You see them on stores, in the supermarket, and even in bathroom ads, promoted by some of the most popular figures in sports and showbiz… I’m talking about multiple blade razors, these shaving items that have become very popular over the past decade, making us forget the power of straight and double-edged safety razors.
Back when I was a kid, I remember you could only find dual-blade razors in the market, until things changed with the Mach 3 and the three-bladed system “designed to give you a closer shave with fewer passes!”. The craze for multiple-blade razors started at that point and nowadays we can find razors that have as much as 5 blades! (I’m looking at you Gillette Fusion!). But is more the better? Do these multiple-blade razors provide a real advantage when it comes to shaving? Are they used by those guys that seem to have the smoothest face on Earth?
The Truth About Multi-Blade Razors
Let’s take a look at the main advantage of using a multi-blade razor. According to HowStuffWorks.com, these razors do provide a closer shave. Why? Well, the first blade is used to push the hair up and successive blades cut the hair shorter and shorter until the hair retracts back to the skin. At least that’s what happens with 2-3 blades, but more is not necessarily the better, and although they could make a difference (there is not a real study about this) it would only be a small one.
But using these types of razors also bring some issues. The main one is that if you want more blades, you won’t have a good space between them. For us men, this means that we’ll have to deal with a lot of hairs getting stuck between the blades, a situation that makes shaving more difficult, frustrating and time-consuming, especially if you have thick facial hair. The small space forces you to push the hairs out with your fingers, because water pressure is simply not enough for them. Over time, more and more hairs will accumulate, deteriorating the edge of the blade.
Another issue you may have to deal with (especially if you have sensitive skin) is irritation These razors are meant to be used with fewer passes, but we are creatures of habit, and believe me, you will shave with the same amount of passes you are accustomed to! This problems gets worse when we remember the hairs stuck between the blades, which can end up scratching your facial skin and produce redness and/or swelling.
If you have a thick and curly facial hair, you should not use these multi blade razors since they end up cutting hair to a level that makes ingrown hair appear easily. This is hair that grows back to the skin, producing razor bumps, irritation and pain. Just take a look at it and tell me it doesn’t look painful!
Some people also find that these razors are harder to manipulate. The big cartridge heads, meant to be quickly replaced, are simply to bulky to be comfortable, especially when you have to take care of finer areas such as corners. This can easily lead to cuts if you don’t go along your face’s lines with care.
In my opinion, if you want the closest shave ever, then you need to learn how to use a straight razor or a double edge razor. These are two shaving tools that have stood the test of time. They may require you to go slow during your first shaving sessions as you learn how to use them, but I’m sure that once you use them you will never go back to multi-blades!