01-14-2017, 01:09 PM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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Let me be clear from the start:  the “rule” of the topic line is my own personal rule, so do not question where I found it, and feel free to disagree with it, because it is not a rule found chiseled into stone tablets brought down from Mount Horeb.

That out of the way, my impression of many of the posts in this subforum is that many of us (“us” includes me:  guilty as charged) form strong opinions about a brand, or a line within a brand, of blade based on a few shaves with an even fewer number of blades; and then we (again, I have been guilty in the past) pontificate about the differences among blades that we have barely tried.  (Example:  my purchase of some shaving equipment brought with it five different DE blades as a free throw-in; four of the blades were fair to good; the fifth was really, really bad:  halfway through the first shave, face bloodied, I removed the blade from the razor, tossed the blade in the blade bank, and inserted a different blade to finish the shave.  For the obvious reason, I have never been inclined to spend even a penny to try another sample of that blade, and probably never shall I ever have that brand of blade in my razor again; but I cannot dismiss the possibility that I may simply have had the bad luck of getting a “one in a million” bad blade that slipped past the quality control phase in the factory.)  

However, in my personal experience, I have found that extended use of one or another brand/line of blade can result in my changing my mind over time about the relative merits or demerits of the blade, sometimes drastically changing my mind.  On the other hand, once I have used a specific type of blade for somewhere between 125 and 150 shaves — in my case, because I get, on average, about six shaves per blade, that means 20 to 25 blades, each used until the blade lets me know it has ended its useful life — I have opinions about that blade that probably never will change.  

So here is my rule, applicable to this thread only, unless another individual decides to adopt it in another thread.  In this thread, if you have not used at least two dozen (24) or more of a specific brand and line of blade, please don’t tell me about it.  If you have used two or more different brands/lines of blades for more than two dozen full blade lives each, I am really interested in what your impressions are as to how they compare and contrast.

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 01-14-2017, 01:45 PM
#2
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I like your style.

I agree.

I believe a lot of other guys do too and I see a lot of people say they're not ready yet to review a new razor or brush until they've used it several times. With blades though it seems, myself included, we tend to draw early and strongly felt conclusions sometimes.

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 01-14-2017, 02:45 PM
#3
  • Mouser
  • Senior Member
  • Forest City, Florida U.S.A.
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The only exception to your rule Mel, or drawback, is if a particular blade is so bad for you, causes so much discomfort or injury each time you try it that giving it two dozen tries is just too unendurable for you. Like, say, Balaka.

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 01-15-2017, 08:12 AM
#4
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(01-14-2017, 02:45 PM)Mouser Wrote: The only exception to your rule Mel, or drawback, is if a particular blade is so bad for you, causes so much discomfort or injury each time you try it that giving it two dozen tries is just too unendurable for you. Like, say, Balaka.

Excellent point.  As I noted in the initial post in this thread, the problem you identify is one that I encountered myself with a sample blade that had been a lagniappe with the purchase of a non-blade shaving product:  I could not get through the very first shave with the blade.  For that reason, I never have put out any of my own hard-earned funds to buy more blades of that brand.  

That extreme example aside, I have given other blades that underwhelmed me with their first impression a fair chance to redeem themselves.  Two different vendors sent me free 5-packs of Super-Max Platinum blades, and I gave them a full trial, and even went the extra mile to use some more, before arriving at a final verdict that they were not for me.  When I first started my “one year” trial (became a two-year trial) of DE shaving (after more than four decades of using various cartridge razors), I read hundreds of reviews on Amazon (yeah, I know) of various blades, and started my trial of the DE genre with 25 Gillette Silver Blues, which I used as the baseline standard against which I could compare and contrast other blades; subsequently, when I compared the last dozen Silver Blues against the first dozen of a score of Wizamet-packaged Polsilver Iridium Supers, I felt that I had a sufficient grounding to conclude that the Polsilvers were better — not by a whole lot, but better — for me than the Silver Blues.  But my conclusions after, say, just a half dozen of each blade could well have gone the other way, because each day’s shave is unique:  sometimes I am in a hurry, sometimes I am over-tired, sometimes I am trying out a new and different shaving soap, etc., and it is hard to separate the performance of the respective blades from the external variables.  Therefore, I got very deep into the extended trial of GSB vs. Polsilver before my experiences with the two PPI brands of blades coalesced into a reliable conclusion.  A later trial of a similar quantity of the inexpensive Rapira Swedish Supersteel blades against the then-reigning champ Polsilvers gave me confidence that I could get just as satisfactory shaves with the Moscow brand of blades as with either of the St. Petersburg brands of Russian blades.

