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Don't go against the grain then, it's not compulsory. There's an obsession here for bbs shaves which are not necessary. Two passes, one pass with the growth and one across with touchups is sufficient with the SkinGuard.
The Gillette Sensor 3 disposable handle will fit the Sensor Excel cartridges and vice versa. If you have an Excel handle you're getting the equivalent of a basic Mach 3. Whether the disposable blades are as sharp as Mach 3 originals, I don't know? They're advertising 10 comfortable shaves with...
Don't snap blades in half, I cut them in half with very sharp scissors. It's much better and doesn't leave a knurled edge so the blade sits flatter. I use this type of nail cutter, does an excellent job, but any decent scissors will do.
The more I shave with the Skinguard the more I like it. Well into double figures on the number of shaves, around 15, stopped counting after 10. I would say that you could get a minimum of 25 shaves and probably more, which offsets the high cost of refills.
You could try shimming the razor. There are plenty of threads detailing this, just do a search with "shimming razors".
The good news is, if you don't want to mess about there are a plethora of more efficient razors available on the market.