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I tried the smoothest blade on the market (Derby) and it was a bloodbath. Now what?

Well, I can imagine that, because, technically, I had great success with the Derby as well.😅 The armpits were incredibly smooth. But the legs were quite bloody, so both my best and the worst results with a safety razor were achieved at roughly the same time thanks to the Derby Extra blade.
I have seen a lot of references to the Derby Extra blade (and it is in the subject header) but many are probably referring to the pre 2016 blades. The post 2016 blades were sharper and much better performers than the pre 2016 blades but still below in sharpness in comparison to other blades. Here is the reference you may wish to read; Comprehensive Double-Edge (DE) Razor Blade Data Table - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/wiki/Comprehensive_Double-Edge_DE_Razor_Blade_Data_Table
The Derby Premiums were an even better blade, I hear.
The post 2016 Derby Extra are 0.09mm thick and comparable to many other blades thickness' in the market so you may have the post 2016 blades. However they are no thinner than most other blades.
With regard to trimming the tabs, I would not recommend it as that is where the strength in bending lies. If the tabs are a problem choose a razor that has an extended cap which covers the tabs. Some caps bend the blade a lot more than others.
 
Right? I feel very lucky. I was pretty shaken up after my adventure with the Derby Extra (which is literally sold in my country as 'the ideal blade for beginners').

I tend to take that assertion with a moderate-sized grain of salt.

When I started wet-shaving and bought that all-important first razor (Merkur 38C), it was strongly suggested by the sales person that I buy a tuck of Merkur blades to go with it. "Perfect beginner blade," he said. "Just barely sharp enough to cut a hair occasionally, and dull enough not to hurt you until you learn." He predicted (correctly) that I'd probably only use three blades out of the 10 in the packet before looking for something with which to actually shave.

O.H.
 
I have seen a lot of references to the Derby Extra blade (and it is in the subject header) but many are probably referring to the pre 2016 blades. The post 2016 blades were sharper and much better performers than the pre 2016 blades but still below in sharpness in comparison to other blades. Here is the reference you may wish to read; Comprehensive Double-Edge (DE) Razor Blade Data Table - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/wiki/Comprehensive_Double-Edge_DE_Razor_Blade_Data_Table
The Derby Premiums were an even better blade, I hear.
The post 2016 Derby Extra are 0.09mm thick and comparable to many other blades thickness' in the market so you may have the post 2016 blades. However they are no thinner than most other blades.
With regard to trimming the tabs, I would not recommend it as that is where the strength in bending lies. If the tabs are a problem choose a razor that has an extended cap which covers the tabs. Some caps bend the blade a lot more than others.

This chart is great! I wish it was longer.

Ahhh, that explains the ultra-mild 'for beginners' reputation of the blade. I didn't know the Derby Extra blades used to be significantly thicker and milder before 2016. Yes, I definitely have post-2016 ones. It really is noticeably thinner and more flexible than other DE blades I have at the moment. (Of course, I only have a fraction of all the DE blades available.) But even in this short list, the Derby Extra has the thinnest score of 0.09mm.

It's easy to see what I mean without any sort of measuring equipment though. If you have a post-2016 Derby Extra on hand: just grab one tab firmly between your thumb and finger and keep the blade horizontal. Then push the opposite tab down with your other hand. Feel the resistance as you push, let that opposite tab go, listen to the sound, and see how the blade moves as it springs back. Now pick up a Feather 81-S and do the same. Tell me the Feather isn't obviously thicker and stiffer.

I googled around and found another chart by forum user Enox. The Feather blade is listed as 0.104mm thick and the newer Derby Extra as 0.089mm. But it's almost as though an increase of 17% in thickness shouldn't feel thát significant. (17% isn't nothing though.) DE Blade Thicknesses - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/de-blade-thicknesses.540416/#post-9567615

Then again: Esox measured 35 different DE blades and then wondered why he could still feel differences between the 14 blades that all measured 0.102mm. He could tell the difference in both feel and performance. (DE Blade Thicknesses - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/de-blade-thicknesses.540416/page-2#post-9569495) Other factors that account for the flexibility and the shaving result could be coating, material, weight, wax and finish, to name a few. Blade performance is really hard to pin down.

