Revisited the Gillette Sensor

Discussion in 'Cartridge Razors' started by HoosierTrooper, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. HoosierTrooper

    HoosierTrooper Steve-less in Indiana

    I recently picked up a Gillette Sensor and three Atra's at a local antique and thrift store so I picked up a 5 pack of the Excel carts at WM for $11.83 :( I used these "back in the day", I remember having two, but gave them up for the Mach 3 and have no idea whatever happened to them, but I still have the Mach 3.
    This morning I loaded one onto the handle, lathered up with vintage Williams from the Glen Rock plant and a vintage Kingsley brush and had at it. The results? Spectacular. It was an absolutely flawless, effortless, irritation free shave.
    Will this replace the SE's, injectors and DE's I've amassed over the last couple of years? Absolutely not, but the results certainly warrant keeping it around. Next up is one of the Atra's as soon as I find some cartridges.
    And, since I'm aware of the no pics, didn't happen rule here is a glamour shot of the "vintage" Sensor :lyrtuy5:
    gorgo2, Boojum1, 5Savages and 4 others like this.
  2. ChemErik

    ChemErik Mr. Personality

    That was my first razor. It was really new at the time and I used it until I moved to the mach 3. I really believe Gillette had a decline in Sensor blade quality when the Mach 3 came out, which along with a free handle in the mail led me to switch.

    I would be interested in picking up another Sensor or Atra handle to try out and maybe use during the couple times per year I fly out of town.
  3. Infotech

    Infotech Active Member

    Gillette sent me one of these razors a couple of months before my 18th birthday. I used them for quite a while, until I finally had to "upgrade" to the Mach3. I still have one around and use it every now and then. While the results are good, I just don't like the feel of the cartridge.
  4. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    The Sensor Xcel was the razor I was using at the time I switched over to safety razors. Not bad at the time. Of course, I didn't know any different. I still have it sitting in my dresser.

    Yup. I'm a pack rat. 30+ razors, enough soap and blades to last several years, and I'm hanging on to the ol' Sensor because... because... because, well, you just never know! (all you fellow pack rats understand, don't you?)
    gorgo2, Boojum1, youngunn and 6 others like this.
  5. Slivovitz

    Slivovitz Well-Known Member

    The Sensor is one of the cartridge razors I caught up on after taking up with the classic safeties. My first cartridge had been a Trac II, I eventually moved on to Atra, and just stuck with that until rediscovering DEs. Afterward, though, I was curious enough about razors in general to try out some of the too expensive cartridges I'd been avoiding.

    For me, the Sensor's shave is rough but not uncomfortable; I don't know how to explain it better than that. It doesn't have the smooth feeling I get shaving with a single blade, but it doesn't irritate my skin, and leaves me with a close shave. I tried it with the Sensor twin blade cartridges that came with it, and also with some Personna "Tri-Flexxx" cartridges that I'd thrown in on an order from Both worked about the same, actually used only one of each so I have some left.

    It won't replace any of my regular razors, but as a possible travel razor in some situations, it's worth hanging on to. I usually find a way to bring an injector with me, though, by mailing blades ahead.

    One thing, though, the build quality seems inferior to my old Atra. The tabs or whatever you call them that grab the cartridge are flimsy looking plastic, compared to the metal ones on my old Atra.
  6. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    The Sensor was the razor that made me move to electrics full time for many years. Now that I have found wetshaving, I enjoy my DE/Injectors and 2 bladed Trac II and Atras (now that I have stock of cartridges available). I agree with Slivovitz on the Sensor handle and it's build quality. I have a Burma Shave handle that uses Sensor blades. I tried it recently and still did not like it near as much as the Trac II and Atras even although the Burma Shave handle is excellent and pretty to boot.
  7. crackstar

    crackstar Israeli Ambassador to TSD

    My friend has a Sensor and he uses it only every 2nd day. He swears by the Mach 3. If I could only at least get him to try a brush and a real cream or soap...........
  8. Jaymo

    Jaymo Active Member

    The original Sensor is what made me switch FROM electrics, back in 1990. I loved the shaves I got with it, until Gillette CONvinced me that 3 blades were better than 2, and sent me a free Mach3.
    I agree about the build quality, but my Sensors(I also have a Sensor Excel) have lasted thus far.
    I plan on buying some Triflexx carts and a Triflexx handle when I order my Atra carts from Personna.
    My wife has the original Gillette Venus(now called the Sensor for women). It's the beavertail shaped handle.
    Boojum1 likes this.
  9. Mechguy

    Mechguy Well-Known Member

    That was the last handle I ever had, and I still keep it in my travel kit, just in case. I never saw the need to move up to the "new and improved" models. It worked. For me its not as good as the shaves I get now, and its definitely not as enjoyable.

