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Cartridge Shaving & Why

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cart razors
From March of 2014 till about Mid June of 2017, I strictly used DE, SE & Straight Razors on a daily basis and had some great shaves over those years. But starting in Mid June, my skin started to react very badly and it would get worse after each shave with these specific razors. So I started a process of elimination to find out what was causing it which ended almost as soon as it began.

I used a cartridge razor for a week & noticed a huge change for the better. In 2 days my skin cleared up. The shave itself was extremely close & comfortable and I got ZERO BURN with an alcohol based aftershave after doing a 3 pass shave with a cartridge razor. I very rarely got that experience with my DE’s, SE’s and/or straight razors which is what sold me on going back to them.
There are no travel issues when it comes to carry-on luggage and/or airport security checkpoints which is another good reason. And for those of you who are on medication and/or are having medical issues and can’t risk getting cut, cartridge razors are your best option. The reason is because the chances of getting cut are extremely low due to both design & manufacturing. The blades themselves are already set at the perfect angle at the factory so there’s no guesswork involved when it comes to getting the correct angle. The guards surrounding the blades themselves also significantly lowers the risk of getting cut.
So between the these features along with the lubrication strip(s) and the slickness of an actual shave soap, it’s almost impossible to get cut apart from incorrect and/or misuse. Availability is also not an issue either at this point. The only drawback to SOME cartridge razors is costs but that can easily be resolved by stropping which triples the longevity of the cartridges.  To strop the cartridge and/or disposable razor, all you do is go in the opposite direction that you would go when you shave as seen below. And for those whom don’t have a leather strop like you see below, an old pair of blue jeans will be a perfect choice:
stropping cart
For example in 2013 I didn’t know about stropping and I was doing good to get 3 shaves out of a blade. Now that I’ve since learned about stropping and how it effects a blade, here in 2017 I’m averaging around 10 to 12 shaves per cartridge & the most I’ve gotten was 13 shaves out of one which is more than 4 times the longevity so stropping does make a huge difference.
So for those of you who want a better shave and want to keep the razor you have instead of investing in a DE (Double Edge), SE (Single Edge) and/or a cut throat/straight razor, just invest in some shave soaps & brushes. You can invest in a leather strop if you want to but a great alternative is an old pair of blue jeans. After each shave, just simply take the razor and go in the opposite direction than you would when you shave 5 times on these old blue jeans and you are good to go. Happy shaving & Thank you for taking the time to read this article. It’s greatly appreciated & means a lot.
About the Author:
Stephen Davidson writes his blog at

Stephen Davidson

Stephen Davidson

18 thoughts on “Cartridge Shaving & Why”

  1. After 32 years of wet shaving (e.g using a brush and red proraso soap but using carts as the “hardware”) i wanted to try the DE shaving and since march i’ve been trying several razors thanks to my cousin who is a DE aficionado. So i diligently watched tons of videos of youtubers like mantic59, geofatboy, mauro di lernia (being italian..) and began to humble applying that advice: no pressure at all..watching the angles…beard mapping…preparation..etc etc.etc. But even with all that info and by trying a lot of DEs (merkurs 34c/37c/15c , EJ de89, baili 191, YAQI DOC, new wilkinson TTO) i could never reach the closeness i got with my main cart razors (Hydro 5 sense and DSC), especially under the chin and on mustache area. Granted, i managed to avoid nicks/cuts thanks to the aforementioned advice but i could never reach the level of closeness i got with carts. And, more importantly, i don’t have 20+ minutes to waste on something that’s essentially a chore. I’m back to cartridge razors for good. Sorry.

  2. For the past 5 years I have been shaving with a DE rezor. But for Christmas my wife gave me a set of a Personna handle and 12 five-blade cartridges. I have loved the shaves I have gotten from the Personna cartridges. Shaving half my face with a DE and the other half with the Personna five-blade cartridges led me to discover that the Personna give me a much closer shave…much closer. Paul

  3. I’m totally with you – I used cartridge razors for a month in Thailand recently, and I got consistently close, comfortable, fuss-free shaves. Toward the end of the month, though, I did start to get some discomfort while shaving, and I was happy to return to my daily driver, another unheralded shaver – the Dorco PL-602.

  4. I use a DE or SE razor on my face and neck but a Trac III on my head. Like Mr. Davidson I strop my razor after I shave my head. However, I only use the linen side of the strop. I then use a toothbrush to clean the cartridge under warm water. The result is I am getting 20+ shaves.

