There is nothing more a part of being a guy than having to shave.
Does any dad actually enjoy the act? Probably not.
A few weeks back a representative from Norelco contacted me to test one of their new shavers. I had to fill out a few surveys about my shaving habits before they decided to send me a test unit.
Now this is one of the most expensive test units I've gotten since I tested video games for a living and received all the top consoles gratis. These days I rarely get many freebies let alone a razor that costs nearly $300.
But I was more intrigued about seeing how far razors have come since I was a teenager. Around 13 or 14 my stepfather gave me an electric razor for Christmas. I actually had whiskers pretty darn early in life and had a decent goatee by 16. That razor though ripped my face up so badly I don't think I ever wanted to see an electric again.
Fast forward 20 years or so and here's Norelco sending me a $250 razor to make up for that mistake.
In my quest to give a fair review I had my loving wife shoot video of me shaving a with my trusty Gillette ProGlide razor. I did the shave in 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Their new blades are super sharp and last a good workweek of daily shaving. I was surprised at just how quickly I did such a good shave.
I gave my beard a week longer before treating it to the Norelco. I had a lot of work meetings I didn't want to show up to with red splotches everywhere. Then I had the wife get the iPhone camera rolling again for the Norelco experiment the next weekend.
I did a wet shave as the British guy on Norelco's website suggested I do. The other thing the video illustrated really well was how the Senso Touch 3D moves over the chin, a worry spot I had. He showed it moving over his palm when it wasn't turned on. Brilliant illustration.
How did it do you ask?
Well for the first two shaves it didn't hurt while shaving, but the irritation afterwards was high. Also on the second shave there were quite a few "stubborn" hairs that the thing just wouldn't cut. But the surprising part was that the chin and upper lip were pretty easy to shave.
The three heads do really pivot enough that it goes around the curves well. So my chin was perfectly shaved but hairs on my cheeks, the wide expanse you think would be easy to shave, were pesky to nab.
Another spot I couldn't figure out was the sideburn. I mean how do you shave along a straight line with circular razors? There's a trimmer extension but that's for bushy hairs not the stubble at the bottom of the burn.
A few shaves later and I discovered you just kind of guess on the sideburns with the round blades and it does the job surprisingly well.
After a good two weeks of using the Norelco I still have like one or two single, stubborn hairs that require all kinds of different maneuvers to be trimmed. And it still takes me twice as long to shave with it versus the blade. However, my face is smoother than it’s been at the end of the workday – ever.
Is it worth the price? It’s a very tough call. There are some clear benefits though and that's the dry shave.
I'm not a dry shave guy, but maybe after more time of my skin adjusting I can try it. I would think that's a clear advantage in terms of convenience.
Then there's the travel factor. You can't pack a Gillette on a carryon bag anymore. Have you ever called down to the hotel's front desk for a razor? They send the cheapest Bic razor ever made and I usually end up bleeding all over those cheap white towels they have. Heck, I've gotten the same crappy razor at high-end hotels.
The Senso Touch comes with a nice travel bag and I just got back from L.A. where I used it both mornings. It still takes me twice as long to shave with it but I’m hoping my stubble “learns” to get cut better. I did discover that it’s easier to shave every day with it versus letting a day or two of stubble grow.
The price can't be escaped. While most dads would likely get one of these as a Christmas gift, the heads need to be replaced every year for the “best shave” the instructions say. Those cost $69. Gillette blades cost about $14 for a four pack and last me about a month. My wife bends over backwards to get coupons and the best deals on these razors so we don't pay that full price. But even at half price $7 a month, that's $84 a year. So the maintenance price is about the same as a top blade.
Am I going to make the switch for good? I'm not sure. I think it'll take another full month before I make that all-important decision.
And even after that I don't think there's any way my face will look as smooth as that British guy Norelco has doing its videos.
Official Disclaimer: As stated above, Norelco sent me this test unit for review. I received no other payment for this story.