Is Gillette Mach 3 a good razor for men?

My thoughts on Mach 3. This got a little wordier than I planned but I hope it's helpful. I haven't used a cartridge razor since I was a teenager but I vividly remember hating the experience and especially remember the terrible post shave feel.

I was wondering whether to use the best electric razor for men or a cheap safety razor? I used an electric razor most of my life but since getting into wet shaving I've been curious about giving carts another shot. I suspect that my problems were due to poor technique, not having enough hair growth to need a cart, and not washing my face thoroughly enough after the shave. 

I've also been exploring options for air travel and other situations where safety razors can be difficult to carry or use. I've left reviews of some disposable razors here but wasn't very impressed with any.

After trying the Mach 3 with a variety of products and shaving every other day, my conclusion is that while it won’t be replacing my safety razors anytime soon I was surprised to find that it is a great razor. It worked well with all soaps and creams I tried except TOBS. 

It was far superior to any disposable I've used with a more comfortable, grippier handle and much less of a tendency to cause nicks. I even preferred it to the Bic single blade sensitive disposable.

And If I'm going, to be honest, it has even some advantages over safety razors. It lives up to its name: it's very fast. You can get a DFS quickly with very little effort and the technique is undeniably simpler. 

It gets under the nose with ease and I would usually get a better shave above the upper lip than with a DE, not because I can't with a safety razor but because the effort to do so without causing nicks and irritation usually isn't worth it. 

Parts of my face are very prone to irritation due to seborrheic dermatitis (it's the reason I got into wet shaving) and despite my fears, the Mach 3 did not irritate my skin, at least on the first few uses (more on that later).

But as I said, it won't be replacing my safety razors any time soon and that's because it definitely has some flaws. I could get a great DFS with it but could never get the DFS+/BBS that I consistently get with an adjustable safety razor. 

How many shaves can you get from a Mach 3 razor?

And the cost. It's no secret that carts are pricey but Gillette advertises that each one lasts 15 shaves so I was hoping that would offset the increase over DE blades.

15 uses is at best an optimistic estimate and at worst false advertising. My hair is probably less thick and coarse than the average man's but after around five shaves it would feel rough and would cause nicks on the neck while visibly irritating sensitive areas. It was not as bad as a DE blade after five uses, which is like dragging a rusty steak knife across your face, so maybe you could push it a few uses past five but with a serious decline in performance.

But the main problem with Mach 3 is that it has no soul. Shaving with a cartridge razor is about removing hair and nothing else. 

There is no level of enjoyment and if anything, the main advantage is that it does so quickly, not that it gives you any experience to savor. It's just another part of your routine like brushing your teeth. For that reason alone, it could never replace a safety razor.

Final words

I hope you enjoyed this review and I plan to add a review of the Gillette Skinguard soon. Stay safe and shave on. In the comments, I'll include a brief overview of the products I used and which ones worked best.