    1. Nice! And despite what some people say, the cartridge razors aren’t expensive as they use to be especially when you increase their longevity like that. In fact some of them like the Mach 3, Track 2, Atra & Track 3 & some of the older Schick blades are as low as the double edge blades.

  5. Thank you for the article. I do not look down on anyone who shaves with a cartridge and canned cream. If you feel good after a shave, then to me it does not matter whether you used a cart, canned cream, a DE or SE or artisan soap. Shaving need not be a chore, but rather an enjoyable experience. That is what counts.

    1. I just wanted to say I tried for several times DE shaving got cut and got bad shaving irritation that is the reason why I went back with cartridge shaving I also strop the method you show on your site thanks a bunch for this site and article !

      1. Thank you for reading it Sal, it means alot. Yeah people still use cartridges on sensitive areas. I don’t see how people shave their heads & certain areas with an old school style razor.

  6. For all the buzz safety razors get, I’ve gotten the impression that most experienced wet shavers come to conclude that using real lather (as opposed to canned foam or gel) makes a bigger difference than does switching to a DE. That is, on top of improvements to technique, of course.

    1. Exactly my friend. Good prep (shower and/or washing face before shaving), a proper shave soap or cream along with a brush makes a huge difference in the shave quality and comfort level. And as I mentioned in the article, stropping the cartridges increase their longevity at least 3 times over.

  7. I’ve been wet shaving for roughly 50 years … mostly carts and disposables with canned goo. I had “just OK” shaves all those years. Three years ago I went to exclusively using DEs and straights with a variety of soaps and creams applied with a brush. I worked on my technique and got fantastic shaves. After reading your article I thought I would dust off the Gillette Fusion and give it a go. I face lathered and used the same 3-pass technique I use with a DE or straight. I was shocked at the result … BBS and no irritation. I can only surmise that my prep, lathering, and technique were woefully inadequate all the those years before. Now my cart will definitely be back in my arsenal. Thank you for the article.

    1. Thank you for reading it Greg. Back when I was using the canned goo & shave foam, I didn’t really have a proper technique at all nor did I understand how important a good prep or pre-shave routine was. I also didn’t know anything about stropping either. But once I realized that I had to go back to the cartridges and applied what I knew from the DE & straight razor world, my shaves were not only better than what I could ever get with either of those razors but I have also actually saved money.

  8. It’s interesting that it was the razor your skin was reacting too. I wonder what in the metal of the various razors you used was the cause of the problem. Glad you found a solution that works for you.

    1. Thank you for reading my article Jose. It was various things. With some razors it was the coating on the blades such as the Ted Pella GEM single edge blades. Sometimes it was the coating on the razor itself. My Gillette Slim & Edwin Jagger DE 89 were the only 2 razors that the coating and/or metal that my skin didn’t react to. But the various different blades would cause me to have acne and I’m a bleeder so I don’t have to tell you how messy a shave could be with either a straight razor, a DE and/or SE razor. Plus now that my hands shake, I really don’t have much of a choice.

  9. Glad you had it the other way around, which makes that possible too.
    Unfortunately lots of people start with a cartridge and end with a de or se because that gives them less irritation.
    Decent prep, soap, good technique (which you learn the hard way with a de or se, aka do not press on Tha Blade!) all help.
    Still love my oneblade, just as expensive as a fusion but less irritation.

    1. Thank you Ivo. I’ve since tried using the DE, SE & straight razors again and for a couple of shaves it was alright but I soon realized that my time with them again would be cut short due to an old medical issue that I’ve been ignoring for the past 6 years. My right hand tends to draw up and sometimes it does shake due to a medically enduced coma for major surgery 6 years ago.

      1. Then using a cart is pretty much the best solution you can do. You could ask mantis for his oneblade core and a box of feathers. Shaves more or less like a fusion. And you can really misbehave without cutting. I shave in the steamsauna without mirror or glasses, still got my nose and Ears. Since Blades are gone in 2-4 shaves unfortunately just as expensive. But you might run into contact allergy issues with the feather Blade. If you want a closer shave try the genesis. You already mentioned an allergy for gem so that is of and A modified gem in the core is too easy to damage the razor anyhow. But Works fine in a genesis though.
        Stil pick my Gillette for some touch ups when looking in the mirror 😉

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