Product Type: Bic Shaving & Grooming
Newest Review: ... So, I thought it wouldn't do me any harm to try the cheap razors. I found these Bic disposable razors in the family bathroom and I dec... more
Wotcha Scarface !!
Bic Disposable Razors
Member Name: sidneygee
Bic Disposable Razors
Date: 23/12/01, updated on 23/12/01 (845 review reads)
Disadvantages: Nasty, Defective, or not 'fit for purpose'
My first razor was given to me by my grandfather in 1958 – a standard Gillette 'Safety Razor' and two packets of 5 'Gillette Blue' blades. I later found that Wilkinson Sword blades were a better option than the 'blued' Gillette blades and this type of system kept me going, on and off for a decade or more.
I still have this razor, but never use it now since it did require a certain degree of skill to save myself from a legion of cuts. Indeed a 'styptic pencil' was a permanent feature of my part of the bathroom shelf at the Gee family home. For those of you brought up on fancy shaving systems, a styptic pencil was a preparation which you applied to any fresh cuts, quenching the flow of blood. It relies on the chemical properties of an aluminium salt - Aluminium Sulphate, I think - which causes blood to coagulator a lot quicker than the natural blood clotting process allows.
Eventually, of course, I did try an electric shaver – a Philishave, but I never took to that – and even a relatively expensive Remington re-chargeable shaver bought in the late 1970's remained largely un-used.
OK then, I tried the BIC disposable razors when they first came out, and a number of other systems – including the Gillette Exacta cassette systems (where you 'wound on' a new blade. I then found a range that suited me well – a Wilkinson Sword disposable razor, with a substantial red plastic handle and a system which allowed the double edged blade to be 'withdrawn', so that one or more could be carried safely in a toiletries bag. This was in about 1991 and these were on sale until about 1994.
What I particularly liked about these razors was that they gave a reasonably comfortable shave, they lasted for at least 12 shaves and could be cleaned by running under hot water a
nd bashing them on the sides of the sink to remove the compacted bristles and shaving soap. So many of those with the 'flexible heads' could not withstand this treatment and the heads broke off.
I then noticed that these Wilkinson Sword razors were being sold off for 49 pence for a packet of 10 razors. Suspecting (correctly) that they were being withdrawn from sale, I bought a (very) large number of these razors, using them initially before transferring my allegiance to a Gillette G3 system. However, I have always made it my policy to leave my G3 system at home and to take my dwindling stock of disposables away with me when on business. They lasted until early November of this year, when I again found myself searching for suitable brand of disposable razors.
In these new affluent times, there was little choice. Some yellow-handled Wilkinson Sword brand that looked 'fragile' with swivel heads, some similar Gillette II disposables, and the 'original' BIC disposable. I thus settled on a pack of 10 BIC disposable razors for £0.99, which seemed to fit the bill. They are the 'standard' sort - white plastic handle and head in one piece, with a single metal blade and a detachable yellow plastic cover over the blade.
Thus, on Monday 17 December, I took the flight to Belfast and on the morning of 18 December, I used a fresh BIC razor for the first time in at least a decade.
I realised immediately that this was NOT the most comfortable shave that I had ever had. The blade seemed to 'drag' on my face a little and did not remove (the hoary old) whiskers from the side of my face with the single sweep that I was accustomed to achieving with the Wilkinson Sword or the Gillette Mach 3 blade when they were new. I paid only minimal attention to my physog in the mirror as I finished the shave. My thoughts at that time being more on where it might be possible to locate some nice pint bottles of the
REAL 'Black Stuff' that evening – my two favourite hostelries near the Travelodge only having that poncey Draught Guinness stuff available when I visited them on the previous evening.
I swilled my face with cold water and dabbed it with a towel before getting into the shower. Then, with a feeling of horror I realised that the hand towel was very ... very ... bloody. I had not cut myself shaving for at least a year before that morning – and then it was just catching the side of my nose through carelessness that caused it with a Wilkinson Sword disposable – trying to shave with an undue degree of haste. But here I was with a series of at least small areas of blood all in the area under my chin, where small raised areas of my skin had been decapitated and resulted in a free flow of the red stuff. Cold water did not reduce the flow, and even as I was showering, I could see blood traces in the water that dripped off my face (shades of Psycho !!).
I managed to restrict the bloody effect to the hand towel and also managed to get my clean shirt on without transfiguring any of the blood. Cleaning off some of the congealed blood with a tissue dampened with cold water repaired the obvious signs of damage somewhat, but when I walked into the Laboratory a mere hour later, the effects were visible enough for the Head of the Laboratory to remark “Watcha Scarface”, as I entered his office.
The following day, having bought a new Gillette Mach 3 set to take care of my puir wee bluidied choochies, I took in both the offending BIC razor and the other brand new one from the pack that I had put in my toiletries bag. I viewed the cutting edge of each using a stereo-binocular-low-power-microscope. For those of you unfamiliar with such a useful piece of kit, there is a photograph of me using it on my profile page - no prizes for guessing what it is I am 'examining'.
And there – as plain
as plain – was the cause of my discomfort the previous day. The blade which had been used once was substantially fragmented along its cutting edge, so that instead of a straight blade with a horizontally placed cutting edge being presented to my face, there was instead an edge where parts of the cutting action were shredded and almost in line with direction of travel of the edge.
Since it was by then late afternoon, and I had been assessing the performance of some young nubile female members of staff in the Laboratory, my whiskers had started to grow, so I used the unused blade across the developing bristles at the sides of my cheek. Even that (relatively) gentle treatment resulted in some disintegration of the edge of the metal blade, so that further use would have undoubtedly also resulted in more loss of blood. Therefore, my unfortunate experience with these BIC blades appear to be associated with defective batch of metal used to produce the cutting edge. Whether or not this deficiency is due to the composition of the steel, the treatment of the steel, or the lack of a protective coating on the steel could not be ascertained without testing by a suitably equipped Laboratory. If the blade is not defective then there is definitely a case for the razors not being of 'merchantable quality'.
Now how much is the damage to my physog and to my dignity worth? I asked myself this question as I compose a letter to BIC, which I have sent, together with the code details from the packaging, the two miscreant blades and another two unused razors for testing?
I wonder if I can have my case heard by an American Court ... the damages awards are so much higher over there .... ?
© Sidneygee 2001
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