Gillette Atra Razor

The Indomitable Gillette Atra Razor

The Gillette Atra… ahh… as Brett Hart used to say “the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be” of multi-blade cartridge razors. The Atra is also very special to me; and that’s why I chose to feature it as the first item in the Gear section. I first learned how to shave my head with a Gillette Atra.

When I was about 16 my dad bought me a Remington electric shaver from the old FedCo store at the corner of Jefferson and La Cienega. This was in the lat 1980′s. That FedCo is now long gone. Thinking all young people are into electric razors, my dad promoted the Remington, and I agreed. But soon I realized that it chewed up my face – though I thought this was just normal shaving. I had long hair at the time. One day I decided to shave the sides of my head using the Remington. It literally made the sides of my head raw. Once the sides of my head healed, I popped a new cartridge into my dad’s Atra Plus and used regular Dove soap to finish shaving the sides of my head and continued on to shave my face too. And that… was that! I never looked back.

The Atra was a progression from the Gillette Trac that added a pivoting head. The shaves were comfortable and mechanics of shaving were very easy. And I think the Atra was the last time Gillette’s technical excellence superseded marketing savvy (see Gillette Mach 3 and Fusion later). I loved that Atra. But I don’t know what happened to it once I bought into the Mach 3 / Fusion advertisements. The Atra, however, is still available in some regions of the world where it is often marketed under the Contour name. Col. Conk and some other brands still make higher-end handles with an Atra head assembly. ASR Personna makes Personna Twin PIVOT Plus Cartridges that’ll fit the Atra. Right now, an Atra with pack of Twin Pivots from Amazon is probably the best shave for your money.

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