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Gillette Guard longevity test

I first visited this site (B & B) mid Jan 2013, & found mention & reviews of the Gillette Guard, launched in India about 2010.
Although I live in India (Bombay), I'd never heard of this razor.
Intrigued, I googled it a bit, & when better informed, I then tried unsuccessfully to find it in Bombay for over a week.
Finally ran it to earth at a pharmacist's.
Gillette is being very careful about availability - they do not want their Mach / Fusion users to switch over.
I assume it's freely available in villages & small towns, but in Bombay, it's available only at chemists.
It is not available in malls or general stores, or anywhere you'd normally expect to buy your shaving supplies.
I have read different advertisements from Gillette since then online & in their advertisements.
When first launched, (2010)the cart cost rupees 5, & was advertised to last for 5 shaves.
Now, the cart costs rupees 7 in 2013, & Gillette advertises 7 shaves.
Elsewhere, in some indian language ad's & videos, I have read that it lasts for 25 shaves.
The latter are obviously advertisements intended for a price sensitive group of users,
perhaps in the villages, but it gave me to think.
Gillette, at different times, had posted different info about the cartridge's life.
Their marketing team or more probably teams, were obviously biased, depending on their perceived target market, but what was the truth?

How long does the cart actually last?

I bought myself the razor/cart & began to use it the way it had been intended, for a single WTG pass for a SAS to CCS shave.
I found that it is not possible to really get closer in a second pass anyway.
Second pass was with a rotation of razors including two types of locally available Gillette DE, both running Gillette 7 o'clock Super Platinums, the Indian version of the Atra (Vector), a Mach 3, & one Gillette Sensor & two Supermax Razors running 3 & 4 blade supermax carts.
I do not do a third pass.
Lathering was by a rotation of ten creams and one soap. I have been using face lather since my Gillette slim twist days a couple of decades ago.
Yes, I have been infected with RAD & SCAD since January.
I guess that goes well with the GAD I've had for the last 30 years.

I had no problems shaving with the cart, it is an exceptionally smooth cartridge.

This is probably due to its dual open comb design. One comb above & one below the blade.
The comb below the blade is wider & will allow cream & long hair to easily pass through.
The open comb also allows the cartridge to less sensitive to bad lather, bad prep, or both.
Although I have not tried it, I'm sure that it would be possible to shave with ordinary bath soap.
The open comb & its curved surface decrease the amount of skin contact,
making it the smoothest cartridge I have ever shaved with, including the Mach/Sensor & others,
even without any lubricating strip.
It is so smooth that it is consciously necessary to remind oneself to slow down.
If you want to finish your shave in a matter of minutes, this is the razor to use.
The comb also makes it very easy to clean, & in fact really does not require rinsing until the end of the pass.
I just 'flick' the accumulated cream into the sink & continue shaving.
I also find it to be an exceptionally safe & mild cartridge, and it is difficult to cut yourself unless you are really trying.
I have not had even one nick.
You do not have to think about the shave at all, in contrast to DE shaving, it can be completely unthinking & automatic.
The side effect if this safety first design is that it does not shave really very close.
As I said before, I get SAS to CCS in one WTG pass.
The stubble left behind is not visible, but can be felt by running your hand on dry skin against the grain. (ATG)
Repeating the pass with the guard has no effect.
Whatever you do, (XTG/ATG) you will not shave much closer in a second or third pass.
This is the natural result of its safe & mild design.
For most people, this is not only acceptable, this is desirable as this means that there will be a very quick shave,
minimal razor burn & a perfectly decent result.
I would recommend the guard for people in a hurry, for teenagers, for those with sensitive skin, acne, razor burn sufferers, people with tough beards such as those of Indian, Italian & African descent & in fact, most ordinary people.
It is exceptionally good for those who do not shave every day, as it does not clog, even on week long beards.
I used my 17 year old nephew to test that.
He had not shaved for a month & is acne prone.
But a free razor & some nagging got him to try it out.
So, for whom would the guard not be acceptable?
Well, for those looking for a much closer single pass shave.
This includes office goers of about 25 and above, & for those working in marketing & in any field where it is necessary to be perfectly groomed.
Most of these however are already users of multiblade systems.
If multi pass shaves are your thing, then a first pass with the guard might be just the thing for you.
Doing this would allow you to tailor the characteristics (Aggressiveness, etc) of your second razor for just that pass.
To give you an example, I have never managed to use a Gillette Vector (Atra) without mangling my face, no matter how good my prep.
It is too aggressive for me.
But using the guard for the first pass, the vector does an admirable job on the second pass, & I've yet to get cut.

