Stubble Quality

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
mikeny278
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Stubble Quality

Post by mikeny278 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:26 am

Does anyone else notice that stubble quality varies a lot by each blade? For instance, I love the resulting shave and the way my beard grows out with an Astra SP blade. What creates this? I don't think it is only the sharpness of the blade, because other blades I find to be of similar sharpmess give a different resulting "stubble quality" - the look and feel of my stubble. Do you think it has to do with the edge of the blade, or the hone? Has anyone else studied which blades have similar edges or hones to them, and whether the resulting shave is similar, independent of the sharpness and number of passes required? Or in other words, do blades with the same hone (maybe from the same manufacturer but different levels of sharpness), as long as they remain sharp, deliver the same resulting shave?

My reason for asking this is that I would be interested in trying blades that would give a shave similar to the Astra SP that might just be a little sharper. I thought examining similar edges might be a good starting point, but I have not yet researched similar edges to the Astra SP.

Thanks,
Mike

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TRBeck
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Post by TRBeck » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:50 am

This thread title is why I love SMF:

1. Only here would such a subject come up.
2. I knew exactly what the subject line meant, as I have noticed variations in stubble texture and quality myself.
3. Only here am I comfortable admitting the above.
4. Only here would someone have thought through such minutiae to a greater degree than I could ever dream.
:wink: :lol:

Mike, I think this is an interesting question, and I have noticed, as I said, the variation you talk about. However, I have not considered any factors beyond blade sharpness, which is in and of itself a subjective thing (at least without access to specialized equipment...I mean, there's a continuum, to be sure, but anything less sharp than a Feather but sharper than a German Wilk seems to be perceived differently on that continuum by different guys). I'm curious to hear others' thoughts on this, mostly because I feel pretty sure some other guys have thoughts on this. Like I said, only here...

Regards,
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Squire
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Post by Squire » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:00 am

That's an attractive theory Mike, I've tried it myself, unfortunately it doesn't work. Differences in steel and coatings can make a considerable difference in blade performance, even among the same manufacturer with the same sharpening pattern.
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Squire

mikeny278
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Post by mikeny278 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:53 am

Ah, Squire, too bad it could not be so easy...actually, just means I have to keep trying blades!

Has anyone else who really likes the Astra SPs found something that gives comparable shaves? I have not found anything else yet...

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KAV
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Post by KAV » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:09 pm

Anyone who has dealt with a post harvest cleanup knows 'stubble' can reveal a lot about the field's health.
Most blades do a credible job of clearcutting everything from old growth to yesterday's weeds.
It's the weepers, ingrown hairs, problematic areas in general that tell us waht's really happening over time.

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Quarterstick
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Post by Quarterstick » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:52 pm

TRBeck wrote:Like I said, only here...
Only here would you get such a poetic response as well. Echos of Sandburg. :)
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mikeny278
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Post by mikeny278 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:36 pm

Hi, Kav, well I am able to basically get an irritation-free shave without ingrowns and breakouts, except if I use a blade that is too dull, or I use a Feather. Otherwise I am ok. In the past, I think I used to have so many irritation issues because I was stretching blades for too long, trying to get the number of shaves others reported on the forum.

A quick one-pass shave with any blade will do about the same job in terms of closeness, but the roots of my hairs are visually more apparent with some blades over others for some reason. Also, as the stubble grows out, it looks and feels different depending on the blade. For instance, if I use a Gillette 7'O Clock, Derby, or an Iridium, the shave is smooth and I am irritation free, but the roots of my hairs look darker for some reason, and as the hairs grow out they look darker and do not feel smooth anymore. However, with the Astra SP, even this late in the day my stubble growing back does not look as dark, and it feels smoother.

I have been going back-and-forth between my Astras and all of my other blades the last 2 weeks, and I continue to reconfirm this. I even got a complement on an Astra day - our secretary asked me if I was shaved by a barber, and when I said no, she said I cleaned up very good that day.

The only problem with the Astras is that they only last me 2 good shaves. Maybe 3. Before stocking up on Astras estimating 2-3 blades a week for 52 weeks, I was going to try to stock up on something that works the same but maybe lasts longer for me. I cannot wait for my wife's face when I explain, well, see, they are not going to make these blades forever, and 1,500 blades are only 10 years worth, and I will still be shaving another 30 years at least...so I am going to have to get another couple of these.. :D :shock:

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Post by marsos52 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:24 pm

actually in some ways we have touched on this subject already..

many have stated (myself included) that the stubble growth from shaving with feather blades gives a spear like feel as the stubble appears

just other blades i have used i find little difference for the feel of my stubble...

once again,, one of the things i do like about my favorite blade (merkurs)
is the next day my stubble is not sharp and annoying,, as far as stubble feel goes...

what a topic haha

marc

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Squire
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Post by Squire » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:25 pm

Or better explanations.
Regards,
Squire

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Post by Gene » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:51 pm

Most blades leave me fairly smooth when the shadow appears.

But - Feathers tend to leave my stubble prickly.
Gene

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SharpSpine
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Post by SharpSpine » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:53 am

The appearance of your stubble differing has nothing to do with which blade you use for that shave. The factors that most likely do play a role would be your diet & skincare regimen. This is like the question that pops up from time to time about shaving making your stubble thicker. The cutting of the hair will not change the characteristics of your hair beyond the shape of the tip of the hair that is left after shaving which could make your stubble feel smoother or pricklier. However, it will have zero effect on color, thickness, coarseness, etc.
> Brian < Shave On & God Bless!!

