02-18-2013, 08:00 PM
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What is a good mild blade for someone that is new to wet shaving? I have heard that feathers are super aggressive and to stay away from them. Thanks in advance.


0 9
 02-18-2013, 08:06 PM
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First of all, Welcome to the Nook!

Secondly, blades are the ultimate YMMV factor of shaving. What's mild to one, is aggressive to someone else and vice-versa. I would recommend getting a good sampler pack to find the right blade for you. Check the link below for sample packs.

Good Luck!


5 938
 02-18-2013, 08:27 PM
  • Blue line
  • Active Member
  • East Central Alabama
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Get a sampler, but a friend told me that ASTRA's are good or GREAT in most razors and never bad. I have found this to be true so far.

2 334
 02-18-2013, 09:01 PM
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
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You should get a sample pack, but I agree its good to know where to start. I started with Derby, Crystal, and Astra SP. I fell in love with Crystal, and Astra. I have yet to try a Feather, but I have tried a Silver Blue, so go figure. I thought the Silver Blue was way too aggressive in the razor I had it in though, but I'm getting ahead.

Phil has some excellent sample packs to try out, but I would make sure they contain at least Derby, Astra SP, and Crystal or another blade from Isreal like the Red Personna. I'm biased toward Crystal as they are my go to blade at the moment though.

18 1,186
 02-19-2013, 07:24 AM
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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I would also suggest getting a nice size sampler pack.

45 3,955
 02-19-2013, 09:55 AM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Knock

Just some "relevant" advice to go with the stellar advice of getting yourself a sample pack. When working through a sample pack (or any new blades) try at least 2 blades from a pack before possibly moving onto the next pack of blades in your sample pack.


Unless a blade really doesn't agree with you, it should be given a minimum of 2 shaves before passing judgment (IMHO). I've found a number of blades out there will actually perform better on the 2nd or 3rd shave, it's almost like the 1st use smooths the blade out ie Fully refines, hones, the edge. It's not like the 1st shave with those blades are bad, it's just the following shaves are better.

If a blade still isn't working after the 2nd or 3rd shave, then I recommend trying one more of the same blade (a new fresh blade), just in case the first blade happened to be a "bad" one (rare, but has been known to occur).

If after experiencing bad shaves from two blades from the same pack of blades, then it's fairly safe to say those blades aren't for you and it's time to move onto the next pack in your sample pack -- though once you've nailed down your shaving technique you may wish to revisit those blades which originally didn't work for you, just to confirm it was in fact the blades causing the problem and not "poor" shaving technique.

As someone who is new to traditional wetshaving, once you find a blade (within your sample pack) that works for you, stick with that particular brand of blade (order in say an extra 20 of those blades) while you then switch your complete focus to refining your actual shaving technique -- more than likely it's going to be somewhere in the 4 to 8 week period before you start to see significant signs of your shaving technique improving, little things will begin falling into place, then suddenly it will fill like everything has clicked into place (believe me it's a great feeling when that moment arrives).

Good luck!

Take care, Mike

23 1,872
 02-19-2013, 01:05 PM
  • bjorney
  • Senior Member
  • Los Angeles
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I'll chime in on the sampler pack, with a caution:

It's very easy to chase too many things at once when you just start out.

In my opinion, the biggest culprit for bad shaves when you are just starting out is poor technique. Switching blades is "easier" than working on your prep, blade-angle and pressure. Also, you may reject blades prematurely by trying them before you are ready for them.
I could not get a good shave with Astra Platinums (too harsh) when I first started and I more or less wrote them off. Coming back to them much later I realize that they are very nice blades
and one of my favorites.

As for your original question: One mild blade (that seems to be out of favor these days) is the Korean Dorco. They are often the "house blade" at Dollar stores. They were a pretty decent learning blade in my opinion. I now prefer much shaper blades, but my technique has improved.

My current DE favorites are: Astra Superior Platinum, Rapira and Perma-Sharp Super (all sharp Russian-made blades)

0 913
 02-19-2013, 01:22 PM
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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Greetings and welcome to the Nook. As others have suggested the best route to go a sampler. That way you experience various blades to see what works best for you. Blades highly selective to the individual using them.

