Open comb razors, are they more aggressive?
a Recent investigation into problem skin and how to find ways and means around it had me spend a lot of time with a select few razors, and one in particular has me doubting the general perception that open comb razors are more aggressive than their solid bar cousins. The razor I am referring to has our SRD3 head, it has a solid, scalloped bar on the one side, and an open comb on the other. Many uses with various blades has given me consistent results, and every time I get a closer shave with the solid bar. If you hit the forums most will describe an open comb as slightly more aggressive, some will say it is the same, but very few will say the solid bar is more aggressive.
I have no tools to allow precise measurement of blade protrusion and gap, so I'll assume the head was manufactured with the two sides being the same, apart from the one side being the solid bar and the other open comb. I have a pretty good eye for angles and dimensions, and looking at the side of the plate they seem to be the same in length from the centre line. I have also tried to move the blade around the little play there is. Even when playing around with the few variants there were, the results were consistently the same, namely a closer shave on the solid bar.
I think many folks use more pressure or more strokes with OC's as they leave more soap on your face, and it takes 'more work' to achieve a 'soap-free' shave area, this could indeed be the reason for it having built a reputation for being more aggressive. Repetitive strokes and more pressure wil certainly deliver a closer shave, a while ago I did away with the 'let-the-weight-of-the-razor-do-the work' practice, applied lots of pressure and got a different set of results, but more of that on a next blog.
For me the value of the open comb lies in the shaving medium it leaves behind on your face, and possibly in the shaving of long beard as it 'directs' facial hair to avoid them laying parallel to the cutting edge of the blade. They are great razors for users with sensitive skin, as too little soap causes friction, this in turn causes abrasion, and this brings about tender or problem skin. I also think this is part of the problem with mainstream razors, they don't allow for any choice in the amount of shaving medium it leaves on your face, add a can of shaving foam with a host of unknown chemicals and poor lubrication/slip qualities, and you could be setting your skin up for a fair amount of punishment.
Although open comb razors look quite 'mean', this particular razor has become one of a few favourites that I suggest users buy when they have sensitive or problem skin. My suggestion is to start on the open comb side and keep going until their issues have cleared up, only then trying the closed comb for a closer shave. Should any problems rear its head again they can fall back onto the open comb again. This is also a great little razor to play around with if you enjoy the technical side of things, or if you have sensitive skin only in certain places; for many guys doing your cheeks on the solid bar and neck area with the open comb could be the long lost Shaving-Nirvana they have been searching for all their lives!
Drop us a message if you had the same, or different experience with your hardware.