Some thoughts about razors and blades

Thoughts and input on anything related to wet shaving or men's grooming.
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pausted
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Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by pausted » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:29 pm

For the last several shaves I have used the following razor/blade combos. This has been simply for the sake of variety and not because I was planning to come to any particular conclusions. I have used each of these combos for multiple shaves:

a black DE razor from West Coast Shaving with an Astra Superior Stainless blade,
a Merkur 34G with a Personna Lab Blue blade,
a Razorock Hawk with a Feather Professional blade,
a Gem 1912 with a Gem stainless blade,
a Colonial General with a Kai Captain Original blade,
a Gillette New Long Comb with a Gillette Nacet blade.

After these shaves, in spite of what I said above, I guess I have come to a conclusion. If one has good prep and good lather and good technique then the razor and blade combo is simply not very important. In my case, and only in MY case, I got an excellent, smooth, comfortable shave from all of the above combos. There were no nicks, no cuts and no drama of any kind. I used a quality soap and brush and good prep for each shave. My technique and passes were consistent.

This all presumes that the razor and blade are of good quality. A junk razor and sorry blade would certainly skew these results. But if the quality is consistent then I repeat, the razor/blade combo is really not very important.

I will be interested in any comments or thoughts that any of you may have.
Best regards,

Basil

jar
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by jar » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:13 am

Correct. All razors are equal but some razors are more equal than other razors.

Prep and technique are the key but there are differences in feel, sound, smell and even taste with different products. There is far more to a shave than just the results, it is an adventure and not a snapshot, the journey not just the T-Shirt, the experience not just the Selfie.

Rufus
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by Rufus » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:45 am

I agree that 90% of a good, irritation-free, close shave is prep and technique, when using quality hardware.
Bryan

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fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by fallingwickets » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:01 am

My experience is different to Basil's. I use only one razor and one brush and for the most part only one soap. Blades make a HUGE difference to the quality of my shave

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum

mlb549
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by mlb549 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:20 am

I agree with Basil. That is why I am not interested in the hype about new SE razors. I have borrowed from friends and tried six of them. I found all six to be excellent razors, but shaved no better than my vintage SE collection. I experiment with soaps, a few creams, and brushes. This is plenty variety for me. I have achieved excellent shaves from bath soaps in emergency conditions. You cannot beat good prep! I am a YMMV believer and therefore enjoy reading these forums-----May you all enjoy good shaves and this forum as well.
Mike

pausted
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by pausted » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:47 pm

fallingwickets wrote:My experience is different to Basil's. I use only one razor and one brush and for the most part only one soap. Blades make a HUGE difference to the quality of my shave

clive
Clive, I'm not sure that our experience is all that different. I'm sure that your one razor and one brush and one soap are all of high quality or you wouldn't be using them. So that leaves the blade. There are many DE blades that I would consider high quality. I assume you are using DE blades, although you didn't specify. If you can get the same excellent shave from more than one of these high quality blades, then you make my point. There are certainly a lot of DE blades that are NOT of high quality and shave poorly, so they should not be a part of this discussion. On the other hand, if you have found the ONLY blade that gives you a great shave then I defer to you're saying that our experience is different. :)
Best regards,

Basil

CMur12
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by CMur12 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:53 pm

My experience is somewhat different, possibly because I have very sensitive skin. I get my best results with a wet, slick lather and a mild razor with a sharp blade. Even an Edwin Jagger razor is too aggressive for me to use on a regular basis and I can't use Feather blades. That said, I get along pretty well with all of the popular blades other than Feathers.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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fallingwickets
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by fallingwickets » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:13 am

Basil, I took your point to be as written:
If one has good prep and good lather and good technique then the razor and blade combo is simply not very important
From what I'm reading you hedge your bet by throwing down the 'high quality' card :D The issue I have with that is your high quality is probably not mine, and my high quality may not be yours. Your thesis is that if you prep properly, the blade and razor don't matter, but they do as even you concede. If prep was indeed all that mattered, *any* blade with *any* razor would give you a good shaving experience.

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum

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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by CMur12 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:40 pm

fallingwickets wrote:Basil, I took your point to be as written:
If one has good prep and good lather and good technique then the razor and blade combo is simply not very important
From what I'm reading you hedge your bet by throwing down the 'high quality' card :D The issue I have with that is your high quality is probably not mine, and my high quality may not be yours. Your thesis is that if you prep properly, the blade and razor don't matter, but they do as even you concede. If prep was indeed all that mattered, *any* blade with *any* razor would give you a good shaving experience.

clive
Yeah, what Clive wrote!

Basil, this is actually a good topic for discussion. I think many of us have wetshaving experience that counters "established wisdom" and it is interesting to share that here for comparison with the experience of others. We used to consider a three-pass shave de rigueur, but that has been effectively challenged. We used to think badger brushes were the only worthy tools for a gentleman to utilize to produce lather, but we have since opened up to boar bristle, horse hair, and synthetic fiber. I'm sure there are other examples that don't occur to me at the moment.

