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Safety Razor vs. Cartridge Shaving Comparison Test

I decided to conduct a test comparison shaving between a safety razor vs. cartridge.
Razors of choice, Edwin Jagger 89 lbl vs. Harry’s 5 blade cartridge razor.

Harry’s has been competing with other cartridge razors and is growing in popularity. It started online and can now be found in Target stores. The razor consists of 5 blades, a steel trimmer and a lubricating stripe. Like other cartridges, blades are on a permanent angle and the razor head is on a movable hinge. The handle is long and feels rubberized.
The EJ89lbl is a 3 piece, chrome plated razor that is rated mild. It has a chrome handle similar in length to Harry’s. It is precision machined and has a nice balance and heft.

I setup the test using the following:
Had a 2 day old beard. First showered and used Nivea face soap to clean and hydrate whiskers. Although I usually use a pre shave oil, i decided not to use it for this test so that I could feel the effect of each razor without any additional slickness from the pre shave.
I used a Pre de Provence 63 soap and AOS pure badger brush. The razor blade for EJ89lbl was a Polsilver. After lathering, I used the Harry’s on right side. EJ89 on the left.

First pass WTG:
For the Harry’s, I applied pressure and just pushed blade against my face and shaved. The razor sets the angle and the razor’s hinged head maintains the angle throughout the shave. I only had to press it against my face. No skill or technique required. It felt like a rake on my face. The blade felt like it was scraping the skin and hairs off. Definitely not smooth or elegant. A couple of times the blades got clogged with hair and had to be flushed out .The trimmer feature did work really well for sideburns and under the nose, making it easy to remove whiskers. Harry’s gets the job done without technique but is uncomfortable.
The EJ89 required no pressure just allowed the weight of the razor to perform the shave. Kept focused on angle and completed, it had a nice smooth feel. The Polsilver blade had a nice sharpness and smoothness to it. Just rinsed razor between passes, no hair clogging blades. Shaving under my nose required a little effort due to the razor head being large and I had to be careful not to nick my nose but get as close as I like. Checked both shaves and found Harry’s removed all the hair, for a DFS. The EJ89 had missed a few areas and in general left more whiskers uncut.

Second Pass: XTG:
Re-lathered and shaved again. Harry’s again very easy to use but felt rough and a bit irritating. EJ89 removed all the stubble and shaved smoothly.

Third Pass ATG:
I decided to go for BBS. Cleaned up spots that were missed. No nicks or weepers from either razor. Harry’s is much more difficult to use ATG. the 5 blades and fixed angle don’t allow the precision and maneuverability to touch up very small spots. I had to be careful shaving with it as I felt skin tugging and irritation. The EJ89 was very easy to use for touch ups. My skin felt better having light pressure and one blade against skin and hairs.

Post Shave:
Used Osma Alum, the Harry’s side stung more than the EJ89.
Finished with Taconic After Shave Excalibur. It absorbs quickly into the skin and does not leave any film, so there would be no confusion of feeling smoothness resulting from a thick AS balm. Although Excalibur has no alcohol it leaves an immediate burning sensation followed by a cooling sensation. The Harrys side burned alot compared to the EJ89. Both sides were BBS and felt about the same smoothness. I decided to give it the true test and had my wife feel both sides. She chose the Harry’s side as being smoother.

Final Thoughts:
Both razors performed well. The first pass, Harry’s was noticeably better at removing stubble. Second pass was about the same. The third pass I would give to the EJ89 since it was easier to maneuver and less irritating than Harry’s. Most of the differences were in the comfort of the shave, I felt the EJ89 performed better in that area. Harry’s trimmer was pretty cool. I found removing hairs under the nose easier with Harry’s. For a quick shave, Harry’s has a place. It was quick and easy to use and from the standpoint of removing hair performed well.

There is something special when preparing to shave, lathering using different soaps/creams, and using a post shave AS. DE shaving requires focus and technique. The versatility of the DE razor to change handles, blades and angles are all part of the experience. Although the routine was the same for both razors, I found the cartridge took away from the shave experience. I wouldn’t look forward to shaving using carts and prefer the experience that DE shaving provides.
 
