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The myth of the longer lasting BBS

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
I take it that your observations are quite different to mine. Do you really get broadly equivalent shaves from very different razors? High and low blade exposure, gaps, supposedly aggressive and mild- feeling razors? I don’t know what razors you have, but it is interesting if we have such widely varying experiences, and I would certainly see where your argument is coming from.
I honestly don't get bad shaves anymore, unless of course I'm using a disagreeable soap, and that has happened from time to time.
Though I don't chase BBS, I frequently get it, and my shaves are virtually the same regardless of what razor I use.
I do use different razors. President, Tech's, Old Type, Gillette New, Fatboy, Superspeeds in all its iterations, R41, Aristocrats, Merkur Slant, R89, the New Gillette with the bar handle and the Muhle head, several different Schick Injector types, and the Maxwell June razor that uses a folded DE blade very similar to the Trac II.
I tried the new Gillette with the really crappy, slippery chrome handle but I hated it because of the handle, it's fine now that I swapped it out with a SS knurled handle, but it's really just a Muhle razor head with a WCS handle.
Some are very similar in use, but others require a very different approach (for example the Superspeed vs a Schick Injector).
 
I honestly don't get bad shaves anymore, unless of course I'm using a disagreeable soap, and that has happened from time to time.
Though I don't chase BBS, I frequently get it, and my shaves are virtually the same regardless of what razor I use.
I do use different razors. President, Tech's, Old Type, Gillette New, Fatboy, Superspeeds in all its iterations, R41, Aristocrats, Merkur Slant, R89, the New Gillette with the bar handle and the Muhle head, several different Schick Injector types, and the Maxwell June razor that uses a folded DE blade very similar to the Trac II.
I tried the new Gillette with the really crappy, slippery chrome handle but I hated it because of the handle, it's fine now that I swapped it out with a SS knurled handle, but it's really just a Muhle razor head with a WCS handle.
Some are very similar in use, but others require a very different approach (for example the Superspeed vs a Schick Injector).
If you tried, could you get an irritation-free BBS shave that is still completely smooth 12hrs later, though, with all of those razors? Maybe you never wanted to or tried, but some of the modern razors are capable of it, some quite easily, and a very few will do it while still feeling fairly smooth and gentle, without too much blade feel.

If you could, I’m wrong and you’re right about this whole thing. I can’t, but it could be that I lack the skill.

As I say, it’s how I like to shave much of the time, since I shave at night and like to wake up still feeling clean-faced. And I don’t shave daily, so a longer lasting shave has some utility for me when it would make no sense for daily shavers.

I do also enjoy shaves with milder and older razors. I absolutely love my Gillette Red Tip and the way it feels to use, and how the shave feels afterwards - occasionally it is BBS or thereabouts, but not for long and anyway that isn’t the point when I use this razor. I enjoy the shaves better when I just do my three passes and I don’t worry about the closeness. But I really couldn’t get the sort of super-close shave a Blackbird (for example) gives me, no matter what I did. Maybe others could, and their technique with these razors is much better than mine, but I find it hard to believe it is possible - as you say, it surely requires the razor to shave below skin level and I don’t see how my Red Tip could do that unless I also took off a layer of skin. I think it would be crazy to try and it wouldn’t work.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
If you tried, could you get an irritation-free BBS shave that is still completely smooth 12hrs later, though, with all of those razors? Maybe you never wanted to or tried, but some of the modern razors are capable of it, some quite easily, and a very few will do it while still feeling fairly smooth and gentle, without too much blade feel.

If you could, I’m wrong and you’re right about this whole thing. I can’t, but it could be that I lack the skill.

As I say, it’s how I like to shave much of the time, since I shave at night and like to wake up still feeling clean-faced. And I don’t shave daily, so a longer lasting shave has some utility for me when it would make no sense for daily shavers.

I do also enjoy shaves with milder and older razors. I absolutely love my Gillette Red Tip and the way it feels to use, and how the shave feels afterwards - occasionally it is BBS or thereabouts, but not for long and anyway that isn’t the point when I use this razor. I enjoy the shaves better when I just do my three passes and I don’t worry about the closeness. But I really couldn’t get the sort of super-close shave a Blackbird (for example) gives me, no matter what I did. Maybe others could, and their technique with these razors is much better than mine, but I find it hard to believe it is possible - as you say, it surely requires the razor to shave below skin level and I don’t see how my Red Tip could do that unless I also took off a layer of skin. I think it would be crazy to try and it wouldn’t work.
You getting 12 hours of BBS duration is you. I get whatever I get, which is about 6 hours.

