8 Best Safety Razor Blades That Provide a Perfect Shave
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Safety razors often get overlooked as a kind of middle-ground between disposable razors and straight razors.
But the best safety razors are as good as any straight razor you’ll find – producing a beautifully close shave with ease.
All that said, a razor is nothing without truly great razors.
And the best safety razor blades will totally transform your shaving experience and switch up your look.
So we’ve put together this review with the 8 finest safety razor blades you’ll find.In a hurry? Here are our top picks:
Our top choice is Merkur’s Double Edge Safety Razor Blades – the absolute overall best safety razor blade you’ll find. With its quality German craftsmanship, it offers true quality at an exceptional price.
Our no.2 choice – Wilkinson Sword Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades is the ideal safety razor for a beginner, with its durable design and triple-coating process which produces far less irritation.
So there’s something that’s right for everyone.
We’ve even put together a great illustrated guide to help you change your safety razor blades right.
But before we jump into it, let’s look at the 4 key considerations you need to keep in mind when buying a safety razor blade.
Best OverallMerkur Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
|Check on Amazon|
Best for BeginnersWilkinson Sword Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
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Best for SharpnessAstra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
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|Parker's Double Edge Safety Razor Blades||Check on Amazon|
|Feather Double Edge Stainless Steel Blades||Check on Amazon|
|Gillette 7 O’Clock Super Stainless||Check on Amazon|
|Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades||Check on Amazon|
|KAI Stainless Steel Double Edge Safety Razor Blades||Check on Amazon|
Before you buy: 4 Things to consider when purchasing safety razor blades
Before we get into our reviews of the best double edge razor blades, let’s take a few minutes to discuss some things you should consider before you make your choice.
After all, like any other product, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly – although most men who use safety razors are pleased with the kind of shave they get on a daily basis.
You’ll also want to keep in mind a very important point, i.e., every man’s skin and whiskers are different. Just because a brand of blades works perfectly for another man doesn’t mean it’s going to work just as well for you.
Here are some things to think about:
1. Is sharper better?
It’s easy to get hung up on a blade’s sharpness because a sharp blade usually means a closer shave, right? In theory perhaps, but sharper also raises your risk of nicks and cuts – especially if you don’t have much experience with a safety razor.
It is true, however, that a sharp blade allows you to make fewer passes over your skin during the shave.
However, you’ll also want to consider a blade’s smoothness. By “smooth,” we mean that the cutting angle isn’t as extreme and that you’ll have to apply a bit more pressure during your shave than you would with a sharper blade.
There’s less chance of nicks and cuts, but an increased chance of skin irritation – which may spell trouble for men with sensitive skin.
2. What’s your hair type?
Your facial hair type is all-important regarding your choice of safety razor blades. Again, everyone’s hair is a bit different – although similarities certainly exist – so what works for one guy may not work for you.
The good news is that double edge safety razor blades make it easier to customize your shave to fit your facial hair type thanks to the number of blade choices that are available.
Generally speaking, the coarser your facial hair, the more aggressive the blade. By “aggressive” we mean the sharpness of the blade. A blade that’s not as sharp will have a harder time shaving through coarse hair (with the result being lots of pulling, and tugging and increases the chances of ingrown hairs).
The length of your facial hair is important to your buying consideration, as well. If your hair is longer, then a more aggressive blade is best.
Also, if you have rough, sensitive skin (including skin that’s prone to acne) you’re best served by a less aggressive, smoother blade.
3. Skill level
While the learning curve for becoming adept with a safety razor isn’t as steep as with a straight razor, it still takes some getting used to if you’re used to shaving with a cartridge razor, or are new to shaving altogether.
That said, it’s best to start with less aggressive blades while you’re getting the hang of safety razor shaving. It takes time to learn how much pressure you can apply on the razor head without nicking, cutting, or irritating your skin.
4. Go for variety
Like most men, you’ll eventually decide to stick with one brand of safety razor blade for one simple reason: it works for you.
In the beginning, however, there’s no crime in trying a variety of blades, and you can even find them in variety packs,
That way, you’re not spending money on several blades of a certain brand (you can even purchase many blades in packs of 100) that you’ve quickly discovered don’t suit your shaving needs.
OK, let’s take a closer look at the best safety razor blades available.
