Thoughts on Aggressiveness

#1
In my limited time DE shaving I've spent way too much time hanging around forums and blogs soaking up what knowledge I can. One common theme seems to be that more aggression in a razor is a rite-of-passage for the developing shaver. There is a definite undercurrent of less aggressive being for noobs and the R41 (and Rockwell plate 6), etc. being only suitable for true pros, and this seems to egg-on people to rise through the "ranks" for no sensible reason.

I'll tell you now, I use a Rockwell on plate 2 and I really don't know if I will ever go past this. I shave every 24 hours so there is a short amount of growth to sheer off: What's the point in going more aggressive? I've tried plate 3, and the shave is no better on a day's growth - it's not more efficient, but it sure causes more pain as it removes plenty of skin unnecessarily.

This leaves my potential RAD in a bit of a conundrum, because logically most nice/fancy/hype razors are marketed to those who demand an aggressive razor. I appreciate many of these now come with an incomprehensible number of options for the blade gap, but what if you purchase one that's not right for you? You are still buying relatively blind other than the very helpful best efforts of others who own the razor already and can give you a yard-stick measure of comparison to the aggressiveness of something else you might have experience with.

Anybody know where I'm coming from with this? Am I just being a soft-lad?
 
#2
I'll tell you now, I use a Rockwell on plate 2 and I really don't know if I will ever go past this. I shave every 24 hours so there is a short amount of growth to sheer off: What's the point in going more aggressive? I've tried plate 3, and the shave is no better on a day's growth - it's not more efficient, but it sure causes more pain as it removes plenty of skin unnecessarily.
It sounds like you’ve answered your own question. If you’re happy with your routine and the shaves you’re getting, then why bother ramping up the aggression levels (some prefer the term ‘efficiency’) ? If you like shaving daily then you’ll never really need a monstrous blade gap, surely?

A certain American forum has a good comparison table of aggressiveness of DE razors which is a good resource, though it could do with updating and brands like iKon do not appear as I would be interested to know where my B1 Deluxe open comb sits on the chart. Also I know they’re a different beast but a similar chart for SE razors would be handy especially for those who’ve never used one and want to

https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/wiki/Modern_Double-Edged_Safety_Razors_Ranked_by_Aggressiveness
 
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#3
I remember reading on this forum that a Tech was as aggressive as anyone would ever need, as long as their technique was good. As a fairly new to DE shaver I decided that this was rubbish and went for more aggression, which was right for me at the time. I've recently been shaving again with a couple of razors (Tech, Vigshaving combo head) that I'd left at the back of the cupboard for several months because I'd found them too mild, and what do you know, I get a much better shave out of them now.

I still love my Rapira on a Monday morning (my face lies fallow over the weekend), but I couldn't use it all week. I believe that it's true that aggressive razors are a rite of passage, just not for the reasons that the claimants think.
 
#4
You’re not being soft at all. There seems to be a real “take it up to 11” undercurrent a lot of the time here.

I shave on average 6 days out of 7 due to work and would really struggle with a very aggressive razor.

I recently picked up a Muhle Rocca and find it much more aggressive than my usual 6S (on 2 or 4) not sure how often I’ll use it?
 
#6
This leaves my potential RAD in a bit of a conundrum, because logically most nice/fancy/hype razors are marketed to those who demand an aggressive razor. I appreciate many of these now come with an incomprehensible number of options for the blade gap, but what if you purchase one that's not right for you? You are still buying relatively blind other than the very helpful best efforts of others who own the razor already and can give you a yard-stick measure of comparison to the aggressiveness of something else you might have experience with.
I have been DE shaving for 2+ years. Don't fight the RAD thing. Accept that you'll go through it. I got up to about 10 razors, and am now down to 4. Of these 4, there are two that cover 95% of my current usage. While I maxed at owning 10 at the one time, I have probably owned about 15 in total.

The process of accumulating, using and selling these razors was not a waste of time. Whilst your question focuses on agressiveness, the experience I have had using many different razors improved my shaving, allowed me to work out what suited me, and was a necessary part of getting to where I am now.

Not least, a period of RAD was a lot of fun. I certainly "lost" money on the net buy/sell figure, but not an outrageous amount, and certainly worth it for the experience and the outcome.

And all that said, whilst I use a Gem 1912 style blade now most of the time, I still have my eye on a Rockwell 6S at some stage!
 
#8
In my limited time DE shaving I've spent way too much time hanging around forums and blogs soaking up what knowledge I can. One common theme seems to be that more aggression in a razor is a rite-of-passage for the developing shaver. There is a definite undercurrent of less aggressive being for noobs and the R41 (and Rockwell plate 6), etc. being only suitable for true pros, and this seems to egg-on people to rise through the "ranks" for no sensible reason.

