Sunday, May 16, 2010


Do you remember (this requires being old) when the first twin-blade razor was unleashed on the faces of men (and sometimes the legs of women thereby rendering them either useless or dangerous when subsequently employed for their intended function)? (By which I mean the razors became useless and dangerous, not the women. Typically the women denied using the razor then complained bitterly about how sore their legs were and that the owner of the razor was "lucky he was not a woman.")

The TV commercial was compelling. Naturally there was the lantern-jawed gentleman hurling water at his face (which, incidentally, is completely impossible assuming that one wants to avoid puddles all over the floor), then surfacing with a face as smooth as a wax mask, but the real marketing breakthrough was an animation of how this modern marvel works. The first blade cuts the hair, then while this hair is still raised from the skin a second blade cuts it closer. We can prove it. Using this cartoon.

Shaving had been converted into a science.

The twin-blade razor sold remarkably well and all manufacturers were compelled to produce their own versions or be thrown on the single-blade ash-heap of history.

And there the matter rested for several years.

Until there was another stunning breakthrough in razor physics.

Three blades!

There now ensued a blade arms race, with the purveyors of what used to be an elegantly simple device first emulating the triple-blade pioneer, then stunning Madison Avenue and Main Street alike with... Aha. Problem. Feeling "quadruple-blade" may flounder on the grounds it contained a three syllable word, the marketing gurus had to take another direction, thus giving the stubbly faces of the world the UltraQuad, the Mega-4, and the Double-Twin Wowza.

Okay so I am now making things up, but for a very good reason. Ignorance. I do not buy four-blade razors. At least not intentionally. (Sometimes I panic in the shaving aisle.) It's not that I am taking one of my principled stands that many people find incomprehensible ("you quit buying ball-point pens because of the Luftwaffe?") . It's because these multi-blade masterpieces do not fucking work.

Do the manufacturers even test these on real faces? They may make a peach as smooth as a... see now I am getting annoyed and cannot metaphorize... IT IS A WORD DAMMIT... as smooth as a linoleum floor that has a residual film of some hair product used by your girlfriend when you do the face-splashing routine immediately after shaving thereby adding a couple of gallons of soapy water to the aforementioned film of hair product. Probably Aquage. They may make a peach as smooth as that, but unless your face starts out nearly-but-not-quite clean-shaven, a four-blade razor clogs. Terminally. Absolutely fucking useless.

The triple-blade is, as one might suspect, less susceptible to whisker suffocation, but still requires constant in-shave maintenance and is mostly useless. I haven't been able to find a double-blade for several years, but from what I remember it only had to be jabbed with safety pins and ball-point pens between shaves.

As far as I can tell, the disposable, single-blade safety razor is now extinct.

My question is: how did we let this happen? Surely everyone has noticed that with each stunning technological advance the process of shaving has become increasingly complex. And if we cannot reverse the trend of blade proliferation, can we at least try to halt it?

Let us draw a line in the sand. The five-blade razor must never be released from the research laboratory.

Note added in proof: I made the mistake of researching this article after the main text was written (see image below).

Additional note: The subsequent research just described also revealed I am not the only one to be infuriated by the razor wars. Perhaps there is hope.

The five blade razor cartridge has a sixth single edge blade on the back for trimming. If you are looking for a stand to display or hold your razor see the razor holders. Any model of Fusion cartridge fits any Fusion head razor. Ø Razors come in a gift box.


  1. Lol.

    Maybe the women are designing the razors now? XD

  2. Hi Kat,

    I have just read your post and thought I would tell a little about how I have reversed the trend in the number of razor blades you need. I'd tried a few razors but couldn't find one I liked do I designed my own based on the classic , old school de razor. Take a look at what I created at