    I made the change, and I don't regret it at all. Takes more time, but I love every minute.
  10. Hanzo

    Hanzo Well-Known Member

    I used the Sensor for many years and got bad shaves with it. My beard is coarse and I think carts of all kinds just tear me up . It was a Sensor shave with a generic cheap blade the sliced up my skin for the last time , then I vaguely remembered a thing called a safety razor , " I wonder if they still sell those".
    battle.munky and GDCarrington like this.
  11. Jaymo

    Jaymo Active Member

    The FUsion and Mach3 did the same thing to me that the Sensor did to Hanzo.
    Funny thing is that I had the same thought process about safety razors that he did.
    I first started looking into it on bladeforums dot com and then here, shavemyface, and B&B.
    Then I caught RAD. Now, there's no help for me.
    178-bplatoon likes this.
  12. battle.munky

    battle.munky Has the menthol.munky on his back!

    The Sensor was my first razor too. I snuck and used Dad's Atra (I think it was) a few times before, but then got a Sensor handle. I remember shaving but I don't recall their quality but I do seem to recall the burn an hour or so after the fact. Then I went to boot camp and used their absolute cheap-o disposables until I got out and went back to my Sensor until I switched to disposables after my sensor handle broke. I remember when my buddy got the Mach3, we all thought it was going to be amazing and couldn't wait to try it, but that was around the time I went away and I never did.

    Then they made them vibrate!

    tommyboy923 likes this.
  13. Jaymo

    Jaymo Active Member

    I've used my old Sensor a couple of times lately with ASR carts and it just isn't agreeing with my face anymore. Face burns for an hour or so after shaving.
    My 1984 Atra with ASR carts gives me very good shaves. Guess there's no going back to the Sensor for me.
  14. HoosierTrooper

    HoosierTrooper Steve-less in Indiana

    Maybe try the genyouwine Gillette cartridges, see if they work better than the ASR's.
  15. Jaymo

    Jaymo Active Member

    Unfortunately, the Gillette carts are what I used in it when I decided to make the switch to DE.
    I dunno. We'll see.
  16. Uncle Brian

    Uncle Brian Active Member

    I remember the Sensor from the days when I wasn't really old enough to shave but did anyway, I think the razor I had before it was the Gillette Tech. If I get a chance I will definitely pick up one of these and give it a go.
    I still have a Mach3 which is so old all the graphics have worn from it and I really can't remember buying it. The last lot of blades I got for the M3 were counterfeit and did not give the best shave. I never even knew such things as fake blades existed.
    Using a Fusion Proglide Power most days now and while it's the best razor I have ever used I'm open to trying anything else any time as ya just never know.
    Leo K. likes this.
  17. Leo K.

    Leo K. Well-Known Member

    The Sensor was my razor of choice upon becoming a man and moving into my own place. I used this and the Sensor Excel for years. I have fond memories of it. I got good shaves. I have two old Sensor Excels remaining from that era of my life. I was about to go back to it this year right before discovering I could wet shave.

    I do want a Trac II at some point. For nostalgia sake.
    Boojum1, dougr and Raven312 like this.
  18. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    I have the Sensor Excel. Used it every day since it came out up until three weeks ago (before that it was the Atra Plus). Never made the switch to more than 2 blades/cartridge; didn't like the way they shaved under my nose or my sideburns. You can get very tight with the Sensor. One pass CCS for many years. I tried going ATG with it once but it wouldn't do it. Only ever used Gillette cartridges in it - cost of doing business. Any other brand didn't last as long so they did pay. I could go about a week on a Gillette cartridge so it cost me about $.30 each shave. And I would get complaints from the ladies if you know what I mean. Those days are over now. I'm in double edge heaven :).
    Leo K. likes this.
  19. Lexicon Devil

    Lexicon Devil the Liberace of shaving

  20. Uncle Brian

    Uncle Brian Active Member

    I went to the local store and got some blades for my Mach3 today and when I got home I found they were bad counterfeit ones. They don't even pivot properly oh, dear me :(

    I did find Sensor carts for sale which I hope no one has taken the time to counterfeit.

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