I did a similar test on a different forum and concluded very similar results but I used my Gilliette pro-glide. I used a cartridge razor for over 39 yrs and I also think DE wet shaving is a more enjoyable experience but takes a little longer. I also experimented with a one lathering procedure that knocks the time in half for DE or SE shaving compared to cartridge for folks who are later risers or short of time with excellent results. Schick E series SE razors are just as fast as any DE for daily shavers. Thick stubble cartridge razors are a joke compared to SE or DE when it comes clogging like you mentioned, there are just as many positives or more in traditional wet shaving with DE or SE than Cartridge. You can get a better shave from my understanding with a Schick twin blade(still MFG in Japan) than a cartridge razor because they are built better and last longer than a cartridge and in the long run cheaper possibly.(some folks get well over 60 shaves on a $4.00 US Twin Schick blade=$.066 per shave approx) I use Schick injector single edge blades with my E series razor and made it part of my razor rotation for my Sunday shave.(one of the nicest shaves ever over my 20+ razors)
 
I tried the new cheaper Gillette 3 carts on a recent vacation and was very happy with the results. Maybe not quite as close as a DE but I would have no issue using them in the future.
 
These are my results; I can't speak for anyone else. In all cases I used quality, shave, cream, and good brush. A warm shower was always my prep.

Best} Oneblade Genesis with a fresh blade.
2nd) Muhle, Mach III, handle with 1, 2, or 3 use GILLETTE cartridge. DFS & comfortable, but not to extent of Best.
3rd) All DE razors with various good grade blades. Soreness & slight nicks. Shave closness no better. I feel this is due to MY hyper-sensitive skin; might not apply to anyone else.

Best regards, Ron I
 
When I tried this some time ago, comparing one-pass to one-pass, I concluded it was right at a wash. But now my one-pass shaves have become much better, and can even get a better one-pass shave out of a Fat Handle Tech than my Sensor or Fusion. I'm going to put away my cartridges (Sensor, Mach 3, and Fusion) because there's no longer a point in me using them.
 
Good responses. As mentioned, lots of flexibility when it comes to DE shaving. I know that if I used Feather blades, I probably could get bbs within one - two passes. But, I can't use Feathers on a daily basis, too much irritation. For comparison, I wanted to use a setup that could be used everyday, and chose Polsilver with EJ89 to provide reasonable sharpness and smoothness to compete with Harry's cart.
 
Maybe it's just me. Tried Harry's Truman razor and compared it to my Gillette Fatboy at 7.
As always I first soak brush in warm water, bowl lather with VDH , Face soak with hot water soaked washcloth, lather up . on first morning shaved with Fatboy, Astra SP blade. 2 pass ATG plus touch up, Home made AS . Nice BBS, face comfortable, no issues. Second day, same prep and lather, shaved with Harry's razor, 2 pass ATG plus touch up. Home made AS, Got a BBS but face had razor burn, later on ingrowns.
Though Harry's seems cheaper to buy than Gillette Fusion or Schick I find they shave about the same. Granted shaving is faster with carts and hopefully many are satisfied with Cartridge but I'll stop trying these new type razors and stay with my old ways of shaving, DE/SE
 
I decided to conduct a test comparison shaving between a safety razor vs. cartridge.
Razors of choice, Edwin Jagger 89 lbl vs. Harry’s 5 blade cartridge razor.

Harry’s has been competing with other cartridge razors and is growing in popularity. It started online and can now be found in Target stores. The razor consists of 5 blades, a steel trimmer and a lubricating stripe. Like other cartridges, blades are on a permanent angle and the razor head is on a movable hinge. The handle is long and feels rubberized.
The EJ89lbl is a 3 piece, chrome plated razor that is rated mild. It has a chrome handle similar in length to Harry’s. It is precision machined and has a nice balance and heft.