Re-examination of practice and technique is a good thing.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

jar
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by jar » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:01 am

CMur12 wrote:
fallingwickets wrote:Basil, I took your point to be as written:
If one has good prep and good lather and good technique then the razor and blade combo is simply not very important
From what I'm reading you hedge your bet by throwing down the 'high quality' card :D The issue I have with that is your high quality is probably not mine, and my high quality may not be yours. Your thesis is that if you prep properly, the blade and razor don't matter, but they do as even you concede. If prep was indeed all that mattered, *any* blade with *any* razor would give you a good shaving experience.

clive
Yeah, what Clive wrote!

Basil, this is actually a good topic for discussion. I think many of us have wetshaving experience that counters "established wisdom" and it is interesting to share that here for comparison with the experience of others. We used to consider a three-pass shave de rigueur, but that has been effectively challenged. We used to think badger brushes were the only worthy tools for a gentleman to utilize to produce lather, but we have since opened up to boar bristle, horse hair, and synthetic fiber. I'm sure there are other examples that don't occur to me at the moment.

Re-examination of practice and technique is a good thing.

- Murray
Déjà vu all over again.

The wheel turns. Remember that for a long time badger, boar and horse hair brushes were the norm. Once nylon came along Synthetic Brushes joined the line up. Anthrax transmission from shaving brushes was a serious issue during WWI and yet shaving was required to make the gas masks of the day secure and at least minimally effective. Horse hair shaving brushes were banned in NY City in 1921 after a Tammany Hall ex-Representative died from anthrax poisoning from his shaving brush and later in other areas when anthrax was discovered in Chinese horse hair used in shaving brushes. Not long afterwards all shaving brushes in the US were required to be sterilized.

Among my experienced shaving brushes (those that have over a half century of use) I have badger, boar, nylon and even ones where the bristle material are unspecified but each and every one is marked "Sterilized".

Also, the idea that three passes are needed is another relatively modern creation. When I began shaving it was a single pass event, later as my facial hair matured and blades got better it became two passes with touchup and even today most shaves are simply two passes. In addition, those passes are not just one directional but a series of overlapping diagonal strokes from at least two directions.

brothers
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by brothers » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:58 pm

I see it as varying areas of importance --- I don't view the razor and blade as unimportant. More of a necessity (duh! :D ). The software (soap/cream/gel) is helpful, of course, and some of those require a brush to bring out their best (and some don't).
Gary

pausted
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by pausted » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:12 am

brothers wrote:I see it as varying areas of importance --- I don't view the razor and blade as unimportant. More of a necessity (duh! :D ). The software (soap/cream/gel) is helpful, of course, and some of those require a brush to bring out their best (and some don't).
Let me try to be a little bit more clear. I did not say that the razor and blade are unimportant. What I said was that, as long as the hardware is of good quality, the CHOICE of what combo one uses is not very important. With good prep, lather and technique, any of the hardware combos I used will give a good shave.
Best regards,

Basil

slackskin
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by slackskin » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:49 pm

Basil - I would be curious to know your prep routine. I understand the idea that prep is important, but it seems to me that a lot of what I read (regarding prep) is just too fussy, too fastidious, and wastes too much time. So what is your prep routine, and how long does it take?

pausted
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Location: Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by pausted » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:39 am

I agree. My prep consists of a hot shower with a thorough face wash with bath soap. After showering, I build my lather in a bowl on top of the soap and splash hot water on my beard and then lather up. That's it. Nothing at all complicated or time consuming. IMO, the key is to use lots of water to hydrate and soften the whiskers. My prep takes no longer than the time required to shower.
Best regards,

Basil

brothers
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Re: Some thoughts about razors and blades

Post by brothers » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:29 pm

pausted wrote:
brothers wrote:I see it as varying areas of importance --- I don't view the razor and blade as unimportant. More of a necessity (duh! :D ). The software (soap/cream/gel) is helpful, of course, and some of those require a brush to bring out their best (and some don't).
Let me try to be a little bit more clear. I did not say that the razor and blade are unimportant. What I said was that, as long as the hardware is of good quality, the CHOICE of what combo one uses is not very important. With good prep, lather and technique, any of the hardware combos I used will give a good shave.
Basil, I missed that implication when I read your post. To your point about the choice of combo not being very important, I have had a different experience. I spent a few years trying dozens of razor/blade combinations. What I found is that the specific razor in my personal case is extremely important, and the right blade in the right razor makes a difference. It's a matter of degree, of course. At the present time I've found a razor/blade combination that gives me my best shaves every day. But it must be said that my habitual prep and technique are the same every day also, because that's what brings out the best in the razor and blade.
Gary

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