1 3,507
 02-19-2013, 02:09 PM
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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Derby (pronounced 'Darby') or Astras. Good starting points IMO. Won't break the budget either.

0 1,961
 02-19-2013, 06:55 PM
  • Grumpy
  • Senior Member
  • DisneyLand
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Get a couple of Blades CVS or Walgreens or your grocery store will have practice blades and Walmart may have Wilkinson Blades.

But do as bjorney says ... practice practice practice and get the technique down before you go blade samplein.

1 819
 02-19-2013, 07:57 PM
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Good advice so far.

+1 on the sampler idea and the practice blades.

Aggressive blades though? No such thing. Razors can be aggressive; blades are either sharp, smooth, dull, terrible, and below both terrible and dull is Dorco... Biggrin well you get the idea. Never aggressive though, that's the razor. Some day you might like Feathers so don't write them off yet.

32 6,488
 02-20-2013, 01:24 AM
  • celar36
  • Enjoying Life 1 shave at time
  • London, UK
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+1 to sample pack, no pressure, angle etc..
Make sure along the way you will try Personna Meds Preps. Very smooth and sharp blades gotta love'em.

11 881
 02-20-2013, 01:33 AM
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Hello, welcome to: " Shave Nook " Relax & Enjoy.

Charles U.K

0 2,428
 02-20-2013, 07:31 AM
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My 'goto' blade when I was learning was the Red Personna blades. I'd look for a sampler that had at least some of the following blades that have a reputation for being smoother.

Red Personnas
Astra SP
Dorco 301
Gillette Thins

Now a lot of info dump:

Most drugstore/grocery store blades you find around town are Personnas, but I don't think they are what we in the hobby call 'Reds'. The Reds have traditionally been considered the blades made in Israel ( you may see them called Red IPs ). Personna also has a 'Blue' line you may see mentioned nick-named 'Labs' or 'Meds' as they were manufactured for medical or lab use. They are considered very good blades ( maybe a tad sharper than the Reds). The drugstore Personnas have always seemed a little over-priced, and a notch below the Reds and Blues for face comfort for me. However, being available locally has it's advantages. Just be aware Personna makes a lot of different blades so you can't just refer to them generically ( and to make it more complicated for example they make Red package blades in more than one country so its possible to get Reds from Mexico as opposed to Israel ... and 'experts' may contend each is different ).

Crystals are rumored to be made by Personna in Israel as well. My first sampler had one and I fell in love instantly. They are not always as easy to find as their more widespread Red and Blue cousins, but worth the effort in my book.

Astra SPs ( Super Platinums ) are made in a plant in St Petersburg Russia. This plant is known for producing a wide variety of blades with a pretty good reputation in the shaving world. To my face the Astras are smooth, but to me they are on the cusp of being in the top-tier of sharpest blades as well. That's not a bad thing at all, but I do have to treat my Astras with a tad more caution than I do some other blades.

Derby is a Turkish blade, I believe. This is a blade that didn't suit my technique early on ( or perhaps it didn't like my inexpensive Tech clone razor ). However, now I find it a great inexpensive blade choice. It doesn't give me the 'wow' factor that some of my top choices do, but it certainly gives a good shave for me now.

Dorcos are Korean blades. There are 2 main varieties ... the 300 and the 301. The 301s are usually considered usable blades, while many people describe the 300s as useless for almost anything. I've used a Dollar General branded pack of blades that some people claim are 301s ( they'll say 'manufactured in Korea' on the package ). They weren't bad blades at all to me. I'd use them if need be, but I felt like I had to use more passes to get a good shave from them than other blades.

The Gillette Thins are an Asian blade ( Thai or Vietnamese depending on where you purchase them ). They've developed a pretty good following in the shave boards.

Of the blades I've outlined above I've bought the Astra SPs, The Red IPs, and the Blue Labs in bulk. They make up a vast majority of my everyday shaving with a few other more 'exotic' blades tossed in for variety ( Polsilvers, Super Iridiums, Gillette Blue Plats, Treet Durasharp Carbons, Voshkods, etc ).

