The 3 razor shaving method revisited

Shower scene

Regular readers will remember this idea of using the best tool for the job on each shaving pass. Starting with a Merkur slant bar to remove the maximum amount of hair in the first pass, then a Edwin Jagger DE89L for a reducing second pass and finally a Weishi for a polishing and buffing third pass. This works really, really well because each razor is being used for its optimum purpose. You don’t put a tack into the wall with a slegehammer so why polish and buff with a slant bar?

The right tool for each job

On the forums some people have criticised this (on the forums everything is attacked, it is the nature of the beast), but one thing the critics all have in common is that they haven’t tried it. But one person who has is Leisureguy who wrote an article on his blog saying that the methodology worked for him (obviously with traditional shaving YMMV always applies).

So now I have used the method for a few weeks I thought I would list the advantages.

  • It is a lot faster. The slant bar really crops the stubble like crazy, but you don’t have to work hard at it because you know the DE89L is to follow. Likewise the DE89L doesn’t have that much work to do, just the problem areas like jawbone and goatee. When you get to the Weishi it is just a matter of how polished do you want to be. So you are not asking much of each pass, so they can be done much more quickly.
  • Much better shave. My wife noticed this. You can polish away with the Weishi XTG and ATG using some vigour, knowing it won’t bite.
  • Less nicks and cuts. Because you are using the best tool for each pass you don’t have to work the razors hard. Just relax, take it easy and let them do their job. So they just can’t bite.
  • Far less trauma. Razor burn, red patches, whatever. Once again because each razor has been used in its best mode as a stubble cutter they end up having far less impact on your skin.
  • More fun. It is great getting to use 3 different well engineered shaving tools one after the other. Adapting to the different weights, shaving angles, balance and handle lengths is all just part of the enjoyment. Going back to using just one razor (when I travel) is boring.

Then, in the interests of science, it was time to try a different 3 razor method combination using optimised blades as well as optimised razors. This time it was as follows:

  1. Mergress opened out to 5+ with a Feather New High-Stainless blade. Set like this the Mergress is very aggressive and the Feather is famous for being the sharpest of blades. As you can imagine this is a pretty effective stubble removal combination for the first pass.
  2. Eclipse Red Ring with an Iridium Super blade (now a very finite resource). The Red Ring never fails to impress, the whole head design has some special magic about it that goes far beyond mere blade exposure. Teamed with the Iridium it is a very effective reduction tool indeed and is super smooth at the same time.
  3. Wilkinson Sword Classic, the black Delrin razor, used here with a Personna Platinum blade. I have joked in the past that you cannot feel whether or not this has a blade in it, so mild is its functioning. This means, of course, that it just doesn’t bite and can be used to buff and polish with gay abandon. Not that there is much work left to do, such is the effectiveness of the two previous combinations.

Once again the 3 razor method shows its merit. A better shave, faster with less skin trauma. What more could you want?

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11 Comments


  1. You can accomplish the same thing with an adjustable razor (dial down for each subsequent pass). I use a Super Adjustable in this way.


  2. @jpkunst
    I agree that you can achieve a similar effect with an adjustable and I have done so myself many times.
    However there is far more to how a razor behaves and performs than just blade exposure. The three razor method is a step beyond using an adjustable because each razor is optimised for the job that you are asking it to do.


  3. I personally use a 2 razor system A DL89L for a three-pass. Then (don’t stone me) a Gillette ProGlide for buffing and touch-up. I find the single blade on back of the Gillette particularly great for under the nose and sideburn trims.


  4. Whoops…typo – should read DE89L…And the pivoting head of the Gillette is also great for hard to reach/”more nick prone” areas using a DE like under the ears down to the neck. Unlike some other “gentlemen,” I have no issues at all with cartridges. They do work great and fast – especially with a wet face prep and a good cream or soap. That said, I do like the results of a DE shave better.


  5. I’ve never met anyone who would prefer three razors to shave. Have you tried using three different brushes, one for each pass? Three different washcloths? three different sinks?


  6. Uh Rob, do you really think those items have as much of an impact on the shave as does the razor?


  7. Hmmm. I was going backwards then. I used my adjustable and dialed up, (more aggressive) on subsequent passes. I never thought about using 3 razors in a 3 pass shave before. I have a BIC that is very aggressive and a Feather “Popular” that is on the other end. Also, most of my Slim or Super Adjustables can be dialed down for a mild shave for the last pass. I do have a 2 blade disposable sitting on the shelf under the bathroom mirror, and when done if there is a whisker or 3 that I notice that did not get done, I merely whack it off with the Gillette 2-blade. Don’t even lather up at that point.


  8. Kenstee, my main problem with cartridge razors is the outrageous cost of the replacement blades. That’s what finally made me take up traditional shaving.

    Having said that, when you really haven’t got time for a traditional shave a good 3-blade like the Wilkinson Hydro gets rid of the stubble very quickly and very safely.


  9. Hello yet again Bruce, Regarding the cartridge razor I think that it gives a perfectly good shave for most people most of the time, hence the enourmous popularity of them. Because ultimately it matters not a jot the power of advertising, if the product doesn’t work then no amount of hype is going to make the product successful, you can only fool the public for so long (look at electric cars ) for example. I personally use them and have no complaints as they are safe, quick and dead easy to use.
    However there is always a trade of between price and convenience and in this instance how much will the public pay to save 15 minutes, that being the difference “cartridge” and “de” shaving?
    As regards using three methods to shave the different steps of the shave I have to agree with your method. I have discovered through trial and error that the best way for me to get a good shave is to break the passes down into completely different operations. It probably sounds stupid to some one else but my method is to 1) use an electric beard trimmer to get the longer hairs down to a reasonable level 2) a philips/braun electric razor to remove 70% of the remaing stubble and lastly a wet shave using either cartridge/de razors to finnish the job. This by the way is for a 2 day growth, sounds a lot but it works for me. However I now use the de razor for the last step in the process and will be using in the main in future as the price of a cartrdge is £3.00 for a Fusion system cartridge now, which is a bit rich for my blood, spilt shaving or metaphorically.
    Regards from David Hall.


  10. Hello Bruce in an effort to try various combinations for my latest test I’ve been using the Wilkinson Sword Classic with a Dorco blade. This blade is much reviled on the shaving forums. But as I had a 6 day growth I followed my usual method of electric beard trimmer first then Philips rotary to get rid of 80% of the remaing beard and then after a good prep. using the Dorco blade. Here is where I was very surprised to find that it gave as good a shave as an Astra. So I have discovered that as you state that whilst reading other peoples advice, there is nothing that beats trying it for yourself.
    Regards from David Hall.


  11. Hi Bruce,

    Great post! I just stumbled across your 3 Razor technique and coincidently I have been doing this for 1 week. You are 100% correct, this system works fantastically well. I am going to take your suggestion and try different blades with each razor. To those who say you can do it with an adjustable razor, possibly, but since I had about 5 different DE razors, and I didn’t want to spend more money on an adjustable, I decided to use what I had. An additional benefit is that now I feel I’m using my razors every day without having to wait to rotate them each week.

    Thanks,

    Dave

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