Beyond the pink daisy shaver...
November 2, 2007 9:25 PM   Subscribe

I need a razor that won't get clogged with hair.

I've combed (har har) through all the Ask Metafilter questions about razors, shaving, etc, but did not find the answers I seek.

I'm a female who lets my body hair grow longer than most do. The reason for this is, if it matters, is because my body hair (legs, underarms, etc) is not only fairly coarse, but also grows quickly. To keep things smooth would require a campaign of daily shaving sessions which I do not have the energy for.

When I do shave, which happens anywhere from 1-5 times per month, I find most disposable razors get clogged from hair fairly quickly and the hair doesn't come out, it just gets stuck in there and can't be rinsed out. Is there a better method of doing this? Am I doomed to using a whole package of razors to get the job done? Are there any razors that you know of that are designed so that the hair shaved doesn't get trapped in the little crevices? It made me wonder about men shaving their body hair, as they generally have much do they cope with this problem?

I understand that alternate methods like waxing, electrolysis and chemical depilatories might be a solution for others but for my own various reasons I have already ruled these methods out. I'm mainly looking for a razor designed to deal with longer hair or some other shaving solution I have not thought of. Thanks for your help.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My razor is adjustable and hair rinses out. It's meant for facial hair, though.
posted by dobbs at 9:30 PM on November 2, 2007

It would help if you told us which you've tried.

My hair is thick and dark and grows very quickly (thanks Latina and Italian heritage!). I can't go more than a day without shaving my legs if I want to remain stubble-free. I have let things grow on occasion (such as some busy winter days) and I've found that the Gillette Venus, with a bit of rinsing out the hair in the middle of the ordeal, worked just fine with a fresh blade. No shaving creams or gels, those just clog up the razor. Water only.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:36 PM on November 2, 2007

I'd second the Venus, or the Mach 3 which is pretty much the same thing but not as purty (and are interchangeable with one another). My body hair is pretty thick and coarse (southern Europeans unite!) and while I do usually keep it up on a daily basis, things go by the wayside in a big way in the wintertime.

I'd also suggest playing around with different shave creams, gels, and oils, if you can't handle shaving with just water. Lotiony creams like Alba or Kiss My Face seem to work best for me in terms of easy rinsability, while most commercial gels/foams goop up pretty badly (although King of Shaves gel is fantastic). I've heard great things about shaving.
posted by padraigin at 9:51 PM on November 2, 2007

Tried a double edge safety razor?
posted by Saydur at 9:57 PM on November 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

I don't know of a specific razor designed to be clog-free. What works for me is:

* shaving oil because it doesn't get gummy like shaving cream and gel (full disclosure: I work with that company, but it is the only oil I have experience with and I'd be a customer if I didn't work with them).

* Keep a towel handy to loosen and wipe out the hair that does collect, then rinse the razor, wipe again if necessary.

These two things work for me, even with the cheapest disposable razor.
posted by necessitas at 10:22 PM on November 2, 2007

My beard clogs up my Mach 3 pretty quickly. I shave in the shower and use my showerhead's massage setting to rinse it from the back. My girlfriend's Venus uses similar blades and can be rinsed the same way.
posted by stereo at 10:36 PM on November 2, 2007

Though I can't necessarily recommend a good razor, I can definitely say you should stay away from all things Schick. Their razors have wires wrapped vertically across all the blades, which means extra hair gets completely trapped.
posted by brina at 11:08 PM on November 2, 2007

Exfoliate first. This is so important. Use a scrubber and really scrub. And soak in the shower for a good 10 minutes before you shave. Do a little spot, then rinse, then do another little spot. If it's long enough to trim it first, do.

Razors? I always use the cheapest, they seem to work ok for my super long hair. If I have to use two it's not a crisis. Expensive ones are a huge waste of money.
posted by sondrialiac at 11:59 PM on November 2, 2007

Yeah, I deal with this issue as well. I'm a fuzzy man who doesn't like to shave, so when I do, I tend to clog up my razor pretty quickly. I've finally figured out that if I just rap the razor, front-end first, against my shower tiles a few times, the hair will come out. Not knocking the blades, but the safety-guard that extends a little below and beyond them.

So it's shave a few strokes, rinse, tap tap tap, and repeat.
posted by phredgreen at 12:00 AM on November 3, 2007

I've found that dropping the razor a few times in the shower helps shake those clumps of hair loose.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:16 AM on November 3, 2007

As a female, I second dobb's suggestion of a double edge razor. This one is more than sufficient or you can shop for the Lady Gilette stars. You will need to be more careful when shaving though, one careless swipe can leave you sans a hunk of flesh instead of the usual nick.
posted by hindmost at 12:23 AM on November 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I shave my head frequently (though I've let it grow a bit the past month) and the Mach3 is the best I've found. It can get clogged but a vigorous rinsing or swishing through water will clear it. It's much less susceptible than other razors I've found. There's no reason to use a razor other than the Mach3. I don't know if the women's equivalent, the Venus, is satisfactory, having never had the opportunity to try it. Call me a cynic but I'd guess a product aimed at women is either more expensive per unit or not as good (or both).

