What's new

Redefining preciousness and ecological conscience

I'm starting this thread to help me keep track of my shaving-related todo list. In other words, this will be a sequence of posts where one opens a checkbox and another ticks it. But before writing down what's still left to do, I will develop my post here
in more detail and then list pending problems.

I used my first DE as well as my first and only shavette razor in 2013 with the following goals, in this order:
  1. Eliminate skin issues. Ingrown hairs, rashes (carts), painful/tender skin and skin patches falling by themselves (electric).
  2. Cut time waste - 15m+ was the norm with my electric.
  3. If possible: cut money waste. A real PITN with my electric as the spare parts, advertised to last 18 months, only worked well for 3-6 months for me.
The first 2 goals were achieved by 2014. The second with my first DE, a Merkur 15C but not with my shavette, a VANTA RA 112C. Still the investment in the shavette was not a huge investment and I found out SR is not my way to go.
Unfortunately, I found a new problem: low quality and/or quality control.
More specifically, one of the major challenges I used to have were the bad DE blades I ordered with my razor (5 varieties, don't remember which anymore) which didn't shave cleanly but pulled. I didn't give up so I ordered several other blades, among them Feather. It stood out as the only good blade of the pack. Later on I tried many more, my latest blade sampling attempt being from the beginning of this month. Up to this point, I have the following results:
  • Methodology: let the part of the face to shave be covered in beard. 3d+ minimum for the mustache area, I typically grow it for 5-7 days and then try a new blade.
  • Apply lather, start shaving. If a blade can provide a comfortable, clean shave - classify as "buy again". By this I mean no pulling, no scratching. In my experience, most blades pull.
  • If a blade causes discomfort (e.g. I get tears during shaving) or if the shaven area flames up after shaving, classify as "don't buy". Of everything I have tried, only both Astras were the ones to cause neck irritation. Only Loi, non-PTFE Lord, Treet, Topaz, and all Dorcos scratched. As said in the previous bullet point, the rest just pulls.
  • If a blade feels good, but there are other issues, put in the "buy again" category but set lower priority. Those are written in italic below. Other issues may be e.g. fluctuating consistency.
  • Results:
Feather Hi-Stainless, Personna Med, Personna Lab, Gillette Nacet, Rapira – Platinum Lux, Voskhod, Ying Jili Blue, Zorrik – Super Platinum
abest-hi-platinum, asco, ASP, astra-superior-stainless, baili-super-blue-bp005, baili-platinum, bic-astor-stainless, bic-chrome-platinum, bluebird, bolzano-superinox-inossidabile, cloud-super-stainless, cloud-bruce-lee, concord, croma-diamant, derby-extra, derby-extra-blue, derby-premium, dorco-prime-platinum, dorco-st-300-platinum, dorco-st-301-stainless, dorco-titan, elios-inoxidable, euromax-emp800, gillette-365, gillette-7-0clock-sharpedge, gillette-7-oclock-super-platinum, gillette-7-0clock-super-stainless, gillette-platinum, gillette-sputnik, gillette-rubie-platinum, gillette-silver-blue, gillette-super-thin-platinum, kai, ladas-super-stainless, laser-ultra, loi-titanium, lord-classic-super-stainless, lord-extra, lord-platinum, lord-platinum-premium, lord-superior-platinum, lord-super-stainless, merkur-super-platinum, muster-shaver, perma-sharp, personna-crystal, personna-platinum (both Israeli and German), polsilver-super-iridium, racer-super-stainless, rapira-super-stainless, rapira-swedish-super-steel, rimei-stainless, shark-platinum, shark-super-chrome, shark-super-stainless, souplex, super-max-blue-diamond, super-max-diamond-edge, super-max-platinum, super-max-stainless, super-max-super-stainless, tatra-platinum, tiger-platinum, tiger-superior, topaz-platinum, timor-stainless-steel, treet-carbon-steel, treet-platinum, wilkinson-sword

