We chose the Gillette Fusion Proglide Shaving System as our first five-blade razor cartridge blade.
We had heard about the seemingly exaggerated degree of improvement over a two- or three-blade cartridge system that a five-blade system yields. Skeptical, yes we were, UNTIL we tried the Proglide. We found that every good thing we heard about the performance of a five-blade razor was true. It shaves more closely than any razor we’ve every used before, irritates less, and lasts longer as well. This design works so well in fact, that you have to be careful when buying, to avoid counterfeited reproductions of it. It’s a well-devised shaving system.
Benefits, Features, Advantages, and Pros
Well balanced ergonomically designed handle. The sure-grip razor features genuine chrome-metal parts that give it a substantial feel; neither cheap nor paper thin. It looks classy, with its silver, black, and deep blue colors. With its ribbed gripping surfaces, it does not easily slip from even soapy hands in the shower.
Follows facial contours. The “FlexBall” technology in the handle features a pivoting hinge, which allows the blade to pivot to many more angles on the handle, to better track the numerous “hills and valleys” on the typical male face. Shaves exceptionally close, even around those “problem” areas beneath the jaw bone and around the Adam’s apple.
Fumble-free cartridge changing. To release the spent, disposable cartridge, you simply press the release button near the top of the razor, which forcibly ejects the spent cartridge. So aim at the waste can before pressing. Then, to load a new cartridge, simply push the razor top tip into the new blade, and once it latches, pull the new blade out of the package by simply tugging the razor handle to pull the new cartridge out of the clear plastic packaging. This mechanism eliminates having to touch the blades prior to loading. Nor need you handle them when discarding. Big safety improvement.
Long lasting. With our fine beards, these blades last us through fifteen shaves, or approximately one month, before requiring replacement. They’d probably last a week or more longer. But we like to start each new month with a fresh, new cartridge.
Advanced blade coating. The low-resistance coating reduces partial whisker cut-throughs and the resulting blade dulling. Thus, added durability of the cutting edges is typical. So the blades themselves can be honed to thinner, and sharper strips that remain sharp through more shaving sessions.
Does not clog when periodic rinsed. The blade strips, while spaced closely, are still far enough apart to allow quick rinsing out of even the thickest whiskers while you shave.
Low skin irritation. Very little pulling, tugging, and whisker snagging, even after ten to fifteen shaves with the same blade, enhancing comfort. The five-blade approach seems less likely to cut pimples, moles, and other bumpy protrusions on facial skin. Even sensitive skin rarely turns red or is left “bumpy” after repeated passes, though splashing on the aftershave still burns like crazy. *smile*
Fewer nicks and cuts. Five blades, while cutting whiskers more efficiently, nick your skin way less. We rarely if ever draw blood these days while shaving; even near the end of the month when it’s time to replace the current razor cartridge.
Less effort for close shave. Five blades, as compared to two or three, require fewer passes over the skin for the same shaving closeness. You don’t have to press as hard during those “final pass” phases, where you’re trying to smooth out that last little bit of whiskery roughness.
Lube strip. Each cartridge features a blue skin lubrication strip, located above the blades. As the lube is spent, the blue strip color fades to white, letting you know that you’re almost out. This “lubrastrip,” in conjunction with the small spacing between blade strips helps make this razor system safe, near effortless, and effective for even the most delicate skin areas such as along the earlobes and underarms.
Edging blade included. On the top back of each cartridge, is a single blade strip that works well for trimming sideburns and those pesky crevices and tender spaces just underneath the nose and beside the lips.
Beard takes longer to grow back. If you’re convinced that you must shave every day in order to avoid five o’clock shadow, this Proglide system may change your mind. While true that for a perfectly smooth face we still must shave seven days out of the week, because this razor shaves significantly closer with fewer strokes than those with fewer blades, we often can get away with semi-weekly or bi-daily shaves. Having to shave less often not only lengthens cartridge life, but also further cuts facial irritation from shaving too often.
Razor positioning less critical. Because the pivoting cartridge automatically aligns itself at the correct cutting angle when you press it against your face, you needn’t fuss as much with correctly holding it.
Easier for novice users to learn. Since the five-blade approach is about as safe as an electric razor, new shavers needn’t worry as much about cutting themselves. Yet they’ll likely experience a professional-looking, closer shave using this product, than with most any powered, vibrating or spinning razor. As long as the directions of your strokes are perpendicular to the blade strips, you will not cut yourself with the Proglide Fusion razor.
Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, Limitations
Costly. Each blade cartridge costs over $4, although we find that these continue cutting close with very little discomfort, even after ten to fifteen shaves. A cartridge typically lasts us a calendar month.
Lube strip depletes long before blade does. The last bit of slickness disappears from our razor cartridges after roughly ten shaves. You might be able to extend this a bit further by avoiding rinsing the razor too often.
No nose trimmer blade. No easy way we’ve found so far, to trim the hairs at the bottom, inside of the nose with this blade. Though the spacing between the strips in the five-blade arrangement is notably modest, the width of the five-blade cartridge is too wide to get far enough into the nose to reach these protruding hairs. The much narrower, two-blade shavers still work better for this part of the grooming process.
Often counterfeited. Be sure to buy these from reputable retailers and sellers. The expense of the originals here encourages knock-offs. So be careful buying. Gillette could benefit by lowering the price of their genuine blades such as to discourage fake blade makers by lowering the potential profits of such seedy operations.
Blade cartridges generally do not fit on non Gillette handles. To guarantee that your blades will attach correctly, you must use a genuine Gillette Fusion handle. Proglide blades will likely not fit on Schick handles. Nor will they even fit on other series Gillette systems such as Sensor and Mach 3. However, Proglide blades do fit on the older Gillette Fusion handles. Too bad these shaving systems are so proprietary.
Lower the price. Fortunately, you can find these blades in “subscription packages,” at online stores like Amazon.com, that automatically ship them to you each month. Buying them this way does save significant cost.
In this razor, you get the smooth shave of a straight razor, with the safety of an electric. This state-of-the-art version of the classic safety razor really does provide the best of both worlds. Plus, unlike the straight, the Proglide requires little to no mastery to use it well. The only drawback we’ve found, is the somewhat higher price per cartridge. But otherwise, we really like this Gillette offering. Thus, we rate it at 94 out of 100.
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- 2015-10-22: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-10-01: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-08-25: Originally published.