Razor Blade Reviews 2018.
Webmaster Paul: Diving into Shaving.
DE Safety razor blade reviews for 2018
Wording by Paul, This is my opinion & experience, with no business mentioned paying or offering freebees for this article.
Trade names etc. (C) acknowldged.
Over the many years of shaving i have tried a lot of ideas out - here goes :-
Whether you're a Diver, Hairy Biker, Vicar or well groomed Exec - the one common thing we are faced with is what to do with those facial whisker's. I spent a lot of time researching what shaving systems were available, ie Electric, Cut throat, cartridge, Safety Razors - single & DE edged, Epilator, electrolysis, and even the thermal shave = burn em off gizmo's :. So,yeh, there are a lot of ideas out there and I have tried a number of them! In my line of work I am fortunate that I get to chat with large numbers of people, where I have ample opportunity to learn what everyone thinks & what everyone uses.
The Cut throats I am told are very sharp and 'deadly' if you get it wrong, with one chap showing me the long scare it left on his 1st attempt - he advised me not to go down that path, but i am tempted to try it.
The Cartridge idea is great, but it clogs so frequently, halting my shaving run - grrr :-(, and also gives few shaves for the extortionate cost of those blade cartridges (I know, I was using one !) and they don't help with land fill issues that have been raised of late, towards the end of 2017.
The Electric shavers are fine, but never give you that smooth, well groomed look, be it a Rotary cutting discs, or various double foiled and coarse cut band units. Again relatively pricy heads to replace when the come to the end of their life - or if the razor packs up, its out to the shops for another.
The Electrolysis idea, where you insert a thin pin into each hair follicle to electrocute and burn the follicle in an attempt to stop the hairs growing altogether is both very time consuming and can be painful, only to find it fails ! I know I have tried a small area of my chin with it !
The thermal idea workson its own to an extent, by using a fine heated wire, which comes into contact with the hairs and incinerates them as it goes. Expect smoke signals puffing up over your nostrils and cheeks, and a burning smell, but without any pain or felling of heat.
They are actually very good at burning the hairs off, but you are left with some stubble which you will then shave over with an electric shaver - it does take a lot of time on the thermal side of this operation, but a nice fairly clean shave results. After the burning, you are supposed to use an abrasive pad but I found this had little effect.
The Epilator idea is a good one for long spells between 'shaving'. Here, the fast rotating sprung wires grab your whisker's with force like twizzers, and rip the hairs out. Unfortunately, this is a very painful operation which left me yelling out loud. Very red raw skin where it had been, but boy was I smooth skinned afterward - however - never again will I endure such pain especially around the neck and cheeks - in fact pretty much everywhere on my face.
About the Safety Razors
I spent some time researching shaving online - when something i had not seen before caught my interest.
They called it DE safety shaving, or more accurately, Double Edged 'DE' Safety Razors & blades.
The single blade safety razor idea sounds fine, but no one I have ever spoken to seems to be using this type of razor.
Now I come to the rapidly growing most popular Razor, that I had tried 40 plus years ago, but gave it up as too much hard work, the DE Safety Razor!!
I gave it up because I found it hard to work with the blade that it came with and there was no internet back then to explore what blades were available or for that matter what other Razors, so I became corrupted by the multi blade cartridge razors which as I recalled were not that much more expensive to buy - how things appear to have changed !
The DE Safety Razor idea is as simple as it is brilliant - & brilliantly as it is simple!
No matter what DE Safety Razor you have, all DE blades fit no matter what part of the world you are in ! its that simple, its that universal !.
Further more - no matter which Razor you are using all DE blades fit into any one of those Razors - if only computer software & operating systems could be like this !!
There are 3 different types of Razor you can choose from, 3 piece, 2 piece and butterfly type.
The 2 piece are adjustable razors where the blade angle can be changed to give a gentle through to an aggressive (a highly efficient shave with care).
The 3 piece is made up of handle, base plate the blade sits on, and a curved 'head' plate that clamps the blade into its fix angle for shaving.
The butterfly has a head that opens to allow you to place a blade inside, then closes & locks down by the turning of a knob at the end of the handle into a fixed angle for shaving.
The later 2 come in a variety of shaving levels from gentle to aggressive. The adjustable 2 piece razors cover all these levels of shaving.
What about the costs for the Razor, shaving brush, blades & shaving soap or cream, plus some proper pre-shave and aftershave moisturisers?
Enjoy hunting for these products, Shaving soap or shaving cream searches will presnet a bewildering array of product and price.
It's no different for the Badger, Boar, Horse, or synthetic brushes, and when it comes to Blades there are no end of reviews like the one i have created here - but remember always that like your existing Aftershave, you may find something that suits you, may not be the flavour of the month with everyone else. I found this when trying the Feather Blades from Japan.
So its very much a fascinating case of trial and error, until you hit THE ONE, or in many cases 2 or 3 that you really enjoy using.
Nothing ventured nothing gained.
SHAVING GUIDE VIDEO LINKS
How to use your new Safety Razor - by Executive Shaving
How to care for your Badger brush - by Executive Shaving
The DE versus the Cartridge Shaver! by Razor Emporium
Which blade is best ? by Razor Emporium
Choosing blade sharpness guides & reviews - by Refined shaving
'Kensurfs' - why I changed over to DE shaving. 30 minutes long.
