Schick Type L Twin Blade | iKon X3 | Focus Dynamic

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Jenks, May 17, 2019 at 5:13 PM.

  1. Jenks

    Jenks Member

    I have been pretty happy using the Focus Dynamic R48 for my daily driver for the past year. But the SE threads keep mentioning that a late model Schick injector accompanied with twin blades cannot be ignored if you are looking for a smooth and close shave. So, as I was in Japan recently, I decided to pick up some Schick twin injector blades and test them out in my type L razor. Then I thought, why not have a showdown between the 3 razors I have used consistently. So, here it is ...

    Schick type L with Schick twin blades versus iKon X3 with a Feather blade versus Focus Dynamic with a Feather blade.

    First, me: Nordic and east european mix with dense, fast growing hair, at least according to my barber. The follicles themselves are on the thin side but there are a lot of them; which means great morning hair and a significant amount of stubble to go through each day. My skin may be on the sensitive side but not significantly; certainly not tough. I like shaving mostly for two reasons: the meditative experience while you shave, and the feeling of freshness and cleanliness that comes with a good shave. I am not one to pursue the mastery of technique, which probably explains why I like the Focus when many others do not.

    Second, my process: I shave every work day, which means that Monday morning is a 3-day growth and Tuesday through Friday are maintenance shave days. I face lather with MWF using an Omega Pro 49. I soak my brush in hot water when I shower and, while showering, soften my beard with hair conditioner. Once out of the shower, hot water on the face, some Proraso white pre-shave on the sensitive bits (upper lip and chin), then lather up and go. No problem getting great lather from the MWF for 3 full passes: first pass N-S, second pass mostly XTG, third pass mostly ATG. I do an ATG pass on my upper lip as well on the 3rd pass. After the shave, Thayer's witch hazel and then about 20 minutes later Nivea sensitive skin AS balm.

    Finally, the contest. I will use one blade for all 5 shaves. With the Focus, it will be the first 2 days of the week on one half and the last 3 days of the week on the other half. I will use the same products and pre- and post-shave processes as I always have. The results will be evaluated at 2 points: how my face feels when I leave the house, it should feel clean, close, and comfortable; and how my face feels an hour later when I get to work, all aspects of my face should feel smooth and stubble-free when lightly stroked from N to S and back S to N. Note that this does not mean BBS as N-S will not be ATG in all areas but it does fit my definition of CCS. Importantly, no irritation at any point.

    So, three+ weeks later, here are my evaluations of the 3 configurations.

    Schick type L with Schick twin blades:

    I was a little surprised that my Monday shave with 3 days growth felt tuggy and somewhat uncomfortable on the first N-S pass. Particularly as the single blade Chicks I used in the past felt pretty efficient in this same scenario. That said, for the next 2 passes and for all maintenance day passes, there was no tugginess just efficient removal of hair. The big exception was the upper lip. I could never go ATG comfortably and on day four abandoned that strategy and went XTG only for the last pass on the upper lip on the last 2 days.

    This combination did provide the closest shave of the 3, which was not immediately obvious but showed itself by having that smooth feeling lasting the longest as the day progressed. However, it was accompanied with a tenderness first thing that kept reminding me that, yes, I did shave that morning. Not full-on irritation but still somewhat uncomfortable.

    The geometry of the head is great, the angle is easy to find and the small profile leads to good maneuverability and easy access to awkward spots

    The out-the-door test result was not perfect due to the tenderness while the at-work test mostly passed with flying colours albeit with some residual tenderness and an incomplete shave on the upper lip after abandoning the ATG pass there.

    iKon X3 with a Feather blade:

    I think the X3 turned out to be the most efficient of the 3. It mowed down the stubble on the 1st pass Monday morning and was just as efficient for every pass that week. I would also rank this razor as having the ability to be as close as the Schick, however I did not always get that everywhere as I sometimes had trouble finding the angle. No problem on the 1st and 2nd passes, but the 3rd pass was more difficult as there wasn't audible or tactile feedback the way there was on the 1st two passes. I think is probably due to limited blade exposure making it overly sensitive to the angle of attack. It got better as the week progressed and I re-acquainted myself with it but it was never perfect and I remember that being one of my issues when I was using it regularly. But perhaps the biggest issue for me was that I was unable to go a day without a weeper; same as when I was using it regularly.

