Becoming Un-Gorilla – Finding the best razor for body shaving

SONY DSCA hairy man’s transformation into a smooth modern man.
By Jeffrey the Barak

I was born in 1957, which means I was in my teens to thirties in an era when hairy men were considered normal and even sexy. But these are smooth times, and the social norm for attractiveness no longer includes a built in fur coat.

The first time I did something about it, I made my chest hair shorter with clippers, and the resulting short sharp curly hair made my life a misery. I repeated the same mistake three times.

On the third time, whilst pulling my tee-shirt out in agony, I ran for a waxing salon for some relief, and promptly experienced intensely painful chest waxing, then got infected. Folliculitis. More agony, which only cleared up with anti-biotics.

Then I suffered through the regrowth and stayed hairy again, until one day I realized I was gray and hairy, and I felt too young to be the Old Silverback Gorilla.

So began my commitment to staying shaved.

First I tried electric hair clippers, but my short stubble is as thick as cable and I felt like a porcupine. So I tried a rotary (Philips-Norelco) shaver. It worked, for a day or two at a time, but it took a very long time to get the whole body to be hair-free, and the soft skin areas of the body were very sensitive to all that electric hacking.

So then it was a (Braun) foil shaver. Those are quite good for facial beards, but next to useless on the body, as they pass right over softer longer hairs without cutting them at all.

So into the shower I ventured and there I remain. Wet shaving a body is much faster and easier than using anything electric.

My first razor for this almost daily job was the Schick (Wilkinson Sword) Quattro, and I have to say it did a good job. The best thing about a Quattro is it is almost completely impossible to nick the skin with it, no matter where you shave.

The worst thing about the Quattro is that the big fat heavy handle won’t stay inside a Razorba, which is a long bent plastic handle designed to help you shave your back without help.

So one day, a year into the era of the Gillette Fusion, I picked up a Gillette Mach 3. This is the most acclaimed razor ever, and still the market leader, despite Gillette’s attempts to evolve further, driven by their expired patent and the threat of generic blades taking over their market.

Like the Quattro, the Mach 3 makes it very hard for one to draw blood. The cartridge itself keeps the lethal steel from digging in. Back in the Gillette G2/Sensor/Atra twin-blade days, the cartridge did not offer such protection and I remember those old Sensor Excels cut me just as easily as a twin edged safety razor (which I happily use from time to time on my face if I feel like a slow, careful, traditional shave that contributes no plastic to a landfill and requires no store clerk to unlock a security case to release the shoplifter’s favorite pricy booty).

But the truth is obvious. The single, traditional, economical, environmentally friendly, razor blade does not and can not shave as closely or as safely as a complicated, expensive, plastic and steel, modern cartridge head from Gillette or Schick.

The Mach 3 shaved my face slightly better then the Quattro, but it shaved my body many times better. I think the blades in the Quattro are too close together for effective body shaving, and the Mach 3 took away absolutely all the hair in one pass, whereas the Quattro always left something behind and got jammed up with stiff curly body hair that stayed between the blades even when rinsed under a large bath faucet.

For this reason, I won’t even be trying the new Gillette Fusion, because that has five little blades that are so close together, it makes the Mach 3 look like Venetian blinds.

And I also won’t be buying any vibrating razors, as a steady hand is the goal, and since Gillette is the same company as Duracell, and Schick is the same company as Energizer, it’s obviously just a way to sell batteries and more new razor handles. Gillette already got into legal trouble for false advertising claims regarding what a vibrating razor can actually do.

Gillette says their Fusion razor was tested on 9,000 men, who compared it to the Mach 3 and the Schick Quattro. They apparently preferred Fusion by a 2-to-1 margin, but that was for beard and moustache hair, not chest and genital hair.

But wait a minute. I have been overlooking the obvious. The Mach 3 is a facial razor, and I’m shaving my gorilla body. The ladies version is the Gillette Venus. The same three blades, but with more rubber fins to stretch the skin and set into a nice oval chassis, designed to protect those beautiful female legs.

So time to hit the shower and pop one of my wife’s Gillette Venus cartridges onto my Mach 3 handle. (All Mach 3, Mach 3 Turbo, M3 Power, Venus and Vibrance cartridges etc. fit each other’s handles)

So now it’s between Mach 3 and Venus. The ultimate anti-Gorilla test. Not a hair shall remain from sideburns to toes. (Yes it does include all those places, I said not a hair).

My left side, including half a chest, a shoulder, half a back, an arm, a hand, half a tummy, a testicle, half a penis, a hip, one side of an anus, a leg and a foot will be the Venus test bed, and the right side gets the Mach 3 treatment.

Now anyone who is awake should realize that all of the weak foams and toxic chemical gels that we are supposed to buy in aerosol cans are clearly terrible for shaving. And similarly, the so-called lubricating strips glued to all of these modern cartridge razors are an obvious scam as well.

So I lather up (a section at a time) with a good shaving brush and some amber glycerin shave soap, and out come the razors.

As with any shave, to avoid irritation, I do not repeatedly go over any area that I’ve already scraped the lather from. And I do not press the cartridge into the skin. Just a quick light shave once over everywhere in one direction.

And the winner is: Mach 3

Why? Well the Venus did seem better than the Mach 3 in concave areas such as armpits, belly button etc. but otherwise, the larger head was unwieldy, the rubber fins did not improve the shave and overall, the Venus side of the chest exhibited more post-shave redness than the Mach 3 side of the chest.

So guys, if you are a Gorilla like me, and you want to pretend to be human like those male models, you know what to do. Here is a shopping list:

  • One Gillette Mach 3 or Venus razor and some genuine Mach 3 cartridges from a reputable source (fakes are common and are they are quite terrible).
  • A high quality cake of shaving soap.
  • The best shaving brush you can afford, (It will last as long as you live).
  • A shaving mug (the green Marvy rubber mug is safest for slippery hands and tiled floors, but any mug will do).
  • And a Razorba handle for your unreachable back areas. (surprised these never sold in the millions!).

Then enjoy a smooth life and marvel at how quickly you can get dry after a shower, with only one towel!

Disclosure: I’m not affiliated with Gillette or Razorba. I’m just a hairy bastard, er, I mean gorilla.

Jeffrey the Barak is the publisher of the-vu

7 Comments

  1. Thank you! I’m going to buy the Mach3 right now, since I’ve had hell to pay using my commercial razors, damn. If I may ask you, what do you think about the Nivea Active3 shampoo for men?

  2. Any shampoo that is also a body wash will probably contain detergents that are too harsh for optimum hair care. Men’s products in particular are usually marketed to cave-men who know nothing about hair, skin and proper self-care. Aerosol shave products are pretty caustic also and one step away from being Napalm.

  3. Ask any trained barber. You must shave with the grain to avoid causing irritation. After two passes, you can take the third pass across the grain, with the minimum of pressure applied onto the skin but against the grain will cause irritation. Yes, against the grain can cut the hair shorter, but it’s not worth it for an hour’s hair growth length difference.

  4. Thank you for testing the Venus on the Mach 3 handle. Strangely, Gillette sells the cartridges and disposables in my country but not the handles. Weird. I know.

    -S

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