Claymore single bladed razor made from solid stainless steel.
SOME TOP SCOTTISH & ENGLISH COMPANIES TO EXPLORE
The Executive Shaving Company - Glasgow, Scotland
Edwin Jagger - Sheffield, England
Taylor of Old Bond Street, London, England
So its whatever tickles yer whiska's when it comes to quality and price as with most things.
Its similar to Dive gear for us buddies - whatever you pay, its designed to give long lasting great service.
There are a number of other great Scottish & English companies out there with a bewildering range covering the majority of DE Razors (including Cartridge types, cut throats and SE razors), along with the many DE blade manufacturers, and a BIG point to make here with DE, is that all those blades regardless of manufacture from India, Russia, Japan, Germany etc, all fit perfectly into any DE shaver you may own!
The scents from the Shaving soaps & creams really do smell so good that you will be forgiven for thinking they are edible :-) absolutely amazing scents - well done to all here.
At Executive Shaving, we discovered that Brian & Shona have many large tables where you can check out how the razors feel in the hand - weight, grip, balance, and on another table you have Pre Shave's, mens cologne's & aftershave parfum's and of course you have the brushes.
I should mention that when I bought the Big Jock Silver tip with its real horn handle, Brian & Shona kindly explained the fascinating history behind the naming of the brush. I also bought a Best Badger brush, plus some of Brian's recommended blades to try out in my E. Jagger Razor on this shopping trip!
I certainly enjoyed testing a few samples of the Eau De Parfum's for men on the tables and Wow - there is one there i'll be treating myself to next month when we return - a Castle Forbes creation. Sneaky of Brian to give Kath a shot of it, now she's telling me its faboulous and i've simply got to buy it, she had even washed her hands twice the following day and the scent was just as good!, so okay were going back for that too :-)
I also enquired about Adjustable DE razors, which Brian also showed me on another table and whilst i was getting a feel of these, he went off to bring in something special to handle, which I liked a lot, but im not tell you guys about it because i dont think he has many of that razor left.
Unbelievably they also sell Vintage old razors from the year dot. They are re-chromed, cleaned and serviced. They are just like new! Which made me realise that the DE razor you buy today - will last more than a lifetime!
Since the above Review - I went back in February of 2018, to Executive Shaving, and have purchased one of their Best Badger brushes, i had to have that Castle Forbes 1445 Eu De Parfum aftershave - simple a fantastic scent from this, and also another Razor, this time a Parker Varient with black handle, which is an adjustable razor.
Pampering at Executive Shaving
Paul asks: is this a tickling stick then?
Brian Mulreany - this one is our "Big Jock Silver tip" :-)
Well I felt it, and I just had to have it !
Before I get into these DE blade reviews remember that . . .
Shaving is an Art and a Skill ! and for me it had to be relearned - but it only took a few weeks :-)
1st i need to explain my razor blade tests, in which i always used the same Razor for the purpose of standardising this test. The Razor used was an Edwin Jagger 3D DE Safety Razor which is a relatively mild to medium razor and i would suggest ideal for beginners.
Pre shave preping, lathering then post shave along with some essential 'pampering' of the skin afterwards proves that on my skin it pay's dividends - not the stock market kind though :-)
Fot the tests on each blade, i had to be consistent in each aspect and write every detail down including a ten minute post shave period where i determined any negative aspects on my skin before adding moisturiser + syptic pencil if needed :-(
On my pre-shave prep a vigourosly agitating of the bristle for 20 / 30 seconds, followed by either hot water applied to face, OR, Hot Flannel, AND/OR, Pre Shave lotion when used, after skin hydration from the flannel or water splashing.
Lathering was either with Hard puck of Shaving Soap or Shaving Cream.
Using a Boar brush, but also Best Badger, and Silver Tip Badger.
In Post Shave Warm water applied to finish off cleaning away any lather followed by a cold water splash all over to close the pores.
I wanted to feel the raw end of post shaving so i left out applying any lotion until after ten minutes, in this way i could assess as best as possible any irritation, burn, and smoothness & effectivness of the blade - hope that makes some sense ?.
As soon as 10 minutes was up, i applied almost always a lotion that had both moisturiser and 'calming' ingredients.
BLADE PERFORMANCE - According to my face & bristles !
The Review here is on the actual blades and some fascinating nuances between them. I'll show the lowest, the best and the average score for ease if reading and then highlight what I discovered,
Astra Superior Platinum - Made in Russia: Low of 7.5, High of 9.5 & Ave = 8.58 (6 shaves)
Giving 3 scores of 9.5 were all reached when using a hot flannel in pre shave - no pre-shave lotion used here. Also of note was on the 3rd shave I found that only one pass with the hairs and then one pass across the direction of hair growth was all that was needed to obtain a 'bs' butt smooth shave.
Subsequent shaves required one further pass to finish off, running against the hairs.
I found a very slight improvement in shave when using a hard shaving soap, instead of shaving cream with this blade, however, that may be down to other factors culminating in that very slight difference in feel ?
