Groovy Man Stuff’s Guide to the Best Shaves, Part 2

Groovy Man Stuff's guide to the best men's shaving razors, part 2.

We are in a golden age of men’s shaving, especially when it comes to razors. In part 2, the Schick Hydro 5 and Gillette Fusion Pro go head to head. Photo from saintbob’s flickr photostream.

All razor blades in this men’s shaving review were professionally tested using My Face. Don’t try this at home. (Actually, yes, you should.) In Part 1 of our men’s shaving and razors review, we discussed popular old-school shaving products, and reviewed razors from Harry’s — an up-and-coming little guy. Without further ado, we’re now moving on to the fancy big company razor blades by Gillette and Schick.

If you missed Part 1 of our epic men’s shaving products review, click here.

Men’s shaving: Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor

Men's SHaving - Gillette Fusion ProGlide
What you see is not necessarily what you get with the Fusion ProGlide.

Gillette is the long-time market leader. They popularized the two-and three-blade razors, and still set the tone for the entire men’s shaving market with their powerful reach, particularly since Gillette was bought out by Proctor & Gamble. I’ve always appreciated the fact that Gillette pushes the technology envelope and I greeted the Mach 3 with open arms when it first appeared.

However, sometimes, mass marketing can conceal a decline in quality. Such is the case here. Gillette really needs to work on their moisturizing strip technology and their razor blade technology. Despite the five blades, even the finest shaving cream can’t fully compensate for the razor burn resulting from the Gillette Fusion blade. The blades wear out far too quickly for the prices you pay. The Gillette Fusion ProGlide is a fine package, and the first shave off of a fresh blade is usually a revelation.

Unfortunately, the impression doesn’t last. This blade works best with a high-quality shaving cream applied with a brush – forget the stuff from a can. It’s a good close shave, at first, but becomes really uncomfortable to work with after a few days. After a week, throwing the razor blade out is the best course of action. I use it only in an emergency, when I run out of everything else. You shouldn’t need $50 in emollients to get a comfortable shave with such an expensive blade.

Even Gillette Fusion ProGlide’s name is overblown. You will also notice, in the figure above, that the vertical support lines for the blades in the pic do not exist in the actual blades you buy at the store. I think that’s more evidence that Gillette is continuing to shave quality from their product (pun intended!) for the sake of their expensive marketing. It’s not a bad razor, of course, compared to past history. Fortunately, there’s competition. There are better razors for less, like the other razors in this two-part review.

Men’s shaving: Schick Hydro 5 razor.

Men's Shaving - our favorite and best of class.
Give the Schick Hydro 5 razor a try, you won’t regret it.

Schick is the sneaky-great razor manufacturer. No one pays attention to them, but I’ve found them to be my best option for years, starting with their excellent and still quite usable Schick Quattro, which was my first substitute for the Gillette Mach 3.

In short, the men’s shaving shocker in this review is the Schick Hydro 5. Their integrated moisturizer is the best in its class and the quality of their five blade razors is more than adequate – in fact the darn things last over two weeks before I have to think about changing them. They look clunky as all hell, but are simply more comfortable to shave with than the Gillette.

The reason the Schick razors are so awkward looking is the unusually generous and effective lawn/beard
moisturizer on the cartridge. So long as you keep the blade dry between shavings (don’t let it sit in a puddle of water after you’re done), you’ll be stunned at how comfortable the blade feels with almost any cream, even the cheap can stuff. (In that vein, I like Noxzema.) However, if you pair it with a really fine $25-$70 shaving cream and a boars-hair brush, the Hydro 5 comes into its own as a men’s shaving tool. Oh, it is smooth and creamy! It performs better than any razor I’ve ever tried with this setup, and is my go-to at almost all times. Schick also handily beats Gillette in price. What’s not to like? Their nonexistent marketing (seriously – look at that Web ad image). Who cares? Just buy it already.

Our low-down on men’s shaving and razors.

Look for our upcoming shaving cream review!

About the author

Richard Grace is a technical writer and long-time denizen of Silicon Valley. He thinks men's style in Silicon Valley could use a bit of improvement. For the latest Groovy Man Stuff, friend him on facebook, "Like" his Groovy Man Stuff page, follow him on Twitter, or plus him on Google+. And since this is Silicon Valley, Richard also has a Linked In profile.