For a number of years I went back to carts and just kept the brush and soap/cream part of this hobby. I still have and use a brass handle that accepts Atra compatible carts and I keep some Dorco and Lord manufactured carts that work on it for when I need a quick shave.As I've posted, I'm a die hard DE guy. Yes, I have an electric razor and have always had one either for travel or hitting a missed spot. I've also kept a stash of twin blade disposables (and single blade Bics in the past) for the same use. But, by God, I havent shaved with a cartridge for a full shave since the days of the Track II (Gillette advertising was strong my friends and they'd never steered us wrong before. I even got the gel!).
Fast forward 40 plus years to last night. I was going through a large closet in a spare bedroom to clean it out and what do I find? A Gillette Gift box with a Mach III razor (the old metal ones), four carts and a can of foaming gel with aloe vera and 3X on the label. The box was dated 2019 and everything in it was made in china. I vaguely remembered it as a Christmas gift from a relative who heard I shaved with a blade but really cant recall.
Anyway, I normally shave in the afternoons but have a business meeting a little later so I had the bright idea of shaving with this sucker to see just how bad they were compared to a DE, proper soap/cream, brush, etc. Only about 10 hours of growth and, on me, I don't have a shadow by then.
Wet my face, squirted out what I thought was the right amount of gel (way too much and there were no instructions on dosing on the can). Very thick, slick, inoffensive smell but I couldn't imagine the razor getting through it. I shaved like the commercials - long stokes, big smile, couldn't feel a thing. Rinsed the blades often with hot water. WTG actually did OK. Plenty of goo and slickness left and added a little water to my face. Same with XTG and finally, ATG. Cheeks were good, chin and jaw were good, neck was so-so and that would be an issue for regular use with a cart. My neck, as I age, is more of a trouble area for me anyway but something I can deal with using a DE and good technique.
Good rinse and a little Proraso Geen balm. Honestly, I was surprised. I'd call it a DFS, the one that is suitable for the office and most guys using safety razors but not to my BBS standards whatsoever. A solid B- to B. What I liked is just how fast you could go to get an acceptable shave and I can see why guys who are rushed in the morning might prefer a cart razor. Shave is only fair and probably terrible if one has more than a days growth but acceptable.
Bottom line, a very strange experience but am glad to have tried it. Will keep the stuff and use it on occasion without shame. I recall the Track II was a better shave but that could just be memory issues as it was so long ago and I don't count my chinese disposables as equivalent to a genuine Trac II razor.
Please accept my confession in the spirit it was intended!
You hit the nail on the head, wet shaving is wet shaving even if you are using a cartridge, de, disposable or a straight.I became a wet shaving convert 6 months ago, just long enough to joke about “cart razor heresey”, lol, but I’ve still grabbed the Mach 3 and the Gillette goo a couple times for a quick “good enough” shave. TBH, if that’s my goal I’ve found none better, faster or easier for me. I’ve also overshaved, nicked or razor burned myself (let’s be honest here) a few times learning a different razor or blade as a noob and found short term refuge in my trusty Braun 7 for a recovery shave. YMMV, but heres my take-
Mach 3- Best I’ve found for a quick, socially acceptable and auto pilot shave if I am running really late (overslept) and need to get out the door super quick. That’s why I still have it. Downside is it gives me ingrown hairs that turn into acne, blades are expensive, it will never hit a good BBS, and honestly just isn’t fun, relaxing, gratifying or interesting. Worth keeping around for the 2-3 times a year I snore thru the alarm.
Braun series 7 wet shaver- if used wet in the shower with Cremo, it shaves much better than expected. Most negative reviews on electrics have not used a high end Braun wet shaver. Series 7 and 9 are game changers. Expect a high water bill as it takes a ltitle time. Lower DFS is easily attainable. This is your best friend if you are letting your face recover from razor burn, cuts or sunburn, and I love it for travel when I don’t want to pack a bunch of shave stuff. You can rub it on your face for a year with Cremo and water to get smooth without irritation, but it still won’t be any fun and you won’t get BBS. Ever. Electric shave works well for dry shaving, and dry shaving without any product is doable, but much harder and rougher.
Wet shaving- for me, there is something deeply gratifying about learning to properly prep, lather and obtain a really nice shave. Yes, you can get BBS, but you will spend time learning and experiencing a frustration or two as you go. It’s all part of the journey, and this forum is an amazing place to learn. You will get smooth, you will get your ”routine” down to where it takes very little extra time, you will get magnificent shaves and the satisfaction of learning a new craft. I find the shaves vastly superior to any cart I’ve tried and enjoy the smells and benefits of the shave soaps, aftershaves and balms. Due to the exfoliating effect and products used my wife says I am looking many years younger. Shaving has become something I enjoy vs a chore. An added benefit is that I find the history of these old razors fascinating and think it’s really cool that I own and use razors that have been used by family members for four generations. Cartridge razors and electrics, whether we approve or not, are also part of that history. I still have Dads inexpensive Remington electric that pulls whiskers by the root and great grandads bent tooth Gillette New OC, but won’t be using them on my face again as they both sent me back to the Braun…
Bottom line, it’s SHAVING, not religion, so do whatever you want that works for you. I’ll be using a DE razor 95% of the time, with an occasional Gem SE or Schlick thrown into the mix, but I won’t be throwing out the Braun or my stash of Mach III blades either.
More than 1 tool in the box for more than one job-
You hit the nail on the head, wet shaving is wet shaving even if you are using a cartridge, de, disposable or a straight.
When I was young, whatever shaved off the least amount of pimples was a winner! I once picked up Grandfathers 1912 Gem as a teen, and not knowing any better, grabbed a SE blade out of the garage and Dads canned foam. The result was so bad that I spent the next 42 years in shaving darkness before trying anything but carts again. How many more like me are out there, most still intimidated of wet shaving?There is nothing to apologise for.
In fact, using a cartridge or disposable razors once in a while may remind us why we abandoned them in the first place and may also make us realise when and why they still may have a (small) role to play in our lives (e.g travelling by air with only carry-on baggage).
Whenever I tried (after converting to safety and straight razors many years ago) one of the above gadgets, I was always glad to go back to my straight or safety razors and I enjoyed the feel of a good quality shave with a good shaving brush and soap/cream even more.
I admit, I also tried some gel or foam from the can once in a while while travelling on long-distance flights (My excuse: I didn't buy them, they were freebies in my class of travel), but these were at best adequate and I invariably missed the luxurious sensation of using brush and shaving soap or cream.
To my way of thinking, there is nothing to be ashamed for.
If our traditional way of safety/straight razor shaving is really superior, then we should always go back to these traditional ways, shouldn't we?
Unless we are - like with the dreaded instant coffee - under such time pressure that we are forced to trade quality for a few minutes of saved time.
But how often do we really have to do that?
And yes; there was a time in the 1970s when I thought the Gillette G II/Trac II was the bees knees, but I was young, ignorant and impressionable then and still had a lot to learn.
But as I grew older, ever new hyped-up gadget from Gillette fell even more short of the hype, until I had enough of the price gouging and saw the light...