Product Type: Gillette Shaving & Grooming
Newest Review: ... side has a similar grip. The end on the top and bottom have the Gillet logo and Fusion logo printed in a stylish way. The body of the appr... more
Mind the lumps
Member Name: grahamt
Date: 18/06/07, updated on 19/06/07 (1200 review reads)
Advantages: Smooth shave
Disadvantages: Awkward handle
My wife got a strange package in the post the other day. She had no idea what it was and she certainly hadn't ordered it. So, she opened it and found inside a razor. Not a ladies razor, for shaving legs, armpits or other important little bits. This was a man's razor. Had they made a mistake? Can't have done; the envelope was definitely addressed to my wife!
Then she found the note; her mission, should she choose to accept it, was to persuade me to give it a try! It was a Gillette Fusion razor; the manual type, not the powered one. Clearly Gillette don't expect to spend too much money on marketing.
My wife persuaded my to switch to wet shaving a year or so ago after a lifetime of using electric razors. My Philishave rechargeable was reaching the end of its life; the battery charge was lasting only a couple of uses before needing recharging again and the battery isn't replaceable. I started using the Gillette Mach3 Turbo. This also came from my wife but this one she had chosen. I won't go into the reasons or my experiences with it here. I've written a review about it if you're interested.
Although I wasn't dissatisfied with the Mach3 I decided to take Gillette up on their offer of an opportunity to try the Fusion. My experiences, such as they are, will be of little comfort to Gillette.
The major difference, indeed probably the only real difference between the Fusion and its “baby brother” the Mach3 is in the number of blades in the head. The Mach3, as the name implies, has three blades; the Fusion has five, six if you count the additional one on the leading edge, advertised as for using to shave in those “tight corners” under the nose.
So, why five blades instead of three? Well, if you were able to inspect the action of the head as it is dragged across your skin you would see that the skin bulges between the blades as the head passes. The amount of skin that gets “trapped” between the blades is obviously affected by how hard you press the razor against your face and by how far apart the blades are.
Maybe you hadn't realised but when you shave it isn't just bristles that you are chopping off, oh no. A layer of skin goes too. That's how it works. Now, you women are thinking, “So that's why guys' skin looks so good – daily exfoliation!” Well, yes but of course that also means the regular danger of cuts and blood all over the place. Are you prepared to walk around with bits of tissue stuck to your face?
So, the theory goes that if the Fusion has five blades in the same space as the Mach3's three blades then inevitably the Fusions blades must be closer together. Less gap, less bulge, less risk of nasty nicks. But does it work and is it at the cost of a worse shave?
I have to admit that during the period in which I used it the Fusion definitely felt a lot smoother than the Mach3. My face never felt as sore as it sometimes does after having used the Mach3. Nevertheless, the quality of the shave felt every bit as good as the Mach3. You might think that the Fusion system must have as a compromise less access to the bristles and therefore not as close a shave. Not so.
Even the additional blade on the leading edge for the fiddly bits under your nose seemed to work well. So, why wasn't I impressed with the Fusion if it seems to have all of the benefits of the Mach3 and none of the disadvantages? Well, it's nothing to do with the head. The problem is the handle.
I shave in the shower and use a foam shaving cream. Inevitably your hands get covered in shaving cream, no matter how much you might wipe them on yourself. Your hands remain slippery despite all efforts. Now, with the Mach3 Turbo the round handle is easily held no matter how slippery your hands are. The Fusion handle is a most weird shape; a sort of oval shape, except for the end of the handle which ends in a sort of flattened blob, flattened in then opposite direction to the rest of the handle.
No matter what I did I just couldn't get the Fusion to stay aligned in my hand the way I wanted it for which each bit of my face I was shaving. A couple of times it even slipped right out of my hand.
So, sorry Gillette but the Fusion really needs a rethink. If I could have the Fusion Head on the Mach3 Turbo body them maybe that would work but as I was only offered the manual version to try I couldn't comment. Looking at the Gillette website the Fusion Power seems to have a chunkier handle than the Mach3 Turbo but still the same lumpy shape. Certainly the heads are detachable on both the Mach3 and the Fusion but are not interchangeable as far as I can see.
So, as it is I will be sticking with the Mach3 for now.
Summary: A potentially good wet shaver spoiled by the shape of the handle
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