Unlike necessitas, I've found shaving oil makes it much more likely to clog and much harder to rinse out. While I like the idea of oil I'm back to Edge brand gel, which I'd recommend. When I was still using oil I thought about mixing up my own since it's pretty expensive for what it is. The main ingredient, at least in mine, was grapeseed oil. Add some eucalyptus, tea tree, and maybe spearmint (or whatever you like the smell of) and your cost/volume is way down. Something I'd have tried, anyway, if I continued to use oil.

Rinse after every stroke. That's important. It's no fun but do it; keeps the blade clearer and provides a better shave. Keep strokes short as well. Don't go over and over an area and don't press too hard. Obviously the best time is right after or during a shower or bath so the hair is nice and warm and wet. Don't even towel off the area, unless you have a strong aversion to dripping on the floor.

If you have an area sensitive to razor burn experiment with different directions over the area. Common wisdom says always go with the grain, never against. But I go against over much of it. Going across seems to be worst for razor burn. My problem areas are the very back of my neck and under my chin, the latter is particularly obnoxious because the grain runs every which way and there's no good direction to go.

You'll have to figure out when the best time to replace the cartridge is. The cost of course makes it tempting to keep the cartridge way too long but that ends up being harder and harder on your skin, taking more strokes to clear an area, and making razor burn more likely. But you don't want to replace every shave, either. With the Mach3 I've found it's almost too sharp for the first two shaves. Ten shaves is about as long as I should keep the cartridge, but in practice I go longer (poor head). I don't know how that translates to legs with more area with coarser but much less dense hair.

Saving this for last because I hate to break it to you but longer times between shaves isn't better. It clogs the blade more, wears it out faster, takes more strokes over each spot, and leads to more irritation. For my head the best results are 2-3 days. Every day is just too hard on it, but longer than three it becomes a real pain to shave. Leg hair is slower growing but, still, once a month isn't going to cut it (ha!). Shave at least once a week; I know that sucks but a schedule is easier to maintain, like every Saturday morning. If you just don't want to do it that often perhaps try a trimmer of some sort, to keep it shorter (not smooth, though). Having said that I sometimes go with just electric clippers over my head but it honestly takes at least as long as shaving, makes more mess, and actually requires more care to make sure I've got everything the same length and there aren't any strays around the ears.

And, really, shaving sucks. So if there were a clearly better alternative, like a vastly improved electric razor, most of us would be using it.
posted by 6550 at 12:52 AM on November 3, 2007

I use a plastic double edged safety razor that I've had for about 15 years to shave my face. My wife steals it now and again to do her arm pits, and used to do her legs with it from time to time (she waxes her legs these days apparently). My brother bought me what is essentially a lifetimes supply of blades back with him from south east asia three or four years ago. If you're going to use a razor, all other solutions are a lot more expensive and marginally more effective (if at all).
posted by singingfish at 1:59 AM on November 3, 2007

nthing the Venus - like you, I'm pretty lax in the shaving department but, while tedious, my venus does the job without clogging. (I also don't use foam/gel/oil)
I also have an electric shaver for defuzzing if its been a few months - much faster.
posted by missmagenta at 2:37 AM on November 3, 2007

What hindmost said. I moved to a safety razor about a year ago after suffering years of frustration with gillette's latest & greatest, and never looked back. Since moving to a DE, I have no irritation, cleaner shaves and I rarely get cuts.

Rinse the blade regularly and change the blade as needed, blades are much cheaper than Mac 3/Venus.

You will need to learn some technique though, I found Leisure Guy's guide useful (although aimed at facial shaving) and we shave geeks can get kind of trainspottery in our obsession with the latest shave cream.
posted by arcticseal at 3:23 AM on November 3, 2007

shave a few strokes.
rap the blade of the razor on the edge of the sink, the shower tiles, or the bathtub floor.

gilette mach 3 razors stay sharp for a long time and give a nice clean shave. about $14 for a razor and an extra blade, then maybe $7 per replacement blade, each of which last me about 6 months (also female, also a lazy shaver).
posted by twistofrhyme at 4:14 AM on November 3, 2007

