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March 26, 2005

YESTERDAY'S RAZORBLOGGING produced a surprising amount of email. First, several readers happily assured me that I'd love the razor that I meant to buy. Yeah, I actually own one, and it's quite good. (Just worn out).

Several readers wanted to know what razor I bought by mistake. Hunting around, I found it on Amazon, and it's this one. Note the strong resemblance.

A buyer from Target asked how I liked the knock-off. My response: It sucks. Or, more accurately, it plucks, rather than cutting, often enough that I quit using it and went back to the old one. I just ordered the Norelco from Amazon; the other one will go back to Target next time I'm there.

UPDATE: Lots of razor-mail, too. A reader named "Will" (no last name) recommends this rather pricey setup, saying: "I've tried many electrics, this is the best for me. Better than the three-head Norelco." But is my face worth that much money? No need to respond; I think I know the answer . . . .

Reader Dart Montgomery emails: "Razor trivia - straight razors cut hair evenly, while electric razors act like shredders and leave the end of the hair follicle with a ragged edge. Of no practical importance that I'm aware of, but makes me glad I use a straight razor. :)"

You're a brave man, Dart Montgomery, if you mean one of these lethal implements.. Or do you just mean a blade? Perry Eidelbus thinks that's the way to go:

While stationed in Panama during World War II, my father won an electric shaver in a raffle. I believe it was a Remington, which wouldn't be surprising
considering how bad it was. He said it would "jump" at him, and it just wasn't a good shave.

He used blades for the rest of his life. He and I generally favored Sensor Excels.

I seem to alternate, on no fixed pattern, between electric and blades. [LATER: "Pricey setup" link above was bad; fixed now.]

ANOTHER UPDATE: The email is pouring in. Reader Christopher Hagin emails:

As a former straight-razor user, I'd just like to say that straight-razors are very overrated. They are undeniably glamourous (as the cult of straight-razors attests), but they don't give you as close a shave as modern cartridge blades. If you are prone to ingrown hairs, as are many black men, straight-razors are good because they do not cut the hair as closely as modern blades. In an emergency I once used a cheap disposable-it shaved as well as the straight-razor. I believe that the difference is the little rubber microfins you find on modern blades. Instead of a marketing gimmick, it seems IMHO that they actually make a big difference.

Go figure. Of course, if you want to be retro, but not that retro, Countertop Chronicles recommends the Shick Injector. Reader Mark Hessey likes the M3Power Razor:

It's the best shave I've found. I guess, because it has an AAA battery that it's hybrid blade/electric. They're still overcharging for the blades as the volume goes up, but the less expensive blades for their previous models fit this one with no discernable difference in performance.

Well, hybrids are stylish this year! But reader David Needham wonders why we're wasting our time in front of the mirror:

I decided some years ago that since

a.) my wife frequently commented on the beard I had when we met and married (and how much she liked it) and

b.) I dislike the process of scraping my face anyway

that I'd just grow it and trim it with the same clippers/scissors/razor combo I use to cut my own hair. (Yeh, I also decided some years ago that griping about the loon that butchered my hair would be better directed at the loon in the mirror.)

Noticeably warmer in winter. Extra care keeping clean in summer (sweat & dirt from yard work--more care than bare face).

Added benefit? I get to shave it once a year for my April 15 "National Day of Mourning" ritual. (I keep hoping that holiday will catch on... )

Added benefit #2? I buy about 4 disposable razors a year.

Problem? My beard is MUCH grayer than anything else. On second thought, not so much of a problem...

My brothers both do the facial-hair thing, but I've always been clean-shaven. I've considered a beard, but never enough to grow one.

MORE: Reader Michael Kim emails: "Don't overlook Panasonic. I have tried them all, from Braun to Grundig. Panasonic is by far the best. Various models priced from less than $100 to $200. I think this is the top of the line." At that price, it ought to be.

Donald Sensing emails with similar sentiments:

Glenn, I used for a long time a Panasonic Wet-Dry electric razor. Magnificent shave, best I've ever had. I smeared shaving cream all over my face just as if I was using a blade razor, and the Panasonic shaved more comfortably and closer than anything I've ever used, including the M3 Power Razor I've been using lately. Rinsed the Panasonic under running water, too.

Anyone transitioning to an electric of any kind needs to remember that it will take 1-2 weeks to achieve maximum comfort and closeness. I don't know why, but all three electric razor's I've owned said so in their manuals, and they were right.

It's true. Michael Demmons, meanwhile, says to stick with a blade if you can:

Men, in general, always had smoother skin when they became older because they shaved with a blade. What do you need when you shave with a blade? You need cream. Where does that cream go? On your face, obviously. What’s in the cream? Moisturizers. Since men have largely stopped using blades, they’re now as wrinkled up as old ladies are, when they never were in the old days!!

Interestingly, my grandmother has made that claim for years.

STILL MORE: Michael Ubaldi hasn't had enough razorblogging: "Don't end the discussion there - these are serious matters. Canister cream or soap and brush?"

I favor Barbasol menthol when I'm using a blade. Nice and cool. But it's gone out of style.

Fraters Libertas is claiming primacy: "We were razorblogging before razorblogging was cool."

MORE STILL: Kevin Menard emails:

If you're still razorblogging...

I used all three but 10 years ago grew a beard and stay with that. I use a straight razor to trim around the edges because the longer edge gives a neater appearance, but it does not shave as close as a modern cartridge does (or a modern electric). You got to sharpen the sucker about once a year too. . . .

I imagine so. Douglas McIntosh, meanwhile, thinks that shaving cream is for sissies:

I shave in the shower with shampoo. Prell conditioned shampoo. Gives me a closer shave than with any cream I have ever used. Plus, I can shave in the shower.

Not with a straight razor, I trust.