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LarryA2010 • 3 years ago

First off, take a look at this 1-star Customer Review at Amazon. The guy gave an honest review, stating his personal experience with the product in question, and he was contacted by the manufacturer by email, not on the public review forum, and asked to remove or revise his review! That is downright unethical and highly suspicious. I interpret that alone as indicating that their product couldn't be that good and is probably nothing but hype. And they don't even have the integrity to refute his claim with solid evidence on a public forum.

Second, all this product does is strop just one side of a row of blades. I have a straightedge that I strop on BOTH sides, just like with any blade, be it a knife's, a chisel's or a razor's. The theory is that the blade's edge has microscopic 'teeth' or irregularities that are bent outwards on both sides of the edge, and this is what reduces the sharpness of the blade. The strop 'straightens' or breaks off the protruding 'teeth', thus restoring the edge. If you strop just one side, like this tool does, you get a thin 'wire' that curves on the opposite side. You can actually feel this with your finger. Stropping the opposite side then breaks the wire so you get a straight edge. Hence the need of stropping BOTH sides of the edge, not just one. I think the manufacturer's video, showing an animation of the entire length of the blade being bent backwards by soft hair is ludicrous. I'd love to see some SEMs of this phenomenon, before and after, using the vaunted product.

The reviewer goes on to say that he has gotten better results by stropping on a towel. There are other reviewers who recommend using denim for the same purpose. I think $20 is way too much for this product and there may be better FREE alternatives.

The real issue I have with the stropping idea is that it only gets you so far. The main issue with blade degradation is oxidation, corrosion. Stainless steel or not, steel rusts, plain and simple, especially at the microscopic level.

What I have been doing for years is to rinse the blade with hot water, shake it briskly, towel dry it, and, most importantly, dry it with a hair dryer on high for about 20 seconds on each side. You can see beads of water surfacing and evaporating. I get many months out of one blade this way. As a control, I have gone on trips with a new blade and no access to a hair dryer and the blade is dull after a week. Drying the blade is the most important step you can take to prolonging blade life.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

For those whose tap water is quite hard, the method you use would make the blade dull due to mineral deposits that form on the cutting edge. You best bet if the water's quite hard is to swish the razor's head in high-proof rubbing alcohol (90% or 99%). The alcohol displaces the water and then when you put the razor on the shelf, evaporates immediately, leaving the blade dry (and no mineral deposits on the cutting edge).

LarryA2010 • 3 years ago

Actually my water is very hard and this has had no effect. The force of the dryer sends beads of water up front and evaporates them before my eyes. I still get 4-6 months of use from a blade. You would only get lime scale if you didn't use a dryer, or in your case, alcohol, as the thin film of water would dry in place. I doubt that the alcohol 'displaces' the water. It only mixes with it and dilutes it. But I may try this in addition to drying it with the hair dryer. It certainly couldn't hurt. Thanks for the suggestion.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

No, the alcohol does indeed displace the water---try it if you want. I rinse the razor head well under the hot-water tap, shake the head (so that only a very small amount of water remains as a film), and then swish the head briskly, submerged in the alcohol. Safeway Pharmacy carries 99% rubbing alcohol, and so I imagine it's commonly available. You'll see what I mean.

LarryA2010 • 3 years ago

Alcohol is MISCIBLE with water, so saying that it DISPLACES water is unscientific and inaccurate. 99%? Hmmmm… The most common consumer grade isopropyl alcohol is 70% and 91%. 99% is for industrial use to clean electronics and the like and is very expensive. Probably toxic as well. They use harsh chemicals to remove that extra 8% water. I've never seen it that high in a store. I could find nothing on the Safeway site but I strongly suspect the product is mislabeled.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

You're quite right, and thus much (if not most) of the water film remaining will be left in the jar with the alcohol, while what's on the razor is almost pure alcohol---but then it was only 99% pure when I started. (The benefit of the higher proofs is that they can absorb more water and still remain high-alcohol.)

I agree: 99% rubbing alcohol would bee very bad to drink---but of course, that's true of many (most?) household cleansing products---you won't catch me sipping at the bleach. :)

I don't know whether it's on their website, but it's certainly in their store---or, as you point out, there's a product bearing that label, though the label may well be a complete lie. And it's not very expensive. About $2.50 per pint, as I recall, but I've had it a long time.

LarryA2010 • 3 years ago

Right, when you shake the razor in the solution, the little water that remains on the blade will mix with the alcohol and the blade will have a thin film of almost pure alcohol that will evaporate. What you have is most likely 91% which is all that is required. This concentration was designed for sterilizing medical instruments like syringe sharps before the days of disposable syringes. My grandmother used it for just that purpose.

Barry Goldstein • 3 years ago

Just to be a contrarian....My wife bought me a vintage straight razor for Father's day. I love it. The best shave ever, after a steep but quick learning curve. I love the concentration and process.