I will leave you with one personal observation ... I've never run into a blade made in that St Petersburg plant I didn't like.

YMMV of course, and I realize I've written far too much on the subject to digest. Enjoy shaving as a hobby!

0 252
 02-20-2013, 11:32 AM
  • MikeGJ
  • Member
  • Grand Junction, CO
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Red Personnas
Shark SS, Shark SC
Walmart Wilkies, the ones made in Germany
Lords, any style
Astra SP

I'd sample a few, and then stick with one you find works, until you are done experimenting with changes in other elements of your process (razors, brushes, creams, prep, etc.)

I started with Derbys, but now find them a bit harsh on the first shave, unless they are "palm stropped" first. Still a good blade, though.

1 113
 02-20-2013, 12:04 PM
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(02-20-2013, 11:32 AM)MikeGJ Wrote: Red Personnas
Shark SS, Shark SC
Walmart Wilkies, the ones made in Germany
Lords, any style
Astra SP

I'd sample a few, and then stick with one you find works, until you are done experimenting with changes in other elements of your process (razors, brushes, creams, prep, etc.)

I started with Derbys, but now find them a bit harsh on the first shave, unless they are "palm stropped" first. Still a good blade, though.

Good point on the 'palm strop' technique. I've found that to tame the '1st shave' bite some blades have. Most of the blades I use seem to have a sweet spot from the 2nd through the 4th or 5th shave depending on make/model. The palm strop seems to get most blades close to Shave 2 right out of the box.

Corking used to be another procedure advocated at one time, though I never used it. It simply required you to drag the blade edge through a small piece of cork.

0 252
 02-20-2013, 01:02 PM
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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Good advice on the sample pack. I would make sure the sample pack includes Astra SP because it is a smooth, sharp, widely available (on Amazon) and very inexpensive. If you liek this blade as many people do, you are in for a $0.10 blade that will give you at least four great shaves (usually more, but at a dime per blade I usually retire them after 4 shaves). As was mentioned other blades made in that factory are also very good, but are more expensive and not all that much better. They are great blades, but I just don't see how to justify the cost premium. Some of theose are Gillette 7 O'clock Super Platinum (blue wrapper) and 7 O'clock Sharp Edge (yellow wrapper). Excellent blades. Smooth and sharp. I would also suggest some blades in the mild category. Those would be Derby, which I am not a big fan of because they are not very smooth. They work well enough, but they don't feel smooth at all. Dorco ST300 for me are excellent mild blades. They are about as sharp as Derbys, but an order of magnitude smoother. Good for 3 shaves and are pretty cheap. I have not tried ST301. I would also get a few Feathers into that sample pack. I would not go to them right away, but after a while of DE shaving, you should. They are ultimate in sharpness, though I don't think they are worth the extra cost over Astras or another favorite, US-made Personna Super (aka Blue/med/lab). Personna Super are excellent inexpensive US made blade that is sold on ebay for around $13/100, which makes it an outstanding value on par with Astra SP. There used to be Indian blades, Super Max Super Platinums that were inexpensive and excellent, but they seemed to have disappeared from the market. Still, if you can get them in a sample pack, do give them a try. Another excellent blade is Perma-Sharp Super from Russia. Those are bit pricier than Astras, but very good. Another option is Wilkinson Sword sold in Walmart, of all places in boxes of 10 for $1.78 or something like that. These are German made and not bad at all, though I would not stock them as my go-to blade. Less sharp than Astra and not nearly as smooth, but a solid quality blade that will get the job done. My stash mostly contains Personna Super Labs, Astra SP, Feather, Super Max SP, Perma-Sharp Super and Gillette 7 O'clock Yellow. I've got others, but those are my favorite after almost a year of DE shaving. Once your technique and confidence improve it will matter less which blade you use, but I am sure you will settle on a favorite. It's good to have a favorite that's cheap and available. This is why I love Astra SP.

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