Mongoose B1 + Hempel Spiral; Feather Pro

mikeny278
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Post by mikeny278 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:26 am

SharpSpine wrote:The appearance of your stubble differing has nothing to do with which blade you use for that shave. The factors that most likely do play a role would be your diet & skincare regimen. This is like the question that pops up from time to time about shaving making your stubble thicker. The cutting of the hair will not change the characteristics of your hair beyond the shape of the tip of the hair that is left after shaving which could make your stubble feel smoother or pricklier. However, it will have zero effect on color, thickness, coarseness, etc.
This is the complete opposite of my experience. I don't think my skin care regimen is changing only on the days I am not using Astras. I have been switching back and forth between Astras and other blades every 2 days.

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SharpSpine
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Post by SharpSpine » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:08 am

mikeny278 wrote:
SharpSpine wrote:The appearance of your stubble differing has nothing to do with which blade you use for that shave. The factors that most likely do play a role would be your diet & skincare regimen. This is like the question that pops up from time to time about shaving making your stubble thicker. The cutting of the hair will not change the characteristics of your hair beyond the shape of the tip of the hair that is left after shaving which could make your stubble feel smoother or pricklier. However, it will have zero effect on color, thickness, coarseness, etc.
This is the complete opposite of my experience. I don't think my skin care regimen is changing only on the days I am not using Astras. I have been switching back and forth between Astras and other blades every 2 days.
I'm not doubting your perception, just stating that the anatomical structure of your hair does not care one bit how you go about cutting it. How you perceive it is a completely different matter. Taking a blade to a shaft of hair cannot physically alter the anatomy or physiology of that shaft of hair or any of the surrounding hairs. If you perceive it does, then keep using whatever gives you that perception and enjoy it. I just think you should know that it's only perception and thus may prove difficult to impossible to find another blade that gives you the same perception.
> Brian < Shave On & God Bless!!

Mongoose B1 + Hempel Spiral; Feather Pro

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TRBeck
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Post by TRBeck » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:37 am

Brian, I know what you're saying, but it seems to me that the appearance of one's stubble could be affected by the bluntness or sharpness of the individual hair shaft tips. My beard isn't particularly dense, so minute differences in the tips of the hair don't alter the perception of "shadow," but there are guys with very dense beards that no doubt look very different with only minor alteration to the closeness of the shave AND the shape of the tips of the hair shafts.

Beyond that, one's perception is no doubt influenced by the way the hairs feel, and yes, sharper blades leave the feel of sharper stubble, which in turn may "look" different because one perceives it so based on texture. I'm with you on that.

Finally, to mike, while skin care regiments may not change, diet is variable, as is hydration, both of which would influence the appearance of one's skin and the hair tips. I look very different fully hydrated than I do without proper water consumption, and that inludes the way my hair stands out against the backdrop of my drawn, pallid skin when I'm dehydrated.

Regards,
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

mikeny278
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Post by mikeny278 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:34 pm

Yeah, I certainly think we all agree that the razor, blade, prepping, origin, body hydration, and fullness of moon all play a part in stubble quality, with the last item playing the largest role due to what some may consider the "werewolf effect". After going through the moon calendar, I have been using Astras on half moons or less. Had I been using them on full moon days, my beard would be more "werewolfish" and stubble quality degraded. I will need to create a better random sample before reporting anymore observations.

I think this thread has gotten too precise even for myself, although it has been fun! I was just looking for a quick way to find something that gives shaves comparable to the Astras. If anyone happens to have an opinion please let me know! I am going to be trying some of those "new" Russian blades that others have been posting about...

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Post by marsos52 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:39 pm

products and diet may be a factor,,i doubt it is a major one

i still believe how stubble feels when it begins to show and be felt is mainly
about the blade.. each blade company hones the edge slightly different..

and hone of the blade effects the cut of the hair..need i say more?

marc

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Post by Squire » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:52 pm

marc's half right . . . and I forgot the other half.
Regards,
Squire

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SharpSpine
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Post by SharpSpine » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:05 pm

Your werewolf analogy is quite accurate as its just about as ridiculous an idea as is a specific blade changing the anatomy of the hair. Now different blades may well remove more layers of skin than others which could account for an appearance difference. However, a DE user must try different blades himself since everyone's experience with those flimsy ribbons of steel is unique.

Good luck in your endeavors!
> Brian < Shave On & God Bless!!

Mongoose B1 + Hempel Spiral; Feather Pro

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SharpSpine
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Post by SharpSpine » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:11 pm

marsos52 wrote:products and diet may be a factor,,i doubt it is a major one

i still believe how stubble feels when it begins to show and be felt is mainly
about the blade.. each blade company hones the edge slightly different..

and hone of the blade effects the cut of the hair..need i say more?

marc
Yes, I agree different blades can leave a different shape to the end of the hair. However, there is no altering of the hairs' thickness, color, density, etc from shaving with one blade vs another. Not much to debate on this which is why I said its most likely perceptions.
> Brian < Shave On & God Bless!!

Mongoose B1 + Hempel Spiral; Feather Pro

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Post by jww » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:11 pm

Gents, my stubble is always of the highest quality. :wink:
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