Many traditional shavers like Russian Blades. Here’s a rundown of many of them. Hopefully it will clarify quite a bit.
Sharpness, smoothness and longetivity are rated on a scale of 1 to 5. Please always remember that you may have a completely different experience than I do. These are my opinions. Here goes….
In the 1990’s Gillette (P&G) moved all of its U.S. DE blade production to Russia. Great strategy. Because most of the world shaves with DE blades and most of their usage is in the developing world, Russia offered five distinct advantages:
- Cheap and sofisticated labour force.
- Low overhead in general.
- Lots of reprocessed and therefore inexpensive steel. (Yes most blades these days are made from reprocessed steel….)
- Great transportation advantages to Africa, Europe and Asia where these blades are mostly used.
- Government support. (The Russian government owns a 33% stake in the venture.)
Gillette manufactures the following blades is St. Petersberg.
Gillette Silver Blue (light blue)
Gillette Platinum (dark blue)
Astra Super Stainless (blue)
Astra Super Platinum (green)
Gillette 7 O’Clock Sharp Edge (yellow)
Mostochlegmash manufactures the following blades:
Mostochlegmash was founded in 1903 as a manufacturer of needeles. They started divesting into various sectors of the Russian economy and started to do work for the military. In doing so, they began to manufacture razor blades. Their factoty is now too small for their operations. Their Voskhod blades are their largest seller.
THE BLADES IN BRIEF
The Truly Excellent:
1 – Polsilver Irridium.
Polsilver Irridium is a sharp, (though not as sharp as the other blades in this category) extremely smooth blade that works exceedingly well in mild razors such as a Gillette Tech or a Merkur Classic. It also stays sharp longer than the average blade. I would say that Polsilvers have quite a cult following and are certainly one of the best, if not the best blades made in Russia, with one exception. (see Excellent but Ugly below.) Polsilvers are actually very consistent from shave to shave.
Sharpness 4 / 5. Smoothness 5/5. Longetivity 5/5.
2 . Astra SP and Astra SS
Most shavers do not realize that these blades are exactly the same, except the Astra SP (Super Platinum) is coated and the Astra SS (Super Steel) are not.
Which is sharper? The Astra SS because the plating on the SP actually dulls the blades quite a bit. The Astra SP has a good balance between smoothness and sharpness. However realise that the Astra SP’s coating will wear away after a few shaves. We see that limiting the product’s longetivity. The sharpness difference isn’t even close. The SP is somewhat smoother than the SS but not by all that much.
Astra SP – Sharpness 3.0 / 5. Smoothness 5/5 Longetivity 3.5 / 5.
Astra SS – Sharpness 4.25 / 5 Smoothness 4/5 Longetivity 4 / 5
3. Perma Sharp
These blades are actually quite sharp, durable, and smooth! They are one of my fabvorites as far as Russian Blades are concerned. There is a debate as to whether Perma Sharps are PFT (teflon coated) or not. After careful analysis and contact with Gillette, Perma Sharp blades are NOT coated yet surprisingly smooth.
Sharpness 4.5 / 5 Smoothness 4/5 Longetivity 4.5 / 5
4. Gillette Nacet
If you really start looking into it there are even a lot of DE razor blades that are not branded as Gillette but still made by Gillette. Nacet is one of them. It is the sharpest of all of the Russian blades, just a tad below Feather. If you like really sharp DE razor blades then you will want to give the Gillette Nacet Stainless a try.
Sharpness 5 / 5 Smoothness 4/5 Longetivity 3.75 / 5
The Excellent but UGLY:
If it wouldn’t be for Voskhod, I wouldn’t be a traditional shaver. They are so smooth and sharp that just about anyone, using any razor, with just about any skin type will get a great shave. They also have excellent longetivity as well. VOSKHOD is almost the perfect blade.
So why are they UGLY?
For the most part, VOSKHODS are being subcontracted to LORD in Egypt. Some are still made in Russia, although all of the VOSKHOD blades are claimed to be made in Russia on the box. I have contacts at LORD. Are their differences between the two? No. Even the same stainless steel is used.
Sharpness 4.0 / 5 Smoothness 4.75/5 Longetivity 4.0 / 5
The Very Good and Good Russian Blades:
Most Russian Blades fall into this category. Especially Gillette. So let’s run down each Gillette blade that fit into this category with a short summary, then we will look at the blades from Mostochlegmash that fall into this category.
