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Fake Astra SP?

Long first post. I shaved with Feather for 15 years but always had extremely rough shaves. I have fairly tough beard and very sensitive skin (bad combo), but I figured it couldn't get any better since Feather are the sharpest, thus they should be the best. Even so, in 2019 I bought a pack of Astra SP:
from what seems a reputable seller.

However I didn't try them until May this year, but when I finally did I was blown away by how much smoother they are, and immediately regretted I didn't try them as soon as I bought them. It was a completely different experience - my face felt better literally 10 min after a shave with Astra, than 48h after with Feather. The Astras I started with had wrappers with the text "Astra" printed on them.

But about a month ago I opened a new tuck and noticed that the wrappers were plain white, with no text printed on them. At the same time the shaves became very rough again, it's nothing like it was in the beginning. I suspected the blades might be fake so I did a quick search but found that plain white wrappers can also be genuine.

The thing is, as far as I can recall the only Astra blades I had were from the pack I bought two years ago, thus all the tucks should be the same. But in my mind the first tuck or two had text printed on the wrappers. Surely that can't be the case? (I'm assuming I received a Astra sample tuck at some point but forgot about it).

I just received my new Henson razor, with a pack of Astra (which prompted this post): the new blades have the text printed wrappers on them (but I haven't tried them yet). When I compare these new blades with the plain white ones, I also notice that the font on the blade in the white wrapper is bold, while the new blades has a normal font (i.e. not thick).

So what do genuine Astra blades look like currently?
Could my 100-pack be fake?
 
I got a sample pack with the astras in about a year ago that only had printing on one side and came in an unmarked wrapper like the one on the right. Not sure about them being knockoffs but i wasn't too impressed when i used them.
 
Glue spots are completely different: 4 in corners vs 2 in center.
See pic.
 

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Hmm, I have these two versions at hand:
2 glue spots, printed wrapper, printed blade and
2 glue spots, plain wrapper, laser etched with additional code (it’s an Astra Blue but the Green looks the same)
 
View attachment 1349130View attachment 1349129

Hmm, I have these two versions at hand:
2 glue spots, printed wrapper, printed blade and
2 glue spots, plain wrapper, laser etched with additional code (it’s an Astra Blue but the Green looks the same)
So no conclusions can be made...

The earliest production date on these 'new' inked blades, that I've seen, is in late 2019. It looks like the current Astra's come in printed wax paper, ink on both sides and 4 wax dots.
My unmarked tuck (the bad blades) has the date 06/03/19
The new tuck I received today has 24/12/20
 
The earliest production date on these 'new' inked blades, that I've seen, is in late 2019. It looks like the current Astra's come in printed wax paper, ink on both sides and 4 wax dots.
My etched ones are dated 12/18…
People were concerned that they received fakes when the laser etched ones came to the market. Then it was heard that P&G switched to laser etching to prevent counterfeits.
So going back to printing after all the retooling doesn’t make sense for me…
 
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Maybe they are produced in multiple factories, and not all have the laser tools...?

Either way, I really don't care if I have to throw away the whole pack, they are so cheap.
The problem for me is how to achieve the smoothness that I briefly experienced, as I'm not sure what blades to try next (though I have like 30 different brands of sample blades incoming, min. 2 of each brand).
 
Maybe they are produced in multiple factories, and not all have the laser tools...?

Either way, I really don't care if I have to throw away the whole pack, they are so cheap.
The problem for me is how to achieve the smoothness that I briefly experienced, as I'm not sure what blades to try next (though I have like 30 different brands of sample blades incoming, min. 2 of each brand).
There is only one production facility for Gillette blades in Russia and it’s in St. Petersburg aka PPI. Their whole product line is known and they can be differentiated from Gillette blades produced in India or China in addition to being clearly labeled as well.

If I remember correctly 4 glue dots are an even earlier version than 2 dots/printed but I’m not totally sure. Maybe @ivan_101 or @alin know more of the evolution of these blades.
 
I got a sample pack with the astras in about a year ago that only had printing on one side and came in an unmarked wrapper like the one on the right. Not sure about them being knockoffs but i wasn't too impressed when i used them.
Have you used any other Astras since then? If so, was it any different?
 
Have you used any other Astras since then? If so, was it any different?
I never really liked the green and prefer the blue. I bought 200 of the Blue Superior Stainless (laser etched, dated 12/18) and use them regularly. I get a least 3 fine shaves from them.

Razor Blades Club the vendor from your first post is a reliable one and I ordered various blades/samplers from them over the last 2 years.

There are many excellent blades made by PPI that are sharp and last longer than Astras for me:
Perma-Sharp
Nacet
Wizamet

and some that I like but don’t have tested extensively.
Gillette Silver Blue
Gillette Platinum (2 versions available)
 
Good to know about the blue, I have them incoming as well. I also ordered the green, hoping that I will experience the same smoothness again with another batch.

If the seller is reliable it's unlikely my blades are fake. If so, the difference in shave quality between my greens is bizarre .
 
Good to know about the blue, I have them incoming as well. I also ordered the green, hoping that I will experience the same smoothness again with another batch.

If the seller is reliable it's unlikely my blades are fake. If so, the difference in shave quality between my greens is bizarre .
What razor(s) are you using? Maybe it’s Voodoo but as much as I like a Nacet in my Schick Krona there are other razors where I find them bitey and uncomfortable.
 
Have you used any other Astras since then? If so, was it any different?
I didn't like them much at the time & was a little concerned about counterfeits. Then I decided to buy Dorco primes blindly as they were the cheapest blades i found & they turned out to be fantastic so never had the itch to buy the Astras.
 
There is only one production facility for Gillette blades in Russia and it’s in St. Petersburg aka PPI. Their whole product line is known and they can be differentiated from Gillette blades produced in India or China in addition to being clearly labeled as well.

If I remember correctly 4 glue dots are an even earlier version than 2 dots/printed but I’m not totally sure. Maybe @ivan_101 or @alin know more of the evolution of these blades.
Four glue dots was before 2016 when all PPI blades were double wrapped. Thin wax paper and a paper envelope. Then, around 2016 they started wrapping them in only one layer (a somewhat thicker wax paper) with only 2 glue dots around the center holes.
I only have 30-40 of the laser etched Astras SP, manufactured 2-3 years ago. The newer ones I ordered from Turkey are with the black paint again (marked January 2020). Do not worry, they are the real thing.
If you want to see "real" fake Astra here they are. Bought 2 months ago in a town 50km from here. I knew they were fakes, that's why I bought them.

the_real_fake_astras.jpg

Notice the font of the "Astra" on the wrapper. Also the font on of "superior stainless" on the blade. The colour label is not hard, it is just a piece of soft paper, cut quite badly. No right angles as you will notice. Finally, as every P&G Chinese fake, the fakes don't have glue and oil. That costs money. So they don't smell.
 
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