I don't have any issue believing you can get 12 hours, and I don't have any issue believing that the number of hours will differ person to person based on growth rate and the other factors that I mentioned.
However, I get my time period with every razor because I believe I have developed a method of shaving that works for me to the maximum duration that smoothness is possible for me. I get that time period regardless of the razor I use.

While it may be easier for you to get the 12 hours with the particular razor you prefer, I personally believe that it is possible to do so with any razor. I have no doubt that with the use of that particular razor, I could obtain a BBS condition. I believe that for me, that duration would be about 6 hours - as is the case with every other single razor I use.

You state that you don't see how the Red Tip razor could shave below skin level, and that to do so, a Red Tip would take off a layer of skin. You also state that you get 12 hours BBS with the particular razor you like, but that you do not get 12 hours with other razors.

Considering that it is unlikely your hair growth rate changes based on the razor you use, you are either cutting the hair below the skin surface with the razor you like, and at or above the skin surface with the others, or your hair growth rate is actually changing depending on what razor you use.
Assuming that your hair is not changing growth rate, and that you are getting a longer duration BBS with the razor you like as compared to the other razors, then I maintain that the other razors could be used in such a fashion as to accomplish the same level of cutting as any other razor.

As I said, it may be easier for you with this particular razor, but that does not automatically translate that it is the same for everyone, nor is 12 hours universal for everyone. It's what you get when the hair is cut as short as is possible.
I don't know that I tried to make a case that one razor may not be easier to use than some other one razor.
My contention is that BBS of differing durations is not due to different razors, but to where the hair is cut. You may prefer to use one razor over another because it is easier for you, but it doesn't mean that getting the same result from another razor is not possible.

I personally do not find it difficult to get the same results from any of the razors I use, though this was not always the case.
 
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luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
I guess in a nutshell, I am saying that the duration of a BBS feel is based on:
1. How much hair is cut off.
2. The growth rate of your beard hair.
3. The lubrication and sensitivity factors I mentioned that affect the sense of feel.

All other factors aside, if in general, one person can get 6 or 8 hours of BBS feeling from Razor "A" but only 2 or 4 hours with Razor "B", then it is because the amount of hair that was cut off is less with Razor "B" than with Razor "A".

Though it may be easier for someone to use Razor "A", that does not mean that the same amount of hair cannot be cut with Razor "B".
 
Considering that it is unlikely your hair growth rate changes based on the razor you use, you are either cutting the hair below the skin surface with the razor you like, and at or above the skin surface with the others, or your hair growth rate is actually changing depending on what razor you use.
Yes, I assume with some razors I am cutting below skin level, and with others either not, or less deeply, depending on the razor.

I don't know that I tried to make a case that one razor may not be easier to use than some other one razor.
My contention is that BBS of differing durations is not due to different razors, but to where the hair is cut. You may prefer to use one razor over another because it is easier for you, but it doesn't mean that getting the same result from another razor is not possible.
Hard to know whether I could match the results of my most efficient razors using my least efficient razor (and without causing irritation). I don’t care to try, really, because it wouldn’t be a way I would ever like to shave, but maybe I will get there someday without trying for it. Conversely, you might find that there are razors that can give you significantly longer than 6hrs BBS too, while others can’t.

But anyway, if it comes down to some razors requiring significantly more time and facial contortions to get to the same place, then we would be getting into semantics and would still be left with the point that some razors do shave much more efficiently than others, which is what I think matters. I shave the way I like to shave, and there is a big difference between the closeness and/or comfort of the shave at the end, depending on the razor I use. For the way I shave, on my hair and face, some razors give me 12hrs BBS smoothness, some 6hrs, some 3hrs, some none. I really only use those times to indicate how efficient a particular razor is for me, relative to other razors, for how I shave. I think that’s a lot more meaningful than just saying BBS or DFS, and that is all I’m trying to indicate. It’s only about comparing razors. Everything any of us say about shaving is for us, for our individual hair, skin, technique, etc. Isn’t that a given? YMMV? And I get that the more efficient razor for me might be less efficient for someone else, but that’s ok too - we always get a range of opinions and it builds into an overall picture.

If we started by saying all razors shave to the same closeness if you adjust your shaving method to achieve it, then we’re just not able to say anything meaningful or informative about each razor’s performance any more, or to try and quantify the differences. And isn’t quantifying and describing these differences the important part of what we talk about here when we review razors?

So you might be right, technically (I don’t know), but I think your point is taking this in a direction that is ultimately less helpful to everyone.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
I think your point is taking this in a direction that is ultimately less helpful to everyone.
Well, certainly for you anyway! :lol1:
Honestly, you're a grown man with free will, and are of course able to form and invest in your own beliefs and opinions.
I am not in any way belittling you, your beliefs or your steadfast defense of them.
At the bottom of the first post of this thread I said "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."
I think that's simply what you are doing as well.
 
One other factor for hourly differences is the condition of one's skin which might allow whiskers to stick out a bit more or less. We're talking fractions of a mm for stubble, after all. If one was very well hydrated, or had been laying down so more blood was in the face, or the temperature was warmer, you may feel a bit less stubble. Likewise if you were dehydrated, had been upright for a long time, or it was colder out, you might feel a bit more stubble.

I'm just saying that there are lots of factors at play. But if one has consistent differences over many, many, many shaves, one could argue that the shaves started differently.
 
I guess in a nutshell, I am saying that the duration of a BBS feel is based on:
1. How much hair is cut off.
2. The growth rate of your beard hair.
3. The lubrication and sensitivity factors I mentioned that affect the sense of feel.

All other factors aside, if in general, one person can get 6 or 8 hours of BBS feeling from Razor "A" but only 2 or 4 hours with Razor "B", then it is because the amount of hair that was cut off is less with Razor "B" than with Razor "A".

Though it may be easier for someone to use Razor "A", that does not mean that the same amount of hair cannot be cut with Razor "B".
Isn’t that another way of saying you can compensate for the shortcomings of razor B by doing things yourself that razor A does for you by design? Razor A is a better razor in terms of its effectiveness in removing hair?

So what I need to know as a razor buyer is that razor A gave the person 6-8hrs BBS and razor B only gave 2-4hrs BBS. What the person could do to equalise this is not part of my buying decision.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
So what I need to know as a razor buyer is that razor A gave the person 6-8hrs BBS and razor B only gave 2-4hrs BBS. What the person could do to equalise this is not part of my buying decision.
And you've got every right to make that your personal criteria for purchases.
As for me... I get 6 hours with Razor A and 6 hours with Razor B, so my razor buying options are a bit more open.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I just shave with various straight razors and ARKO soap; usually two passes and sometimes only one pass and get six to twelve hours before the next crop sprouts. I don’t get excited about it one way or another. After all, it’s just shaving.
 
I've seen posts here and there that talk about a BBS shave "lasting" longer with one razor over another, one blade over another etc.
Sorry, I'm not buying it.

First let us address the ability of each of us to "feel" the stubble after a shave.
The ability of humans to detect surface roughness with fingertips has been studied ad infinitum. The results are that in general humans are capable of determining relative roughness of a surface with the fingers to a significant degree - with caveats.

The caveats are that the ability to determine whether one thing is smoother than another is significantly affected by two factors:
1. The amount of pressure used during the "feeling" stage.
Even slightly different pressure levels causes the fingers skin contact surface to change. A slight increase in pressure causes more surface contact which increases tactile feedback. This means that a person who presses slightly more on a surface may, in error, think the surface is rougher, when in fact it is not.
2. The quantity and viscosity of lubricants present on the surface being felt.
Lubricants decrease the ability of the fingers to detect changes in surface roughness significantly. Lubricants may include moisture either applied or secreted as sweat, sebum (the skins "natural" oil), applied chemicals such as aftershaves or balms, and surface contaminants which are deposited on the face from the surrounding atmosphere.

In order to determine whether your skin feels rougher or smoother over a 6, 8 ,10 or 12 hour period, one would have to exactly duplicate the conditions that existed when the shave was completed and first felt by the individual, including:
1. The exact pressure used when feeling the face.
We are not machines, so this is not 100% repeatable. Moreover, studies have shown that even with people trained to apply a given pressure when feeling surfaces, that pressure is increased subconsciously the longer the feeling period is extended.
2. The exact same exertion level and physical status, which could produce sweat even in the slightest amount.
From day to day, even from hour to hour our reaction to physical exertion, no matter how slight, differs significantly.
3. The exact same environmental conditions over that time frame.
Unless one lives in a laboratory clean room, air quality changes constantly, and the skin is exposed to various environmental conditions such as humidity changes, pollens/microbial contaminants, and other particulate matter.
4. The exact same level of sebum production from the sebaceous glands.
The skin produces sebum, and though peak is during the teen years, even daily sebum production is affected by numerous factors including diet, level of physical activity, and exposure to environmental contaminates.

Next let us address the stubble being felt itself.

When facial hair is cut, there are only 3 options:
1. The hair is cut, to some varying degree above the skin surface.
2. The hair is cut perfectly even with the skin surface.
3. The hair is cut, to some varying degree below the skin surface.
On average, human facial hair grows approximately .27mm in 24 hours. As with all things - each individual may differ slightly on the plus or minus side. For the sake of the discussion, let us assume that in general, the same persons hair growth rate will not significantly change day to day, though it may change very very slightly due to factors such as fatigue.

If the hair is cut at some measurable distance above the skin surface, it is felt almost immediately, and for the sake of this discussion, is out of the equation.

If the hair is cut perfectly at the surface, and all of the above factors of lubrication and pressure are removed, the stubble will be "felt" at the same time period consistently. As mentioned, the factors of lubrication and pressure cannot be controlled to any degree.

If the hair is cut at some level below the skin surface, the hair must grow to a level even with, then above the skin level to be felt.
How much above the skin level it must grow to in order to be felt is again affected by the factors of lubrication and pressure.

Stretching of the skin, and the aggressiveness of the shaving process both have some effect on whether the hair is cut below the surface, and to what degree. However, the significant factors of lubrication and pressure again will bias what we perceive to be the relative smoothness of the shave.

In short, I think that those who experience what they believe to be a longer lasting BBS shave are influenced by the incontrollable factors mentioned above, combined with cutting of the hair below the surface of the skin to some degree. Regardless of which razor or blade is used, the blade will cut the hair at the level that skin stretching and shaving aggressiveness permits, not by virtue of the particular razor or the blade used.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Having read through this entire thread, I fully agree with you. I achieve the same result with every shave, regardless of what razor, blade, soap, etc. combination I may use. Everyday is BBS, and it lasts about six hours before I feel stubble again.

Some years ago, a friend of mine hated shaving so much, he had multiple laser hair removal treatments on his entire face and neck. BBS forever according to him.
 
I guess in a nutshell, I am saying that the duration of a BBS feel is based on:
1. How much hair is cut off.
2. The growth rate of your beard hair.
3. The lubrication and sensitivity factors I mentioned that affect the sense of feel.

All other factors aside, if in general, one person can get 6 or 8 hours of BBS feeling from Razor "A" but only 2 or 4 hours with Razor "B", then it is because the amount of hair that was cut off is less with Razor "B" than with Razor "A".

Though it may be easier for someone to use Razor "A", that does not mean that the same amount of hair cannot be cut with Razor "B".
@luvmysuper

Agreed.

Some of my razors can reach the limit of what I feel is possible as far as 'closeness' is concerned. I was not aware you can shave below the skin, but maybe that is what I do when I push a razor as far as I can. It might be that added pressure with a very sharp blade does that. I sometimes do that, even though this is not comfortable. Do you think this is possible, or just my perception?

In the cases as mentioned above it seems to take longer before I can feel stubble again. Am I correct this supports your first post? At the same time the conclusion should be there are different degrees of BBS.

Am I still being logical now?

BTW: I shave both beard and head, and I have noticed some differences, but maybe that is for another topic.
Good post, you obviously hit some nerves and triggered some thoughts for us to chew on 👍🏽
 
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I've seen posts here and there that talk about a BBS shave "lasting" longer with one razor over another, one blade over another etc.
Sorry, I'm not buying it.

Perhaps being perfectly shaved in the first place is the same principle as Absolute Zero (−273.15° C).

People get close... very close indeed... , but it's a theoretical ideal.

I don't think my current favourite, the Game Changer .84P, really gets me to Absolute Zero-Hair Nirvana©™even on my cheeks with a good ATG, but it does a very convincing attempt, and I'm happy with that.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
The OP is assuming that all whiskers grow at about an average rate. If a shaver is this treatment, his assumption is not valid.
Thanks for raising the point, I don't assume hair growth for an individual is what the average is.
I do assume hair growth for an individual is fairly consistent regardless of what razor is used.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
Having read through this entire thread, I fully agree with you. I achieve the same result with every shave, regardless of what razor, blade, soap, etc. combination I may use. Everyday is BBS, and it lasts about six hours before I feel stubble again.

Some years ago, a friend of mine hated shaving so much, he had multiple laser hair removal treatments on his entire face and neck. BBS forever according to him.
I think many of us here are so because we hated that daily chore!
If you can't find a way to make it enjoyable, then finding a way to not have to do it at all makes sense I suppose!
 
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