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Four months in, found my favorite razor - and am surprised. Should I be? Comments?

TL;DR: I tried a lot of fine razors, expensive ones, and have found that the $12 Feather with the black plastic handle, matched with Feather blades, works best...why?

My profile: fifty years old, started with a double-edge at 15, but pretty quickly switched to a Trac II. I have a very tough beard, and have tried lots of razors - incrementally following the industry's blade inflation - and also a couple of electrics (a high-end Braun, the kind with the cleaning machine) and a Norelco.

My favorite disposables always tended to be the Schicks, but I've grown increasingly frustrated with the cost of blades - and that buying them slightly cheaper on Amazon often resulted in my receiving counterfeit blades.

So, I returned to double-edge; I watched all the videos and settled on a routine, more or less. But I couldn't - just couldn't - get the BBS shave I wanted. The area on the right side of my neck and jawline always got stubbly.

The first razor I used (lucky me) was a 1962 Gillette Fat Boy, grabbed from my Dad's medicine chest and cleaned up per B&B instructions. I tried a lot of blades, and settled with the Israeli Personas, though I also liked the Gillette 7 O'Clock greens. But that rough patch! I couldn't get it, no matter how hard I tried. Even if I did pass after pass, experimenting with multiple directions, angles, it remained stubbly - and the multiple passes, of course, gave me razor burn.

My wife gave me a Merkur Futur for father's day, which looked beautiful, but I didn't like the weight or size and found the handle slippery.

Next came a Merkur 180, mostly because I went on a business trip, forgot the Gillette, and could only find that at retail. I thought the results were even less good.

Of course, all this could be chalked up to a learning curve, but after two months, I felt my technique was in pretty good stead - I was getting super-smooth shaves all over the rest of my face, even the tough spots, but that troubling patch remained. (My wife even noticed it.) So I began systematically reviewing my existing collection again.) The results weren't so different; I tried the ultra-sharp Feather blades, but got a bit cut up and didn't get much better results, so I went back to the Personnas.

Revelation Number One: I found an NOS Schick injector. Amazing! It gave me, once I got used to it, the best shave by far, though not perfect. But I felt a little defeated, since I wanted to play the game of trying different blades, razors.

Of the single edge razors, the Fat Boy - adjusted to a six or seven - worked best. But I was still dissatisfied. Since I have a heavy beard, I decided to try the Merkur Slant. I used it with trepidation, but really didn't have too many issues getting used to it - but I still wasn't satisfied with the shave.

I was about to go on a trip, and didn't want to bring any of the fancy razors, so I bought a $12 Feather from eBay - the kind with the long, black, plastic handle - and loaded it with Feather blades.

Revelation Number Two! A three-pass shave came closer than any DE I'd tried to getting me BBS; four passes exceeded the inject and I got the BBS I'd been looking for, and in much less time than I'd experienced with my other razors.

So, that's what I'm using. But I long for a shiny, beautiful razor, though I appreciate the Feather's marvelous performance (for me, at least) and economy.

Since I'm not that experienced, I'm not totally sure what's going on here, except to guess that the (mild?) Feather razor combined with the (aggressive) Feather blade to provide the perfect shaving environment.

cheers!

But I'd love to hear some comments or advice.

The lightness of the razor made it much easier for it to glide at the proper pressure; and somehow, the super-sharp blade seemed tamed.
 
It's great you found a combination that works well for you and I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will learn a lot from your experience. I think shaving relies on four factors- the razor, the blade, the shaving creme, and this in turn relies on the brush- and finally, the technique which includes the angle the razor is held and whether a diagonal stroke is used or the blade just pushed or pulled straight along. I'd be interested to know what brush/soap combination you are using and if its been the same for all your experiments.
 
If you want a shiny razor that's also light and mild, try a Flare Tip or Blue Tip Superspeed or a Tech, they'll give you similar shaves to what you're looking for.
 
@dtom

Unlike my journey with razor/blade, I found a brush/soap combo that worked for me very quickly (there may be better, but since I'm so pleased with what I've got, I haven't [yet] shopped around. I'm sure I will.

I use:
- The Parker Pure Badger with black handle, about $35 on Amazon. I wanted Badger, didn't want to spend a lot, and chose it based on the Amazon reviews.
- Proraso pre-shave, rubbed into my face for about three minutes with warm hands.
- Proraso green tub cream. I started lathering in a bowl, then switched to face-lathering with a bit of the soap on the brush. Now I put the soap on my fingers - laying it on heavier at the rough spots - and then lather with the brush on my face.

