Why Wetshave?

So why would you spend the time to re-learn something that you’ve been doing since you were a teenager and risk slicing your damn ear off? Do these sound appealing?

  • Wetshaving gives a much better shave
  • It’s much, much cheaper
  • Wetshaving wastes less, and spares our landfills
  • It’s about the manliest thing you can do
  • You can rest assured that you’re not being suckered by big business

Despite almost all claims to the contrary (well, claims coming from major razor manufacturers), using the single-blade technique provides a better shave.

I remember a commercial for a Norelco electric a few years ago that showed a spiffy animation of a whisker being lifted as the second blade cut it, so that when the whisker was released from Norelco's manly grasp, it actually sat below skin level.

This is exactly what you don't want. This often causes the whisker to attempt to grow through skin rather than the folicle, resulting in the ever popular razor-burn and ingrown hairs. Razor bumps are unattractive, and they hurt like a bitch.

Cartridge razors do the same thing, only they have the additional nasty habit of swallowing whiskers and grinding them back onto your face. Ever had to run your thumb across the blades of a Mach 3 to clear the whisker jam? Ever sliced your thumb tip as a result?

As illogical as sounds I cut myself far less using an unguarded blade.

How much are you paying for your razor blades? $3 each? Upwards of $4?

These things are expensive as hell. The slow increase in price with each new "innovation" is what caused me to hop off the upgrade treadmill in the first place.

I have a goatee (less surface area to shave) and I'd wear a cartridge down until I was basically scraping a butter knife across my face, and I was still spending more than I felt comfortable on what was essentially a luxury item masked as a necessity.

I get my blades at the local independent pharmacy. Not a Walgreen's or CVS mind you, but a rickety building owned by an old couple without the need for a franchise agreement. They're still stocking 5-packs of Personnas for $1.85 with tax. Using both sides of a double-edged blade (ingenious, I know) and skipping most weekends, that $1.85 comfortably gets me through the month.

That's right. I spend $22 per year on razor blades. About the cost of an 8-pack of Fusions. Do those eight blades get you through an entire year? Didn't think so.

There's only so much real estate on this earth that we can use to cram all of our waste, and right now we're using that prime real estate to the tune of two billion disposable razor blades per year.

I'd rather be using that land for just about anything else. The way this place is filling up and the population issues we're becoming forced to deal with, we all need to rethink what we're throwing away.

Where I grew up, we paid for garbage removal according to how much we threw out. Rather than the service being included in our taxes, we paid for garbage tags that we then stuck to our barrels. Simple concept really. Use more, pay more. If you had to pay for every blade you threw out, would you rethink the way you shave?

If you're using Bics, you're one of the worst offenders and should at least consider a cartridge razor where you're at least not throwing away the handle every few shaves. A cartridge razor involves a lot of plastic and four unnecessary pieces of metal. A safety razor wastes only a thin piece of metal. And it's double-sided, so you're cutting the waste in half. A straight razor wastes nothing.

The cream is even more waste. Those big honking aerosol cans are an environmental nightmare. Use a good cream and you waste as little as a tube of toothpaste. Use a good soap and you waste only the packaging, which is fairly negligible considering how long those bad boys last.

So love your earth. Stop filling her up with bullshit.

This is a good time to do some soul-searching. Dig down way deep, and decide what kind of man you are. Now think about what kind of man you want to be.

Are you the kind of man that rakes a dull hatchet across his face in front of a half-steamed mirror, grunts, and goes about his day, tying his shoes at red lights and grabbing breakfast at McDonald's on the way to work?

Or are you the kind of man who has it together when he leaves the house, with that ready-for-anything attitude. The kind that’s ready to hurdle over little kids on tricycles that somehow seem to pop out of nowhere?

Are you a cheapskate, or do you shell out for nice things? The guy raking a bic — sans-shaving cream — across his mug is much more likely to sleep on inflatable furniture. The guy lathering up with a nice English cream and finishing up looking silky-smooth is much more likely to get laid.

After all, eventually She will see you shave. You want her to get the impression that you’re the kind of guy that takes his time and does it right, if you now what I mean.

So what kid of man are you? What kind of man do you want to be?

After years of living like a college-ear bachelor (several years after graduation, I’m sure), you might want to rethink that inflatable furniture.

Despite all the other reasons to get with the out-dated program, one thing always pops into my mind. I’m not being taken.

Call me crazy, but I just don’t enjoy feeling like a sucker, and I’d rather not be duped into buying something I don’t need. I can appreciate the genious of marketing and product positioning, but I don’t have to like it. Let’s face it, these new razors are not generating any more value than their predecessors, at least not to the level that they’re charging for them. They’re just trying to continue to make a profit.

The 2-bladed sensor was not an improvement over the single-blade safety razors that preceded them, much as Gillette’s original 100-yr old safety razor did not give a superior shave over a straight razor. Safer, maybe. Better shave, hell no.

I will not be convinced otherwise. The case can be made that the original safety filled a niche amongst men that lacked the necessary coordination to to retain most of their skin cells while using a straight, and that’s fine.

The point is, the purpose behind Gillette’s invention was to make money, plain and simple.

By the late 60’s when the market for high-margin disposable blades became saturated, Gillette needed a more proprietary means to sell blades. Enter the Sensor.

Persona, Gem, et al would have to risk patent infringement to market a blade that would fit a Sensor, so Gillette cleverly re-claimed much of the market share that they were losing by introducing a new standard.

To do this, of course, they had to convince people that two blades were better than one.

It worked.

Twenty years later they had to convince people that three blades were better than two.

And it worked again.

Fewer than ten years after that and they’re convincing people that five blades are better than three (or Schick’s four for that matter).

The amount of time that we’re allowing to elapse between models is getting shorter with each "upgrade", and men everywhere are falling for it.

Tune in to the marketing bullshit.

Did you ever see Pirates of Silicon Valley? The movie about the beginning struggle between Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Apple’s Steve Jobs?

There was a great exchange when Jobs confronted Gates and asked him (and I’m paraphrasing) "when are you going to realize that Macs are better?" Gates’ response?

"When are you going to realize that that doesn’t matter."

Couldn’t have said it any better.

Just because it sells better doesn’t mean that it is better.