The 8 best safety razor blades
1. Merkur Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
Like Gillette and others, Merkur has built an impressive tradition started over a century ago. Located in Solingen, Germany, Merkur came into being thanks to Emil Hermes, who owned a cutlery factor.
Named as the Roman equivalent of Hermes, the messenger of the gods, Merkur expanded into shaving and grooming products and the rest, as they say, is history.
One of Merkur’s many superior products is their stainless steel, platinum-coated DE safety razor blades. Each blade fits every standard double-edge razor on the market and all but guarantees a close, clean shave with every use.
One of the many benefits of the platinum coating is that it keeps the edge sharp without imperfections. Meanwhile, stainless steel is an all-around excellent material that resists rust – which is important in the wet world of safety razor shaving.
Price-wise, the Merkur Double Edge Safety Razor Blades fall in the middle, but their quality makes them a good bargain.
You’ll also get at least five shaves out of each blade – if not more – before it grows dull, and each package comes with 10 (individually wrapped) blades.
While the blades might be a bit too aggressive for safety razor newbies, adjusting to them doesn’t take very long. They’re very comfortable to use and provide a shave that’s consistently smooth.
And, hey, Germany is known for its craftsmanship. It only makes sense that one of the best double edge blades comes from the country that gave us the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.
- Provides consistently smooth shaves
- Quality at an affordable price
- Superior craftsmanship
- Doesn’t get dull easily
- Perhaps a bit too aggressive for beginning shavers
You’ll find the name Merkur popping up in a lot of our “best of” reviews and with good reason. Their products are superbly crafted and made for anyone who’s interested in getting a consistently great shave. You won’t go wrong with these blades.
2. Wilkinson Sword Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
“Sword” doesn’t necessarily conjure up images of a smooth, nicks-and-cuts free shave, but Wilkinson (the folks with the iconic two-sword logo) pull it off quite well, thank you.
Here’s why: Wilkinson uses a three-step coating process on its Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades that reduces irritation to a manageable level. They’re smooth enough to be considered the best safety razor blades for beginners.
Wilkinson’s triple-coating process is well-known in shaving circles. It includes a coating of chromium which inhibits corrosion, a coating of ceramic to make the blades last longer, and a coating of PTFE (Teflon) that works to prevent and/or reduce irritation.
Wilkinson certainly stands by its process as they claim that their blades’ edges last longer than stainless steel – that’s a lofty claim, but we have no reason to doubt that.
The durability of the Wilkinson Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades ranks right up there with the other blades included in this review as you’ll easily get five to six great shaves with each blade.
Like other companies listed in this review, Wilkinson has been in the game a long, long time. It formed in England in 1772 to manufacture swords, knives, and daggers, while creating their first line of steel double-edged razor blades some 190 years later. No doubt they have all the experience needed in this business.
Today, all of Wilkinson’s blades are manufactured in Germany (which brings us back to our earlier point about German craftsmanship).
Interestingly, a blade with “sword” in the name isn’t as sharp as others – at least that’s what some reviewers say.
No worries, you’ll still get a close shave, and you’ll experience less friction compared to other blades, so you run a lesser risk of irritations and reactions. The blade moves smoothly over your face and works particularly well if your facial hair is of average texture.
Another reviewer said that he preferred Wilkinson’s Classic Double Edge blades over premium blades such as those made by Merkur, Derby, and even Astras.
At about 20 cents per blade, the Wilkinson Classic Des are in line with other similar blades on the market and very affordable. Furthermore, it’s entirely possible to get a full week’s worth of shaves before you’ll need to pop in a new blade.
- Made with triple-coating process
- Great for inexperienced double-edge shavers
- Completely irritation free
- Not as good with coarse facial hair
Wilkinson is a name that not only has been around a long time but is one that you can trust. You’ll love their Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades, even if you’re new to the wet shaving game, and they’re affordable.
3. Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
Quality is king but what good is it if it doesn’t last? Certainly not as good as it could be and the question is relevant to our discussion of razor blades.
After all, a high-quality razor blade is just that – high-quality – but if you must replace it every few days, quality can become wrapped up in aggravation.
Not so with the Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades.
Astra Platinum is not only at the top of the list regarding the best razor blades in any category, they’re also amazingly durable.
There’s no reason that you can’t get up to 10 shaves out of each blade, although the thickness of your facial hair will affect durability. When it comes to safety razor blades, it’s hard to beat the “stamina” of Astra Platinum.