I'll tell you now, I use a Rockwell on plate 2 and I really don't know if I will ever go past this. I shave every 24 hours so there is a short amount of growth to sheer off: What's the point in going more aggressive? I've tried plate 3, and the shave is no better on a day's growth - it's not more efficient, but it sure causes more pain as it removes plenty of skin unnecessarily.

This leaves my potential RAD in a bit of a conundrum, because logically most nice/fancy/hype razors are marketed to those who demand an aggressive razor. I appreciate many of these now come with an incomprehensible number of options for the blade gap, but what if you purchase one that's not right for you? You are still buying relatively blind other than the very helpful best efforts of others who own the razor already and can give you a yard-stick measure of comparison to the aggressiveness of something else you might have experience with.

Anybody know where I'm coming from with this? Am I just being a soft-lad?
Completely agree with you. I went through an aggressive razor phase and then discovered that actually I could get just as good a shave with a Tech if my technique was good but it was much more comfortable. Now I prefer mild razors, the Tech being one of my favourites.

There are plenty of rad-worthy razors that aren’t face-shredders though, the PILS and AS-D2 being two with a loyal fan base.
 
#9
In my limited time DE shaving I've spent way too much time hanging around forums and blogs soaking up what knowledge I can. One common theme seems to be that more aggression in a razor is a rite-of-passage for the developing shaver. There is a definite undercurrent of less aggressive being for noobs and the R41 (and Rockwell plate 6), etc. being only suitable for true pros, and this seems to egg-on people to rise through the "ranks" for no sensible reason.

I'll tell you now, I use a Rockwell on plate 2 and I really don't know if I will ever go past this. I shave every 24 hours so there is a short amount of growth to sheer off: What's the point in going more aggressive? I've tried plate 3, and the shave is no better on a day's growth - it's not more efficient, but it sure causes more pain as it removes plenty of skin unnecessarily.

This leaves my potential RAD in a bit of a conundrum, because logically most nice/fancy/hype razors are marketed to those who demand an aggressive razor. I appreciate many of these now come with an incomprehensible number of options for the blade gap, but what if you purchase one that's not right for you? You are still buying relatively blind other than the very helpful best efforts of others who own the razor already and can give you a yard-stick measure of comparison to the aggressiveness of something else you might have experience with.

Anybody know where I'm coming from with this? Am I just being a soft-lad?


"Following the crowd" will always lead to trouble. It's your face that you should concern yourself with, find what's comfortable and efficient for you and forget about those fellas who feel the need to prop up their manliness with a not-so-safe razor. It's just shaving.
 
#10
Why do we always get members split into two groups on here,

1. Those who believe it is worth trying an aggressive razor "because it might give you a better shave"

2. Those who will tell you a Tech gives the same shave (true)... but follow it up with "some razors are just too aggressive to use everyday."

If the cap is on your face with the blade touching your skin, it makes not one jot of difference to the quality of shave how wide the gap is. The gap is not on your face. The gap does not shave your hair.

It's true that poor technique may cause more damage with a razor sporting a bigger gap. It's true that the tech may forgive small errors in technique, although you can still cut yourself. But neither will give you a better shave. And with good technique neither will be the cause of a poor shave.
 
#11
Why do we always get members split into two groups on here,

1. Those who believe it is worth trying an aggressive razor "because it might give you a better shave"

2. Those who will tell you a Tech gives the same shave (true)... but follow it up with "some razors are just too aggressive to use everyday."

If the cap is on your face with the blade touching your skin, it makes not one jot of difference to the quality of shave how wide the gap is. The gap is not on your face. The gap does not shave your hair.

It's true that poor technique may cause more damage with a razor sporting a bigger gap. It's true that the tech may forgive small errors in technique, although you can still cut yourself. But neither will give you a better shave. And with good technique neither will be the cause of a poor shave.
The idea that how aggressive a razor is is just down to blade gap is a total fallacy.
 
#12
The idea that how aggressive a razor is is just down to blade gap is a total fallacy.
It doesn't matter. I understand your point that other factors are in play but I don't care about them. They still won't make any difference to the shave.

If you have the blade lightly against the skin, so as not to cause irritation, it makes no difference what razor you use. Some may feel better to you than others, but won't change how closely they shave. A blade on the skin is a blade on the skin.

Honestly, at that point maybe even the type of blade might make more difference. And we all know my feelings on "bad" blades.
 