Feather HI stainless - Made in Japan: Low of 2, High of 7.5 & Ave = 6 (3 shaves)
If these feathers work for you then you have a great blade, but this only lasted 3 shaves on my face, with the 3rd being a disaster - barely a bristle touched but boy was my chin and upper lip area cut up 'yet again' & despite 8 plus passes!!! NO Burn or Irritation !!! which left me bemused regarding this blades supposed attributes.
Any other blade would have burned and irritated like hell afterward.
Yes, I checked alignment and steadfastness of blade, as per each new blade and even tried to clean & reseat it here.
Feather Platinum - Made in Japan: Low of 8.5, High of 9.5 & Ave = 8.94 (4 shaves)
A blade of contradictions for me, enjoying top reviews by many, but for me, it was cuts, not nicks, and no lasting power! On the plus side it gave a Razor burn free shave on every occasion and no irritation other than scarring me mentally & physically! I'll try these again in my Parker Varient to see if i can tame it in that adjustable razor?
Gillette Silver Blue - Teflon Coated - Made in Russia: Low of 9, High of 9.9 & Ave = 9.59 (14 shaves)
A good story here; By the 4th shave i was about to give up with this blade as it shaved okay? but not overly impressive. I took a break for 1 day and return to this blade with 2 days growth and found the WOW factor here!
It hit top end scores on the 5th and following shaves in a very consistent manner.
Burn & irritation was zero on 3 passes but on the odd occasion where 4 or more passes were performed during the 1st few shaves, i found only slight irritation, which makes this blade in my opinion, at least on my face, the best tested here to date !
At shave 12 - i have to say this cant be real ?! I am even shaving less at 30 hrs between shaves, not the usualy 24hrs, but the blade may be giving a hint that it may be about to dull down ??.
Shave 13 - Mild irritation after a 48 hr break from shaving with 3 passes and some touch ups where missed / or maybe not quite mowing the lawn properly ? - but BS shave all the same and still going strong!
14th shave and still very good but with mild irritation - no need to carry on, this is my top blade and have retired it for the time being!!. I have to thank Brian Mulreany from Executive Shaving for putting me onto this blade :-)
Gillette 7 O' Clock - Made in Russia 'Russian green wraps': Low of 8, High of 9.5 & Ave = 8.82 (7 shaves)
a great blade, competent blade with consistently good shaves. The 7th shave gave a very clean shave indeed but signs of tug and therefor retired. No burn or irritation noted. On the 6th shave there was improvement in overall effectivness.
Personna Platinum - Made in Israel: Low 9.5, High 9.8 & Ave = 9.66 (5 shaves)
All shaves have been smooth, with no burn or irritation to date. A descent smooth finish with all, but the 5th shave required more passes. The scoring here from 1st shave are the superbly consistent & high.
Polsilver Super Iridium: Low of 7, High of 9.9 & Ave = 9.2 (11 shaves)
1st 7 shaves saw odd nicks but no burn or irritation. On the 9th shave onward there were signs of blunting, but still gave smooth shaves except on the 11th shave, so was retired.
Voskhod - Teflon coated - Made in Russia: Low of 9.2, High of 9.8 & Ave 9.7 = (7 shaves)
This started with a great score of 9.7 rising to 9.8 then holding 9.7 until the last 2 shaves. That teflon coating had much to do with the overal feel rating here, but importantly, it continued to give a no burn or irritation shave and by the 3rd shave it was a true BS shave.
A nice smooth operator with only an odd shave causing a tiny nick which was more to do with my 'enthusiasm' than any other issue. The final 2 shaves gave rise to tugging along with a dull shave as one would expect in the end life of the blade.
It became very clear, that the 1st & 2nd shaves with a new blade are not the sharpest, but thereon in, they rapidly become sharper.
What is unusual here, is that the Feather blades are at their sharpest from the outset, but then steadily lose their effectivness on the 2nd & 3rd shaves. The 2 things that struck me most here, is that these Feathers are smooth operators when it comes to burn and irritation, because unlike some other blades, i never experienced any feeling of irritation or burn no matter how many passes i made over the same area!
Sadly, The Feather blade life span was very short on my bristles.
On the other side of the fence, the Gillette Med Blues started with 4 dull shaves before putting in an amazing & stunning performance!
When it came to blade coatings, there is a clear advantage to having Teflon coated blades from the view of Burn, irritation & nicks.
No Teflon coated blade gave rise to irritation or burn even after 6 or 7 passes on my face!
There is a price to pay for the Teflon in terms of initial sharpness on the shaves, but after 3 or 4 shaves, they sharpen up nicely. The Voskhod did not have such a long life, but it gave a consistant perfomance from shave 1, and it has price £ $ on its side.
The Nuances' between these blades is a fascinating subject indeed, so if your new to this, simply enjoy exploring your own exciting blade selections.to find your perfect blade & shave :-)
Coming Soon: How the above blades perform in a Parker Varient adjustable Razor:!
Meet the Owners of The Executive Shaving Company, Glasgow, Scotland :-)
Thanks for your customer Paul & Kath, we always enjoy meeting our clients.