The Astra Platinum blades were originally made in the Czech Republic before being bought by Gillette in 1996. Gillette moved Astra production to Russia, where they’ve been made ever since.
They’ve also been the subject of thousands of comments on Amazon while retaining a near 5-star rating. It’s obvious that Gillette is doing something right with this product.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why Astra Platinum blades earn so many positive reviews:
These are some of the sharpest safety blades you’ll find. As mentioned, their sharpness lasts for a good long time before it becomes dull and you need to pop in another blade.
Indeed, some reviewers talked about the blade remaining as sharp on the seventh or eighth shave as it was in the first. Now that’s crazy!
- Smooth Shave
Many reviewers have commented on the superior smoothness of the shave with Astra Platinum blades compared to other double-edge safety razors.
While the blades are sharp and can cause nicks and cuts if you’re not careful (then again, what blade doesn’t), they also provide a clean shave with less irritation than other blades. Some would argue, in fact, that they’re the best safety razor blades for sensitive skin.
Astra Platinum DE safety razor blades are surprisingly inexpensive for how good they are. They cost only around a dime per blade when you purchase the 100-pack, which is a helluva bargain that will keep you in blades for well into the foreseeable future.
The standard package comes with five blades. Each blade comes wrapped in wax paper.
- Very durable
- Very sharp
- Great price
- Provide a smooth, irritation-free shave
- Sharpness can cause nicks and cuts if you’re not careful
These blades get tons of positive comments for a reason, i.e., because they’re as good as any safety razor blades as you’ll find anywhere. Moreover, you won’t bust your budget paying for them.
4. Parker’s Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
Parker’s Double Edge Safety Razor Blades are, quite simply, as smooth a blade as you’ll find anywhere. They are Platinum, Tungsten and Chromium coated, producing a genuinely outstanding, smooth shave for any kind of man.
But they’re not only about smoothness – they’re also extraordinarily precise, allowing you to get that really close, detailed shave you’re after with total control. This is because the blade edges are honed multiple times during the manufacturing process, ensuring extremely high quality.
They are also, by all accounts, highly durable, and at this price, they’re an absolute steal.
It’s worth noting that there are flaws, though.
Many reviewers note the excessive plastic in the packaging is both wasteful and makes using them more arduous than it needs to be. Plus it’s not so environmentally friendly. And some have found the blades dull quicker than others over time.
However, in our experience, these blades stay sharp and are great for getting that close shave you need without any bumps – every single morning.
- Extremely smooth shave
- Super precise blades
- Highly durable
- Many reviewers find the packaging uses excessive amounts of plastic
- Some reviewers argue that the blades get dull quicker
The smoothest safety razor blades you’ll find, at a shockingly low price.
5. Feather Double Edge Stainless Steel Blades
The Feather Company of Japanese has built a strong reputation for, among other things, the sharpness of its blade. And their double edge stainless steel blades are as sharp as any safety blade that you’ll find anywhere.
Better yet, they’ll fit in any double edge safety razor.
While Feather might not be a household same such as Gillette or Schick, they can certainly hold their own against any shaving products company. They introduced their stainless steel replaceable razor blades in 1964 but have been around since 1932.
Their product line also includes medical instruments, industrial blades, and more. In fact, Feather uses the same process and technology when making its razor blades than it does for making surgical blades. If you know how sharp medical blades are, you’ll know these blades are no joke.So, you know their blades are sharp.
While the sharpness of the blades is second-to-none, Feather’s DE Stainless Steel Blades are fine for beginners; newbies should use a lighter razor (or a heavier razor with a lighter touch) to prevent unwanted nicks and cuts.
You need to use caution around your jaw line and hard-to-reach places but, again, Feather’s blades will serve you well no matter how much experience you have with safety razors.
Each blade is platinum-coated and built to last. The blades come sealed in a coated piece of paper to help prevent you from cutting yourself while also prolonging their storage lifespan.
The sharpness of the Feather DE blades will produce as smooth of a shave as you’ll find in the safety razor category.
Reviewers who started out with more (supposedly) newbie-friendly safety razor blades were amazed at the closeness of their shave once they switched to Feather blades.