Coming back to the life of the guard, one of the basic tenets of this forum is that your results may vary, or YMMV.
How, then would my experience with the life of the guard then be in any way informative to anyone else who has not used it?
Well, after thinking about it a bit, the guard is a swivelling cartridge.
I know my experience with other swiveling cartridges such as the Sensor Excel & the Mach 3.
Most people have used one of these.

I get about 40 shaves with the sensor excel.
That's the 2 blade sensor excel, not the regular sensor or sensor 3.

I get about 50 shaves with the mach 3.
Not the turbo or sensitive.
Yes, I know that is more than most, but my brother gets about the same, so I'm not unusual.
I shave 5 times a week, so that's 8 weeks with the sensor excel & 10 for the M3.

This gives a basis for comparison.
& if you want to be mathematical about it, & if you know how many shaves you get with the M3 or Sensor excel,
you can calculate what the life of the guard will be for you.


So far, I am on the 25th shave with the Gillette Guard today.

Thats on Sat, March 9th, 2013.

But the test is by no means over, & it feels like there is a lot of life left in the cartridge.
It's still smooth, & in fact seems to have kind of "settled down".

Will report further & let you know how long it lasts in my next posts.
 
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For the record I saw the Guard for sale in a pharmacy in Dharavi, and at a small general store in South Mumbai.

It's funny, to get all the wet shaving stuff you want, you have to try a bunch of stores in Mumbai. I found a lot of good blades for sale at general stores rather than chemists! At one drug store on Mohd Ali Road, I only managed to get two packs of Gilette Blacks (all they had). The only other DE blades they had were Topaz. It seems like Topaz, Laser and Supermax are the most commonly available DE blades in Mumbai.
 
Interesting to read about the availability of the fine Indian shaving products in Mumbai.

I look forward to the continuation of the OP's review.
 
For the record I saw the Guard for sale in a pharmacy in Dharavi, and at a small general store in South Mumbai.

It's funny, to get all the wet shaving stuff you want, you have to try a bunch of stores in Mumbai. I found a lot of good blades for sale at general stores rather than chemists! At one drug store on Mohd Ali Road, I only managed to get two packs of Gilette Blacks (all they had). The only other DE blades they had were Topaz. It seems like Topaz, Laser and Supermax are the most commonly available DE blades in Mumbai.
I find that Reliance mall keeps a lot of good shaving stuff. There is an entire wall devoted to razors, creams, aftershaves, edc/edt , deo's etc. They had a lot of Gillette blacks when I was there a couple of days ago.
What they do not keep are DE razors, Guard, Supermax replacement carts, & in general the cheaper stuff.

Oddly enough, it is really difficult to get good brushes. I managed to find Omegas at S.V. road. I may have to visit musafirkhana for brushes & creams, although the last time I went they had tons of canned Gillette gel but no decent creams. I don't believe I actually used that canned goo for two decades...
 
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There is a definite dearth of good razors and brushes in India; ironic when there are lots of good blades and creams! I'll have to check Reliance Mall out next time.

I actually live in Hong Kong and get my brushes online (no duty on imports here).
 
I only shave my head with the Gillette Guard... after 4 shaves I can't use it anymore.

You mentioned you don't get closer with a second pass... I wouldn't agree with this, I do 2-passes and the second pass does a lot to getting a closer shave.

I agree that is primarily designed for a super-fast, 1-pass, WTG shave. With a bit of shaving oil and a Gillette Guard, I imagine you can get an acceptable shave in under 2 minutes.
 
I shave every 3 days, so blades take a beating. I usually use DE blades maybe 3-4 times and then toss them. For me, 5 shaves with the Guard cartridge is pushing it. But again, that's a 2 or 3 pass shave on 3 days' growth.
 
I don't use cartridge razors enough to have statistics like you have.
I do have a Gillette Fusion (not Proglide) that I've used over 15 times and a Schick hydro 5 blade I've used about 8 times and Mach 3 I've used about 10 times. I clean them after each use with Razorpit, and all are still going fine.

I tried Gillette Guard, and it was fine the first two times, but was quite disappointed on the third shave.

Down here I can buy Supermax 3 blade cartridges razor, with 11 cartridges for $2 a packet. They're not as smooth as Gillette and Schick, but still work fine. I think they're heaps better value than the Gillette Guard where I paid $7 for the razor and 6 cartridges on Ebay.
Regards,
Renato
 
28 th shave with the guard today.
Second pass yesterday was with DE,
today was Supermax cartridge on Gillette Sensor Excel razor.
 