And I agree with some of the concerns about one sided stroping. A kitchen knife would be ruined in a matter of months with this kind of action.

WingDQ • 3 years ago

I must be one of those lucky guys where a high frequency Panasonic ES8019 electric razor serves all my shaving needs. I've used my current electric razor for close to ten years I'm guessing.

Sam Griffiths • 3 years ago

Razorpit is a product that does the exact same thing. They seem to explain it quite well on their website. I've been using mine for about 2 years and have used about 4 blades for my Gillette Fusion Proglide.

http://www.razorpit.com/

LarryA2010 • 3 years ago

Holy cow, this one's €25, and you have to get it from Europe!

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

Wrong solution. Switch to a double-edged safety razor. My DE blades cost me less than $5/year. For the price of the blade buddy I can buy more than 4 years' worth of blades AND actually enjoy my shaves.

Jim Black • 3 years ago

I use a Merkur double-edge safety razor and it rocks. Apply shaving oil and you won't nick yourself.

tsackett • 3 years ago

I've been using a double-edged safety razor (a Merkur Futur) for about three years, but I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. It takes longer, I nick myself more often, and it doesn't necessarily give you a closer shave. I use a disposable when traveling, and am always perfectly happy with the shave it gives me, particularly because I can finish up by shaving against the grain (something which would guarantee nicks with my Merkur).

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

The Merkur Futur is an aggressive razor and does give some people problems. Let me recommend the iKon Shavecraft #101 open-comb, or the Weber polished head, or the Standard razor. All of those are "mild-aggressive": mild and comfortable on face skin (much more so than the Futur) and aggressive and efficient on the stubble. All of those are around $70-75: mild-aggressive razors tend to cost a bit more.

You quite possibly already know that there is much variation from brand to brand among DE blades, but I would also add you have to do some testing of various brands whenever you get a new razor to discover which brand(s) work best in the new razor.

tsackett • 3 years ago

Thank you for the recommendations. I may try one these other razors. For blades, I've got Feather, Merkur, and (schwing!) Wilkinson Sword. The Wilkinsons are my favorite.

I was going to ask if you had tried any of the razors you recommend. Then I saw this picture of your shelf: http://sharpologist.com/wp-... .

I think you need an intervention.

seedhub • 3 years ago

When Leisureguy shows up to comment on a review for anything that related to shaving, we should all be smart enough to just sit back and read.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

For blades I recommend on-going exploration---trying a new brand occasionally much as you might try a new restaurant occasionally: mostly sticking with favorites, but occasionally trying something new. It's particularly good to try a new brand after a week using your best brand to date to highlight any contrasts. I like Wilkinson Swords quite a bit, but Merkurs don't work for me at all, and Feathers work only in a few razors (notably the Feather AS-D1/2, another mild-aggressive razor that totally tames the blade). Here are some DE blades you might try: Astra Superior Platinum, Personna Lab Blue, SuperMax Titanium. Check out Tryablade.com for an easy way to order and try new brands.

The range of razors is required for research: I have a book on DE shaving (Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving: Shaving Made Enjoyable, 6th Edition), and I do not like to talk about products I've not tried.

echomrg • 3 years ago

i hate you. now i'll have to spend 75$ on a new razor! ;)
i love using the merkur but i usually use it only when i have enough time to shave properly since i tend cut myself with it if i do things in a hurry. a "safer" alternative would be really great.

and whoa! the Standard Razor looks awesome.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

This discussion prompted me to point out these 3 razors on Reddit's Wicked_Edge subreddit.

It's interesting that all three are from new razor manufacturers: start-ups that took advantage of the growing trend toward a better and more enjoyable shave. I thought this might happen.

echomrg • 3 years ago

thanks for sharing. definitely an interesting read :)

Joshua • 3 years ago

Thanks for the helpful comment. Unfortunately, though, for those of us who shave our heads, the DE safety razor is not an attractive option, so extending the usefulness of cartridges is appealing.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

You will be happy to know that you are mistaken: many men routinely shave their heads with DE razors, though some prefer single-edged razors like the GEM. Post a query on Reddit's /r/wicked_edge for more info directly from head shavers that use a DE razor.

Joshua • 2 years ago

As a late followup, many thanks for this comment! It spurred me into looking into traditional shaving, and I've been happily shaving my head with a DE razor since December. Thanks, Leisureguy, for improving my morning routine drastically!

Leisureguy • 2 years ago

I'm delighted to hear that it's working well for you. I am firmly of the idea that if one must do a task routinely, it's best to find a way to do it enjoyably.

LarryA2010 • 3 years ago

Yes, the good old GEM single-edge razor. I used to use that instead of a double-edged razor. But then I tried the new double-bladed Gillettes and never looked back. I now use a Schick Hydro 5. Really smooth shave at a REASONABLE price--Gillette…

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

It would be interesting to read a comparison of the Schick Hydro 5 and a good modern DE razor (say, the iKon Shavecraft #101 open comb) with a DE blade that works well for you, using (of course) a true lather rather than canned foam.