- Feather is a name you can count on
- Superior sharpness of blades
- Fit in any safety razor
- Perfect for shaving hard-to-reach places
- More aggressive than other blades, so choice of razor is important
Feather is not only a name you can count on, but it’s also synonymous with high quality. You’ll be amazed at the closeness of your shave when using the Feather DE blade. They’re a great addition to any man’s grooming kit.
6. Gillette 7 O’Clock Super Stainless
How can you be sure that Gillette knows a thing or two (or three) about double edge safety razors? Well, they hold the original patent, for starters.
The fact is, Gillette is one of the giants of the shaving industry and unless you’ve lived in a cave all of your life you’ve certainly heard of it. True, just because a company is iconic doesn’t mean that it cranks out good products.
Gillette, however, has had more than its share of successes.
And the 7 O’Clock Super Stainless qualifies as one of those successes.
There’s plenty to like about the Super Stainless blades which, like Gillette’s Astra Premium blades, are manufactured in Russia. For one, the blade isn’t as aggressively sharp as other double edge blades, but still provides a smooth, close shave that ranks among the best.
Yet, they’re sharp enough that you don’t have to apply excessive pressure to get a clean shave. So you run less risk of nicking yourself from all that aggressive shaving, while getting the closest shave you can possibly get.
Perhaps not as durable as other double edge blades listed in this review, the 7 O’Clock Super Stainless blades will still give you up to five shaves before becoming dull. You may even get up to a week’s worth of shaves if your facial hair isn’t that coarse.
Last but not least, these blades are affordable, with the cost rounding out to about 16 cents per blade.
There is some confusion, however, when it comes to the 7 O’Clock Super Stainless blades. Specifically, the location of the blades’ manufacturing facility – experts say – makes a big difference.
As it turns out, 7 O’Clock blades are made in India as well as Russia and experienced shavers prefer the ones manufactured in Russia.
Both come in green boxes, a big reason for the confusion, but one is labeled Permasharp Stainless Blade (India) and the other is labeled Super Stainless (Russia).
Oh, there’s also a blade made in India (called Super Platinum) that comes in a black box, while there’s a yellow box (Sharpedge) made in Russia.
But, just to be clear, we’re talking about the green-boxed Super Stainless blades.
What’s most important is that these blades are high quality and fit most safety razors. Each package contains five blades and is easily purchased online when you’ve used your last blade.
- Quality product from a reputable company
- Sharp blades but not too aggressive
- Some confusion with packaging
Mark another success on Gillette’s long resume. The Super Stainless blades are top-of-the-line and will give you a clean, comfortable shave without a lot of irritation.
7. Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades
Sometimes it’s all about the process. Like the process that goes into the creation of Derby’s Double Edge Razor Blades.
A product of Turkey but made in Sweden, the Derby DE blades are ground and hardened through a process in which tungsten, platinum, and chromium ceramic are added to them. The result is a blade that’s of superior strength and long-lasting.
Officially, the above technique is known as “sputtering.” What it describes is using high energy particles to deposit a thin film of materials on the blade. A final coating of Teflon is applied to reduce friction between the blade and the shaver’s face.
You’ll get a close, comfortable shave even if you have the thickest of facial hair, and if you have sensitive skin – well, Derby blades are considered among the best safety razor blades for sensitive skin.
They’re also very “uniform” in that each blade you use is going to work just as well as the one you discarded after it became dull.
But Derby is no newcomer to the business and has been a wholesaler of razors, blades, and other fine products for over half a century. And their Derby DE blades certainly live up to their excellent reputation.
The Derby DE’s fit virtually every double-edge razor on the market and come individually wrapped in a package of five.
But here’s another cool thing – there’s a thin web between the two blades that allows you to break them in half for use with a single-edge razor. We like that.
What else do we like? We’ve mentioned Derby’s durability, but it’s worth repeating. Some reviewers say they can get up to 10 shaves before it’s time to change the blade.
And, again, we like the “process,” which includes stringent quality control inspectionsinspect at each stage of manufacturing.
It’s enough to earn an ISO 9001 rating which, while not guaranteeing a superior product, indicates that the company is meeting a rigorous standard of consistent quality, so you can surely count on them.
Finally, the Derby DE blades are reasonably priced and are well worth your investment.
- Made through an advanced manufacturing process
- Hardened coating made to last
- Consistently provide a comfortable shave
- Not as sharp as some blades
Derby is a company you can count on, and their Double Edge safety razor blades will help make your daily grooming a pleasure.