#13
Compared to many I am a relative nubie to this 'real razor' shaving and to be honest I don't quite understand this need/curiosity to go further than is necessary. If you feel confident about what is being achieved and you are happy with the results then why push barriers? If being cut to ribbons and wearing battle scars is your forte then go for it. Be a hard fucker. Otherwise stick with what you makes you feel good. There is no need to explore discomfort.

I have a Timeless 0.95 which by my reckoning has a huge blade gap and an Ikon SB which exposes more blade than I care to think of. However I consider that now that I have honed my techniques and worked on the preparation both deliver wonderful satisfactory shaves with wonderful results. To the same extent I have ripped my face to shreds using lesser. To me there is a lot to be said for manufacturing quality and engineering here, but more important know your limits.

It is not about being a soft lad but more about being a cleanly shaven confidence inspiring lad. You ain't going to impress anyone looking as if you have just gone 7 rounds with Anthony Joshua, least of all yourself.
 
#18
I have gone back and forth between "mild" and "aggressive" razors. Part of it was a lot of growth with my technique, and regularly shaving with either can get you there.

For me, trying new razors has been fun, while also being informative. At the end of the day, everyone will have different preferences.

But I think if most shavers were being honest, they'd like to have the closest possible shave that remains comfortable. Not that anyone really talks about comfort. As a guy with sensitive skin and a susceptibility to ingrown hairs, I found fewer passes increased my comfort.

After improving my technique, I have enjoyed more "aggressive" razors because the shave lasts longer, and it doesn't hurt that the wife and daughter like that too.

For me, the Gillette Old Type, 2013 R41, Ikon Deluxe, GC 84 base plate, and ATT Windsor H provide near optimal comfort, while still being very efficient.

Some others, like the PAA BOCS, German 37, and Dart were less comfortable and left me with mystery nicks I didn't know about until after the pass.

And, while I've been evaluating which razors have a future on a BST, I still plan on keeping some "milder" razors like the Baby Smooth and Merkur 45.

RAD is funny because you never know which razors you'll really enjoy until you shave with it. But if you can avoid it, especially having found a razor you love early on, your wallet will thank you.

Happy shaves!
 
#19
I have gone back and forth between "mild" and "aggressive" razors. Part of it was a lot of growth with my technique, and regularly shaving with either can get you there.

For me, trying new razors has been fun, while also being informative. At the end of the day, everyone will have different preferences.

But I think if most shavers were being honest, they'd like to have the closest possible shave that remains comfortable. Not that anyone really talks about comfort. As a guy with sensitive skin and a susceptibility to ingrown hairs, I found fewer passes increased my comfort.

After improving my technique, I have enjoyed more "aggressive" razors because the shave lasts longer, and it doesn't hurt that the wife and daughter like that too.

For me, the Gillette Old Type, 2013 R41, Ikon Deluxe, GC 84 base plate, and ATT Windsor H provide near optimal comfort, while still being very efficient.

Some others, like the PAA BOCS, German 37, and Dart were less comfortable and left me with mystery nicks I didn't know about until after the pass.

And, while I've been evaluating which razors have a future on a BST, I still plan on keeping some "milder" razors like the Baby Smooth and Merkur 45.

RAD is funny because you never know which razors you'll really enjoy until you shave with it. But if you can avoid it, especially having found a razor you love early on, your wallet will thank you.

Happy shaves!
The first two paragraphs here make a lot of sense. Growth of technique makes the difference, and yes, it is worth trying different razors to discover your preferences. I have about 10 and 3 straights atm.

Then it descends into the same phrases we hear all the time...

"The shave from an aggressive razor lasts longer" (Untrue - how is this possible?)

Some aren't comfortable because they cause nicks" (How would they do that? Unless you're using them badly)

"I'll keep some milder razors for a change (but they don't shave as well)"

This is all wrong. This is all about technique. Notice that the Dart (said to be pretty aggressive) gives mystery nicks - in other words my technique with it is poor and it punishes me for it. Raise the handle, keep the blade flat, and it should shave well. If you can do it with no guard with a straight you can do it with a blade in a handle.

And then in the last paragraph it's back to mentioning enjoyment. Now, that really does change razor to razor
 
#20
It seems to me:
1. Blade gap does matter. That's the whole point of an adjustable razor - it adjusts the blade gap. However, as said, there are plenty of other factors at play here as well.
2. The idea that everything is technique may be theoretically true but it may not help in practise. Shavers just don't have perfect techniques. And even shavers with good techniques make mistakes, because skin isn't flat and it has various blemishes depending on the person and the day. There was a reason for the introduction of the "safety" razor - to keep people safe.

I really don't think shaving is a process that responds to absolutes. There are a large number of variables and you juggle them to get the best result you can. And even then, as said, you make mistakes.
 
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