- Gillette Silver Blue – The Chevrolet of Gillette blades. If Gillette had just one blade that they made Silver Blue would possibly be it. This blade is GOOD. Sharpness 3.5/ 5 Smoothness 4.0/5 Longetivity 4.0 / 5
- Gillette Platinum – Sharper than Silver Blue. Smooth. Very consistent. This blade is VERY GOOD. Sharpness 4.25 / 5 Smoothness 4.75/5 Longetivity 4.0 / 5
- Gillette 7 O’Clock Series – These Blades Can Be Confusing to Many. Let’s Take a Look!
Gillette Green – Very Sharp. Very smooth. A blade boardering on Excellent! Not great longetivity though. This blade is VERY GOOD. Sharpness 4.5 / 5 Smoothness 4.75/5 Longetivity 3.0 / 5
Gillette Green Perma Sharp – The same sharpness and a bit smoother than Gillette Green and they last longer. (Note these blades are also made by Gillette in India which are absolutely identiical and less expensive.) This blade is VERY GOOD. Sharpness 4.5 / 5 Smoothness 4.75/5 Longetivity 4.0 / 5
Gillette Yellow Sharp Edge – Actually not as sharp as the Green blades and not as smooth. The blades strength is consistency from one shave to another. (Note these blades are also made by Gillette in India which are absolutely identiical and less expensive.) This blade is GOOD. Sharpness 4.0 / 5 Smoothness 4.75/5 Longetivity 4.0 / 5.
Gillette 7 O’clock Platinum Black – Extremely smooth. I mean perhaps the smoothest blade I have ever used. Not as sharp as the rest of the series. Excellent in slightly more aggressive razors, especially adjustables which was their actual design criteria according to a contact I have at the factory. Also they sell in packs of 7 blades (5 + 2 free) and have been sold that way for years. They are actually pretty similar to the Astra SP above, but a tad sharper. This blade is GOOD. Sharpness 3.5 / 5. Smoothness 5/5. Longetivity 4.0 / 5.
4. Sputnik – These are not super sharp blades and a bit more on the rough side but can give a good shave. They also last a long time. I personally like them a lot. This blade is GOOD-. Sharpness 3.5 / 5. Smoothness 3/5 Longetivity 4.5 / 5.
I actually love the blades made by Mostochlegmash. My favorite Russian blade is VOSKHOD even if some of them are made in Egypt. (Actually LORD has slightly better quality control, and is an ISO 9000 certified manufacturer, Mostochlegmash is not…) That being said, Voskhod (meaning sunrise) is the best blade that they make.
By in large Mostochlegmash’s main product line is Rapira. Rapira blades are a bit confusing to say the least. They are very different from one another in terms of performance.
Rapira Super Stainless – This blade is sharp! It is by far the shapest blade made in Russia, next to Necet. Although it is uncoated, it is also pretty smooth. Not Voskhod or Astra SP smooth but for an uncoated blade, one of the best you can get. This blade is VERY GOOD+. Sharpness 4.5 / 5. Smoothness 4/5 Longetivity 4.5 / 5.
Rapira Platinum Lux – Extremely smooth blade. A great blade for a new wet shaver. Not that sharp though, but the smoothness makes up for it. Works well in most beginner razors like the 34C or DE89. This blade is GOOD+. Sharpness 3.5 / 5. Smoothness 5/5 Longetivity 4.0/ 5.
Rapira Swedish Supersteel – These are the least sharp blades in the Rapira lineup. But they last forever, and although uncoated still provide a really comfortable shave. I have gotten 8 to 10 shaves out of a single blade. I have a really fast growing and heavy beard and pretty sensitive skin. They actually get sharper the more that you shave with them. This blade is GOOD. Sharpness 3.25 / 5. Smoothness 4/5 Longetivity 5 / 5.
TWO RUSSIAN STINKERS:
Ladas – They used to import a $4,000 car into Canada called a Lada. It was a terrible car. Ladas are terrible blades, Not sharp. Not smooth. Stay away.
Rubies – Why Gillette even makes these blades is a mystery to me.They are by far the worst blades made in Russia. They are TOPAZ dull. They are not smooth. They are an embarrassment to Gillette as far as I am concerned.