For evaluation purposes, I tried these blades with Merkur HD, Merkur LH, and Merkur Slant Bar razors. Throughout testing, I rotated between various high-end creams and soaps and also used 4 different brushes (Rooney, Shavemac, & 2 different Simpson’s). All products and equipment used are items that I am highly familiar/experienced with and items that deliver consistently excellent results.
As a bit of background on the blades I’ve used, for a brief time I served as a blade tester for an overseas vendor. Beyond the Big 5 (Merkur, Derby, IP, Feather, Swedish Gillette), I’ve also used multiple production versions of the Sharp and 7AM blades and have also used those by Dorco. Additionally, I’ve toyed with a majority of the commonly available drugstore/Wal-Mart blades, and a handful of other obscure brands. I say all of this merely to add validity to the statement: I’ve used some very good blades and have also experienced some that are murderously bad.
For my first shave with the Treet Blue Special, I chose my trusty Merkur Long Handle razor, Simpson’s CH1 brush, and D.R. Harris Arlington shave soap. After going through extensive beard prep, I lathered up, loaded my razor, and went to work.
At the completion of the first pass, I was convinced that I must have pulled the unfortunate dud from the pack. I shucked it and unwrapped the second blade, only to be equally thrilled by its supreme dullness. This blade drug and pulled more than a rusty butter knife. Being the trooper that I am, however, I forged onward. I made:
and then spent the better part of 5 minutes blade buffing and j-hooking before finally reaching the ever coveted SPS (Sand Paper Smooth) shave for which we all strive. : To save you the math, that is 7 passes, plus an ungodly amount of touch-up work.
- 3 N-S passes
- 1 diagonal-down
- 1 horizontal
- 1 diagonal up
- 1 S-N
I had no razor burn, no cuts, and no nicks, but my face literally felt bruised from all of the vicious pulling. I could have sworn that I had ripped every hair out by its roots, yet I still wore a Miami-Vice style beard.
All subsequent shaves (1 more with the LH, 2 with the HD and 1 with the slant) were equally bad or worse than this first experience. I am truly astounded at how despicably bad these blades are. They are nothing close to sharp and the pull/drag is truly a marvel of modern metallurgy. If this is the best that Pakistan has to offer, I am in awe that every Pakistani man is not sporting a Rumpelstiltskin. This product is a tragic waste of metal.
Price – If ordered by the 100, these blades will run $0.15 - $0.20 per blade (with shipping). This is not a bad price and certainly competitive with many of the other popular choices available.
Sharpness – In comparison to reputable brands that I have/do use, these blades are pathetically dull.
Longevity – The longevity of this blade is greatly influenced by its tendency to quickly rust (I could see bits of rust within 24 hours). Aside from this fact, being that an unused blade is dull, longevity isn’t really an issue.
Smoothness of Shave – At the end of each multiple pass shave with this blade, regardless of razor and lathering product, I had much stubble remaining.
Packaging/Presentation – These blades come in an attractive enough cardboard 10-pack. Each blade is double wrapped (wax paper, then paper) which is a pretty standard practice for blades that come in soft/non-rigid packs. The colors and graphics chosen have a cool retro look to them and the fact that the blades themselves are black carries a fairly high cool factor.
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Treet Blue Special
- Average User Rating:
Recent User Reviews
"Very much starting to like this blade"
Pros - Traditional carbon edge feel, price, razor friendliness
Cons - Will not feel as sharp as a good stainless blade, maintenance required to prevent rust
If you're the sort of shaver that pairs a mild razor with a super sharp stainless steel blade, this blade will probably not work for you. The Treet black carbon steel blade (sometimes referred to as the "black beauty") offers the same feel as vintage carbon steel DE blades during the shave but are of newer production (nation of origin: Pakistan), and are thinner than the original .006" thick carbon steel blades (same thickness as today's contemporary stainless blades at .004").
If you have never used a carbon steel blade before, it is important to note several things: for one, they will not match the surgical sharpness of a coated stainless steel blade. Second, they require a minimum amount of maintenance between shaves in order to prevent rusting of the blade. Normally this is nothing more than rinsing it after the shave, blotting it carefully (do not wipe) with tissue or similar absorbent material, then putting it away for the next shave.
I have used the Treet black carbon steel in several different razors with very good results, including the Gillette Adjustable 195, the Slim, the late 40's Aristocrat and the Schone open comb three piece razor. One razor I tried them in and do not recommend anyone else do so is in the Muhle R41. That was a very rough and uncomfortable shave. What carbon steel blades can do is offer a bit more forgiveness when used in some razors while reducing the tendency to irritate.
These blades commonly ship in a 10 pack tuck, with each blade individually wrapped in a wax inner liner which is held within the outer wrapper. This will aid in storage longevity when they are kept in a suitable, low humidity storage environment.
I am able to get several shaves per blade using a two-pass plus touch up routine, but have not pushed them further. Some users have reported they get upward of 5 to 7 shaves on this blade. That number of shaves given the cost per blade, make it an excellent value.
Whether a carbon steel blade is right for you can only be determined through a trial period, best done by grabbing some samplers. For me, they breathe new life into my vintage Gillette's and offer a nice post-shave feel reminiscent of the day when Gillette double edge razors and carbon steel blades dominated the shaving market.
"Prior to using these blades, Treet Platinums were "
Pros - inexpensive
Cons - work better in certain razors
Prior to using these blades, Treet Platinums were my go-to choice. It's safe to say that has not changed, but I have found my new second favorite blades.
First of all, these blades look cool. I know of no other manufacturer that still produces black/blue blades like this. Sure you can get vintage blades, but I'd rather have something I know I can get again.
But what we're really interested in is performance, appearance could matter less. These blades don't work as universally well as the Platinum version, but in certain razors they blow everything else out of the water. Some specific examples are my Parker 87r, 1954 Gillette SS, and early 1940s Gillette Tech.
A razor they do not work well with is my Merkur 38c, which came as a real surprise to me. That is generally the razor I use to test all my new blades with, but in this instance the two just don't get along. They also didn't get along well with my Merkur 37c.
The sharpness of these blades is slightly lower than the Platinum version, but the smoothness is ever so slightly higher. Again I stress that this figure seems to change depending on what razor they're in.
Longevity is where these blades take a bit of a beating. I get three comfortable shaves out of one, but the fourth is torture. It's truly astonishing how much a blade can transform from one shave to the next. I can easily get 5-6 shaves with the Platinums.
Interestingly enough, I've never seen rust develop on one of these. Then again I never had one in my razor more than a day or so without use.
So my recommendation for these is as follows: Use them in vintage or mild razors if you want to get the most out of both.
"This is a really nice carbon steel blade. In fact "
Pros - Smooooth and close shaves
Cons - Made in Pakistan, just in case that puts you off.
This is a really nice carbon steel blade. In fact it's one of the best I've ever used - carbon or stainless.
The blades seem to be very well made and haven't had a dud so far.
I get an excellent shave with these blades, very close and always smooth and irritation free with my Merkur 37C slant bar. I'm especially impressed with the way these babies treat (or Treet) the skin on my neck. No more ingrown hairs or redness at all.
As far as rust goes, I've never seen any, though I suspect the black colouring would stop that. I just take the blade out and give it a flick to remove excess water.
I can get three good comfortable shaves out of one blade and squeeze out a fourth OK shave if I have to. So that's good value for me.
The blades are a sexy black colour and come in the regular board tuck, wrapped in cellophane. The blades are wrapped in wax paper, no glue (YAY) then in a "Treet" envelope. Ten blades to a tuck. So it all pretty standard stuff there.
You should grab a few of these Black Beauties, I think you'll like them.