So I'm still not exactly sure why the Derby Extra blade seemed sharper to me than the Gillette Platinum and the Wilkinson blades. I don't know why the Derby Extra was so dangerous for my legs on a single pass but performed so well on the armpits. Maybe blade thickness/flexibility isn't relevant at all, it's just a difference I noticed. My (lack of) technique probably played a role as well and maybe the fake Futur is just too aggressive for me, even on the milder settings. Almost everyone here advises pairing a mild razor with a reasonably sharp blade (not the other way around), especially for the legs. So I'm going to try that now, and maybe down the line, I'll get a feel for the answers I'm looking for.

To start figuring it out, I've ordered both the updated Baili BR171 (€6,34 on AliExpress) and the Gillette King C (€11,24 on Amazon). According to reviews, it's hard to hurt yourself with either one of these safety razors. (Challenge accepted!:thumbup:). The BR171 has a nice handle, the head on the King C is reportedly made in Germany and basically a copy of the Mühle R89 and the Edwin Jagger DE89 that's been recommended in this thread. The design of the King C handle seems downright silly though. It starts smooth, then has a screw pattern for... easy twirling? We'll see, I'll probably change that.

The King C arrives tomorrow, yay!:clap:I can't wait! 😁
 
So I'm still not exactly sure why the Derby Extra blade seemed sharper to me than the Gillette Platinum and the Wilkinson blades.
I am willing to bet the multi-word coating process isn't as sophisticated as the other two named blades. A lot of people prefer "Stainless" blades over "Platinum" blades because they feel that they are sharper out of the wrapper. According to testing that has been done, some times they are. I can confirm that they certainly feel like it even when they aren't.

Another theory is the quality of steel, most factories import Sandvik rolls. The Derby Premiums likely use this steel, but we don't know the origin of the steel in the Extras.
 
1. Soap

Try a proper shaving soap. A proper soap will improve cushion and have best ingredients, so your skin will feel better.

There are many cost effective choices for a beginner. Cella Extra Bio, Arko, Proraso, Pré de Provence.

Creams are great too, look for Palmolive, Pré de Provence and Proraso cream. Hard soaps last longer, but in the beginning cream are easy to lather. In Europe these creams are readily available. I suggest Pré de Provence Bergamot and Thyme cream.

2. Lather

Try to make a lather almost runny. Add water little by little until you get a very slick lather. Creams are easy to lather when you started wet shaving.

3. Brush

Try a synthetic. It’s cheaper and easy to use. Yaqi are very cost effective. Simpson’s Trafalgar is a good choice too.

4. Razor

Try a inexpensive one, but get one with a decent blade support. My first razor have so many blade chatter, I feel like shaving during a earthquake 😂. A King C. Gillette is a good option.

Wait before buy a expensive razor. Know your preferences before.

5. Handles

When you find a good razor head, find a good handle is easy. Handles are in general cheap. There are many lengths, types of knurling, etc.

6. Blades

Use a sharp and smooth blade. You have a lot of good choices already.

7. Technique

Remember, NO pressure. And find the razor angle. Some razors demand shallow angles, other neutral or steep angles.

When you hone your technique, you can play with pressure, stretching skin, use more aggressive razors, etc.

8. Skin

I think the skin takes some shaves to get used to wet shaving, but you shouldn’t get nicks. Maybe the skin get a little irritation in the first shaves, but no bloodbaths 😉

9. Aftershave balm

Buy some aftershave balm. I recommend Proraso balm.

Thayers Witch Hazel is nice too.


In conclusion, buy some soap or cream from a reputable brand. A good lather will step up your game. Bath soap and hair conditioner are terrible for shaving.

Thank you for this nice list! 😃

1. I ordered the Palmolive shaving cream. Mostly because it was cheap, but also because one guy mentioned in the reviews that it was his favorite ever since he was a recruit for the Royal Dutch Air Force. If it's that big of a classic, you should probably try it at least once, right?

