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Blade Wars: Astra SP vs. Personna Lab Blue

Blade Wars: Astra SP vs Personna Lab Blue
This blade war pits together two blades that are highly regarded in the wet-shaving community. The Personna Comfort Coated (a.k.a. Lab Blues) have “Super” and “Made in the USA” printed on the blades. They are manufactured in Verona, Virginia. Astra Superior Platinums come in a green box and are manufactured by Petersburg Products International in St. Petersburg, Russia. I paid $12.50 for a 100-pack of Lab Blues and $10 for 100 Astras, both on Ebay.

The Contenders:
$astra and lab blue.jpg

The Razors:
$Razorock Mentors.jpg

I will use two identical Razorock Mentor Razors. The razors have a stainless steel handle with a removable cap. I colored one of the end caps with a blue Sharpie for differentiation, but I will not know which blade is in which razor. I have not used the Mentor before, but its reputation is that is an aggressive, efficient, yet smooth razor. I’ll try to keep the conditions similar during the shaves, except for the blades. I’ll use one razor on each side of my face and switch sides daily. I’ll try to describe what I experience as I’m going, and invite you to share your thoughts along the way.

So what do you think? Do you have a favorite? Astra SP or Personna Lab Blue…which will win the Blade War?
 
Fan of both blades. I find personna labs a hair more sharp but less smooth than Astra SPs. But everyone knows YMMV. I prefer Astras but not by much.

Fun to watch this play out. How many passes per shave?


Sent using Tapatalk
 
I usually shave every day and do two passes. I wish I could do three for the blade comparison, but my face can't take it on a daily basis.
 
Astra vs Lab Blues - Shave 1
1 ½ days growth
soap: Razorock Acquatico, face lather with Omega S-brush (short loft)
sliver razor = right side, blue razor = left side

Pass 1 (WTG) – Right side: smooth, razor glided right along – blade feels sharp, mowed through stubble
Left side: blade feels sharp and smooth

Rinse: both sides feel great! Couldn’t ask for more. I don’t think one side feels closer or better than the other. I could go to work without doing any more shaving… but I won’t.

Pass 2 (XTG – nose to ear) Right: smooth – razor seems to be moving fast, even though I’m not trying to shave fast. Left: Beautiful. Razor seems to be slowing down in spots, but I think it is because the lather is drying as I pause to write down notes.

Pass 3 (XTG – ear to nose) I usually only do two passes, as I typically shave every day and doing three is too rough on my face. I’m trying Nick Shaves’s method of doing a third pass across the grain for the sake of this comparison. As my mother said to her two slovenly sons, “What I do for you kids….”

Each side felt gorgeous during the shave. I was sure the left side of my face was wet before lathering, and there was no slowing down of the razor. Before I go any farther, I have to say that this is about as good as it gets. Every product I used today was inexpensive, including my two new razors, and I got a truly enjoyable, close shave.

Followed with Thayer’s Lemon Witch Hazel and felt around. Both sides are close, the right side may be a tiny, tiny bit closer. Applied some Pinaud Citrus Musk to see if I would get some burn, and I did. I feel some burn on the lower left side of my neck, and the cheek, side of chin, and lower part of my neck on the right side.

Finished with Barbasol Pacific Rush balm.

Both sides are close. The right side may be ever so slightly closer, with a bit more irritation than the left.
 
I love both blades, I started out liking the Astra SP better but now I'm a little more of a fan of the Personna but I think Astra SS is on par with the Personnas with both just slightly better than the Astra SP.
 
I love both blades, I started out liking the Astra SP better but now I'm a little more of a fan of the Personna but I think Astra SS is on par with the Personnas with both just slightly better than the Astra SP.
I haven't tried the Astra SS, but for some reason I've always preferred Lab Blues to Astra SPs. I don't know if my preference is because of performance or simply because I like the thought that they are made in America. We'll see which performs better in my Mentor razors soon.
 
