Trac II was introduced, Gillette simultaneously downgraded the quality of its classic double-edged razor. Not specifically the blades, but the razor itself. It should be possible for collectors, of whom there are many at SMF, to verify this simply by eyeballing a DE from the 1970's and comparing it to one from the 1960's. One would expect to find more plastic and less metal, for example.

Like Harper, I'm skeptical of such a claim but am ready to stand corrected if proof is offered. I can, however, without much difficulty imagine that Gillette cheapened the packaging or insisted that the old-style razors be less prominently displayed on shelves.
Porter
95%
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: North Carolina

Postby harper » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:18 am

95%. In one way or another shelf position is purchased via a number of ways and new products normally get better positioning than older products because there are more reasons for giving them shelf
position." Gillette has the best store equity of any company in its field in drug and department stores and achieves this in a number of ways: products, sales; coupons, buy one get one free etc. all sortss of incentives. All large companies do this and it is considered part of the marketing mix. Gillette products sell so the store buyers are not going out on a limb when they stock them.

I can't believe that Gillette would have pulled its products because SS blades were on display. It would cost them a lot of business to do that and Gillette is not a charity ... it was (now part of) a huge corporation that was founded to make money in the good old capitalist way and it surely did succeed at that.
harper
 
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:10 pm

Postby Ouchmychin » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:10 pm

I can tell you from first hand experience that when the first ss blades came out I had to ask the druggest for a pack and they were hidden under the counter. When I asked why, he told me what I said. I also know the reason for the popularity of teh then ss blade was their longevity. Lucky to get two shaves from a blue or thin. We had a slot in the medicine cabinet to drop used blades into the house framing, because it was handy with so many blade changes. I did switch to the Good News blades shortly after they came out because they shaved so well and they only cost about a dime or quarter on sale in bags of 10. Switched to Shick disposables when I could buy them for a dime each on sale. I liked that you didn't have to pull off the cover either.
Ouchmychin (Pete)
User avatar
Ouchmychin
 
Posts: 1108
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:03 pm

Next

Return to ShaveMyFace University

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests