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Blind Blade Test - 63 blades

This is my journal for an ultimate blade test. This might be boring reading until the end. I’ll be testing 63 different blades, and to be sure I give each blade a fair test, I am testing each blind — I won’t know the results until the very end. This way, I (hopefully) erase any subconscious bias based on reviews I may have read, or if I have a bias because I think a blade has a stupid name, etc.

Each blade is numbered, and my beautiful wife volunteered to administer the test. She will load the blades for me, record the number and date, keep the unused blades and discard the used ones, and I will use each blade not having a clue to which one it is each time. I’ll rate each blade and date as I use it, and at the end I’ll see which blade was what and see who the winners and losers are.

I did a similar test, must smaller in scale, and it gave very interesting results. Some blades that were highly touted didn’t do so good for me, and a couple others that don’t get good reviews actually did ok for me. Like we all say, YMMV.

YMMV is so true with blades. In the end, my results won’t matter to others but I hope to discover a few more blades that I like. I’ll just document here because it’s convenient and maybe others will try a similar experiment on their own.

Currently I only have three different Blades in my rotation that give me great results. I included those with this batch. I also included a couple that gave me a bad time when tested a couple years ago. It will be interesting to see how these stackup.

I‘ll use the same razor throughout and limit soaps to 2-3 that give me similar consistent performance. Just to limit variables.

Scoring System
Some way of keeping score is needed, so I came up with a crude point system broken in categories as below:

Effectiveness of 1st pass, 1-5 pts
Results after 3 passes, 1-5 pts
Alum Block Test, 1-5 pts
General Impression, 1-3pts
Amount of cleanup needed, 1-5pts
Post Shave Feel, 1-5 pts
Next day feel, 1-2 pts

Total score possible 7-30 pts

Here are the Blades to be tested, listed alphabetically:

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Nice!

Will each blade be used multiple times to see how the behaviors change and overall longevity? Even with 63 n=1 iterations, this sounds very cool
 
Will each blade be used multiple times to see how the behaviors change and overall longevity?
I really wish I could test each blade multiple times. Sadly though I can’t. I have a serious problem with blades rusting. I have a separate thread that shows that problem Here. I live in a very saltwater climate and I’m that one person in the world who can only get one use out of a blade (until I figure out a solution that doesn’t involve any work porque soy flojo)

I suppose the good thing out of that is that this won’t take me 10 years to complete this. Still, it would be much more interesting to use each multiple times.
 
I had a couple typos in my Blind Blade Test Scoring System™️ And it’s updated below:

Effectiveness of 1st pass, 1-5 pts
Results after 3 passes, 1-5 pts
Alum Block Test, 1-5 pts
General Impression, 0-3pts
Amount of cleanup needed, 1-5pts
Post Shave Feel, 1-5 pts
Next day feel, 0-2 pts

Total score possible 5-30 pts
 
Sounds like a post-test solution for you is bulk ordering blades from Dorco or Derby if shipping to your peninsula is affordable. In the USA, 1,000 Dorco blades is less than $50USD and 200 Derby Extra blades are less than $10USD
 
Sounds like a post-test solution for you is bulk ordering blades from Dorco or Derby if shipping to your peninsula is affordable. In the USA, 1,000 Dorco blades is less than $50USD and 200 Derby Extra blades are less than $10USD
Receiving mail is no problem. Other areas it would be though. Thankfully I am able to cross the border, interact with the very friendly and professional border guards, and use a mail box across the border In the US. It’s a little bit of a hassle so I only go once a month or so to check mail
 
Shave #1 Results 4/30
Yesterday was the first shave, and I’m reporting today because a small part of the overall score includes next day feel.

The blade definitely had a different feel to it than what I have been using. During the first pass it didn't feel super sharp and it even felt like maybe it was scraping a little. I was worried that this was heading to a bad place, but I pressed on.

The first pass was average. Surprisingly there was no sign of irritation or blood. I finished my usual 3 passes and my face felt surprisingly quite smooth. Some of my usual tough spots were taken care of, no cuts or weepers, then on the the Alum block test.

I braced myself for an expected major sting, but there was hardly any. Just a teeny tiny spot on my neck that I seem to get no matter what, but no big deal.

