After watching fancy animated simulations of an enlarged strand of hair being pulled and flawlessly chopped away by a razor blade, men have wondered if five blades are, in fact, better than four. In a world where bigger is better, it only makes sense that more blades would equal better results. But as more and more companies are jumping on the five-blade bandwagon, consumers are starting to ask themselves, “are all those blades necessary?”
From a dermatologist’s perspective, the answer is no. In fact, many skincare experts insist that two blades are better for skin. Using five blades can aggravate skin cells, because there is more friction applied to the face or legs. It has also been shown that the “close shave” these five-blade razors can give might actually cut the hair too short. The definition of a close shave is where hair is cut below the skin’s surface, which can be accomplished through a multi-blade system. The first blade, which is blunt, hooks the hair and pulls it forward. The sharp second blade then comes from behind and slices the hair, which then retracts into the follicle. Five-blade razors apply this tag-team effort twice, cutting the hair down even more, which can cause in grown hairs to form.
Razors that feature multiple blades—- whether three, four or five—- pose the problem of nicks and cuts. Dermatologists and the general public are concerned with being sliced, mostly because pressure applied by the razor can cause skin to push up, forming a hill in front of the blade. If that hill is the first thing the blade comes in contact with, a person will get nicked. Many companies like Gillette claim this is not a problem with their Fusion® razor, because the force is evenly distributed over the five closely spaced blades; not to mention the skin guard that flattens out any hills so cuts are avoided.
It is true that with the addition of blades, more and more advancements have been made to the standard razor. Many of the latest razors on the market come with lubricating strips, pivoting heads, anti-friction blades and skin guards, all of which provide a more enjoyable shaving experience. For many men and women, these features make spending the extra money on a newer razor worthwhile. And while there is no scientific proof that five blades provide a better, closer shave than two blades, some men claim that more blades means their shave lasts longer. This may be true for people with thicker hair, while people with sensitive skin and soft hair are fine sticking with a minimal amount of blades.
When it comes to the number of blades we need to shave our unwanted hair, history tells us that two blades have worked efficiently for years before Gillette launched their three-blade system. In fact, many people think two blades work better simply because they handle precision cornering around the neck and chin better than the wider five-blade razors. So, should you stick with two blades or upgrade to five? It all depends on personal preference as well as skin and hair type.
The bottom line is that no matter what you choose, you will still have to shave on a regular basis to maintain a clean-cut look. And if staying clean-shaven is a constant hassle, perhaps five-blade razors are not the answer. Many dermatologists recommend permanent hair removal solutions for people who struggle with unwanted body hair. Laser hair removal is a great way to permanently reduce hair growth, so you never have to worry about buying another razor again.