When I started a couple of months ago, I used a handmade block of shaving soap from Balade En Provence with a natural hair brush (not badger though). It was a lot of fun to whip it up in the bowl and get all fancy with the brush, but I think the shaving soap was a little too drying for the skin. I compared the BALADE shaving soap with a can from Olay/Gillette. For testing purposes, I did this several times, switching the products from the right to the left leg every time and I had my husband determine the results, seeing as how he couldn't know which leg was treated with which product. Olay won every time.

Shaving also felt more comfortable with Olay. Granted, the Olay gel has a reputation for providing a much richer foam that's better for dry skin. I've since compared it to the regular Gillette Satin Care line and Olay really outperforms the regular cans.

2. Noted, thanks! I'll test this when the Palmolive is delivered.

3. The natural hair brush was a little rough, even after properly soaking it. I was thinking of going to town with one of the many synthetic brushes I already own, as a test. They're technically powder brushes and synthetic brushes don't like getting wet at the base (the glue could dissolve) but a long handle has its uses. If Olay also outperforms Palmolive, I probably won't be needing a brush at all, so I'm holding back on that one.

4. Chatter sounds like a recipe for cuts.😅 Yes, I ordered the Gillette King C to figure out what's what. I wonder how similar the head is to my first safety razor (the light blue one that's being sold under so many names it's hard to keep track, like BamBaw, Kinghood, Green Estate and ZOMCHI). The King C head seems identical to not only the DE89 but also all the Edwin Jagger Ladies safety razors in hilarious pink, glitter purple (dear lord) or the revamped DE72 in light blue. So I have to be on the right track.

Yeah, I thought so too. A true top-of-the-line quality stainless steel safety razor is bought for life. As long as I'm not sure what works for me, I have no business buying one of those, IMHO.

5. I fixed the problem of a smooth handle by wrapping a rubber band around it. It ain't pretty, but it works. For now. I hope the curved Baili BR171 handle can be transferred, that one looks easier to hold on to. I like the weight of metal razors, but the grip takes some getting used to when you transfer from cartridge shaving. Unlike men's handles like the Mach3, my old Venus Embrace handle is extremely toddler-friendly: big, ergonomically shaped and almost completely covered in a sticky ribbed silicone gel. I was thinking yesterday of maybe getting a non-slip sleeve for pens or something to shove around a smooth safety razor handle. (Blasphemy, no doubt.)

6. Yeah, I'll be testing DE blades until spring 2024. 🤣

7. Roger, thanks!

8. See, I figured y'all weren't on iron supplements because of this hobby.😆 I started shaving with DE blades in May and I've experienced maybe 2 shaves without bleeding cuts? Clearly, something is going wrong, but when troubleshooting, you've got to wonder whether it's the razor, the blade, the shaving cream, the technique, or all of the above. All of it has been suggested in this thread and all of it can probably be improved. I bought the Gillette King C for the process of elimination as much as anything. It's a handy point of reference.

The estimated delivery time for the King C is tonight. I didn't shave yesterday for optimal testing conditions today.🙃 Could you imagine if simply switching razors fixes the problem? I'm so curious, as soon as it arrives, I'm dropping everything. 😄

9. Witch hazel is a good one. It's not as big here as in the US, so regular drug stores don't carry witch hazel products, but some more nature-type shops do. I'm also going to visit a shaving shop at some point to sniff the balms and other products that have been suggested. I'm a little worried about smelling like an AXE commercial all day. It's strange that women have been shaving for almost a century, but there's no mainstream aftershave product for us available in normal drug stores. You'd think that skin = skin. The usual after-shave advice for women is either coconut oil or a fragrance-free body lotion.🤷‍♀️ I've been using a light aloe body lotion for years (mostly glycerin, I think) after shaving and haven't changed that routine. My deodorant was an alum spray combined with an alum block anyway, so that's a happy coincidence. My skin seems fine, outside of the cuts. The shins got dry after starting with the safety razor, so I guess you're right that skin gets used to it. At the time, I did look for an aftershave balm for women in my country and found one online that costs almost 30 bucks for 75ml (2,54 fl oz). Which was their normal size, mind you, not the travel size. But if there's a reasonably priced men's aftershave balm that smells neutral or like unisex almonds, I'll take it.