8. KAI Stainless Steel Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
KAI Corporation is held in high esteem and considered one of Japan’s premier cutlery manufacturers. They also make excellent safety razor blades.
The KAI double-edged safety razor blades rank among the best and make it easy to get the close, consistent shave that you desire.
While they’re plenty sharp, they’re not as sharp as some blades, which isn’t a bad thing if you have sensitive skin or are relatively new to shaving with a safety razor.
The KAI blades consist of surgical-grade stainless steel, so it’s not like they’re not sharp enough, and are suitable for cutting most whisker lengths.
The structure of KAI’s blades is unique in that it uses slightly thicker gauge steel than other blades, which helps increase the blade’s longevity.
Each order of KAI’s stainless steel blades includes 10 packages of five individually wrapped blades.
- Durable blades
- Good for use on sensitive skin
- Provide close, consistent shaves
- Not as good on thicker beard hair
KAI has a reputation for producing quality stainless steel products and their Double Edge Safety Razor Blades are no exception. You’ll pay a little more than you will for some other blades, but it’s a worthy investment, considering the quality you’re getting.
Choosing the best safety razor blades
As with all of our reviews, our method for choosing the best safety razor blades involved equal parts research and objectivity.
As far as the research goes, we don’t have the resources to test every blade on the market, but we rely on as much personal experience as possible, as well as the reviews of others.
Once we’ve done the research and scoured the reviews, we take as fair and balanced of an approach as possible.
It goes without saying that there are several other blades that could have made the list, but we think you’ll find the 8 blades listed above helpful for getting the close, comfortable shave that you deserve.
How to change a safety razor blade (A simple, illustrated guide)
It’s tempting to start this section with one of those “how many people does it take to change a light bulb?” jokes but we’ll kindly refrain. Changing a safety razor blade is, after all, fairly serious business.
If you’ve just migrated to the land of safety razors after years of disposable shaving, your new world of changing blades can even seem a bit daunting. But, trust us, once you get the hang of it, you’ll never look back.
1. First things first
Your most important consideration is the type of safety razor you own. Single piece? Two-piece? Twist-to-open? Three-piece. Your other consideration is how the blades are packed. Some come in a magazine wrapped individually with paper; others come unwrapped.
2. Unwrapping wrapped blades
Safety razor blades may come in a single or double wrapper. Many wrappers come with a small dot of adhesive on the blade to keep the wrapper in place. In either case, simply grasp the blades by its ends (not on the blade edge side, ever).
3. Take the razor apart
Your next step – particularly with two-piece and three-piece razors – is to take the razor apart, which usually involves unscrewing the handle while letting the other pieces come apart. Set them aside before you pick up your blade.
Or, you may have a twist-to-open razor which means you need to twist the handle to open the “butterfly” head at the top of the razor.
4. Positioning the blade
Replacing a blade simply involves positioning it over the mounting post at the top of the cap.
An extra mounting plate that fits between the blade and the handle is needed for a three-piece razor. Be sure that the mounting plate is positioned correctly; if you put it in upside down, you’ll get a less-than-ideal shave.
Your final step is to screw the razor top down while resting a finger on top the razor to keep it away from the blade head while helping to position the blade.
5. Screw the handle back in place
Screw the handle back in place while holding the blades and razor head in place. You’ll feel the pieces close together as the bottom part pushed upward while also noticing that the blade bends in a 30-degree arch.
And, that’s it! You’re now ready to shave!
Finally, we want to encourage you – as always – to share your opinions and experiences with us. Have you used one of the blades listed in our review? What are your thoughts? Do you think another brand of safety razor blades that you think belong on the list?
Send us your comments and suggestions. We’d love to hear from you.
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Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!
Glad to have stubbled upon it also!
I just started into DE shaving, and found it is the best shave I could get for a much lower price over cartridge-based razors. While on vacation at Disney World, my wife decided to take me into the local “Art of Shaving” store at Disney Springs after our anniversary dinner date. I was very surprised with the range of safety razors and pre-shave/cream/aftershave kits available, and decided I would give it a shot to see how I like it. After the first shave, I was immediately hooked. No more cartridge shaving for me!