In my experience, there are 2 factors: manufacturer (location) + blade coating. This also means, as can be derived from the above list, that I cannot distinguish between 2 different brands with otherwise same specs according to manufacturer, e.g. Lord = Shark and Rapira Stainless = Ladas for me. It is also unrealistic that 1 manufacturer would have a completely different production pipeline for every brand of blade, so I can imagine only the printing and packaging step differs.
The blades were not my only issue. There was another quality issue, that of razors. I have had the following razors with only the 6S being regularly used and the FOCS used on travels:
Merkur 15C, Fatip Piccolo, Parker 99R, Parker 22R, Weishi 9306, Croma, Dorco, Feather Popular, Rockwell 6S, FOCS (not in this order). Sans the last 2, every other got broken. In some cases, the Zamak failed due to bad chrome plating and water (the Merkur) which lead to skewed blades after insertion. In others, the process was faster, they eventually didn't fix the blade properly (the Parkers, Weishi) - though I couldn't see any signs of corrosion. Then I came up with the idea to buy a compatible head for my Merkur and in a year, I changed 2 heads. That's when I joined B&B and wanted suggestions for something reliable. Fortunately, my 6S dealt with my frustration.
The last part the quality problem were the brushes. I started with a badger made by Hans Baier, which lasted around 2 years. It shed too many hairs and I dropped it accidentally, causing the acrylic to shatter. I then bought a boar brush from Mühle, which was better and cheaper but after 5 years the plastic grip got cracked and soon after the brush starting shedding rapidly. Last year I bought a cheap aluminum grip, synthetic hair no-name brush which is my best (and cheapest) so far. Small but big enough, very comfortable and robust. Although it is difficult to tick this box, for the time being I'd say the quality issue is over.

But from the original 3 goals, the last is still not achieved.
While I am happy to have found several shaving creams* and one aftershave** which work well for me and haven't (had the need to) experiment(ed) much, I still find tossing a blade after an use wasteful. OTOH, when I started out I found out over-used blades caused me cuts so I quickly switched to a1 shave = 1 fresh cutting edge policy. I got many good shaves, I began shaving more frequently, my skin improved significantly and all this at the cost of 1-2 blade banks a year. At this point it seems to me there is no magic blade I have not tried which is both comfortable and longer-lasting than 2 weeks with my current set-up. Therefore, as already mentioned in the Excalibur thread, I plan to change my routine a bit and see how many more shaves I can squeeze out of one of my preferred blades.

* Florena, Speick, Weleda, Proraso green, white and red, Cella both almond and aloe, Noxzema, Cremo shaving creams; Speick, Palmolive, Wilkinson, Cella, Proraso shaving soaps; very few shaving gels. All do the job. I prefer menthol in the summer but otherwise buy small quantities of anything available when need be.
** Weleda balm. When I didn't have any, I used a substitute, but overall I rarely need any post-shave care.
Well my Rubie blade was on shave 8 today, I had to change it mid-shave. I.e. contrary to popular experience here, a Feather and a Personna Med was usable for a longer time than a Russian Gillette.
Conclusion: for me it seems impossible to get more than 2-3 weeks from a blade with my current approach.
Next step: Continue with the plan sketched in the thread
Starting tomorrow, I will use a fresh Personna Lab but will let the blade dry outside my bathroom. I will not cork any blades though. If thorough drying doesn't keep the sharp edge, then I will conclude a couple of weeks is the closest DE shaving can bring me to goal no. 3. I might venture into other kinds of wet shaving, but it is pointless to deliberate the topic at this point in time.
I just posted my results in the Excalibur thread:

tl;dr I cannot use a DE blade for longer than 3 weeks. Areas for future research: other kinds of wet shaving (currently thinking SE razors), SE blades last supposedly longer; vintage blades; DE blade sharpening.
For the time being, I will stick to my Rockwell 6S and my trusted blades, only trying to discard blades less frequently.


Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
You can strop any steel blade on wet newsprint over a hard, flat surface and the action will straighten the edge (and add increased plastic strain) and the ink in most newsprint is made of very fine, very hard particles which may abrade away the worn edge to edge a fresher and sharper edge, but this fool will assure you it’s not foolproof and it’s easier on everyone/everything in the world to be lied to online versus all the processes involved for you to be lied to on paper.

But if you already have glossy magazine covers or newsprint handy, they work as well as one’s skills allow.

Single edge razors are wicked cool, but they usually involve specialized blades sold at specialized prices and arrive encased in specialized packaging.

I think using your Rockwell 6S and existing blade horde with an eye towards improving shaving comfort will allow you to get the most out of your blades and soaps/creams before castigating them to a landfill.

And I deleted my soapbox. ;)
Nice idea. I don't read magazines or newspapers but I can get hold of one for free (for the sake of shaving science).
As for shaving gear, I have also been playing with the thought of modern cart-like razors which utilize DE blades, broken in half - like the ones in this thread
But I am still unsure which might shave longer - multiple DE blades or one SE blade. Also, purchasing new gear kind of goes against the environmental argument.
Top Bottom