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I won one of these Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 razor blades in a competition. It is actually deigned for men but I find it to be completely suitable for my needs. The slightly angled, heavy handle has a rubber panel on the bottom where your fingertips naturally grip. This makes it easy to hold and it doesn''''t slip out of your hand. The weight of the handle is also a helpful aspect as it means you can feel where the razor sits at all times during your shave. The angle of the handle means that I can hold my hand straight and not at an awkward angle. The razor head rotates about 45 degrees and this means it moves according to the shape of your body. You can also have the blade at a fixed, almost flat to the handle position if you pull back the top section of the blade head and click it back in place. This is a special design to help aid shaving in difficult areas and would be particularly useful for the mustache area. The razor head has a gel strip on the top which melts when exposed to water. This acts like a shaving gel or foam and makes the blades slide over skin more easily. The gel strip can be quite effusive upon first uses of the blade head though and between uses the gel can ooze down onto the blades if you leave the razor lying flat. The razor head also has a ribbed rubber strip on the bottom of the blades which acts like a bouncy cushion to stop the blades from cutting the skin. There are five sharp blades and I find they give me a very clean and very thorough shave every time. I never need to go over the same area twice. The blades are easy to rinse off after each use. I have never cut myself with this razor and I find that amazing as I have often nicked myself with other razors! Razor heads can be removed with a simple click of a button on the handle. Refill heads are available widely but are a bit pricey. However, I aim to keep using this Hydro 5 as I find it very impressive and it gives me such a great shave, making the task hassle free and quick. I would recommend this to both men and women.
It is not that often when you can say that your Christmas shopping spree turns in to one that actually benefits you but with Christmas fast approaching my wife and I were out yesterday buying some of the vast quantity for our family. My wife decided that she was intent on a No7 gift set from Boots so whilst in there, we had a look for gifts that we thought would be both useful and well received.
Whilst looking I noticed the Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 that was well packaged and selling at £10 which included a razor that had blade installed, a carriage to hold the razor and a further pack of 4 blade cartridges.
Since shaving many years ago I have always relied on Gillette except for a brief period while at Polytechnic when I had used a Remington electric one, and more recently (last week in fact) when I had decided to be brave and try out a razor from Aldi that was a fraction of the price of Gillette. Aldi's shaving system proved to be a disaster and my face was left rough, covered in red blotches and painful so would certainly not recommend their blades.
I did however need a cheaper way of shaving. Gillette blades for my Mach 3 were expensive and their life span was diminishing almost on a weekly basis from what used to be around 3 weeks per blade to 1 - if I was lucky and at £2 per blade this wasn't acceptable. So at £10 for a new razor which had 5 blades I at last had a chance to try a different system which was at least on a par price wise with the Mach 3.
I opened the Hydro 5 this morning which has a smooth action and although I did need to go over some areas more than once it did leave my skin smooth and there was a noticeable improvement reported by my wife as she started fondling my face with her hands. There were still some red blotches around my face but it is too early to determine whether they are new or a result of the Aldi razor that I had used the previous week but certainly it felt far more comfortable than the Gillette Mach 3 even when I had put them in the razor for the first time. In fact, my skin still feels smooth some 6 hours after using the new Hydro 5.
It is far too soon to tell whether these blades last as long as the Gillette Mach 3 but the early signs are good and replacements cartridges are priced similarly to those of the Mach 3 - on sale at Tesco for £8.49 (4 blades) or £14.99 (8 blades) so even if they don't last any longer they give a much smoother result.
So what makes it better? Well, it has 5 blades against the 3 of the Mach 3 and has a self-lubricating strip that helps to prevent skin drying out as it cuts. It also has a system that tells you when you should replace the blades - when the holes of the gel reservoir are all empty, which hopefully won't happen for a while.
Gillette does offer the Fusion range which I have tried (a converted blade was included with a set of Mach 3 cartridges several months ago) but to me is no match to the Hydro 5. Fusion blades are more expensive than those of the Wilkinson Sword product selling for £18 for a set of 8 at Tesco, but are not as effective despite Gillette claims that they are the most technological blades they have manufactured.
I have no doubt, that my conversion to Wilkinson Sword is long term and my experience of the Hydro 5 with its 5 blades will not be unwise.
If you have read my previous review on 'Veet Hair Minimising Moisturiser' you will already know a little bit about my hair problems. I honestly believe I have the fastest growing hairy bits in the world! I can safely say my legs are the spikiest out of the girls I have worked with over my 6 years in the shop. When girl A is complaining that her 'legs are so prickly and she will have to shave when she gets in before she can wear her little skirt into town that night'. She follows on with 'I only shaved on Tuesday'. It's now Saturday, in my nosiness, I can't help it, I have to cop a feel! I knew it!!!....You can hardly see the tiny blonde hairs that have sprouted up on her skinny legs, let alone feel them! 'Haha!' I scoff 'You think you have it bad. My legs feel like that an hour after I have shaved them! They'd look like a mans if I had left them for 4 days' And this is a regular conversation, with friends, co-workers and family. In fact, people I have had the conversations with, use me as a comparison, 'well at least they aren't as bad as SJ's'.
As a guide, I was on my holidays recently, I went for just one week. I shaved the night we left England, I managed day one not shaving, the next day I was actually embarrassed, as you could see the hairs coming through, and they are not blonde, even though the sun bleached my arm hairs. I just had to shave that night. All in all from the day we left England to the day we got back 8 days later, I had to shave 4 times. EXCESSIVE!! But totally and completely neccessary!!