Based on my experience so far, I would say I largely agree with the article regarding the Merkur blades, as this is what I have tested with my new Merkur 38c razor. They are exceptionally smooth, though I didn’t find them aggressive in the slightest, even though I’m still a newbie at this style of shaving. I did notice that with the 38c, there is a very specific angle that the blades will cut at, and if I angle the razor more than a few degrees in either direction, the blade simply doesn’t contact the skin. It definitely makes shaving a more enjoyable experience, and I don’t have to worry about nicking or cutting myself as long as I use short, controlled strokes.
I have noticed during my research into different blades and shaving techniques that no one blade will work the same for absolutely everyone, and I am still testing blades to see which one I like the best. Luckily, a coworker of mine had some old Astra and Feather blades hanging around that he doesn’t use anymore, so he gave them to me to try out. Once my current Merkur blade gets too dull, I’m definitely going to give those a try. Stay sharp!
.I got a Parker DE razor from Amazon and I love how it make my face feel, In my life have tryed a lot of Razor’s and by far this one is the best.
Derby Extra (truly excellent in razors that other blades don’t work well in.)
No astra, no personna, no silver blue, no merkur.
Astra SP deserves every positive review in my opinion. The fact that Voskod is not also on top of the list is just a travesty. Its my desert island choice. Derby blades are simply horrible.
What would be the best DE safety razor and blades to line up beard. I don’t have too much beard, but I like to line it up the beard and mustache. I have seen that you mentioned that some safety razors are not good for mustache and nose area. I will try to avoid these ones.
In terms of blades, I have dry/good sky, but some irritations in the neck.
Ahh, no mention of my personal favorite, just above the Astra, is the Gillette Nacet. It is sharper than the Astra while being more gentle, amazing. Evidence would suggest that both blades are actually made in the same factory.
Hey, Tom. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll check it out.
didn’t mention Personna (Israel) blade, it shoud be part of top 10 in my opinion.
Personna Surgical Prep Blades 74-0002 Stainless Steel Double Sided Sterile
I bought a box of 100 6 years ago and still have 57 left despite daily use.
Never any problem of any kind.
On-line about $39. Yes, that’s for 100 blades.
Great topic.After years of using the cartridge blades, with so-so results, I went back to the DE blades.I got a Parker DE razor from Amazon.Nice change but not smooth.I followed that with the purchase of Merkur 23C DE.Fabulous razor.What is lacking in some of the above comments is how important the razor-blade combination is.After many different blades, I have settled on two: the Feather and the Kai blades.I had the Merkur blade sample that shipped with the razor.It pulled too much.Got a pack of Gillette 7 o’clock blades.Too much pulling.I have a tough beard with hair falling in many different directions.My personal advice is to try multiple blades and to not make shaving your face a race.Also as an afterthought, I found that a shaving brush(Boars hair) and shaving soap is not worth the effort.Gillette Edge a wonderful product.
I have just got back into wet shaving after 40 plus years of electric, whist using gillette cartridge shaves for the ultimate close shave for weekends and special occasions.
The cost of the cartridges plus many niks along the way left me wishing there was some other way, and the electric which never gives a close shave.
After using a popular video channel I came cross scores of DE safety razor tutorials which convinced me “DE Safety shaving” could be it!
I’m so pleased i changed – this daily pampering of the face is more enjoyable than I can remember.
So, I was keen to try many blades, but I went one several steps further in my trials by creating a Word table, with a column for pre shave lotion or not / shave cream or soap / post shave lotions, and of course blade performance in terms of Burn, Irritation, Nicks, and overall feel after ten minutes.
In short, certain blades performed slightly better with shaving soap, all worked great after a hot flannel treatment along with agitation of the bristles to raise them prior to cutting and thereby increasing the closeness of the shave + with pre shave (helping reduce irritation & burn, especially if it contained methyl or other cooling ingredient), then came the lathering up using either a hard soap puck or cream. The difference to shave outcome with regard to soap or cream is negligible in my opinion ‘as in’ according to my face & whiskers 🙂 ! The exception I add here is with the Astra blades – here I found a slightly better result in closeness of shave !?
Use of post shave lotion afterwards was also tested, 1 test with, 1 test without.
Here comes a surprise to me, because using a post shave lotion IS always preferred even without burn or irritation on my skin, it very quickly (within a few minutes) returns the skin to its smooth condition by restoring any natural oils along with the hair follicles drawing back the remaining whiskas into place, having been pulled by the shaving process.
