Category: Razor Blade Reviews

Everything You Wanted to Know About Double Edge Razor Blades but Were Afraid to Ask.

I Didn’t Know What Approach to This Post I Should Take…..

At first, I wanted to show the evolution of double edge razor blades using a historical approach. That seemed more than appropriate.

Then I got to thinking……. many wet shavers do not understand the basic differences between steel quality and blade  coating technologies to be informed enough to select a blade that they have not tried just yet. So in this post we will look at some of the many of the technologies involved in finding your potentially perfect blade.

Where to Start?

First let’s see how basic double edge razor blades are manufactured.

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The GOOD The BAD & The UGLY of Russian Blades

Introduction:

Related image

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….

Recent History:

Gillette

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:

  1. Cheap and sofisticated labour force.
  2. Low overhead in general.
  3. Lots of reprocessed and therefore inexpensive steel. (Yes most blades these days are made from reprocessed steel….)
  4. Great transportation advantages to Africa, Europe and Asia where these blades are mostly used.
  5. 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)

Gillette Rubie Platinum

Perma-Sharp

Iridium super

Astra Super Stainless (blue)

Astra Super Platinum (green)

Sputnik

Polsilver

Gillette 7 O’Clock Super Stainless (green)

Gillette 7 O’Clock Sharp Edge (yellow)

Nacet 


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:

5. VOSKHOD

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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 
  3. 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.

Mostochlegmash:

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.

 

 

FIVE Quick Traditional Shave Tips You Cannot Live Without!

Here they are……

Tip 1 – Apply Your Shave Balm AFTER Your Afterashave.

 

The purpose of shave balm is two fold. It’s primary purpose is to add moisture to the epidermal skin layer because it has been scraped by a blade. Your skin also needs repair after a shave. That is also accomplished by adding moisture, but also additional additives such as vitamin e, menthol, etc.

Now think of what an aftershave or witch hazel do. They dry out the skin because they are primarily astringents. Their real purpose is to treat cuts, abrasions, and weepers. But that is at cross purposes to what shave balm is supposed to do.

Does it make any sense to moisturize your skin and then use an astringent which by its very nature will dry out your skin? 

Use shave balm as the last product of your shave routine and see what a difference it makes.

 

Tip 2 – Use COLD Water.

Cold water, you ask?? That is rediculous!

Well, it depends who you’re asking.

Ask a barber and he will explain that hot water softens your beard and opens your pores thereby producing a closer shave.

Ask my dermatologist (like many others) and you will get a completely different answer.

You do not want your pores to be open. Let’s look further as to why.

It is true that a great time to shave is right after a shower, as your skin will be warm and moist and free of excess oil and dead skin cells that can clog up your razor blade. BUT your pores are open. This causes the following problems:

Hair from your beard gets trapped in your pores. Skin is oily by nature and the combination of those oils and hairs from your beard that get left behind actually blocks your pores, attracts dirt, and increases drag on your razor. This makes for a less comfortable shave and gives rise to pimples, black heads, and other skin problems.

So start with a hot shower to soften your beard. Then use a COLD WATER RINSE all the way through the shave and especially at the end.

Try it. You will get a better and smoother shave and according to my dermatologist, healthier skin.

 

TIP 3 – Use SHAVE OIL, Not a PRESHAVE CREAM, & Use It BETWEEN PASSES As Well!

Why??

Simple. Oil and water don’t mix.

Shave soap, cream, and gel, get absorbed by the skin. They are lubricants, so you want lather to sit on top of the skin. Using a quality shave oil helps keep your lather on top of the skin and also further lubricates it as you shave.

 

Tip 4 – NEVER Store Your Razor & Blades In The BATHROOM.

Surprised?

Your bathroom is a warm, humid place, right?

That humidity causes microscopic rust particles on the edge of your blade which dulls the blade and destroys the coating.

Keep ypour razor(s) in a cool place. Your blades will last longer. Your shaves will be smoother and closer.