I setup the test using the following:
Had a 2 day old beard. First showered and used Nivea face soap to clean and hydrate whiskers. Although I usually use a pre shave oil, i decided not to use it for this test so that I could feel the effect of each razor without any additional slickness from the pre shave.
I used a Pre de Provence 63 soap and AOS pure badger brush. The razor blade for EJ89lbl was a Polsilver. After lathering, I used the Harry’s on right side. EJ89 on the left.

First pass WTG:
For the Harry’s, I applied pressure and just pushed blade against my face and shaved. The razor sets the angle and the razor’s hinged head maintains the angle throughout the shave. I only had to press it against my face. No skill or technique required. It felt like a rake on my face. The blade felt like it was scraping the skin and hairs off. Definitely not smooth or elegant. A couple of times the blades got clogged with hair and had to be flushed out .The trimmer feature did work really well for sideburns and under the nose, making it easy to remove whiskers. Harry’s gets the job done without technique but is uncomfortable.
The EJ89 required no pressure just allowed the weight of the razor to perform the shave. Kept focused on angle and completed, it had a nice smooth feel. The Polsilver blade had a nice sharpness and smoothness to it. Just rinsed razor between passes, no hair clogging blades. Shaving under my nose required a little effort due to the razor head being large and I had to be careful not to nick my nose but get as close as I like. Checked both shaves and found Harry’s removed all the hair, for a DFS. The EJ89 had missed a few areas and in general left more whiskers uncut.

Second Pass: XTG:
Re-lathered and shaved again. Harry’s again very easy to use but felt rough and a bit irritating. EJ89 removed all the stubble and shaved smoothly.

Third Pass ATG:
I decided to go for BBS. Cleaned up spots that were missed. No nicks or weepers from either razor. Harry’s is much more difficult to use ATG. the 5 blades and fixed angle don’t allow the precision and maneuverability to touch up very small spots. I had to be careful shaving with it as I felt skin tugging and irritation. The EJ89 was very easy to use for touch ups. My skin felt better having light pressure and one blade against skin and hairs.

Post Shave:
Used Osma Alum, the Harry’s side stung more than the EJ89.
Finished with Taconic After Shave Excalibur. It absorbs quickly into the skin and does not leave any film, so there would be no confusion of feeling smoothness resulting from a thick AS balm. Although Excalibur has no alcohol it leaves an immediate burning sensation followed by a cooling sensation. The Harrys side burned alot compared to the EJ89. Both sides were BBS and felt about the same smoothness. I decided to give it the true test and had my wife feel both sides. She chose the Harry’s side as being smoother.

Final Thoughts:
Both razors performed well. The first pass, Harry’s was noticeably better at removing stubble. Second pass was about the same. The third pass I would give to the EJ89 since it was easier to maneuver and less irritating than Harry’s. Most of the differences were in the comfort of the shave, I felt the EJ89 performed better in that area. Harry’s trimmer was pretty cool. I found removing hairs under the nose easier with Harry’s. For a quick shave, Harry’s has a place. It was quick and easy to use and from the standpoint of removing hair performed well.

There is something special when preparing to shave, lathering using different soaps/creams, and using a post shave AS. DE shaving requires focus and technique. The versatility of the DE razor to change handles, blades and angles are all part of the experience. Although the routine was the same for both razors, I found the cartridge took away from the shave experience. I wouldn’t look forward to shaving using carts and prefer the experience that DE shaving provides.


Interesting report, thanks!

Please repeat the same experiment, three years hence and let us know!!
 
Interesting comparison. Harry's was absolutely horrible for me, as is Gillette Fusion. Mach III actually works really good for me.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
The irony for me is that when I used a cartridge, I didn’t shave every day, due to boredom, and thus had clogging problems. Now that I use a single blade (whether DE, Schick-type, Gem-type, FHS-10 or Feather AC-type), I choose to shave every day, with no clogging issues, in part because the single blades don’t create clogging issues for me. If I shaved every day with a multi-blade cartridge, I wouldn’t have clogging problems either, but I’d be bored out of my gourd, resulting in a choice of not shaving every day... Thus, the problem would re-emerge.
 
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