I do touch up after the alum block, I know I’m an oddball, and really there wasn’t anything to touch up. Just a small area on the jaw line. What a nice surprise, I wound up with a solid BBS shave with the very first mystery blade. Usually I need to touch up the corners of my mouth, and lower chin, but didn’t have to with this blade.

Post shave felt really great, and today face feels very good. All in all, I’m really surprised because there was nothing special with how the shave felt. I didn’t have and immediate reaction where I thought “I got to order this one”, but the results are very solid and maybe better than any of the blades I have been using in my rotation to date. I can’t wait to find out what blade this was. It was no frills, but got the job done very well and that’s what counts.

Final Score Summary:

Effectiveness of 1st pass, 3.5 pts
Results after 3 passes, 4.5 pts
Alum Block Test, 4 pts
General Impression, 2 pts
Amount of cleanup needed, 4.5 pts
Post Shave Feel, 5 pts
Next day feel, 2 pts

TOTAL SCORE: 25.5
 
Sounds like a post-test solution for you is bulk ordering blades from Dorco or Derby if shipping to your peninsula is affordable. In the USA, 1,000 Dorco blades is less than $50USD and 200 Derby Extra blades are less than $10USD
Your mention of Dorco is actually what gave me the idea to do a blind test.

I’ve read many reviews that really ripped various Dorco blades and there are some Youtube reviews that give it a fail. Furthermore, I didnt want to use it because of the name. It sounded too much like Dork, and who wants to be a Dork shaver? Also, I didnt want my kid to think his dad is a “dork shaver”. Haha.

At the other extreme, it seems everyone on the planet loves Astra SP blades or one of several other popular blades.

Thats what gave me the idea to do a blind test because that would be the only way I could give each a fair test.

it’s silly, I know, but we all are capable of baseless bias or subconscious influence and for me, I think this will be the best way to find the right blade(s) is to test them blind and go purely by the results no matter what
 

BigJ

Ambassador
Your mention of Dorco is actually what gave me the idea to do a blind test.

I’ve read many reviews that really ripped various Dorco blades and there are some Youtube reviews that give it a fail. Furthermore, I didnt want to use it because of the name. It sounded too much like Dork, and who wants to be a Dork shaver? Also, I didnt want my kid to think his dad is a “dork shaver”. Haha.

At the other extreme, it seems everyone on the planet loves Astra SP blades or one of several other popular blades.

Thats what gave me the idea to do a blind test because that would be the only way I could give each a fair test.

it’s silly, I know, but we all are capable of baseless bias or subconscious influence and for me, I think this will be the best way to find the right blade(s) is to test them blind and go purely by the results no matter what
Blind testing is a great choice (if you have the will power)!!

For example, in the wine or spirits trade the most useful reviews are done in blinded fashion!! I have participated in some events where supermarket wines scored better than elite, high $ wines!! Tons of fun when you eliminate the marketing!! :clap: :clap:
 
Blind testing is a great choice (if you have the will power)!!

For example, in the wine or spirits trade the most useful reviews are done in blinded fashion!! I have participated in some events where supermarket wines scored better than elite, high $ wines!! Tons of fun when you eliminate the marketing!! :clap: :clap:
Absolutely. Some of the tastiest wines I've had have been supermarket wines. I can still recall an inexpensive Côtes du Rhône from a few years ago!
 
With the blind testing, for my case, I think it’s the only way to give each blade a fair test. There’s just no denying there would be some subconscious bias with many of the well discussed blades.

I have only used 4 blades regularly, and those were found from a mini blind test a couple years ago, and I’m super curious to see how those stackup. And to see if I find even better ones that work for me.

I even included the duds from the original blind test. Maybe those will work better this time due to improved technique. I’m sure there will be many surprises in the final results.
 
Shave #2 Results 5/2
For the second shave, done yesterday, the blade had a feel to it that it was getting ”down to business.” This was noticed in the first pass. It just felt like it was cutting and taking no prisoners. Perhaps that means it is pretty sharp? Anyway, it did a decent first pass and there was no feeling of slight scraping sensation as yesterday. No cuts, or weepers or irritation. I felt a couple areas that felt like they got missed so I’ll blame that on my technique.