Those who have tried tend strongly to prefer the DE, and not simply because the running costs are so much lower: generally men find that the shave is better and is also quite enjoyable. (YMMV, of course, but the trend among those who compare is clear.)

LarryA2010 • 3 years ago

No, I have not-so-fond memories of stripping the outer epithelial layer every time I shaved with the 'safety' razor. That never happened with the multi-blade ones. I now use Trader Joe's shaving lotion. Much better than lather, as it lubricates.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

Ah, well. I understand. It's common in shaving to refer to "YMMV" (Your mileage may vary) as indicating how things do not work for everyone---most dramatically in blades (a brand that is wonderful for one is horrible for another). Perhaps DE shaving is simply not for you. However, one must recognize that it works stunningly well for many, so it's clearly not the case that everyone ends up with razor burn. And---though I hate to be the one to tell you---a good lather lubricates, protects, and otherwise enhances the shave. I think you undoubted meant that TJ's shaving lotion is much better than the lathers you were able to make. But, of course, those were the lathers that you were stuck with, barring learning better technique or how to deal with hard water.

I think you will find this post of interest.

seedhub • 3 years ago

I couldn’t agree more. Disposable and cartridge razors are a marketing ploy. I bought a nice safety razor about ten years ago, learned to use it, and will never go back. Safety razors are simple, generally well-made, and a pleasure to use. They’re also much less expensive over time, and generate far less waste, than all the plastic gimcracks from Gillette and Schick.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

The biggest payoff for me is how shaving becomes an enjoyable activity---but getting much better results at much lower cost also helps. :) I've never understood the choice to pay more for a worse result---and in addition having one's shave (with cartridge razors and canned foam) become a tedious, boring, hateful chore. I had almost quit shaving (down to 3 shaves a week and contemplating 2) when I switched; now I look forward to my shave every morning.

FirefighterGeek • 3 years ago

Could you add some description of what mechanism is employed by this device that imparts its magic to the blade? Is it a cleaning process? Is it a drying process? Is it an application of silicon to the blade to keep it from oxidizing? My understanding is that what really causes blades to deteriorate quickly is that they're wet when you finish with them. Many people suggest storing the razor in an oil (mineral/baby/cooking) or else some kind of alcohol solution to keep away the oxidation.

NoOneSpecific • 3 years ago

You are using the silicone to "Strope" the blade and further hone the edge much like you might do with a straight razor and a leather strap or a piece of taunt denim.

LarryA2010 • 3 years ago

I wholeheartedly agree. It is just a one-sided strop. I have a straightedge and that is stropped on BOTH sides, the theory being that you are 'straightening' or maybe removing microscopic 'teeth'. If you strop only one side, you can feel the cupped 'wire' edge on the other side by running your finger downward. The strop is meant to break this 'wire' and renew the sharp edge. Stropping on one side can't really do much good IMO.

seedhub • 3 years ago

*strop

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

Oil is pointless: the blades are made of stainless steel, and then they are also coated. Oxidation is not a problem.

FirefighterGeek • 3 years ago

Good point -- I don't know anything about the metallurgical properties of the blades I use or the quality of the coatings on them. I do know that they're in the business of selling you replacements, so their incentive is to have a lifetime just long enough for customers to accept them, and not one hour longer.

Leisureguy • 3 years ago

I switched to double-edged blades in a safety razor. Blades last roughly a week, some brands less. DE razors cut more easily, shave more smoothly, and make the shave enjoyable---and I pay less than $5/year for blades.

echomrg • 3 years ago

you can find more info here:
http://www.getbladebuddy.co...

it says "Every time you shave, the wafer thin edge of your razor blade gets microscopically bent. Gliding your razor up the Blade Buddy’s micro-honing grooved surface straightens the edge back into alignment, restoring the sharpness of your blade. So one blade gives you a close, comfortable shave for months, instead of days."

it's the producer's website so take it with a grain of salt.

tsackett • 3 years ago

A strop is used on *both* sides of the blade, but the Blade Buddy only has access to one side of the blades in a disposable razor or cartridge. The Blade Buddy might work if the edge is being bent upwards as it hits whiskers, but I have a hard time believing stropping one side of a razor would be very effective.

Guest • 3 years ago

A strop is used on both sides of the blade because a single edge blade can be pulled and bent on both sides. Today's razors go one way. Period. I've been using the underside of my forearm for years and it work great. Just like a strop or an steel for kitchen knives. I've used the same two-blade cartridge for a year just to see how long I could go... The shave was fine...

syk • 3 years ago

I've been using a pair of old jeans for a while now and think it works well.

http://www.todayifoundout.c...

echomrg • 3 years ago

definitely going to try this!