When I'm traveling, which is a lot, I did use:
- Cremo cream, which I looked, but I thought was a little gummy, so I switched to:
- Kiss My Face lavender, which I really like.

Afterwards:
- RazoRock if there are cuts or weepers. Rinse.
- Lavender witch hazel to clean everything off.
- Proraso sensitive skin after-shave lotion.

I also really, really like Old Spice Shave Talc - I found a half-full bottle in my Dad's closet when I snagged the razor. I love the way it feels. I tried the Clubman shave talc, which has a "neutral" tint - meaning it is bright pink. That doesn't work on my olive skin; the Old Spice has a more tan color, which blends nicely. But I'm almost out. The talc is available in original scent in India, but @joshgambit reported that his supply of 125 gram packages purchased there was white. Doesn't work for me.

(I'm working on a roll-your-own OS-like talc...if I can get the recipe and color right, I'm planning to post an account of this experiment later this week.)

Thanks all for the help!
 
Thanks for the advice, Chris. I neglected to mention the other razor I found in my Dad's closet: a 1978 Gillette black-handled Super Speed (dated Y1.) I've never tried it, because I haven't had the time to clean it up. Would that be similar in characteristic to the Flare Tip/Blue Tip you recommend above.

(In case anyone is wondering, my Dad began growing his beard around 1980 - and hasn't shaved since. He looks like Santa Claus, except that my Dad has a gigantic nose, which he's quite proud of.)
 
You could always get that gorgeous SS feather if you feel inclined to dish out the money. However I can't say anything as to how it shaves as I have not used either feather razor.
There are some cheaper all metal razors that are suppose to be pretty mild though. From what I read though the design of that feather was more aggressive then some others in its price change.
Yet again I cant confirm that and this is a YMMV kinda thing.

But cheers on a good shave! Not all things need to be beautiful to enjoy.
 
If you found what works for you that's all that matters. For me shaving is also a hobby, so the type of razor I use is as important as the shave.
 
find a 1912 SE Gem or Everready and give it a shot. I dont think I'll get a better shave without going to a straight. For my face, thick coarse hair, and somewhat sensitive skin I love it. I can't not pick it up every morning. seems that the everready branded ones go cheaper on ebay than the gems, but still pretty cheap, and they look just awesome. I also got a gem micromatic but I find it considerably more aggressive than the 1912.

oh how I love my 1912. I could go on and on...
 
Congrats on what's you think is your favorite razor/blade combination.
When a year passes and your technique gets better (using multiple shave angles, better prep, watching more mantic59 videos) go back and try the razors you dismissed. You will be pleasantly surprised.

I also have a heavy beard growth and it takes practice getting that section smooth.
I have found success in using GEM SE razors, Autostrop razors with Feather SE blades, and then better technique with my DE razors.

Best of luck and congrats for now,

Bit2
 
There is nothing set in stone as to why a razor & blade combo works for some and not for others. But it is great if you find it works well for YOU though.
 
If you want to keep going, just think of it as your "favorite razor four months in." But if it's working and you aren't a hobbyist, why go on?

That said, I think you'd be remiss without trying an SE--of which I'd also highly recommend a 1912. The rigidity of the blade may conquer that rough spot in fewer passes (though, theoretically, the injector should have done that too). I've got a bunch of user grade ones I've been too lazy to put up on the B/S/T. PM me if you're interested.

Also, guys here seem to prefer the Chinese Shicks but Ted Pella injectors are $4.60 for a magazine of 20 and ship laboratory sharp to your door. Shipping to your office will be a lot cheaper.
 
Hey thanks for that- I've always liked the Proraso green tub soap but I bought a badger brush that, surprisingly, does a horrible job of lathering it. It does, however, work fantastically with Arko stick soap- you just wet your face, rub the stick into your stubble, wet the brush, and lather away. The lather remaining on the brush is good for the 2nd and 3rd pass- one hint I picked up here: you have to put extra water on the brush to get a really good lather the second and third go. I started using it for travel because it is so easy to pack, but now use it quite a lot at home as well. You should also try some creme in a tube- the trick there is put an almond size dollop in a bowl and whisk it around with your brush until you get something resembling meringue- it is really worth the effort. Happy shaving.
 
What's nice about your situation is that you have a nice "base". You have a setup that gives you good shaves, so you can experiment with other razors knowing that if you get a bad shave, you can go back to "old reliable" for a couple days before trying again. But I would experiment slowly, giving each razor some time to get used to. I've tried and put away razors that later turned out to be fantastic...I had just rushed through testing them.
 
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