@rbscebu is a legend here 🙌

He is a big straight razor advocate. Besides using weapons as shaving equipment, he escapes lockdowns in Asian countries and have multiples girlfriends.

I have faith one day I will be able to at least starting SR. Unfortunately, have multiples girlfriends seems more difficult 😉

I gathered! He sounds like James Bond or Indiana Jones.🤠 Which is great, because vicariously is the only way I'd like to experience those adventures. 😅

About technique.

Lock your wrist and move the arm. Most people from cartridges shave moving the wrist. Locking the wrist and moving only the arm make the angle steady.

Huh, that's a good insight. I'm not sure it's possible to lock the wrist everywhere, but I've received this advice for the ankles as well. Going to keep practising and play with safer, more steady angles. I've noticed that it takes conscious effort to only guide the safety razor and let the weight do the work instead of forcing it around, like a cartridge. Bad habits.

Thanks again Hugosf!
 
Could it be correct that a thinner blade produces a closer shave? Regardless of the sharpness of the blade?
Thinner blade may vibrate more during glide and thus make micro jumps on your skin causing weepers and cuts. But I had my worst shaves with so called “mild” razors like Derby etc. except for Tigers (but these are special 😀).
 
I am willing to bet the multi-word coating process isn't as sophisticated as the other two named blades. A lot of people prefer "Stainless" blades over "Platinum" blades because they feel that they are sharper out of the wrapper. According to testing that has been done, some times they are. I can confirm that they certainly feel like it even when they aren't.

Another theory is the quality of steel, most factories import Sandvik rolls. The Derby Premiums likely use this steel, but we don't know the origin of the steel in the Extras.

Right, what was it again?😆 Tungsten, chrome, polymer, something, something? You'd think the blade would be heavier.😇 The Dutch webshop mentioned high-carbon Swedish steel, so that sounds like the Sandvik rolls? It would be interesting to know which steel is used for what blades, though I wonder if experienced wet shavers couldn't guess.

So a good quality coating makes a sharp blade feel smoother on the skin, even as it glides through the hair cutting everything clean off? Cool. I read coating is the reason blades could get a little sharper after the first shave. I feel the Wilkinsons definitely do this on day 2, I need to be a little more careful then. The Derby Extra had an immediate drop-off though and seemed quite a bit duller on the second day (but that could be a case of YMMV and I mostly used the Derby Extra on the armpits the 2nd day because the legs were in the infirmary.) I threw it away after that.

After reading some more on B&B I noticed people talking about duds in their Derby package or even some freakishly sharp outliers. Derby QC is apparently not the best, so the performance of 1 DE blade might not be representative. Not sure if that means I should stay away from Derby's in general; if the same goes for the Extra Blu, the Bluebirds, the Premiums and the Lamix as well. (And other blades produced at the same place in Turkey.)
 
It's simple
Blades are like knives, of the knife is dull you will cut yourself in kitchen, that is why you need to have sharp knives in kitchen
Same is for shaving, sharper the blade, the better, dull blades, like derby, make you use more force, you start pressing more, and you cut yourself.
Dull blades are for beginners, and by beginners I mean 14y old boys starting to shave their 3 facial hairs.
 
With regards to 3, I've noticed that the two adjustable razors adjust in a different way. When you turn the dial on the Gillette Fatboy clone, not only does the guard move up/down, but it also bends the blade further on the tightest settings. When you turn the dial on the Merkur Futur clone, nothing happens to the blade itself, only the guard moves up and down to create a bigger/smaller blade gap.

Are you certain that the Yintal/Gillette clone changes the bend on the blade? The Fatboy and the Slim did not do that, they just changed the blade gap by moving the guard up/down. I don't know of an adjustable that changes the bend on the blade.
 
I don't know of an adjustable that changes the bend on the blade.

I suspect that's how the "twist adjustable" concept works. Loosening the handle is going to allow the blade to spring just a little. That will move the edge on an arc that would tend to make a negative exposure neutral, or a neutral exposure positive. More or less.

That comes at the cost of less blade clamping, which may or may not materially affect the shave. Some razors have more leeway than others for that technique; I've found that (at least my) FOCS only likes 1/8 turn or less. It just goes floppy with more than that.

