Yes, you’re seeing right: cartridge razors. Anyone who has been to this website more than a few times knows that I really don’t like cartridge razors, in general. The process is bland, the long-term costs are high, and there’s just something timeless about a double-edge razor. However, there are still plenty of guys in the world who either prefer cartridge razors or are just unwilling to switch. When I learned about 800Razors.com, I thought it might be worth an experiment: could their razors convince me to go back to my teenage days of dragging a cartridge across my face?
First off, if you don’t know about 800Razors, here’s some general information. First of all, they have a “live burn free” return policy, which is essentially a no-questions-asked return situation. That makes trying a similar experiment like this for yourself a lot more appealing. Secondly, there are two types of male razors and one woman razor (which is probably the same thing but pink). The male options come in 3-blade or 5-blade cartridges, and ship in various intervals, quantities, and prices, from $9.99 to $38.99.
The 800Razors cartridges are made in America by Americans, so if that sort of thing is important to you (and it probably should be), it might be a good reason to switch from Gillette. Speaking of them, these razor handles are not compatible with the Gillette cartridges like some other “boutique” cartridge company’s units. The 800Razors handles have two pivot points rather than one in the middle, and frankly I can’t tell a difference between one versus two pivot points–it’s just different. All this said, the real question is how well the razors work–can they beat my trusty double-edge?
I first tried the 5-blade cartridge, and holy lubricating strip. It’s like they designed this bad boy for guys who are dry shaving–and who does that? I used my normal shaving cream (Niven Morgan, for the time being) and I could literally feel the lubricating strip stringiness pulling off my face. It was really goopy, and I had to wash off the blade every 2 inches of use or so–much more frequently than a single edge of a razor. The cartridge didn’t even feel like I was shaving, honestly–I didn’t feel a thing. I wondered if it was working or not, because usually cartridge razors have a good amount of pull on them; not so with these. The shave was effortless and foolproof, but the blades gunked up quickly, and the lubricating strip(s?) are just way too much.
The 3-blade cartridge is essentially the same thing, but with a much less obnoxious lubricating strip…good. What isn’t so good, is the effortless shave that is present with the 5-blade isn’t all there with the 3-blade. The blades get gunked up just as quickly (as all cartridges do), but also require more passes. Seeing as the two versions are the same price, just go with the 5-blade. I can get over the lubricating strip nonsense that isn’t present with the 3-blade.
So the 5-blade beats the 3-blade, but does it beat my double-edge safety razor? Drumroll…no. I value the simplicity, ritual, and feeling warm steel on my face in the morning. That’s not to say that the end shave is any different–it’s not. Both methods will get you a smooth face, which is the ultimate goal, right? But the process of a safety razor is just so much more enjoyable. Furthermore, while the 800Razors cartridge costs are far below similar competitors, you just can’t beat the low cost and value of double edge razors. The lubricating strips, patent costs, assembly costs, and rubber pieces all add up over time. I’ll stick with my safety razors, but I still value the experience of trying a new cartridge. Good job, 800Razors, but you just didn’t beat that feeling of surgical steel.