Shower thoughts: blade choices over the years

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by PLANofMAN, Dec 23, 2021.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    How long did it take you to find your preferred DE blade, and what were your criteria?

    I have found, over the decades, that my blade preferences have shaped my razor preferences and that my razor preferences have also shaped my blade preferences.

    Something that doesn't get mentioned nearly often enough is that time has also had a huge impact. My skin and beard are nothing like they were when I was 25. (I'm 41 at the time of this post) my beard has gone to salt and pepper and my skin is less sensitive.

    Starting out, my preference was for mild razors and keen blades. Since then, I have gradually started using razors that are more efficient but still on the milder side.

    I don't know why I still find it astonishing that people use the R41 with Feather blades. It's an insanely aggressive setup, but no more so than the person who uses a straight razor or shavette.

    Which brings us to the use of 'angle' and 'pressure.' Angle is fairly easy to figure out, and muscle memory will eventually replace focused concentration on that part of the shave. Pressure, on the other hand, changes with each new razor you handle. The weight and balance of the razor is different from other razors, as is blade angle, exposure, etc.

    I was about to do a pass with the Essence razor the other day, and I had to freeze in place. I could feel that I had placed the Feather Super AC blade at the wrong angle on my skin, and a hair more pressure would result in blood-letting. In my younger years, I'm fairly certain I would have cut myself. I had to clear away the lather in order to prove that I hadn't cut myself, because it felt like I sure had.

    But how does a person develop that sensitivity as quickly as possible? I used to think it was by trying a number of different razors with different blades, but now I realize that it is developed best by using a wide variety of razor types, and that blade choice is largely immaterial. The vast majority of blades will work for most people. If they didn't, the blade manufacturer would go out of business. So go out and try injectors, shavettes, SE razors and DE, and all manner of razors and blades. Be like the 90 year old violinist who still practices daily, despite 80 years of experience. To grow in the craft, you need to challenge yourself and look for new experiences.
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  2. ewk

    ewk Well-Known Member

    I am one year in. I spent the first few months working through multiple blades in a sample pack. Most gave a darn fine shave, and I could live with any of them. Some left a minefield of weepers behind no matter how light the touch. There are 3 that punched my "Goldilocks" button of close shave, little blade feel, and no blood. I am so confident in those three, I recently acquired about 600 and likely will not need to purchase any more for quite some time. For me the blades are like batteries: I found the ones at a price point and performance level that works for me, and I now give little thought to which one I am using. The great variety to keep things interesting for me is in the razors and soaps.
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  3. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    When I was 18, I had a (looking back) very mild Gillette with decent blades, and a lousy technique. The main reason I got away with that, I guess, was because of my soft teenage "stubble".

    I am 54 now, and have gravitated to more aggressive razors with relatively mild blades (Personna "Made in Israel"), but I can shave perfectly fine with a Feather blade in my Fatip open comb as well.
    I have never cared much about angle. I just go by feel, with every razor/blade combo. If I cannot get a comfortable feel in one or two shaves, the combo is not for me.

    I probably still have a lousy technique, but now I get away with it because my skin has become used to it after all those years. ;)
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  4. PanChango

    PanChango Not Cute

    I think blades provide nuance level differences that can be observed after spending way too much time and energy obsessing over things for a few years. They are all sharp.

    I haven't used my DE razors more than a few times over the last couple of years. As my beard got more gray and wiry, I seemed to get better shaves with the thicker Gem SE blades. Then I finally RR Hawk V3A and got to try the Schick Proline AC blades. This combination works very well for me and I haven't thought about using anything else since last March. I am sure I will eventually migrate to another daily driver, but this one has been giving me great long lasting shaves.
  5. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    That brings me to another point. I often see people ask about blades, and about 40 blades get mentioned as 'someone's' favorite blade. Which means that there is no perfect blade, and I also suspect, that people generally try about 30 different blades and quickly settle on a favorite, only trying new options at random, for example, a blade pack included with a razor purchase.
    brit likes this.
  6. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    True for me ... I am basically shaving with the same blades now as thirty years ago (the "Made in Israel" ones). They likely have changed over the years as well, if only because of machine tolerances, but probably so gradually that I haven't noticed. I definitely have not tried 30 different blades (15 to 20 is more realistic, and most just out of curiosity).

    I usually avoid giving others blade recommendations. What good does it do them to know what I like? They don't have my face, nor my technique.
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  7. brit

    brit in a box

    my friend swears by his vintage wilkinson blades.he has made his stash last decades.i got him some current ones a while back and he likes them as well..:)
  8. jay_gatz

    jay_gatz Well-Known Member

    Pish posh good sir. You have forgotten the Gillette Super Stainless "Spoilers". :)
  9. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    Yes, I like those vintage Wilkies as well, but I use them sparingly, since I don't have that many left :)
    brit likes this.
  10. brit

    brit in a box

  11. SRQShaver

    SRQShaver Well-Known Member

    I have collected and tested dozens of blades, most of which are acceptable with a small handful being exceptional and another small handful being unusable. The exceptional ones vary in effectiveness between razors which adds another dimension to finding the right blade. I am new enough to wet shaving that I don't consider many of my opinions to be locked in. I recognize that my opinions will likely change over time as I gain more experience and my stubble and skin change. It's all part of the fun to me, trying new things or new combinations.
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  12. kfbrady

    kfbrady Well-Known Member

    I've been wet shaving for just about all of my adult life - I'm 71 now. I've probably tried about 20 or so blades, used Wilkinson Sword for many years but now use Gillette Silver Blues or Feathers. Just about all the ones I've tried have given me a decent shave, although there are a few I would never go near again!

    It's pretty much the same for me with razors. I probably own about 20, mostly post WW2 Gillettes, and a few modern ones. Every single one gives me an adequate shave, I don't care if they're considered "beginner razors" or not and I tend to rotate them every few months. Brushes too. I have about a dozen, they all work just fine whether they're badger, boar or horse. Being an ex-pat Brit I suppose I have a slight preference for British stuff out of some strange - probably misguided - sense of patriotism!
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    SHAVEWIZARD420 Well-Known Member

    I have tried the vast majority of the blades available today. Like to keep a good selection on hand and always switch it up to a different blade when it's time, or alternate between 2 blades for comparison sake. Most of them are at least acceptable and have only found a couple that were complete crap (Tiger, Falcon, and a few other Chineese blades) while others can dull quickly like Star blades which work great but seem to do downhill quicker than most.

    Blades are interesting because it's user preference as long as they are sharp enough to cut thru stubble they can do the job.

    One brand that really stood out was the Rapira in the red, Black, and white? Packaging. Bought a 100 pack after the first blade from a single tuck lasted around 14+ shaves without changes and ended up switching more for sanitary reasons that anything else.

    Some other blades that stand out:

    Pol-silver (doscontinued...mehhh)
    Super-Max platinum (most Super-Max blades are very good IMO)
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