I don't use cartridge razors enough to have statistics like you have.
I do have a Gillette Fusion (not Proglide) that I've used over 15 times and a Schick hydro 5 blade I've used about 8 times and Mach 3 I've used about 10 times. I clean them after each use with Razorpit, and all are still going fine.

I tried Gillette Guard, and it was fine the first two times, but was quite disappointed on the third shave.

Down here I can buy Supermax 3 blade cartridges razor, with 11 cartridges for $2 a packet. They're not as smooth as Gillette and Schick, but still work fine. I think they're heaps better value than the Gillette Guard where I paid $7 for the razor and 6 cartridges on Ebay.
Regards,
Renato
Interestingly enough, I understand that Supermax is now the world no 2 in terms of volume behind Gillette.

It takes some time for the Guard to settle down. My experience was that for the first 2-3 shaves it was a little sharp.
After that I was able to use a little more pressure. But YMMV.
I'm assuming you use DE's most?
 
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29th shave.
Small nick with the Supermax in the second pass. First in a couple of months.
The Guard needs some pressure. Supermax needs less.
Pressure is a bad habit if you are a DE shaver.
 
Interestingly enough, I understand that Supermax is now the world no 2 in terms of volume behind Gillette.

It takes some time for the Guard to settle down. My experience was that for the first 2-3 shaves it was a little sharp.
After that I was able to use a little more pressure. But YMMV.
I'm assuming you use DE's most?
Yes, I mainly use DE, but enjoy the occasional cartridge and electric shave.

I'll try that Guard razor for the fourth time tomorrow with Arko stick (which gave me a great shave yesterday) and see what happens.

I was posting on the DE blade section some four or five months back, about my progress as I was shaving happily to about 25 shaves with an Astra SP blade, and many were in disbelief. So I'm not averse to lots of shaving with one blade/cartridge unlike the many here who use a DE blade only one to four times.
Regards,
Renato
 
I've just used my Gillette Guard for the fourth time using Arko stick lather. And I remembered what I didn't like about it last time. maybe the problem is with my technique, but while there was nothing wrong with its sharpness shaving my face, under my chin and the throat area was problematic for me.

When I applied my alum block, unlike with my face area, the throat area was aflame with alum stings - far greater than anything I get using DE and 3, 4 and 5 blade cartridges. I didn't notice that the first couple of times I used Guard.

Still, I think that Guard is better than the large number of single and double blade disposables that I've tried, as they leave my face and throat aflame with alum stings, plus quite a few nicks as well.
Regards,
Renato
 
I've just used my Gillette Guard for the fourth time using Arko stick lather. And I remembered what I didn't like about it last time. maybe the problem is with my technique, but while there was nothing wrong with its sharpness shaving my face, under my chin and the throat area was problematic for me.

When I applied my alum block, unlike with my face area, the throat area was aflame with alum stings - far greater than anything I get using DE and 3, 4 and 5 blade cartridges. I didn't notice that the first couple of times I used Guard.

Still, I think that Guard is better than the large number of single and double blade disposables that I've tried, as they leave my face and throat aflame with alum stings, plus quite a few nicks as well.
Regards,
Renato
33[SUP]rd[/SUP] shave today.
SWMBO has instituted a daily shave regimen "as I like shaving so much & have so much shaving stuff"



It does take quite some time for the Guard to settle down.
I do remember the same razor burn you've described for the first few shaves.
That is what I meant when I said it was a little sharp, but I was probably unclear.
But I never did get cut.
My primary impression with the Guard at this point (33[SUP]rd[/SUP] shave)is a feeling of safety.
There is no more of that raw feeling/razor burn.
The closeness of the shave has improved some as now some more pressure can be applied.

I, too, found that it is better than any disposable I have tried.
It's not comparable to cartridges like the sensor/M3 for closeness of shave.
It compares well with the old Wilkinson bonded,
which is the only other single blade cart I have tried,
although this impression is based on shaves 25 years apart.
I also found it better than the Vector/ Atra system as it is available here.
Yes, the throat area is problematic. No more than SAS here.
That's why I am using a DE for the second pass.
But bear in mind that that is all it was designed to do.
I like my face too much to test it for the other features it was
designed for, i.e. inadequate lather and/or shave prep.
It is quite competitive for its price in it's target market.
However, if ordered online, the transport costs
could well make it unviable except in the case of bulk cartridge purchase
( say 100 & up?) . I don't think there are any such offers available, though.
 
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