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Ponderisms on Gillette Blue Blades and Razor Aggressiveness


Perhaps you saw another of my threads where I posted an old Gillette SuperSpeed commercial I found on YouTube. In that commercial, Gillette briefly mentions the variations between the Blue Tip, Flair Tip, and Red Tip SuperSpeed Razors. While I know that they vary in weight and blade gap, there are often other factors which add up to determine the "aggressiveness" of a particular razor. Say the particular blade you are using, and of course any variation in the angle of blade to face.

I would assume, since those 3 SuperSpeeds were all packaged with Gillette Blue Blades, that the aggressiveness was determined in part based upon there being a Blue Blade loaded into the razor. I'm sure at the time, a small number of other brands of blades were available but i'm guessing it wasn't anything like the numbers of brands available today. Primarily because the internet hadn't been invented yet (thank you Al Gore :lol:) and therefore purchases of such items were probably largely precluded.

Now I have noticed recently that I can get a very close, smooth shave with my Blue Tip razor, and I can do it in 3 passes with some touch up. I have used a number of blades in it, some more aggressive than others, and I wonder if labeling the Blue Tip as Mild and the Red Tip as Aggressive are really as exact as they were back then because of the availability of so many different blades. Say, would you be able to put a Red Tip on about the same aggressiveness plane as a Blue Tip if you put a Derby in the Red and a Feather in the Blue?

I also wonder, on a side note, if men made 2 or 3, or maybe even 4 passes to achieve a close shave or if they were taught that 1 was enough. Perhaps our more senior gentlemen can comment on how they were taught with a DE.

Happy Pondering! :blushing:
In answer to your first question, I think that the differences in modern blades do somewhat blur the lines between the Superspeeds, although I'm not sure they were that rigidly adhered to back in the day. We knew that Red tips were ostensibly for heavy beards (like my dad), but that didn't stop me or my brother from using it. I started shaving in 1974 with a silver tip and I don't remember seeing a Blue tip til the mid-1980s.
As for learning, I was taught to use light pressure, just enough to let the bar "flatten out" the patch of skin being shaved. My dad also said to keep the passes to a minimum--with no ATG--to avoid irritation. For a 14-18 year old kid, that makes sense. One or two passes and your already bbs. As I got older and needed morefirepower, I began to prefer Schick blades over Gillette as their blades seemed sharper and smoother to me, but my technique didn't change. Light pressure, minimum pases and no ATG. It worked well until I was seduced by one of the five or six "new and improved" Atras they sent me for free in the mail.
It worked well until I was seduced by one of the five or six "new and improved" Atras they sent me for free in the mail.

So they pulled that marketing ploy with the Atra too? The Gillette loss leader idea...getting men to part with their money for generations. Wow....:lol:
I've received Gillette Foam, Twins, Atras, Sensors and everything since--except for the vibratin' thang. Thinking back, I think the reason I switched to the Atra was that the DE blades got hard to find and the Atra carts seemed to last longer and cause less irritation. Eventually irritation started to re-appear as the carts's quality began to decline. By the time I joined here, I was fed up with $20 dollar cartridge blister packs, irritation and a constant scruffiness. One of our sterling members PIF'd me a 40's model SS, some blades and some Williams and I'm back smooth and groovin'.
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