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Tips for Merkur Progress Noob

As the title implies, I have a Merkur Progress 500 en route to me, and I’d appreciate any tips from the experts.

2022 was my “Year of RAD”, and I am very satisfied with the selection of vintage Gillette and ASR razors I put together on the cheap. BUT, I do not own any “new production” razors, and no adjustables. The Progress seemed a perfect choice to end my quest, as it’s both “new” and yet “vintage”, being a 1950s design still in production.

So I’ve read what I can, and noted to make sure the cap is on the right way; hold a finger on the cap while assembling and check blade alignment; make sure I twist it all the way closed after loading a blade before then opening it back up to the desired number. What else do I need to know?

Since the Merkur bends the blade more than other razors, does that then dictate using a steeper shaving angle?


Oh! The faux ivory knob that some see as a negative on the Progress, is the main reason I got hooked and couldn’t resist! Such a classic, 1950s German design!
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I shave steep and the Progress works very well for me. Due to the bend it achieves that even so so blades in other razors sing in the Progress. Whenever I find a blade too mild I test it again in the Progress :)

Brother VintageGent,

The Progress is a razor of moderate aggression. If your whiskers are moderate toughness, you'll probably end up with the best setting to be roughly in mid-range. But you don't know that yet. There are exceptions. Do start out at a lower setting.

Above all, resist the typical NOOB temptation to set it at the highest setting, in the grossly mistaken belief the highest setting will give you the best shave. That is not how adjustable razors work.

BTW most Progresses are poorly calibrated. So the lowest setting on your razor will not necessarily be 1. The lowest setting may be above 1 or below 1. Also, a proper setting for you on Progress razor A may not be the same setting on Progress razor B.

The Merkur Progress is a good razor, but like a typical beautiful woman it does have some quirks.

Let us know how it goes.
Wonderful razor. Start low. When I got mine I thought it was a little harsh, but it turned out it was set too high for me at that time.

I quickly realized it was a little bit more aggressive than what I was initially thinking. Adjusted my expectations and that was it.

It‘s hard to beat the progress efficiency, even at lower settings.
Today I got Progress as a gift from my wife. What can I say... definitely start with the lowest setting. I started with "3" and it happened to be too aggressive for me. "1.5" was the best, for now. Still, I should calibrate it for my tastes, IMO it will last 3-5 shaves

Anyway, it is a greeat razor! Liked it so much, I got the standard short version and it's perfect for me. Don't like those long rakes, huh. Interesting how long will it live.. I've heard it's around 6-8 years
just shave with it. start anywhere where you feel like and adjust after 2 strokes.

here is how it went for me:
1st pass: 3 - meh, 4 - better, 5 - jackpot.
2nd pass, kept on 5. tried 4, but I like 5 better.
3rd pass, down to 1. it didn't remove any whiskers, no audible feedback, only lather was removed. turned it up to 2, great finish ATG.
so my settings are 5-5-2, and I sometimes deviate mid pass based on feel.
I'm a daily shaver, so when I use the Progress, my settings are:

WTG: 3.5
XTG : 2.5
XTG the other way: 1.5

If I shave every other day my settings are:

WTG: 4
XTG: 3
XTG the other way: 1.5

Progress is one of those iconic razors that everyone, at least at some point, should own or test. Great razor!
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