Quel barbe (followup)

The Economist has plotted the number of blades in disposable razors against time, and if current trends continue, it looks like we’ll be shaving with 8 blades by 2010. Or rather, you might, but I’ll be shaving with 1. As mentioned previously, I switched to a classic double-edge safety razor. Many shaves on, I remain enthusiastic about it. Definitely better than even the Mach 3, and cheaper per blade too.

Quelle barbe

In which a skeptical modernist learns to appreciate 19th Century technology.

Shaving has always been an unpleasant experience for me. My skin is sensitive, dries out easily, and I get allergic reactions to a lot of chemicals. At the same time, the bristle of my ever-nascent beard is incredibly rough and wirey. I tried electric razors, I tried disposables, I tried twin blades. I even considered giving up entirely and growing a beard, but that just itched even worse.

The least-bad option had turned out to be the Gillette Mach 2, and later the Mach 3. The M3Power helped a little, but not much—the vibro action helped get through the bristles without tugging on them, but that was all. The main plus of the Mach 2/3 was that at least it didn’t immediately clog up the way a Schick (Wilkinson-Sword) twin blade did; there was a good clean gap between the blades, without too much plastic in the way.

Then one day I found myself reading an article about old-style shaving. And by “old style”, I mean over a century old.


My attempt to look smart and professional today has been somewhat ruined by my missing a spot while shaving. There’s a stupid-looking patch of 2-day stubble right in the middle of my chin. I must have been really out of it this morning.


I cut myself really badly while shaving the other day. If anyone asks me, I’m going to say I got it in a hacker knife fight over whether vi or emacs is the better text editor.