I still remember the earliest instances of me sitting in a barber shop. After cutting the hair, he used to take out this strange looking instrument, insert half a safety blade in it and then proceed to shape the sideburns and the back of my head. It was a strange but ticklish feeling. I didn’t dare move at that time.
Fast forward to the present day when you have fancy razors with n number of blades. According to a story by the Economist, it took 70 years after the invention of the safety razor to come up with a razor with two blades. Since then the number of blades has been rapidly increasing so much so that they almost seem to follow the famous Moore’s Law. And just like my computer hardware is behind in this race, so is my shaving hardware. I still use a measly two-blade razor. And I have to dig and scratch to get a smooth shave, nothing like what the ads show, one quick stroke and its done.
I’m taking the example of a specific company but I’m sure the others in this market do the same as well. We had the Gillette Sensor, then Sensor Excel, then there was the Gillette Vector (one of the worst razors I must say), then Mach 3. Recently I heard about the five-blade monster, Gillette Fusion.
I’ve also heard that there is a battery operated version too which vibrates. Talk about an oxymoron. When logic says that you need a steady hand while shaving, why would anyone need a vibrating razor? I shudder to think of the consequences of misguiding it…
But with regards to the number of blades, I have always wondered how close is close? The continuous increase in the number of blades has promised a closer shave with each improvement, but the question which comes to my mind is “What is going to be the tipping point?” How many blades would you need on a razor before one of the blades peels out the skin too. Yeah, then your cheeks would be baby red, and probably you’d cry louder than a baby too. That would be a classic law suit in the making. But strangely, the safety razors have been pretty safe.
Maybe I’ll get my chance when the six blade version comes out. Or is it already here? Till then I’ll practice my cuts and nicks with the good old two-blade version. Or for those who want otherwise, here’s a guide to good shaving. I haven’t read it tho’. I’d finish shaving faster than the time it takes to read it. Maybe I’ll read it before the day of my wedding.