Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 4 out of 5
Yeah, but: Safety razors are back, but did they ever really go away?
The Long Version: Rick Harrison from the reality TV show 'Pawn Stars' has been pushing this model in commercials, which is what first piqued my interest. While my father was missing somewhere in Laos during the 1960s I used to dig around in his belongings fairly often, and playing with his razors was always the most fun--and I looked forward to shaving with them someday. The clamshell doors operated by a twisting knob on the end of the handle? Kid magnet!
Unfortunately my mom started me off with BIC disposables, and by the time I thought about it again dad's razors were gone.
So the design held a definite fascination for me, but not for the rest of the world because cheap plastic razors took over the market and the safety razor disappeared. Then one blade became two, three, etc. My most recent shaving tool had 4 blades, plus a fifth pointed in the other direction for "precise detail work around the edges".
And it vibrated (= Ate batteries).
And the blade cartridges cost about $5 each, but you had to buy at least 4 at a time.
In my opinion, it was a completely out of control situation and I was more than ready for a change--which is when I saw my first TV commercial for the MicroTouch ONE.
At first I started looking for vintage models at antique stores.
My mental pricepoint was $10, but most that I found went from $15 up and were in poor condition.
Then I tried the upscale shaving store at the mall, but they had sold out completely during the Christmas season and theirs started at $70 and included a brush for mixing and applying your old school shaving soap which I'm pretty sure I don't need.
Very nice pieces by far, but I was trying to save some money not find a new hobby.
Apparently I mentioned all this to my cousin and his wife while they were in town and the wife remembered, because within a week or two she had shipped me a nice new MicroTouch ONE they'd found at their grocery store in the "As Seen On TV" section.
The stand was a little wonky, but it was a quick job to pad the jaws of a small vise and twist it true.
Chrome plated brass, which as I recall is just how they used to be made.
Size and proportions are as before, too.
The instructions scared me a bit, recommending a warm towel to soften the beard and several other tips to avoid cutting yourself, but I guess it was only so much CYA lawyer-speak because it's just like using any other razor. Clean shave, no blood.
(As an aside, 15 blades might give you a closer shave, but after an hour the stubble is already coming back anyway, and super-close shaves invite the possibility of ingrown hairs, which suck).
Mainly I'm attracted by the solid heft of a metal razor, the way it looks and feels like something a real man would own. A cool "guy" device, you know?
Also the fact that it cleans up completely with none of the gunk that ends up stuck between blades 3 and 4 of my old rig. Open it up and rinse.
When you close it up all the way, the blade gets bent into a gentle curve that matches the profile of the doors, so you know these blades are paper thin. Staying sharp so far.
With a dozen double blades included, I should be good for a year at least.
I've already found a local source for replacements at a good price, and you can order them from MicroTouch, too.
At around $20 plus shipping I was employing delay tactics when it came to pulling the trigger on this razor, but I'm also sure that it would've happened sooner rather than later. Now I'm really enjoying what used to be my least favorite morning chore for the first time in my life. It just feels right.
And Rick Harrison is correct when he says in the commercials that you don't need all those extra blades.
Current disposable razors are a huge rip-off, and I'm done with them.
Obviously I like this razor on it's own merits. The nostalgia angle is pure bonus.
Hopefully this isn't just a fad, and more safety razors hit the market. The higher-end ones I've seen were very finely made and impressive, but it would be nice to see more on the lower end of the price scale to help increase familiarity and thus demand.
1: My local grocery store just started carrying these razors and the packaging is identical to what I have. The original mail-order version comes with a carrying case that has an internal mirror, which may or may not make up for the price difference between sales tax and shipping charges.
2: The double-edge blades which to my eye are identical in design and execution to those from decades ago are turning up at more retail locations lately, even sporting store-brand names which is a good sign that the marketplace is committed to this product line. I looked hard for them mere months ago, and now they are popping up like weeds. $2 for ten blades that have 2 edges.
3: Cost VS Multi-Blade Cartridges:
I shave somewhere around 23 times per month but it's all cheeks and neck because I've had a goatee and mustache for decades.
Starting anew with this safety razor, I pushed the first blade to it's limit. After 6 weeks I finally gave up and installed a 2nd blade, which astounded me with the improvement in smooth clean cutting. Gradual degradation just isn't as alarming as a sudden battery failure.
Lesson learned, replace more often, but how much?
I was pushing a $4 cartridge to last a month before, and now I'm thinking a new blade every other week at 20 cents each will do a MUCH better job.
So...10% of what I was spending after the initial investment.
And shaving cream/gel remains the same OR you can now afford to upgrade.
last updated 18 apr 2014