Frankly, for me a shim is a better idea than loosening the handle -- I can then have everything nicely screwed together, with blade exposure preserved and just a bit wider gap. Well...I am working on a hack to the FOCS that will address that issue, but as the tool I need to finish it costs 50 per cent more than the razor did, I'm allowing my inherent Scottish cheapness to play for now. :)

It's just a matter of finally deciding to quit enjoying the procrastination and move on.

O.H.
 
I'm talking about the adjustable #3 in the picture. It is a Yintal and as far as I know, when you twist the adjustable dial, it just raises/lowers the safety bar.
 
Thinner blade may vibrate more during glide and thus make micro jumps on your skin causing weepers and cuts. But I had my worst shaves with so called “mild” razors like Derby etc. except for Tigers (but these are special 😀).

Aha, vibration... So unless you clamp a thinner blade down in a safety razor with excellent blade support and modest blade reveal, maybe don't even go there?

Blade support is number three and a lot of adjustables lack this. Looking from the side, if the blade is clamped in the middle of the razor and hanging out the side this is not a good start. If it has low blade reveal, it may be OK, but it may not.

Wait, I think I'm finally getting the significance of what APBinNCA wrote about blade support. The fake Futur does have some sort of base plate points in the middle that the blade bends over, but it doesn't have a seperate base plate and you don't screw the blades in tight. It's just a click system. The razor doesn't in any way account for blade thickness, it clicks shut, when it clicks shut. The razor isn't bad at all and the blade reveal isn't that crazy either but the blades in the razor do have some wingspace on either side of the middle to move up and down, if you were to push them.

I just popped a Derby Extra back in the Futur clone and YES- it can move! It's actually quite easy to push the blade down with a fingernail. The Wilkinson that was already in it can also move, but its clearly a bit stiffer and sits tighter in the razor. The Wilkinson probably wouldn't be bothered by weird bones sticking out, like at the ankle. But the edges of the Derby Extra could absolutely move in that scenario.

I checked if I was able to make a blade move with a fingernail on the simple Gillette 7'O Clock Sterling razor: nope! The broader base support, the lack of excessive blade reveal and the screw have locked that baby in there tight.

Given this, it seems completely likely that a thinner / more flexible blade would indeed increase the risk for vibration (or worse), and that the situation can be compounded by the degree to which your razor differs from a screw-type with strong blade support and very little blade reveal.

If this is what caused all the cuts, that would be a good thing though. It would mean I don't have to be scared of mild blades, just that I need to clamp them down as tight as possible (or stack them). I'm going to hold out on the final verdict until after I tested the King C.
 
I'm talking about the adjustable #3 in the picture. It is a Yintal and as far as I know, when you twist the adjustable dial, it just raises/lowers the safety bar.
This one is being sold under a bunch of different names like the Ming Shi 3000s, but we're talking about the same razor. Mine bends the blade a little further on the tighter settings, but I don't know if it's supposed to. And the numbers on the adjustable dial are all relative to the setting it's on when you change the blade. I know that my razor isn't the only one with that quirk at least, because I read about it in reviews.
 
Huh, that's a good insight. I'm not sure it's possible to lock the wrist everywhere, but I've received this advice for the ankles as well. Going to keep practising and play with safer, more steady angles. I've noticed that it takes conscious effort to only guide the safety razor and let the weight do the work instead of forcing it around, like a cartridge. Bad habits.
If a King C Gillette and a Palmolive cream is on the way you are set up for now. The King C Gillette is a mild razor but the handle is a little slippery. You can exchange for the Bailly handle, most razor uses M5 threads, so they are interchangeable.

When I started wet shaving I didn’t lather well, if the soap is not hidrate enough, it can dry your skin. Creams are easy to use in the beginning. Soaps last longer and have more variety.

Most shaving software have good ingredients. It’s one of the reasons I love wet shaving, my skin improved a lot since I abandoned canned foam. As @Oliviamaynard said, most soaps nowadays have excelent post feel. My favorites, right now, are Barrister and Mann and the Stirling with the sheep base. Plus, no pink tax, most products are cheaper too.