 

Tip 5 – For a Closer Shave Use UNCOATED Blades. They ARE Usually Sharper & Less Expensive.

Its true that uncoated blades may be slightly less comfortable to shave with, but in exchange you can get a sharper blade. Actually of note is the fact that when using a coated blade, the second and third pass is always shrper. The blade sharpens up because friction causes the coating to wear off.

Here are a few stainless steel blades that are pretty good and easy to shave with:

  • ASTRA BLUE – Many shavers use the popular ASTRA SP (Special Platinum) blades. Astra SPs are pretty smooth for the first shave but decline quickly from there. They really are not that sharp. ASTRA BLUE is in fact a much sharper blade. If ASTRA SP is a 2 / 5 in sharpness ASTRA BLUE is a 3.5 / 5 in sharpness, and is very consistant from shave to shave.
  • RAPIRA SUPER STAINLESS – These are scary sharp, I would say pretty close to Feather. They last forever. The trade off is that they are not as smooth as some other uncoated blades.
  • SHARK SS – Not as sharp as the two others reviewed above, but if the Astra Blues are a Corvette, the Rapira Stainless are a Ferrari, then the Shark SS blades are certainly a Jeep. They are super forgiving, pretty smooth to shave with, and I get consistent great shaves with them.

Got some do’s and dont’s to add? Well that is what comments are for. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

 

You won’t believe what I found inside the wrapper of my LORD blades!!!!!

I Couldn’t Believe It – LORD Is Making Voskhod Blades??!

This is a simple post.

Yesterday I went to shave with our Calypso Deluxe Razor. I opened the wrapper and this is what I found. I couldn’t believe it…. a Voskhod blade in a LORD wrapper. I have always wondered why Voskhods were so much less expensive than other Russian blades.

Apparently they are NOT Russian! They are made by lord in Egypt!

What is this world coming to?

But, if you look at the back of any Voskhod Package here is what you see….

Oh those Russians – always causing trouble huh? LOL!

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

The Little Blade That Could. (The most underrated DE Blade ever!)

I didn’t have any expectations of it.

If this blade could sing it would probably sing “Don’t Make Me Feel Misunderstood….” (Carlos Santana.)

In fact I had watched various reviews and no reviewer was enthusiastic about it. So in the end I debated whether I should purchase any or not. But curiosity got the better of me.

I have 100+ razors, as you might imagine, being in the wet shaving business I do try out lots of razors and blades. To date some of the blades that I have tried are:

  • Shark SS
  • Shark SP
  • Baili Blue
  • Baili Green
  • Dorco ST-300
  • Dorco ST-301
  • Dorco Prime ST-302
  • Gillette Silver Blue
  • Gillette 7 o’ clock (green)
  • Gillette 7 o’clock (black)
  • Gillette Platinum
  • Astra SP
  • Astra Stainless
  • Wilkinson Sword
  • Gillette Wilk1nson Sword (India)
  • Shaverboy
  • Ansco
  • Big Ben
  • Derby Extra
  • Derby Premium
  • Rockwell
  • Zircon
  • Topaz (big mistake….)
  • Super Max Platinum
  • Feather
  • Max (Chinese)
  • Voskhod
  • Ming Shi (Chinese)
  • Ying Jili
  • Lord Stainless
  • etc. (they make the best blades of all!)

That is a ton of blades. That is at least 30!  That’s 3,000 blade / razor combinations.

I was never fully satisfied with any. But I finally found the best blade for me. Ready? The winner is……

LORD Platinum Class…

After a really great couple of shaves, I decided that we should do a full review. Was I crazy? Were the Lord Platinum Class blades as good as I thought?

We have a really cool new way to test blades. So I had my posse of testers ready to torture the blades and test their mettle. (Pun Intended.)

Disclaimer: Men have found more ways to shave than you can shake a stick at. The safety razor, and the myriad of blades that go with it, have stood the test of time. But with an infinite variety of head types, razor blade types, skin types and beard types, your mileage may vary from the opinions expressed here. Your opinion is also important. Have a comment?? Leave a comment.