    The geometry was also a problem for me as it was awkward to shave effectively under the nose. It was capable of the ATG pass but the mechanics of performing it were awkward so I did end up abandoning that as I did with the Schick. I also ended up abandoning the XTG pass altogether and went directly to an ATG pass (except the upper lip) on the 2nd pass and stopping there. This was an attempt to reduce the weepers (it did but did not eliminate them) and because the razor was efficient enough to consolidate to 2 passes.

    The out-the-door test was better than the Schick as the weepers were resolved by then and there was no residual tenderness. The at-work test was acceptable but not great as there were generally some rough patches where I couldn't find the angle and the upper lip was rough after I abandoned the ATG pass there. Where it was properly shorn, it was as close as the Schick.

    Focus Dynamic with Feather Blade:

    Finally, I am reminded of why I ended up settling on this razor as my daily driver. Granted that I had been using it with a German Wilkie so a different situation than this one.

    The Focus was probably the least efficient of the 3 on the 1st WTG pass Monday morning. But it wasn't tuggy the way the Schick was; it cut but not as closely as the other 2. However, after the 3 full passes were finished, the Focus was as close as the other 2 for the out-the-door and at-work tests. But it was probably not as long-lasting a feeling as the other 2 as the day headed towards evening. That said, still close enough in the evening for my fast-growing stubble that I would not need to re-shave if I was going out after work.

    The shave process itself is my favourite as the angle is automatic with the pivoting head and there were no neglected areas at the end of the shave. My jawline and chin are pointy and are the reason I had angle issues with the X3, with the Focus I can go in multiple directions and let the pivot ensure proper blade contact. If anything there is a tendency to over shave and over buff because the process is as comfortable as it is.

    The geometry of the head is very nearly as good as the Schick for the awkward areas. Certainly no problem under the nose and around the edges. And this was the only razor of the three that I went ATG on the upper lip for all 5 days. Of course the blade loading is a pain in the ass.

    The Focus had the best out-the-door test result, my face felt fresh, relaxed, and clean. The at-work test was only marginally less than the Schick, it felt smooth N to S which is the benchmark but not as smooth ATG; certainly an acceptable CCS and a pass.

    Winner: Focus Dynamic

    The Focus provides the best overall shave for me. I am clean, comfortable, and close. The marginal improvement in closeness that I get with the Schick and X3 are not worth the added discomfort. My priority is healthy skin and that is where this razor excels. With the Schick and the X3 I was ready to take Saturday and Sunday off and let my skin rejuvenate. With the Focus, I feel like I could shave 365 days a year and be happy.

    I know that if I was intent on perfecting my technique I could get awesome shaves out of the Schick and X3. But that is not me, I am not interested in mastering technique, I just want a good experience that mentally prepares me for the day. And I also know that if I paid attention to technique with the Focus I can get better shaves with it as well so why go after more challenging razors.

    I used Feathers with the Focus to keep my evaluation consistent with the X3. I will be going back to German Wilkies with the Focus as my daily shave as I prefer the Wilkie's for their consistency and smoothness while still being sharp and durable. Feathers are too harsh for me.

    Wow, that was a novel. Flame away!
    Terry, Edison Carter and johnnyflake like this.
  2. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    :signs107: :signs097: :happy096:
    Nice write up on your test.

    Love my R48's

    Took up edge forward shaving devices because I wanted to.

    I have a nunber of straights all honed by big names. Great shaves. I can get as comfortable as the R48, but not as close.

    Wanted to try a shavette so I went with the Focus R21 Evolution. With that tool I can outshave the R48, EXCEPT for the sides under the jawline where I'm trying to figure out how to get to it. No problem for the R48.

    The R48 is still the Wedding Razor.

    When time is critical and I want a great shave the R48 again.

    Nobody who genuinely wants to learn the technique needed to use the R48 can deny what a great shaving device it is. (okay, it really ain't all that hard).

    Thanks for sharing.
    johnnyflake, Terry and brit like this.

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