My younger brother started wet shaving a few days ago. I notice we all have bad habits from using cartridges. Most people grip the razor like a hammer instead a pencil and move the wrist to shave. That way you put a lot of pressure.

Finally, wet shaving for me is relaxing. I don’t know if the ladies feel that way, probably not. 😂
 
8. See, I figured y'all weren't on iron supplements because of this hobby.😆 I started shaving with DE blades in May and I've experienced maybe 2 shaves without bleeding cuts? Clearly, something is going wrong, but when troubleshooting, you've got to wonder whether it's the razor, the blade, the shaving cream, the technique, or all of the above.
Only 2 without cuts?! 😕 It’s definitely something wrong.

Fortunately, I get good equipment right off the bat. I get a Rockwell 6C, Proraso soap and a Semogue boar brush. Later I experienced really bad products. If I started with a bad razor, I probably have quit.

Maybe your razor is misaligned. With a razor from a reputable brand and a good soap, maybe you will get some weepers due the bad technique, but a lot of cuts is not normal. There are good cheap razors (Lord for example), although I’ve seem a lot of cheap razors with poor blade support or misaligned. Maybe you have bought a defective one.

Try hold the razor like a pencil. Use the thumb and the index finger to hold. It improves the grip, it’s easier to control the pressure applied.
 
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The fake Futur does have some sort of base plate points in the middle that the blade bends over, but it doesn't have a seperate base plate and you don't screw the blades in tight.
I have one razor that is the sole exception that wasn't worth mentioning because of it's price that has very little blade support underneath, but it gets away with it due to a combination of very tight tolerances where the blade clamps and especially the amount that the top cap bends the blade. It also has very little blade reveal. I was trying to make generalisations because I tend to get too technical or mention a razor that you aren't likely to encounter. I really wanted to say: just order a Henson medium and give it a try. It has all the elements you need and even if you don't end up liking it because of the light weight, it will be educational. The Ti22 version is coming back in stock soon though...
I just popped a Derby Extra back in the Futur clone and YES- it can move! It's actually quite easy to push the blade down with a fingernail.
That's what I was talking about, but it's the rebound of the blade set into motion that irritates skin as it flexes when it encounters resistance. Many little rebounds add up to lots of irritation. All razors can be adapted to in time, but some make learning frustrating to be fair. You can certainly irritate your skin with a Tatara due to it's extreme blade clamping by not adjusting your technique. It goes both ways.
Given this, it seems completely likely that a thinner / more flexible blade would indeed increase the risk for vibration (or worse), and that the situation can be compounded by the degree to which your razor differs from a screw-type with strong blade support and very little blade reveal.
I am not convinced that there is enough variation in blade thickness across the market because most plants are using the same steel rolls. Also I have read all the technical dead ends and once a blade is bent in the razor it should eliminate any variability. However, I do believe bevel grind does make a difference between blades. Some blades have a very wide bevel in order to provide the acute final bevel. Base sharpness is defined by how narrow the primary bevel is, the extra bevels that some blades have can affect how the blade feels. The blades that have this long narrow bevel have been theorised to be the actual source of blade vibration. Somebody actually did some pretty complicated maths on this...
 
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If a King C Gillette and a Palmolive cream is on the way you are set up for now. The King C Gillette is a mild razor but the handle is a little slippery. You can exchange for the Bailly handle, most razor uses M5 threads, so they are interchangeable.

When I started wet shaving I didn’t lather well, if the soap is not hidrate enough, it can dry your skin. Creams are easy to use in the beginning. Soaps last longer and have more variety.

Most shaving software have good ingredients. It’s one of the reasons I love wet shaving, my skin improved a lot since I abandoned canned foam. As @Oliviamaynard said, most soaps nowadays have excelent post feel. My favorites, right now, are Barrister and Mann and the Stirling with the sheep base. Plus, no pink tax, most products are cheaper too.

My younger brother started wet shaving a few days ago. I notice we all have bad habits from using cartridges. Most people grip the razor like a hammer instead a pencil and move the wrist to shave. That way you put a lot of pressure.

Finally, wet shaving for me is relaxing. I don’t know if the ladies feel that way, probably not. 😂
It is relaxing yes. Candles and a bath with nice smelling soap is bliss
 
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