I have waxed, used hair removal creams, switched and changed razor blades in the hope of finding the smoothest possible shave as I do believe this is a good starting point to minimize hair growth. After quickly realising that waxing was a total no no. The pain and mess for me completely outweighed the pitiful week of hairfree legs. The mess that comes with hair removal creams also put me off quite quickly. The smell of them are foul and some of them irritate me, leaving my quite scaley. I also prefer to bath as oppose to shower so always had to do my legs in the sink. Until I can afford lazor hair removal, I have just been settling with finding a good razor.
So prior to realising how spectactular my Mans blade was, I was using Gillette Venus Embrace. Now this isn't a bad razor by any means, it's the first 5 blade razor for women and has a ribbon of moisture for smoother shaving. I just found it didnt last very long and can be so expensive. I found the blades would blunt in a matter of weeks and in 'certain areas' I couldn't get as smoothe a shave as I would have liked. I even had to go over some areas twice, maybe three times as hairs would be missed. The cost of blades was very expensive. For just 3 blades, it costs around £9 and for 6 blades it's £16!! I found it cheaper to get a new starter pack everytime. Which seems to always be on half price (Usually about £8 at full price) and comes with 2 blades and a new razor. Much more affordable at half the price.
Anyway, in realising my blades were blunt for the umpteenth time and needing a close shave quick, I swiped the fella's razor. Well I can honestly say it is the closest shave I have EVER had. All the problems I had with the Gillette Venus were completely irradicated with this. It just glideds through my hairs, absolutely no need for shaving the same area twice. The Hydro strip really works to moisturise and soothe the shaved strip too. I find the head of the razor really follows the contours of my skin very well, much more than a woman's razor ever has done.
From (sneaky) continued use of this blade I am amazed at the fact that I haven't once nicked myself or caused irritation, these skin guards do exactly what they are supposed to. I know it sounds daft (but I hope you know what I mean) but I also feel it's shaving off less of my tan than previous razors have done, which must mean it is less damaging on the skin. This is confirmed by the fact there isnt a desperate need to moisturise my legs as soon as I get out of the bath.
The outlay for this razor is much more beneficial too. The razor itself plus two blades costs around £9, (but I think we purchased it on offer.) As we all know it's the blades can cost the most and these set you back £8 for 4 blades and £15 for 8 blades. And with two of us using it, these blades last about a month before they need renewing, which is fantastic and definately much more cost effective than it used to be.
Obviously I can confirm the fella has a much closer shave with these, but having tried it myself and comparing it to everything else I have tried I know this is a brilliant razor, ticking all the boxes and passing the test on my hairs...which does take an awful lot, and something that nothing else seems to have done very well.
Firstly, it should be made clear that I am a woman, and yes, I am reviewing a man's razor not because it's my boyfriend's, but because I've bought myself one too! Having used Gillette Venus since I can remember, I decided to try something else as I wasn't finding it particularly effective for the cost. My boyfriend joked I should try a man's razor and strangely enough, it's pretty good!
Wilkinson Sword is very popular in the 'grooming' range of shaving products, with many years of knowledge and experience to make them a respectable and trustworthy brand. They make both male and female versions and have an expanding range when it comes to razors, so it does depend on what you're wanting. I wanted something that would be simple, not too pricey, and that would leave my skin smooth, soft and hair-free! I tend to associate more blades with more of a chance of doing this effectively, and as the Hydro 5 was on half price sale when I bought it, I decided to try this one.
This razor is intended to provide an 'innovative and satisfying shaving experience', and it stands out from the crowd because of its ergonomic design. This has 5 blades, a lubricating strip at the top that can be bent back if you don't wish to use it, and a slim line handle. The lubrication system is actually an 'advanced hydrating gel reservoir', the theory being that it is water activated and hydrates your skin whilst you shave. It also claims to last for up to twice as long as other lubricating strips on razors, which may very well be true when compared to my last Venus blade.
The blades also have a skin guard to protect your skin from being caught or nicked, though that doesn't mean that won't happen. The design of the blade just makes irritation and cuts less likely, which is still a good thing. What I really like about this is that the 'gel reservoir', the top lubrication strip, can be flipped back very easily, meaning you don't have to use it. This may be because you want to 'hedge and tim those hard-to-reach-areas. Or it may be that, like me, you find it actually makes shaving less accurate, can become gunky and doesn't allow for as a close a shave.
The handle is quite slim though surprisingly heavy; it's more metal than tacky plastic and feels solid and robust in your hand. The razor head bends and moves to follow the contours of your body quite well and shaving more awkward areas a little easier. Obviously, Wilkinson would prefer you to use their own gel but I actually use Gillette shaving gel (for women, because I still want to smell like one even if I don't shave my legs like one!) and find it works very well. The blades do glide quite smoothly and provide a close shave, and they seem to stay sharp for a good amount of time.
I don't really have any issues or downsides with regards to the Hydro 5, but from my experience shaving my legs and such, you need to take it slowly. Unlike a female razor this seems to make cutting yourself far easier, despite any skin guards, and you should continually rinse it whilst shaving if you're using gel because the blades are quite close together and accumulate a lot of foam.
Replacing the blades is fairly pricey at around £7.89 for a pack of 4, though this is still about average for this type of product. Considering each razor has lasted me longer than a Venus one ever did, however, I find the Hydro 5 blades to thus be better value for money.
Overall I would definitely recommend this, for men and women alike and when found on offer in particular. It's easy to use, a practical design, gives a smooth & close shave, and the lifespan of the blades make them better value for money.
The razor itself sells for around £8.19 (Superdrug) but can often be found on offer, and includes 2 cartridges. It can also be found as a 'value pack' with more cartridges.
[Also reviewed by me, gothic_moon, on Ciao]