Recently found some Bic Metals which I had learned the existence of here on B&B. Figured that a comparison was in order with the other two single bladed Bics (the white Original and orange Sensitive). The Original and the Sensitive are made in France, whereas the Metal is made in Greece. The blades are made of ribbon steel 0.0025” thick, much thinner than the typical DE blades of 0.0035”- 0.004” thickness. I will forgo further descriptions and measurements as these razors are pretty much well known…to know more go to the “Nerdy Stuff” at the end of this post.
To test the Bics, I limited myself to two pass shaves and Proraso green. I used one razor of each kind until shave was uncomfortable, then repeated for a second run. So, I used a total of six razors in all. I shaved daily because of necessity, and did not get to test a three day “mow-down”. It was odd using such light razors at first, but one gets used to it. Didn’t get one single cut or weeper during testing but did get razor burn when using a blade too long.
A bit about myself before going further: my beard is of normal thickness and coarseness, my skin is only seasonally sensitive (winter), and I have a patch of whiskers that grows almost parallel to the skin (covers about 1/5 of my bearded area). This bad patch is what I use to rate razors. I don’t go for BBS shaves but content myself with DFSs. I’ve been DE and shavette shaving for about ten years. I have five DEs, of which the FOCS is my favorite.
Of the three BICs, my least favorite is the orange Sensitive, it is by far the least efficient. It is the only one whose blade exposure was practically neutral (evaluated visually, using a magnifying glass and straight edge). The only way to get a close shave was to use pressure and go against the grain. This caused a red patch of skin which I haven’t seen in about ten years, since my cart days. Without pressure and limiting myself to WTG and XTG passes I could achieve a presentable shave, but not a close one. Blade lasts for two to three shaves max. Did not care for this razor.
My biggest surprise was the white Original. As far as I’m concerned Bic got it right the first time. Unlike the Sensitive, the blade edge stands proud of the imaginary line drawn between the top cap and guard. I’d say I get an excellent 90-95% quality DE shave on the first shave, but the quality of the blade degrades quickly. Like the Sensitives, they are only good for at most three shaves.
The Metal is also pretty good. Its blade edge also stands proud of the guard/cap line, but I find it less efficient than the Original. I had a harder time getting a close shave compared to the Original; perhaps could have gotten better with more practice. Where this razor does shine is maneuverability; its tiny head fits easily in the base of the nostrils and the ear tragus contour (the ear hole cover flap ) If you laugh, don’t worry you’ll get there some day! It’s the perfect DE companion. Its blades are a bit less durable and only good for two shaves. I regretted each third shave.
Money wise, these razors cost me 40¢ each, so each shave cost 13 to 20 cents. If one were stuck buying grocery store DE blades that typically go for $1 a blade (I get 4-10 shaves a blade depending on razor) then cost/shave is 10 to 25 cents. Remarkably similar. I’m happy that we have other sources of blades at our disposal.
I’m pretty happy to have done this exercise. It’s a cheap way to compare differences in blade exposure in similar razors (Original/Sensitive) and discover a preference. My feeling now is that I should stick only with positive exposures when looking at new DEs. Ideally one that matches the Original.
I think the comparing of the Bic Originals/Sensitives could help us guide each other with razor purchases. For example someone who owns several baseplates of a razor, or different versions of the Henson, could say which version of the Bic it’s closest to. The new potential buyer would have a better idea of what to chose.
Price and Packaging:
-BIC Metals were found in a dollar store for $2 Canadian for a pack of 5. Bic Originals were found in a discount store also for $2/5, and the Sensitives were found on sale at a regular pharmacy for $4/10 (regular $4.89). So all razors came out to be 40¢ each.
-Bic Metals are made in Greece, and both Bic Originals and Sensitives are made in France.
-The Bic Sensitives I purchased are distributed by BIC USA INC, the Originals by BIC UK LTD and the Metals came with European packaging labeled in 11 languages.
Measurements and Description:
-all weigh 4 grams each
-All use 0.0025” thick ribbon steel as blades (typical DE blades are 0.0035-0.004” thick).
-Original and Sensitive blades are 9.8mm x 37.1mm (0.386” x 1.461”).
-Bic Metal blades are 7.14mm x 37.1mm (0.281” x 1.461”).
-Bic Metal heads are 9mm x 44mm (0.354” x 1.732”) and have a guard made of metal wire.
-Bic Sensitive heads are 14.79mm x 44mm (0.582” x 1.732”) and have a rounded plastic guard with 10 fins that run parallel to the blade.
-Bic Original heads are a tad bigger at 14.94mm x 44mm (0.588” x 1.732”) and have a more angular guard with 3 fins that run parallel to the blade.
-The Sensitive’s blade edge is pretty much in line with the imaginary line drawn between the top cap and guard.
-Both the Metal’s and Original’s blade edge is proud of the line joining the top cap and guard.
BIC says they sell over ten million of these a day, as a result there are counterfeits out there with packaging that is practically identical. They say the fake ones’ top caps aren’t “welded” on and can easily come off, the handles are also very weak. All the ones in my possession, the top caps had to be broken off with a knife, and the handles could be folded without breakage, so they should be authentic.