The fine art of hair removal

Over the years I have cultivated a love/hate relationship with shaving.  I love the feeling of my own freshly shaven legs, but I hate the physical act of shaving.  It is a dangerous, labor intensive and time consuming process that I would absolutely forgo if it were not for the results.  Unfortunately, it is much cheaper and (in my experience) more effective than waxing or depilatory creams.

I’m a shower shaver.  This means that I regularly balance precariously on one leg atop a slick, smooth, wet surface whilst dragging a piece of metal designed to slice open solid objects over my exposed skin.   All this to be smooth and hair-free, which I like too much to sacrifice for the sake of safety. In this case, the ends do in fact justify the means.

I was quite happy with my old razor, the Schick Quattro® for Women™, which I used for several months. The blade cartridge was just the right size to cover a large area while still fitting the delicate contours of a knee or an ankle.  Four blades ensured that all the stray hairs were caught and removed.  The handle had some weight to it, so it was easy to control.  It came with a subtle holder which suction-cupped to the shower wall.  It was pink.

The trouble comes when it’s time to replace the cartridges.  It’s almost more cost effective to purchase a brand new razor than replacement blades. Usually I just bite the bullet and buy the cartridges, since the store I frequent is usually out of the razor itself.  However, last time I found myself in a bit of a pickle: neither the razor nor the replacement blades were in stock.  Believing that one should regularly change the blade on one’s razor in order to avoid cuts and nicks (which I get in abundance if I use a blade one day too many), and not feeling like driving to another store, I made an impulse purchase and bought a completely new razor.

The Gillette Venus® Embrace™: I bought it because I had used a Venus a few years ago before before I bought the Quattro.  At the time it was state-of-the art razor technology with three blades, the most of any woman’s razor.  Now, the latest evolution boasts a whopping five blades surrounded by a “protective ribbon of moisture” and a soft gel handle.  It sounded like a winner to me.

After a few weeks of use I can say with some certainty that I do not particularly like this razor.  There are several issues that I feel must be addressed by the designer.

First of all, while the soft gel handle is quite comfortable to hold, the handle itself has no weight, making the razor very light and difficult to control, causing me to drop it several times.

Secondly, the cartridge, lined with its many more moisture strips, is far too large and consequently has no maneuverability.

Finally, and most importantly, is the notion of five blades.  More blades does not necessarily equal a closer shave.  In fact, rather than widening the area of the blades (instead of the area of the moisture strip) the designers seem to have simply tried to fit five blades into the space where four used to be.  The result is blades that are far too close together to be effective.  I have had to reshave my legs almost every time because this razor did not do a good enough job.

All in all, the Embrace has been quite a disappointment.  Even the bulky “Shower Pod,” which provides a safe place for the razor to hang from its position on the shower wall, wasn’t of terribly high quality, and in fear that the suction cups would not hold I moved it lower on the wall.

Fortunately, I held on to the Quattro in hopes that I will eventually find some replacement cartridges.  When that day comes, the Embrace is going into the emergency travel bag.

What about you, gentle readers?  Do you shave something?  (Let’s not get too specific here, folks.)  Or do you prefer the untamed Samsquantch look? If you prefer the hairless look, how do you go about it?


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. that girl
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 10:23:06

    I almost felt voyeuristic reading your post. Dare I comment?

    The hubby and my friends think I’m strange for shaving my legs in the winter, as though it were a waste of time. I don’t know about you, but I have to do it or I feel itchy. Anyway, I don’t know the name of my razor but it appears to be archaic with it’s two-blade cartridge.


  2. Molly
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 11:00:03

    I can totally relate to this post! I HATE buying razor blades. In the last few years the drugstore shaving aisle has exploded with new razors and blades with fancy car names, and shopping for one intimidates me, so I mostly don’t bother shaving my legs. Also I’m lazy, so it works out.

    Anyone remember the early SNL spoof on the 3-bladed razor:



  3. curlywurlygurly
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 11:16:11

    i’m always SHOCKED by the prices of razors when i shop at costco. actually, the razors aren’t expensive–it’s the BLADES. ugh. $30 for cartridges? hello, insanity?

    i recently cheaped out on my newest razors and barely lived to tell the tale. blood was running down my legs like rivers-and stinging all the while. never again. bic solei, i HATE you even though you are orange and pretty.


  4. Joy
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 11:39:08

    Aaawwww….a post I can totally relate to. I shave for ME. Nobody else. There is nothing like nice soft smooth skin to me. I shave every time I bathe or shower. Winter, spring, summer or fall. I have totally gone by the “women’s” razors and buy mens. I use the Gillette Fusion. Mostly for the reasons you mentioned. Women’s try to be “light” and “moisturizing” and blady, blah, blah, blah!!!! I never drop it and the blades are very easy to change. Yes, the price is NUTS! I buy mine in a large quantity, usually at a wholesale club where I’ll get a dozen or so 6 packs.

    I shave many “spots” so you can take a guess but I spend half my 20 minute shower shaving. I know a lot of women who don’t and that’s fine for them. I don’t really care who shaves what but for me, there is nothing like that feeling to me of everything smooth.

    Great topic Megan.


  5. Mike
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 12:34:08

    i never got the point of 5 blades on man shavers either
    that’s is well beyond the point of no return on needed number of blades


  6. Doraz
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 14:04:22

    I have to admit that in the winter I get lazy with shaving! IF I have a pedicure appointment where I know they will be massaging my legs, I would be sooo embarassed if they were hairy…so, I shave! I also like mens razors. Only problem I have is, I “kill” my skin and bleed really bad! I get in A HURRY! Thanks for stopping and commenting on my blog! Appreciate it!


  7. mylesfromnowhere
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 22:25:27

    I am of the new generation of well groomed men (down there) and what a pain in the groin… I look forward to times when I am single just so I can let it go


  8. jonsquared
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 00:12:00

    i shave for the sole purpose of (possibly) getting carded at bars…


  9. megan
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 00:23:29

    that girl: A little voyeurism never hurt anyone.

    Molly: I had never seen that SNL sketch. Who would have thought it would be so prophetic?

    CWG: The price of blades is like the price of gas – when you really need to buy them, you wish you had done so a week earlier when they cost less.

    Joy: I shave for myself, too, mostly to save myself embarrassment if I wear a skirt or if there is the slightest chance of a boy touching my leg.

    Mike: I like that – beyond the point of no return.

    Doraz: I’m a bleeder, too.

    mylesfromnowhere: Yeah, that kind of falls into a level of specificity I didn’t really need. Glad you’re thinking of the ladies, though.

    Jon: Does it work?


  10. jonsquared
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 14:43:33

    Not really, cause regardless of how many times I offer, they don’t want to look at my shaved legs…


  11. megan
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 15:10:56

    Jon: Awwww… I’d look at them. Seriously, though, that’s really funny.


  12. Megan
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 15:35:56

    I have to cop to buying whichever razor is the cheapest (in packs) at Target! But I totally relate to the plights of shaving.

    And this post had me LOLing — “I’m a shower shaver. This means that I regularly balance precariously on one leg atop a slick, smooth, wet surface whilst dragging a piece of metal designed to slice open solid objects over my exposed skin.”

    I’ll never look at my morning shower shaving the same way again. Why, it’s downright dangerous! And I’ll yell all of that at the boyfriend the next time he has something snarky to say about the state of my legs. 🙂 Thank you, Megan!


  13. megan
    Feb 04, 2009 @ 22:12:28

    Megan 2: So glad I was able to make you laugh! You be sure to tell your man how it is. If he doesn’t like it, you let me know.


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