Pain is just weakness leaving your body
May 27, 2005
I have a love-hate relationship with Feather Platinum DE blades. They’re far and away the sharpest, most smooth-cutting DE blades I’ve come across, but damned if they don’t beat the hell out of my neck and underchin. A Feather-loaded razor shaves my face so closely and smoothly I find myself fondling my own face during the day because I can’t believe how smooth it is. But for some reason, the Feather blades beat my neck like a rented mule. I shave with one for a few days, then I say to hell with it, nothing is worth the beating my neck is taking, and then a month later I’m back on the Feather again. As I said, it’s not a healthy relationship.
So this morning I took some advice from Gordon of Wetshavers fame, and turned down the blade exposure setting on my old Gillette adjustable DE from 7 to 4. I usually shave with it it on 7 with Merkur or Personna blades, but with the Feather blades, the Gillette is a little too fierce for my skin, especially my neck and right under my chin. So I dialed it back a few notches and tried shaving that way.
Ah-ha! Much better shave overall, and with far less irritation on my neck to boot. You think a less aggressive setting is going to shave like crap, yet it almost always shaves better than the highest settings. I think a lower setting forces you to shave at the proper blade angle relative to the plane of the surface of your skin, while the higher settings let you scrape too much for your skin’s good. My problem is, I know this lesson well — learned it right off the bat — but I keep forgetting. Also, I’m a tweaker, so I play with different settings, to see if anything interesting happens. That’s really stupid when it comes to shaving with a DE. I need to stop doing it. But I never will.
I can’t believe how many guys, especially the young excitable Nascar/NRA types on the shaving forums, think that the more aggressive the razor setting, the better — call it the Nigel Tufnel syndrome. After all, if God and Gillette put a top setting of 9 on the old razors, why not go for broke, master your thirst, yee haw, etc.? Weeeell, because it irritates most guys’ necks so bad they wind up with sore necks dotted with red splotches and shave bumps, that’s why. And then the poor schlubs scurry to the forums with cries for help, asking what magic aftershave poltices will relieve the redness and shave bumps, when all they really need to do is take their razors down a few clicks.
Hey, I know, it doesn’t feel cool to shave at the lower settings. It’s like driving a car in second gear — what fun is that? I’m reminded of that Marines recruiting poster that shows a physically spent kid in boot camp at the peak of human suffering with the caption “Pain is just weakness leaving your body”. Bravo! Pure imbecilia!
What was I talking about? Shaving. Dial it down, boys. You have nothing to lose but the red on your necks.