The second pass went well, but when I got to the third ATG pass, an area of my neck looked like it got shredded. Oddly, that didn’t feel irritated but it was ugly. There was about 4-5 blood patches. It’s hard to tell if that was the blade or me, but I’ll lean towards putting the blame on me because I normally stretch the skin in that area and for some reason I didn’t do that yesterday. (For the next shaves, I’ll remember to stretch my neck skin to stay consistent)

As expected, the alum block didn’t feel so great in that roughed up area, but there were also a couple other spots that had minor irritation.

Just a couple areas needed cleanup. My usual tough spots like corner of mouth and jawline.

Post shave, surprisingly, felt very good. I did get a solid BBS from this blade and the skin felt very good. Even the roughed up area recovered pretty quickly, and didn’t look too bad.

Next day feel, today, very nice. Face feels zero irritation and still very smooth.

It looks like another solid shave. This blade did feel different to what I have been using in my rotation, so it seems to be one I might have never tried before. I just wish I didn’t deviate from my technique so I could know for sure if the neck shred was from the blade or me, so I’ll have to take the blame for that.

This is going to take will-power because I’m already dying to see what these two mystery blades are that gave good results.

Final Score Summary:

Effectiveness of 1st pass, 4.0 pts
Results after 3 passes, 4.5 pts
Alum Block Test, 3.5 pts
General Impression, 2 pts
Amount of cleanup needed, 4.0 pts
Post Shave Feel, 5 pts
Next day feel, 2 pts

TOTAL SCORE: 25.0
 
Shave #3 Results 5/4

Wow, three very solid shaves in a row. This blade used yesterday was probably the best I have experienced since starting this new shaving method.

This blade again had a feel to it like it was one that‘s not in my regular rotation. The first pass felt very smooth and effective. After three passes, I noticed all my usual difficult spots were taken care of.

The alum block test was near perfect. If I had to nitpick, there was just one small spot on my cheek that had a very faint sting and that likely is due to technique.

Cleanup was very minimal. Just a couple very small areas.

This blade did make a good impression. It’s the first one I used where I said to myself “I need to order a 100 of these”

The suspense is killing me. I won’t know until I finish all the blades. Whatever blade this is, it gave me probably the best shave I ever experienced. Very BBS, zero irritation. Post shave feel was perfect. These are the type of shaves we all strive to have.

3 down, 60 to go.

Final Score Summary:

Effectiveness of 1st pass, 4.5 pts
Results after 3 passes, 4.5 pts
Alum Block Test, 4.5 pts
General Impression, 3 pts
Amount of cleanup needed, 4.5 pts
Post Shave Feel, 5 pts
Next day feel, 2 pts

TOTAL SCORE: 28.0. (this blade takes the lead with a very impressive score)
 
You are using the exact same make/model of lather and brush for all the tests right? It was not mentioned in OP, that's why I ask.
Yes, that is correct.

Originally I was going to rotate among 2-3 soaps that give me similar performance, but I changed that to just stick with the same soap throughout.

same with the razor. Keeping that the same. The only real variables are the blades.
 
Shave #4 Results 5/6

After experiencing three blades in a row with continuous improvement, I began to wonder if I might be one of those lucky guys that can get great results out of any blade. Also with the previous shave being the best I experienced, I really looked forward to today’s test.

And then suddenly all came crashing down to earth. Today’s blade sucked. I finally experienced a truly horrible blade. Sure, I’ve experienced blades that didn’t work so good but today’s took that to a new low.

During the first stroke, of the first pass, it felt as if the blade was ripping the whiskers out of their roots from the skin. It hurt like a sob. No way, I thought, can I get through an entire shave like this, but I soldiered on. The first pass was painful. When I got to my chin, my eyes started to water. The blade just couldn’t cut through my two day growth. I told myself it will get better the further along I got, and I hoped also that the blade might start to sharpen up. Sadly, none of that happened. It got worse and worse.

I did the second pass, and even that felt horrible. This was the definition of a dull blade. When it was time to go ATG, it was hell. The blade just couldn’t do it on the chin and upper lip area. I had to go XTG again on those areas. It was so bad, I should have aborted but I wasn’t getting cut and for as much of the whiskers being ripped from their skin root, there was’t too much irritation.

During an alum block test there was moderate irritation. Everywhere.

