Highway to the Bikini Zone
I was going to do an entry strictly reviewing the Lady Gillette’s performance for leg shaving. The thing is, there’s just not that much to say. It’s fabulous. The little bit of extra length makes a huge difference and the shave is milder. The Merkur and Edwin Jagger resulted in crazy close shaves but one small error in the angle and I would nick myself. They’re like tough guy bros, ready for a fight and full of bottled up energy. The LG has a less aggressive bite to it, like Mr Sensitive tell-me-your-feelings guy.
Now, I’m no expert, but I do know the gap between blade and housing makes a difference when it comes to razor aggressiveness. One of the first things I noticed about the LG is that the gap is quite small, significantly smaller than the Merkur and Edwin Jagger. It also has a more even distribution of weight, rather than being head-heavy like the other two.
Now this is the part where the entry may get a little blue. There’s one job I haven’t trusted to the tough-guy bro shavers, but I felt Mr Sensitive could handle. That’s right, I took a trip to the downtown lounge. Not a place I want to take a blood-thirsty blade. I want a shaver that knows how to stay out of trouble. This is actually a big question that most female shavers will ponder once they switch to DE safety razors. Is it safe? How do you do it?
I’m going to put a cut tag here and put the rest of my review beyond the click. I trust you to follow your personal sensitivities and decide whether or not to continue. Let’s take the highway to the danger zone. Right into the danger zone.
I mentioned in a previous entry that leg shaving is easier than face shaving, which of course I know only by observation. Faces grow tougher hair from more sensitive skin. Direction of growth can vary, which means in one area you’re shaving with the grain (WTG) and a millimeter later you’re shaving against the grain (ATG). Not something that typically happens with legs.
But the danger zone doesn’t abide by the same rules as legs. The direction of growth changes depending on the area, and there are lots of folds, lots of hills and valleys. Additionally, it’s pretty difficult to get your face down there for a closeup look, unless you’re a yoga master or your spine is extra-articulated. If you’re going to fly into the danger zone, you’re going to need a competent pilot who knows how to navigate the dangers.
And as an aside, I don’t want to get into a whole thing about whether or not women should shave the danger zone. It’s optional, of course, and not everyone likes it. And among those who like it, opinions can vary. Some people like a bit of wilderness, some people like to clear cut. It’s up to you. It’s purely a personal choice.
Okay so we’re heading into the danger zone. Which pilot do we want to take with us?
Merkur and Edwin Jagger are like Iceman. They’re aggressive, in your face, and very good at what they do. They’re not subtle and they’re not interested in doing your job for you. You want to shear away the hair surrounding your most sensitive parts, you’d better get a grip and stay out of their way. Oh, you got nicked? Too bad, you should have known what you were getting into.
Iceman isn’t invited to my danger zone.
Lady Gillette is like Goose. Gentler, supportive, understanding, level-headed. A milder shave means a little more freedom to navigate the complexities of the danger zone without worrying about starting an off-season blood bath.
Here’s the nitty gritty of it: Any DE razor is going to have a larger and blockier head than your typical modern cartridge razor, particularly if you use popular women’s brands like the Venus. The Venus is going to feel like it can fit in and around the folds easier. On the other hand, the fixed blade angle of the Venus means it’s going to treat the softer and tougher hairs the same, and it’s not going to allow you to adjust when your WTG stroke suddenly becomes ATG. The DE razor yields better control. So it’s kind of a trade. You have a blockier head, which feels less maneuverable, but you have greater control in the cutting angle in highly variable terrain.
Additionally, I felt like I could follow up sooner to clean up the new-growth stubble. When I shave with the Venus I feel like i need to let the stubble grow in a bit before I can trust it to shear it back down again. It makes for an itchy and uncomfortable in-between period. With the LG I felt like I could follow up the next day, and thanks to the ability to control the angle of the blade I could shave down the stubble to smooth skin much easier.
Now this is the one part I regret. I shave my legs at the sink, but the danger zone kind of demands shower shaving. This is new territory, and I didn’t think I could pull off lathering in a rainy environment. I decided I could just lather up with my regular old shower gel. Perhaps not my best instinct. I definitely set myself up for razor burn there. I came out of my first DE danger zone shave feeling a bit butchered. I hadn’t prepped the area properly, and I found the bulkiness of the razor head somewhat difficult to adapt to. I followed up with the Venus to get any areas I missed. But here’s the important part: I didn’t nick myself once. All of my worries that I would shed blood were put to rest. I still don’t think I’ll ever invite Iceman to fly that mountain range, but Goose will be invited back again soon.
Okay, so that’s it. Bottom line: yes it is possible to take the highway to the danger zone with a DE safety razor. You just have to choose the right pilot.