But if I had had a horrible experience with one of the first Polsilvers or one of the first Rapiras, I agree with you that I probably would not have stayed the course to let the trial play itself out.

The past couple of weeks, due to extraordinary weather conditions in my home town, what had been planned as a quick three-day weekend trip to visit our son’s family in the Bay Area ended up as a twelve day slog, as the airport here was shut down and the airlines were on irregular schedules and passengers were re-booking with wild abandon.  As a result, I ended up using my travel shaving kit for a more extended period than I usually do.  When I travel, due to TSA carry-on luggage restrictions, my razor is the Feather MR3 neo (allowed in the cabin) rather than a DE razor (DE blades prohibited in the cabin).  I was again impressed — as I always am when I use it — by just how amazingly good the MR3 neo is.  My shaves are just as close and long-lasting, and just as comfortable and irritation-free, when I use the MR3 neo as the shaves I get from the best DE razor fitted with the best DE blade (though the DE is more fun).  Upon returning home, I read in an interesting thread in the General Shaving Discussion here on ShaveNook that a hunting guide assembling a lightweight shaving kit for use on extended excursions in Greenland would not even entertain the possibility of carrying a cartridge razor; and it was, in fact, that thread that inspired me to start this thread here in the Blades subforum.  

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 03-11-2017, 09:52 AM
#5
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I think you make a valid point, Mel.  Personally, I'm just as guilty as anyone about forming early opinions about blades, or soaps, or brushes, or razors for that matter.  But then, that could be part of the fun of wetshaving too I suppose.  YMMV being the succinct summarization of the inherent subjectivity of this "indulgence" we've all so eagerly adopted.  

I've been wetshaving for sufficient enough time now though that I can honestly say my opinions about my likes/dislikes re certain brands of blades now meets your minimum criteria.  One thing I've noticed, or learned is that as important to forming an opinion about a certain brand is not just experience with it, or how well the blade "works" for you (for your face, beard, post-shave feeling, or whatever) but learning how many shaves one can get from a certain blade.  For example, I'd made some early distinctions about this blade being better than that blade, but for various reasons would re-introduce a "lesser" blade into my rotation (for variety, not wanting to waste blades, etc.) and find that the blade worked perhaps as well as the "better" blade - it's only drawback being it just didn't give as many quality shaves as the other might.

I've also noticed that my preferences aren't that unique or special.  What [popular] opinions others shared about what worked best for them generally has turned out to have been a good guide to follow for me.  Iow, I'm easy.  Smile

I'm not nearly as interested in trying out a bunch of new blades as I once was.  I like the 4 or 5 brands in my rotation now just fine, my "best performers"  giving periodic position in rotation to those "lesser" blades whose only real drawback is longevity.  But meh, being generally lesser cost blades as well means the idea of throwing them out sooner than others isn't that big a deal.

Bottom line, there's nothing wrong with people sharing their opinions about things.  We can learn much from that, but as you aptly note, it's up to us to discern the validity of those opinions, especially w/r to how they [ought to] influence our own.

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 03-12-2017, 03:07 PM
#6
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I found my blades that I use regularly early on in my journey. I have about 5 blades I can get great shaves with without any doubt every time I use them.

Gillette silver blue
Gillette yellow
Astra SP
Super Iridium
Feather (although they can be harsh at times on the first shave) still very much useable blade for me.