This brings me to the blades themselves.
I tested the blades most had said were the best in their own opinions – Astra’s, Feathers, Gillettes, Polsilvers, and others. Some I still haven’t tested yet.
Contrary to every opinion !!! ?? Feathers proved to be an unmitigated disaster !!!
The platinum blades cut me – no nicks, just cuts regardless of shaver weight and never with any pressure on the DE head. But these blades only lasted 4 shaves before retiring them. Only the first shave gave a butt smooth finish after 2 passes (from my records). One pass with the grain, then one pass against.
They quickly went down hill in sharpness and cutting ability. On the plus side, I had recorded that these blades gave no burn or irritation on any shave regardless of pre shave treatment or not.
The Feather Super stainless – neither blade clearly states on it, which is which by the way, but these lasted just THREE SHAVES !!!
Here again the 1st shave was good but the rest were as above.
The 3rd and last shave was a disaster with pull, tug, nicks all over the chine and jaw bone area and very little bristle removed.
I mention that the 1st shave was always the best with these Feathers, and this reminded me of the cartridge shaving I have been accustomed too over the years because with cartridges I always found they lasted 4 shaves in between clogging and I always received a nick or 2 in any event.
Feathers are unusual in one aspect of blade performance – their 1st shave is always best. In all other blades tested thus far it is not until you get to the 3rd shave that the other blades from Astra, Gillette, Polsilver etc start to fully perform.
Don’t be mistaken here though, as the first shave with any blade will slice through your bristles effectively, but on the 2nd & 3rd you will notice a reduction in burn or irritation issues.
To cut this short, ‘my’ preferred blade has been the Polsilver, its smooth, no burn sometimes gives rise to a little irritation, but ultimately it cuts butt smooth and scored the highest in my tests and for a longer more consistent period – currently returned to this blade for the 9th shave!! and it is butt smooth with only slight irritation – that for me is amazing and I have just ordered several hundred having only just read that its production had finished toward the end of 2016 ?.
My 2nd favourite is the Astra platinum ! 6 great shaves and 2nd highest scoring with slight burn now and again.
And in 3rd position comes the Gillette 7 O’clock green wrap from Russia, with a very consistent sharp cut from shave 1, to shave 7 ! Yes 7 shaves and all great though the 7th felt a little blunting so I retired it.
The history of the tests.
Because I was new to this safety shaving experience, I had used the video tutorials and practiced without any real effort to be fair – I found these easy to get used to. Using razor weight and trying hard not to press the head into the skin (unlike the cartridge types). just the weight of the razor used and “getting used to the angle” was key. Only took about a month 🙂
So I have, what I believe is a fast growing beard, so shaving every day is a must with a DE shaver. Note here that it was usually twice with an electric shaver, or once, but sometimes twice with cartridge shaver!
So one month practicing, and also choosing blades.
I 1st tried each of the Gillette, Astra, Polsilver & Feather blades, both Platinum, Super Stainless and the Polsilver Iridiums, but realised I needed to make a record of the performances to decide which were best on my skin as the highly rated Feathers were proving challenging 🙁 and possibly this was down to my lack of experience?.
Having sorted out the details I wanted to record – I set off on the test which I have summarised above.
I still have a range of other blades to try – Personna in particular but I have been so happy with 3 makes of blade tested I went ahead and purchased a hundred of each, with Polsilver I went a little overboard ? so I should be set up for many years of shaving 🙂
Hope the above helps others move over to Safety shaving – its both good for the face and for the planet in terms of reduced landfill too !
Happy shaves to all 🙂
Thank you for sharing your experiment, Paul. Cheers.
Blades, like razors, are a YMMV (your mileage may vary) kinda thing. All the above blades, with the exception of the Polsilver (a great blade) and Feather (sharp to the point of being harsh) are “meh” at best with the Wilkinson being below that. My personal favorite are Voskhod Teflon-coated blades. Sharp and smooth. Coupled with a ’41 Ranger Tech, I get consistent results with little irritation. As far as vintage blades go, Schick Plus Platinums in a Schick Krona give an equally great shave. The original Gillette Platinum Plus will out-perform almost any modern Gillette blade (with maybe the exception of their Silver Blue). It takes some trial & error to get the best combination.