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Just switched from electric to DE safety razor

I used an electric shaver for years, finally got fed up with it. Not a very comfortable shave, when I needed a new head, they either couldn't be found or almost as expensive as buying an entire new shaver. Decided I wasn't going down the cartridge razor road, so decided to give the single blade safety razor a go.

I did research on which razor, soap, and blades to get. Made some mistakes, but I think I am starting to figure out what works for me...

My first razor was a Viking Blade Godfather since it was highly recommended for beginners. Terrible shaves, lots of irritation and razor burn. I did more research, and found it is likely a cheap rebadged Chinese razor (or is the Chinese razor a knockoff?). Bought a Merkur 38C, it is a far better razor.

Soaps - I find white Proraso to be as good as anything I've tried. Michtells Wool Fat and Tabac are also very nice, but not sure if they are any better than Proraso. Williams Mug - eh, no.

Blades - Got a sampler pack off Amazon with 16 different blades: Derby Premium and Extra, Astra SS and SP, Shark Chrome and SS, Lord, Bolzano, Wilkensen Sword (German), Gillette Platinum, Personna blue (I think the Israeli ones), Treet Platinum, Voskhod, Durablade Sharp 7am, Feather, Dorca, plus included Viking Blade from the Godfather. I still have the Shark SS, Astra SS, Lord, Dorca, Feather, and Viking Blade to test.

I am a redhead with light, fine hair. I've found that so far all of the blades get the job done without too much trouble. The difference is the amount of irritation afterwards and the amount of feedback from the alum block.

The more irritating blades: Wilkensen Sword, Derby Extra, Shark chrome, Sharp 7am (especially irritating).

Ok blades: Astra SP, Derby Premium - these were the first 2, so I need to revisit them now that my technique has improved.

Good blades: Bolzano, Gillette Platinum, Personna, Treet Platinum

My favorite: Voskhod. My first shave had almost no feedback from the alum block, no irritation after wards.

I recently gave the Godfather another try, to see if was just my early technique. Nope, still irritating.

I currently have the Sharp 7am in the razor, just 1 shave with it. I suppose I'll pitch it, no point in continuing to experiment with a blade this irritating given I have plenty of others that work well.
 
I've never used a new safety razor. I have four older Gillettes: two Super Speeds (on from 1948-50, one from 1965) and two adjustables (one 1967 Slim and one 1960 195 Adjustable, AKA Fatboy). I also have one single edge Gem Micromatic. Of those, the 1965 Super Speed is my favorite. I get excellent shaves. A BBS with no irritation is not a problem at all.

Lately, I have used the Fatboy. I do not have coarse whiskers. I gave it a try, adjusting it from 1 to 4 during the shave. Definitely a difference, but all comfortable. I preferred 1 for comfort, possibly 2, not a huge difference. Easily glides over the face. I'm not sure if I would rate it as high as my '65 Super Speed, just because I don't have nearly as much experience with it. I've used the two Super Speeds practically exclusively for the last 10 years, alternating them when the blade needed to be changed. I've used the Fatboy about five times.

Blades most certainly make a huge difference. I could not use Derby. It was painful. I always describe it as dragging a garden rake across my face. My favorites have been Personna, and I recently learned the store brand I have been using are Dorcos. Both give me a wonderful shave. I also liked Feather.

Recently I acquired two straight razors, so I've been using them lately, except for a few shaves, like when I'm in a hurry, or my learning curve is telling me to set down the SR and finish with the safety razor. :)
 
Vokshod are a top blade for me in the right razor, but beware there are quality control problems. If you get a bad one, bin it. You may get a bad 100 according to others! Similar blades I use are Chinese Wilkinson Sword and Treet Falcon. They are coated carbon and probably the lowest irritation possible. They are similar sharpness unlike other carbon blades. Also, I have heard the heavy metals are suspected as the cause of irritation for some people. Platinum, Iridium, Chromium. All stainless blades are coated for slip, but when it wears off you may feel the stainless and want to bin the blade early. They are cheap enough so bin it.
 
When you say sharp 7am I'm assuming you mean the Gillette 7 o'clock sharpedge (in the yellow pack)?
These are widely regarded as being one of the sharpest blades out there and if your technique is not yet fully developed I can definitely see them giving you an uncomfortable time.
People often find that when they revisit a blade some time later it mysteriously improves over the first experience.
As ever YMMV.
Most of all though - enjoy your shaves :)
 
I started off slow. Merkur 34c was my first razor. Used it with Astra SP. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with this setup. I used an electric shaver for years and years and hated shaving. A lot of people go big league right away and end up hating razors for the wrong reasons and go back to electric. Go slow and get the technique down first. Then go nuts and spend crazy money on beautiful razors like most of us. 👍
 
@Lazarus Long you sound like a slow learner, but you are learning. I hope that you don't spend too long lost in the forest before you discover the joy and satisfaction of the gentlemanly art that is straight razor shaving.
 
When you say sharp 7am I'm assuming you mean the Gillette 7 o'clock sharpedge (in the yellow pack)?
These are widely regarded as being one of the sharpest blades out there and if your technique is not yet fully developed I can definitely see them giving you an uncomfortable time.
People often find that when they revisit a blade some time later it mysteriously improves over the first experience.
As ever YMMV.
Most of all though - enjoy your shaves :)

No, these are made by Durablade. They are stamped 'Swiss quality' all over the package, but I think they are actually made in Bangladesh. Green package.
 
Vokshod are a top blade for me in the right razor, but beware there are quality control problems. If you get a bad one, bin it. You may get a bad 100 according to others! Similar blades I use are Chinese Wilkinson Sword and Treet Falcon. They are coated carbon and probably the lowest irritation possible. They are similar sharpness unlike other carbon blades. Also, I have heard the heavy metals are suspected as the cause of irritation for some people. Platinum, Iridium, Chromium. All stainless blades are coated for slip, but when it wears off you may feel the stainless and want to bin the blade early. They are cheap enough so bin it.

Do you have problems with rust?
 
Nope! I get 2-3 equal shaves out of each which is fine for the cost. You want to rinse them well and take them out of the razor to dry, but they are coated the same as the stainless blades so they aren't prone to rusting anyway.

Treet Falcon are the carbon ones? I'll have to try it. I'm holding off on using the Feather, I read they are extremely sharp and unforgiving. I think I would rather trade some sharpness that I don't really need for less irritation.
 
Treet Falcon are the carbon ones? I'll have to try it. I'm holding off on using the Feather, I read they are extremely sharp and unforgiving. I think I would rather trade some sharpness that I don't really need for less irritation.
If the shop you are buying at doesn't have the falcons, the Classic is the same blade. I have both. The "black beauty" is the one everybody thinks of when carbon blades are mentioned. The original coated carbon blade is the Gillette Super Blue blade that came out right before the first stainless blades.
 
I'm holding off on using the Feather, I read they are extremely sharp and unforgiving.
For some folks, for me hands down the most consistent blade out there. Doesn't matter whether you shave daily or monthly either. For me, the Feather blade was the AHA! moment in wet shaving, having tortured myself with half a dozen dull mild blades before it.
Here is a general (blade-agnostic) tip : the skin below the lower lip is the most sensitive area above the jawline. You can try your preferred blade on that patch only and see how you like it. If you get BBS there without irritation, you can go on with the rest of your face. Or whichever body area you are shaving.
 
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