September 29, 2005
I've been shaving for a while now with Pacific Shaving Oil and have been duly impressed. I had an underwhelming experience with a previous shaving oil, so going into this I wasn't sure what to expect, but this stuff is a winner. Great shave. Easy shave. Clean shave.
Let's get one thing straight right away - Pacific Shaving Oil is all you use when shaving. It's not a pre-shave oil so you're not using it as a base or in conjunction with a cream or gel. Just splash some warm water on your face, squeeze five drops into your hands, and rub it into your face. You're good to go.
One of the huge benefits of a shaving oil is that it's clear, so your face isn't hidden by all this white stuff. That means it's much easier to avoid cuts or blemishes, or even facial hair you're trying to keep. It also means that your razor isn't constantly getting gunked up with cream which you've got to clean out. A while back I reviewed the shaving oil from Total Shaving Solutions, which is a similiar type of shave. One thing I didn't like about Total Shaving Solution's oil was that it was so clear I couldn't tell if I had covered all parts of my face. When you are applying Pacific Shaving Solution's oil to your face, it actually foams up just slightly so you can tell if you've missed a spot. I really liked this. Once you work the oil into your face for a minute the foam disappears, and you're back to shaving in the clear. Not sure if this is intentional, but it's a great touch.
Shaving oils work by applying a thin layer of lubricant to your skin, so the razor glides over the oil and can cut the hair without damaging the skin. This is similar to the way creams and gels work, just without all the extra junk which gets caught up in the razor. Think of it as a back to the basics shave. The fundamentals. You're only applying to your face the bare essentials of what's needed. It's a good philosophy.
One other thing I really liked about Pacific Shaving Oil was its smell. I know that I'm going to sound corny here, but let me try to describe it. Many shaving products are overly perfumed. Some make you smell like a man (from the '50s). And others smell like crap. Pacific Shaving Oil smells vegetal. In a good way. I swear. Perhaps it's because it's made with all natural ingredients - sunflower oil, tangerine oil, grapefruit oil, avocado oil, cucumber oil. (It also contains kukui nut oil, so be careful if you have nut allergies.) I don't know. The stuff smells good. Trust me. It smells different than any other shaving product you've tried, and I applaud that.
Here's another thing to consider - the actual bottle of shaving oil is tiny. Since you only use five drops at a time, a little bit goes a long way. So if you're really into your current shaving system but want a compact travel shave, here's your solution. The bottle takes up no space, and you're going to get 100 shaves out of it. Throw it in your travel kit and forget about it. You're covered.
So have I convinced you that this stuff is worth trying? Still got questions? Click on over to their FAQ, directions for use, or home page for more info. Pacific Shaving Oil is available at www.pacificshaving.com and costs $6.95 a bottle plus shipping, which starts at $1.
Russell Neufeld at Permalink
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May 30, 2005
Not too long ago we posted an article about RazorMax, a system for prolonging the life of your razors. The good folks at RazorMax promptly sent us a sample to test out and review, and I've been using it now for a little over a month. Want the quick summary? The stuff works.
I've been using the RazorMax Classic Kit, which sells for $19.95, and comes with two bottles of RazorMax oil and a clear plastic trough which will easily hold two razors side by side, even if you're using razors as large as the Mach3 or Quattro. As you can see from the picture, you simply store your razors in the oil when not in use. Easy. Other than that you shave as you normally would. When you're done, dry off your razor as best as you can, run it over a towel to get any extra moisture off, and put it back in the trough. Pretty much idiot proof.
The RazorMax website claims you can get five times as many shaves from a single razor blade as you normally would get without their system. I easily went to 2.5 times as many shaves before I started experimenting and needed to change blades. For Mach3 users, RazorMax recommends removing the bottom microfin from the razor cartridge for a closer shave. I wrote them about this since it seemed strange - if you get a closer shave without the bottom microfin, why wouldn't Gillette design their razors without it in the first place? Turns out the RazorMax oil can make that microfin expand slightly, which raises the blades off the skin and give a slightly less close shave. For me this was only noticeable around the hollows of my cheeks, where there isn't any bone behind the skin. It meant I needed to pay a little more attention to shaving those areas, but ultimately wasn't a big deal.