I'm still using the Gillette Sensor. It has two widely spaced blades that never clog for me - even after a week's growth (on my face). I actually use the womens blade holder (on my face) because I find it easier to grip.
posted by klarck at 4:40 AM on November 3, 2007

used to shave my head for a couple of years. get a mach3. i used disposable razors and women's razors and the mach 3 beat them all.

you'll be better of waxing your legs - you only have to do every couple of weeks, and the hair becomes softer and sparser. if you don't feel like heating up wax or going to a cosmetician, you can get ready-to-use cold wax strips. you'll have smooth legs in five minutes. don't forget to get some baby oil to remove the wax.
posted by ye#ara at 5:00 AM on November 3, 2007

I'm a guy, so this may not be accurate for you, but I find that if I get my beard wet and let it soak for two minutes or more, the hair is much softer and flexible, easier to shave, and much easier to rinse out of the razor.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:54 AM on November 3, 2007

Another guy who hates to shave. Sometimes it's a week or more between shaves. If it's really long I knock it down a notch with the hair clippers. I've tried a bazillion foams, gels, oils... nothing beats King of Shaves gel, that stuff is awesome. Cheapest single blade razor, in the shower, with the shower-head set to the pulsate mode. Take a few strokes, wash the razor out from the back, repeat. I rarely get more than one or two shaves out of a razor.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:19 AM on November 3, 2007

My daughter has had good luck with a Lady Gillette (click image at link for a larger view), using a shaving brush and a good shaving cream (or a shaving stick and a shaving brush).

For guys that don't enjoy shaving, I highly recommend switching to a method that makes the shave enjoyable. I also used to hate to shave, but now it's one of the most enjoyable parts of the day.
posted by LeisureGuy at 10:41 AM on November 3, 2007

Having an electric razor with a beard trimmer helps for the first go-round- then you don't have all that long hair clogging the blades of the razor. I also find that having a container of water in the shower to swish the razor in is better than trying to rinse under the spray. I use jojoba oil, and have also been pleased with Lush Prince shaving cream. If the razor begins to be resistant to swishing, I rinse it with rubbing alcohol.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:24 AM on November 3, 2007

I shave my head every other day.

I always hated those damn mach3's and all the other over-priced cheaply made "modern" razors. My friend used a safety razor with the double-edged platinum blades (10 pack for $4). The blades last FOREVER. I found my razor-holder thing at an antique store, new in box, from the 1950's it appeared. I find these all the time, and give them to friends and family as gift. Cost? About $2 at most antique stores. Give it a good cleaning and a shine, $4 pack of razors, and you are good to go for about a year or more.
posted by Espoo2 at 11:59 AM on November 3, 2007

The one caveat with using the old school safety razors is you'll have to be a bit more cautious -- modern razors have all kinds of springs and flexing heads and crap built into them that reduce the risk of nicks, but also make it easy for you to develop bad habits in your shaving technique that simply will not work with an old-fashioned razor, especially when shaving a non-flat surface (like chins, jawbones, and knees).

I adore my Merkur razor (very similar to what dobbs linked up top), and it gives me the best (and cheapest) shave I've ever had in my life, but I had to fillet my jawbone a few times before I figured out what I was doing wrong. But if you stick with it and unlearn those bad habits, you'll get a great shave. I never cut myself anymore, never get razor bumps on my neck.

And no, it will never, ever clog.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:25 PM on November 3, 2007

What articseal said. LeisureGuy's little book on shaving is a gem. (I had no idea that I should shave with the grain first. That makes a big difference!)

Like you, I tend to let my hair get a little on the long side. I use a vintage Gillette safety razor that used to be my grandfather's, and it never ever clogs. I haven't had any particular trouble with nicks and cuts, though you definitely want to use a light touch on that kind of razor, especially under the arm and around the ankle.
posted by sculpin at 12:42 PM on November 3, 2007

Yes, I also use a safety razor on my beard and it's wonderful. But, if you want less shavegeekery in your routine, the cheap one-bladed razors (like the orange bics) are okay. Like safety razors, they aren't sprung and hinged every which way, so you have to be careful of nicks. The blades aren't great, but one blade can't clog, and they still shave better than a better, but clogged razor.
posted by rossmik at 6:01 PM on November 3, 2007

I've had this problem too. Choice of shaving foam/gel/shower gel is key: This stuff is expensive, but it lasts forever and rinses out very easily, taking all the hair with it. And it smells beautiful.
posted by tiny crocodile at 10:28 AM on November 4, 2007

I keep similar grooming habits, though my hair doesn't come in coarse.

The triple-bladed Venus is nice. I find that the hair rinses out fairly easily under running water. Disposables are crap, and will generally become clogged.

Have you considered waxing? It's not too expensive (at least where I live in MD) and you only do it once every few weeks.
posted by frecklefaerie at 6:50 AM on November 5, 2007

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