Touch up was futile. All I was going to accomplish was get irritation or cut. I made a few attempts, but the blade couldn’t even handle that. It was truly remarkable what a piece of ka ka this blade is. I’ll be stunned if there are anyone on this planet that gets good results from this blade.

Post shave feel was very bad. I looked like a 12 year old who shaved the first time, minus the cuts. There were small patches of whiskers left in several places. The shave was a total failure. I really hope this was the very worst blade in the batch because I do not want to repeat an experience like this ever again.

I should have aborted. Next time, if I come across a blade like this again, I will abort. It’s not worth it. I shouldn’t have pressed on, but at the same time I wanted to give it a fair chance. I’m lucky I didn’t get more damage than I did.

Next day feel, today, the areas that had whiskers scraped and pulled from skin roots are a little red. It’s convenient I’m home in lockdown. I wouldn't want to be out in public like this.

I‘m dying to find out what is this horrible blade, but it won’t be known until the very end.

Final Score Summary:

Effectiveness of 1st pass, 1.0 pts
Results after 3 passes, 1.0 pts
Alum Block Test, 3.0 pts
General Impression, 0 pts
Amount of cleanup needed, 1.0 pts
Post Shave Feel, 1.0 pts
Next day feel, 0 pts

TOTAL SCOPE: 7.0

(this blade currently has the dishonor of being the worst one so far)

It will be interesting if there are more experienced guys out there who would care to take a guess, which blade from the list what this *** is, and see at the end of their prediction was true.
 
Shave #5 Results 5/8

It’s still very early in this experiment but I’ve quickly learned something: Blades do matter. (duh) What I mean is, it matters if one is seeking the most comfortable and enjoyable shave, the blade is a big factor. And everyone will likely have a different blade that serves them well. So, this big experiment is going to be worth it to me in the end because I’m confident I’m going to find the perfect blade, or blades, that work for me.

Yesterday’s shave was the definition of smooth. Smoothness is one of those subjective factors. Something that can’t have a universal number assigned that applies to everyone. You just have to find one that works for your skin and whisker type.

The first stroke with this blade felt like maybe it didn’t have a blade. I didn’t really hear the whiskers slicing as loud as I usually do and it felt so smooth. This is what smooth is. (keep in mind I’ve only been at this hobby for about 3 years and haven’t tried a ton of different blades, just 10 or so)

The strokes felt so smooth and effortless, I caught myself almost getting cocky with the technique. After the first pass, I just couldn’t believe how smooth this blade was. I never experienced anything like it.

On to the next passes. The cutting wasn‘t super efficient but it was reducing little by little each pass. I had other blades mow down the whiskers quickly. This one was doing little by little, which is fine and follows the method I learned from our online friend Sharpologist who preaches stubble reduction on each pass.

On the ATG pass, it stood out by how it handled the upper lip or more commonly called the mustache area, and my chin and other tough spots. It was actually fairly comfortable going ATG with this blade. It was impressive. I have never experienced that kind of comfort of ATG.

There was a little cleanup needed. Just my usual tough spots and no big deal.

Alum block test was pretty uneventful. One spot was probably due to me going over it a couple more times because if felt so effortless and comfortable.

Post shave feel was solid. A very complete BBS, minus my neck. I pretty much gave up on being able to get BBS on my neck with any blade, but it was acceptable. The face though, definitely solid BBS.

Post shave feel was very comfortable. No irritation and the skin felt fresh.

Today, next day, face continues to feel very smooth and comfortable.

Whatever blade this one is, it is the smoothest I ever experienced and it made a very good impression. What a relief compared to how the previous torture blade scraped the hell out of my face.

Final Score Summary:

Effectiveness of 1st pass, 4.5 pts
Results after 3 passes, 4.0 pts
Alum Block Test, 4.5 pts
General Impression, 3 pts
Amount of cleanup needed, 4.0 pts
Post Shave Feel, 5.0 pts
Next day feel, 2 pts

TOTAL SCORE: 27.0

A very impressive score. This is a solid blade for me. We’ll find out what this smooth blade is at the end of the entire test.

5 down, 58 to go. Are there even better blades in this batch to find? I’m excited to find out. There probably are, just due to the number of them remaining.
 
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