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Since new members and lurkers can become frustrated finding all the research they want, I thought I'd add my view to what to many old-timers is an ancient subject. While everyone has his own opinion, toss this one into the mix and see how it fits. If you're new or are lurking, here's a current opinion on a couple of DE blades.

After using Merkur blades in my HD, I tried some Derbys. The difference was amazing! I'm certainly impressed with the closeness of DE shaving but this impressed me even more. The Derbys were far sharper than the Merkurs and they shaved much better. This is not intended to be critical of Merkur blades, but the contrast is certainly worth noting.

When I bought my HD I ordered some Merkur blades at the same time. With a proportionate share of the shipping charges for that order, the baldes came to somewhere around 48 cents each. By comparison, I bought the Derbys for about 16 cents each, so the price per blade was certainly appealing. But with the imporvement in the overall shaving experience, I've gotta say less is more. I like these Derbys a lot.

To qualify my views, I would say my face is somwhat sensitive and my beard is not wire-brush stiff, so if you find yourself in that general category, this review might be of interest.

I've not tried any Feathers yet, but plan to do so sometime soon. For now, I'm very pleased with the Derbys.
You know about LetterK's sampler packet of blades, I assume. That's the best way to try multiple blades.

Blade choice is intensely personal, but IMHO:

Merkurs make for a bad shave: don't cut well, leave rough patches, etc.
Israeli Personnas do a better job (same price as Derby Extras, basically: purchase package of 100 on eBay), but not so good as Feathers: Feathers, being sharpest, give a very smooth and easy shave. YMMV.

I'm still gearing up to test the Euro Gillette and the Derby Extra. My first experience with the Euro Gillette was not impressive, but that was only one shave.
I have given Merkurs and the Blue label Gillettes a whirl in one of the disposible blade straights: without a doubt the gillettes performed best. A quick rub with the alum block after shaving and there was far less stinging than with Merkur blades.
Sometimes I wonder if the reason most of us move on from the Merkur blades is that when we come (back?) to wetshaving they are the first blade many of us use and we have nothing to compare them to.

Then at some point, we find out there are other(better,sharper) blades out there and we move on to that blade.

How many of us have returned to the Merkur as the best blade for their face?( I have not-for emergency purposes only!)

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