I like the idea of not giving up without a proper run though.

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 03-13-2017, 09:58 PM
#7
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I rarely get to the point where I could *review* a blade by these standards, mostly because I am able to hit my preference point earlier (E.G., I identify & discard poor performers more quickly).

That said, Gillette Silver Blues (DE) and feather pro/pro-supers (SE) are the only blades that have lasted the test of time. There is something to be said for the razor they are housed in, but I'll leave that for another thread.

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 03-30-2017, 07:49 AM
#8
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I was guilty of using a soap once or twice and raving about it. I strongly feel (I'm a 3017er now) that you don't know a soap until you use it for a month, there are too many variables. I've changed my opinion on several soaps after a long run with them and blades are no different. Some soaps I was enamored with became just ok, some that I wasn't crazy about turned out to be great once I dialed them in. I haven't been using DEs long enough to comment on any brands here but will watch this tread as your rule as a lot of merit.

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 03-30-2017, 08:29 AM
#9
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After experimenting with many DE blades, I settled on one blade at the suggestion of someone who knew a tremendous amount about wet shaving. From 2011 to 2015, I used a Feather Platinum for every single shave. I got to learn that blade very well.

Since then, I've dallied with others-Iridium Polsilvers, Personna Med Preps, Kais,  etc., but I keep coming back to the Feather, and use them for 95% of my DE shaves. 

For me, since I do three passes with touchup and buffing, it's two shaves on a Feather and done.

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 03-30-2017, 11:59 AM
#10
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I would extend the concept to most other product experiences.

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 08-23-2017, 10:43 AM
#11
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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I've mulled this question on and off since Tom asked the question and can speak to the following combinations;

1. Med Preps / Lab Blues
2. Israeli Personnas / Crystals
3. GSBs / 7:00 Yellows

These comments are strictly my opinion based on my experiences as defined by the OP's criteria. Your opinion may be different. I'm good with that.

Med Preps are sharper, smoother and longer lasting than Lab Blues. Preps give good shaves, 3 maybe 4 days; Blues, 2 shaves is the absolute max I'll go with one of these. But brother, I can go on an extended Lab Blue run for a week or more, because I can settle into a sweet little shaving groove with them in certain razors that's hard to beat. But Med Preps are the better blade for my beard and skin.

The first blades I ever thought were great were Crystals. I've bought and used many, many, many of them. For a long time they were the standard against which I measured all others. I've tried pushing them for a week's worth of shaves, which btw I no longer do with any blade because they're so inexpensive. Now all I try to get is 2, maybe 3 shaves with a Crystal. IPs have replaced Crystal blades in my personal pecking order. I find them to be smoother and longer lasting than Crystals. Overall I find IPs to be be the perfect combination of sharp and smooth in most of my razors. They're good for 3 shaves before I chuck 'em.

GSBs vs. 7:00 Yellows is basically a non issue in my den. I've bought a hundred of each and prefer the Silver Blues considerably. They're smoother and longer lasting. 7:00 Yellows feel sharper but way more irritating. I've learned to toss them after 1 shave. GSBs will give me 3 good shaves before they're tossed. In either case I don't like the wax spots, and also in either case when I use up my existing supplies I'll not buy either again.

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 08-24-2017, 02:58 PM
#12
  • Mouser
  • Senior Member
  • Forest City, Florida U.S.A.
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I agree with Mel now that I have been wet shaving for four or five years and have long experiences with different blades, not to mention soaps, creams, etc. I would have strongly, and mistakenly, disagreed in my first year or so having made many decisions about products after a week or less. My experiences, and I can only speak for myself, have led me to change my opinions and to the exclusive use of vintage blades. My forced retirement giving me time to stalk and acquire said blades at prices that makes them totally worth it but I would have never gone down this path if I still had the busy schedule of my career. I would be using the best blades that I could get whenever I needed them without a long drawn out process. So to cut short this rant, Super Iridiums, 7 O'Clock Yellows and Dark Blues, GSB's & Rapira Swedish Super Steels.

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