How we test blades.

We use a Merkur 33C as our baseline. Three of us test the same blade and razor combination for 5 days to start. The same blade is used for all 5 days. Then we change razors to a razor of each member of the testing panel’s choosing. Again we change blades every 4 – 5 shaves. Then the razor is changed again. Each complete test runs 15 days. We then compile the results as printed below. All three of us have different beard types. Mine is a quick growing wiry beard and very sensitive skin. Mark – Shaves every second day. Fair beard. Normal skin. George – A daily shaver like me. George also has a fast growing curly beard.


Why do I love these blades:

Lord Platinum Class Blade & Package

Note: Lord makes two different blades that have similar names. LORD PLATINUM and LORD PLATINUM CLASS. They are not the same.

What did I like?

  1. Very smooth to shave with
  2. Sharp but not too sharp
  3. Inexpensive $.12 to $.20 (depending where you get them.)
  4. Really nicely packaged. Cool wrapping.
  5. Easy to find on Amazon and eBay

What did I not Didn’t like?

  1. The blade could be a bit sharper.
  2. The blade should be marked to distinguish between sides so that if you turn it over, you know what side you are on.

My quote: “I have finally found a blade that works well in 3 very different test razors. The Merkur 33C. The Parker 96r. Muhle R41.”

What did Mark like?

  1. The blade lifespan. In fact Mark could easily get 7 – 8 shaves out of 1 blade.
  2. The price.
  3. The smoothness.

What Mark did Mark not like?

  1. Mark claims to have found 1 dud blade. George and I never did.
  2. He didn’t think that the blade was as sharp as the Dorco ST-302 that he usually shaves with.

Razors used: Merkur 33C, Gillette New, Parker Variant set on 4.

Mark’s Quote: “Very good blade that is also extremely forgiving. Lasts for 7 – 8 shaves.”

What did George like?

  1. The price. The blade costs between $0.12 and $0.15.
  2. The sharpness. George found the blades to be quite sharp giving him a DFS after only two passes.
  3. The smooth shave that these blades provide.

What did George Not like?

  • This has become George’s “go to” blade.
  • The plastic blade packaging did not have place to dispose of used blades.

Razors Used: Merkur 33C, Merkur Progress, Gillette Fat Boy

George’s quote: “I really had a great experience with these blades. They are sharp and smooth. I love ’em!


Please Note: Lord makes two different blades with similar names. Lord Platinum and Lord Platinum Class (reviewed here.)

 

Summary and Conclusions:

The Lord Platinum Class blades come singly wrapped in a plastic box that does not have an area to dispose of used blades. The wrapping paper is colorful and strong.

Blade Characteristics:

Shaves most like: Derby Premium except sharper, Shark SS except smoother.

(Each category is rated on a scale of 1 (the poorest result) to 10 (the best result.)

TesterSharpnessSmoothnessLongevityValue
Sheldon
7969
Mark
5958
George
9979
     
Averages
7968.33
Total Score
 30.33 / 40Above average.Recommended.

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING SAFETY RAZOR BLADES.

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING SAFETY RAZOR BLADES.

Let’s take a few minutes to discuss some things you should consider before you choose a razor blade 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 harder time shaving through coarse hair (with the result being lots of pulling and tugging).

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, 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.

5. COST PER SHAVE

This should be the last consideration in your evaluation process, but a good blade should give you 4 – 5 really comfortable and efficient shaves. Some men use one side of the blade and then flip it over for each shave. This can help increase both blade life and shaving comfort. Another tip is to gently tap the blade dry with a soft cloth. Never wipe the blade though. This prevents small rust particles from forming and helps to preserve the blade’s sharpness.

Did you know???

Most often a blade gets sharper the second time it is used, and often the third shave as well. This is because excess coating has worn off of the blade. Its still there, just not in over abundance.

Many people who dispose of their blades after a single shave, really miss out on the second shave, which is usually even better!

In my next post, I will review some popular blade choices and give you my opinions on each one. Stay tuned!

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