I tried their suggestion - removing the microfin. See picture on right. This is no easy task. Marty of RazorMax suggested I remove the microfin after a couple of shaves, since the microfin doesn't swell up for the first few days. Removing a dry microfin with a swiss army knife was difficult enough. Removing an oily microfin with a swiss army knife was harrowing. I don't recommend it, and quite frankly I didn't enjoy the shave as much. It's certainly possible the shave is closer without the microfin, but it's definitely there for a reason. I could feel more drag against my face without the fin there. My recommendation - leave the microfin on and just pay closer attention to your cheeks.
The instruction sheet which comes with the RazorMax kit also recommends you start your shave without rinsing the oil off the razor. I tried this a couple times but didn't like it. The problem is that the razor is not hot, and any benefit you might get from the extra oil on the balde is outweighted by the coldness of the razor. A hot razor really shaves better. At least for me.
After prolonged use the soapy strip opposite the microfin gets a little crummy-looking. Initially this strip starts out colored, and when it turns white you're supposed to change razors. Of course with RazorMax the strip becomes white and you keep shaving. I don't believe that strip does much anyway. As long as you're using a quality shaving cream that strip doesn't much matter.
The only other difference in shaving I noticed was that the little bits of shaved whiskers which ended up in the sink were somehow stickier and harder to wash down the drain. Not a big deal, and certainly not a reason to stop using this product, but I just thought I'd mention it.
Bottom line - this stuff is worth it. For 20 bucks you will significantly increase the life of your razors without sacrificing your shave or your morning routine. Do the math. You're going to save money.
Buy RazorMax products at their online store at http://www.razormax.com/index_catalog.html.
Russell Neufeld at Permalink
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December 5, 2004
The Schick Quattro is the latest entry in the razor wars between Schick and Gillette. No doubt you’ve heard (and probably joked) about its four razors, skipping the three razor evolution like Netscape skipped version 5. Recently a free Schick Quattro showed up in the mail so I decided to give it a try. I've been using various incarnations of the Mach3 for several years now, so this review will mostly compare the two.
The Schick Quattro is a big razor. There are four razors packed into each cartridge, and if you haven’t gotten used to shaving with the three-blade cartridge of the Mach3, this is going to be quite a difference.
Overall the size didn’t create any difficultly in shaving except around the nostrils. As cartridges have gotten bigger, this is the one area of the face which seems to be overlooked. Shaving whiskers right under your nose is getting more challenging - with both the Mach3 and the Schick Quattro - and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the next innovations in razors is a head which is slightly thinner on the sides to reach these hard-to-get areas.
The handle of the Schick Quattro is a little short. It’s molded to get thinner at the end, and when holding the Quattro during a shave, the handle barely spans the length of my palm. I would have preferred a longer handle, which would have given me a more confident grip. The handle also has a bigger curve than the Mach3 as it reaches the razor cartridge, which causes you to hold it further from your face.
This was one of the major differences in feel during the shave and I’ve tried to illustrate it in the picture to the right. Whereas the Mach3 blade is anchored on one side (blue arrow) and simply pivots up and down, the Quattro’s blade swivels where it attaches to the handle (red arrows), allowing the head to adjust more as it travels across your face. I actually think this is a slightly superior design. Due to the shape of the handle, you end up holding the Quattro further from your face; as a result, the razor head can more readily adjust to the contours of your face.
Overall the Schick Quattro gave a good shave, just as close as any Mach3 I’ve used. I only needed to do one pass over my face, and even when I went against the grain (which is a big no-no) the Quattro performed fine. I did get the occasional nick, but I get those with any razor - I think it’s more a matter of the smoothness of your face at the time you shave (acne, previous cuts) than the razor.
If you’re used to shaving with any razor except the Mach3 Power I think you will enjoy the Schick Quattro. Multi-blade razor cartridges make sense, and while it may seem silly to leapfrog Gillette and go from two blades to four, the Schick Quattro is an improvement on previous Schick razors.
Adding vibrations is where Gillette has made its one unparalleled improvement. Using a Mach3 Power doesn’t feel like shaving. You don’t pull the razor across your face and you don’t feel resistance when cutting beard hair - it seems to just glide. I would like to see Schick come up with some sort of equivalent technology.
Russell Neufeld at Permalink
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