I recently made a long-distance trip and I decided to experiment with fully-disposable razors.
Recently Mrs. Mantic59 and I made multi-day trip out of town, our first trip in three years–the “post Covid” era.
I decided to make it more “interesting” by not taking my usual shave travel kit (short handle double edge razor, small synthetic shave brush, shave soap stick) but instead pretending I had forgotten it and using a fully disposable razor and some shaving cream from a local “brick and mortar” source along the way. Our trip was six days.
I did a little pre-trip research by trying to determine the most commonly-available (from “brick and mortar” sources) fully disposable razors and looking for those first. I would also use a widely available brushless shave cream–but one that I knew was good (relatively-speaking) and would stick to that cream for the duration of the trip to limit variables. In my case I ended up using Cremo Cream Original Shaving Cream.
My Experience On The Road With Fully Disposable Razors
This would be a driving trip between Texas and California and back again: three days out and three days back. We would be driving through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Day one found us in a small town in west Texas. We dropped into (what appeared to be) the only store in the area, a small Walmart, where I picked up a 5-pack of Gillette Sensor2 disposable razors (I can’t seem to find the 5 pack online. Here’s a link to an 18 count pack) . This Sensor2 has two blades and a lubrication strip, but no pivot. There was also Cremo on the shelf. Interestingly, there was also a spot for Van Der Hagen brand double edge razor blades but the hanger was empty.
As someone who is used to non-pivoting razors, I found the shave I got with this razor…acceptable (and barely-so at that). Someone who uses a common pivoting head razor would probably not get a shave as good as what I could get because of the difference in shave technique between pivot and non-pivot razors. And, beyond the pivot, this razor’s very light weight and fairly low-performance blade probably best make it for minor touch-ups and for those days where looking great is probably not important. I don’t think this razor probably would do well on multi-day stubble.
Day two ended in a small town in Arizona. A local grocery store actually had a decent variety of razors and creams (given its size and location). But I used the Sensor2 again to see if I could get an idea of the razor blade’s life.
And yes, I did get an idea of blade life. Two shaves. I was able to get another barely-acceptable shave but it was clear by the end of it that this razor’s blade edge(s) were done. I tossed it in the trash.
Day 3 & 4
We were in San Diego, CA on business so I decided not to tempt fate by using a completely unknown fully disposable razor. I picked up a Gillette Mach3 Sensitive fully disposable razor, a 3 pack at a local Super Walmart. Cremo was available there, too, as were Van Der Hagen DE blades.
The disposable Mach3 felt and shaved very much like the older “regular” Mach3 (“Turbo”) I have at home, though I think the pivot travel may be a bit shorter on the disposable. I was pleasantly surprised that my shaves were actually quite good on both days and I probably could have gotten a couple more days from the razor but tossed it so I could try other razors on the way home.
Day 5 found us in a small town near the border of AZ and NM. We arrived late but there was a local drug store open, where I found a 5-pack of Gillette Sensor2 Plus disposable razors (again, I couldn’t find the 5 pack online. Here is a link to a 15 pack). This razor has a “rocking” pivot like the original Gillette Sensor (as apposed to the “front-facing” pivot of the Mach3 and most other popular cartridge razors). Surprisingly (to me anyway) they had Cremo and they also had Personna brand DE blades.
The shave I got with the Sensor2 Plus was better than the non-pivoting Sensor2 from days 1 and 2 but not as good as the Mach3 from days 3 and 4.
Our final day on the road ended in west Texas again. The Sensor2 Plus shave was about the same as the previous day and I probably could have been able to squeeze out at least one more day on it if I had to.
My Thoughts On The Best Disposable Safety Razor
Frankly, I don’t have a very high opinion of fully-disposable razors in general after my little test. I think they are wasteful, environmentally un-friendly, and made to a lower standard compared to “regular” cartridge razors (not to mention good single-blade safety razors!). The only positive feature I can think of is they can be convenient–and I think even that observation is tenuous.
Tenuous because everywhere I saw fully disposable razors I also found regular cartridge razors where you kept the handle and just replaced the cartridge. These products are made to a higher production standard and the blade cartridges last longer. And when you compare prices in an “apples to apples” manner (taking into account blade life and shave quality) the costs may be closer than you might think over the long-term.
There are also some variables that come into play no matter what razor you use: the mineral content of the water (“hard” or “soft”), the shave lubricant used, and the skill level of the shaver all come into play.
Set your expectations for the quality of your shave with a fully-disposable razor lower than you might otherwise have.
If you find yourself in circumstances where you must use a fully-disposable razor, there are some that are better than others, though they may not be as readily available. Generally speaking you will want to look for fewer blades over more blades (particularly if you have “sensitive” skin) and a razor that is not feather-light (it should have a least a little weight to it).
What fully disposable razors have you tried? Would you recommend one? Leave a comment below.