Shave 2

Blue Razor, right side. Silver Razor, left side.
Face lathered Soap Commander Courage with Plisson Synthetic brush

Pass 1 – Blue – good pass. Razor felt a little prickly, like a sharp, new blade sometimes feels during the first shave. Silver – definitely a smoother pass than with the blue. Very comfortable.

Rinse: Right (blue) side may be a tiny bit closer, but I’m not sure of that.

Pass 2 - The second pass with the blue razor was beautiful. Much smoother than the first. The second pass with the silver razor was nice, but at one point it felt as if the blade was a little uneven as it slid across my face. Both sides of my face are closely shaved. I can’t determine if one side is closer than the other.

Splashed on some Brut to see if I would get much of a tingle, and I did. Both sides sting just about as much as the other. I finished with some Nivea Sensitive Cooling PS Balm. The scents of the Nivea and Brut do not seem to blend very well together. (The scent of the Nivea dissipated quickly, so it wasn’t a problem.)

I have three slight weepers under my chin. One is on the left half, one on the right, and one directly in the center. I also have what I can best describe as a scrape mark above my right upper lip. These blades are so smooth it makes me forget that I’m using an aggressive razor. Next shave I intend to be a little more careful.

No clear leader is emerging after two shaves. My faint impression is that the blue is a tiny bit sharper and the silver is a little bit smoother, but it is too early to tell.
 
I have mostly been luke warm toward Astra SPs until recently. I quite enjoy them in certain razors - my Rockwell gave me a great shave yesterday with an R4 plate using the Astra SP. I might dial down to an R2 today as I have 1 days growth not 2. The R2 is a nice mild shave but still very efficient on my tough whiskers.

The Astra SP I used yesterday seemed quite smooth out of the wrapper.
 
I have mostly been luke warm toward Astra SPs until recently. I quite enjoy them in certain razors - my Rockwell gave me a great shave yesterday with an R4 plate using the Astra SP. I might dial down to an R2 today as I have 1 days growth not 2. The R2 is a nice mild shave but still very efficient on my tough whiskers.

The Astra SP I used yesterday seemed quite smooth out of the wrapper.
That Rockwelll razor looks pretty sweet to me. In your opinion, is it worth the money?
 
I rotate both of these blades, along with Gillette Blacks. I have zero complaints about any of the three, but comparing the Labs and Astras, I would agree with what some have said. The Labs seem to last ever so slightly longer, and the Astras are ever so slightly smoother. I love both.
 
Astra SPs are great. Just pitched one after 35 shaves, 3 of the 35 were head shaves. 38 shaves unofficially. The blade is still good for DFS, I get BBS everyday, so it's done.
 
I rotate both of these blades, along with Gillette Blacks. I have zero complaints about any of the three, but comparing the Labs and Astras, I would agree with what some have said. The Labs seem to last ever so slightly longer, and the Astras are ever so slightly smoother. I love both.
Not to hijack thread but curious on your quick thoughts of the Gillette 7 o'clock blacks in comparison to labs and Astra SPs.

(I ask because these two-personna labs and Astras-along with Gillette 7 yellows are my usual rotation of blades)
 
Shave 3 - A Leader Emerges

I gave my face a rare day off shaving yesterday, as my face needed a little recovery time.
Two days growth
TOBS Grapefruit, face lather with Plissoft brush
silver razor: right side of face, blue razor: left side

Pass 1 - sliver (right) - very smooth, clean pass - felt great
blue (left) - there was a tiny bit of pull that I did not experience with the silver razor

Pass 2 - silver - smooth - blade felt sharp
blue- much smoother than the first pass

After rinsing with cold water, I could see and feel that I had a closer shave on the silver side. For this shave, the silver razor felt smoother and provided a closer shave.

Notes: I finished with Thayer's Lemon and Nivea Cooling Balm. My face feels much better than it did after the second shave. I was over-confident with my new Mentor razors, and learned a lesson.
 
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