Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weekly Shave Review: Personna Super Comfort Coated

This week's blade: Personna Super, blue wrapper. Sharp,
durable, and, due to the coating, smooth. Also USA made
and environmentally-friendly minimal packaging.
This is the second of my weekly shave summaries, and during a given week, will, to some extent, limit shave variables to better be able to evaluate some shave components such as blades or shave prep on my moderately tough hair and my sensitive skin. Over time not only will I use the blades from my larger inventories, I will also be using blades from my many samples.

As I did last week, all shaves this week were with my minimalist beard preparation. That is, pre-shave prep was limited to splashes of cool water on my beard, cool water brush soak, Arko shave stick (mostly), and a cool-tap-water shave.

What I Learned this Week:
With my favorite razors and handles, I continue to believe that razor weight is relatively unimportant. The 15C open-comb razor is excellent for trimming the hair line above the back of neck and the back of the neck itself between haircuts; the 15C's unlimited capacity is superb for this task. The USA-made Personna Super (blue) blade is a consistent performer: sharp for cutting tough beards -- even with a mild razor -- and nicely coated for lower irritation. The Arko shave stick continues to impress, and the Ivory-soap smell (that I like but some don't) is milder with time. The Palmolive shave stick can provide the same result, but requires a heavier initial application of soap. This makes the Arko a much better value in terms of cost per shave.

Frankenrazor II: Merkur 33C head
mated with the Maggard MR3B
"big-boy" handle. The handle alone
weighs 63 grams.
Frankenrazor II, a new Personna Super blade, and the Arko shave stick. Three passes, with the third being fussy with lots of buffing. Very smooth, comfortable outcome -- baby smooth on about 75% of the landscape. Two small weepers that disappeared with water rinses. No post-shave products. A very rewarding shave.

This day's shave was with the Personna blade, second use, in the Merkur 15C (open comb) head, with the "big-boy" heavy-weight handle. Used the standard, three-pass shave (WG, CG, AG), but the third pass was fussy, with lots of buffing. All the fussing irritated my skin a bit, so post shave, I used the alum block and some after-shave gel. Shave was very close but just not quite completely baby smooth.

Stock Merkur 33C, same Astra [CORRECTION: Personna] blade as the previous days this week, Arko soap, and three-and-a-half passes. Lack of time forced me to be rather quick today: quick strokes, with the third pass mostly buffing, and the final half pass focused under my troublesome jaw line. Close shave -- baby smooth over about 80% of my beard -- but with a few weepers. Used alum to save time after the shave instead of a few cool-water rinses. Very satisfying shave despite the weepers; couldn't keep my hand off my face while driving.

Stock Merkur 15C, same Astra [CORRECTION: Personna] blade, Arko soap, and three passes. Today was a no-fuss shave, with no buffing. A good-looking shave, but not as close as yesterday; feels smooth with grain and cross grain. Used a touch on styptic on a couple of weepers that I keep re-opening due to carelessness. Then a splash of witch hazel followed by Nivea brand balm for sensitive skin. Had an idea worth sharing about shaving patterns with an open-comb razor being different than with a straight bar, about which I'll write an article soon.

The small blade reveal on the 15C,
most importantly combined with the
limited blade exposure makes this razor
very face friendly, while the open comb
offers almost unlimited capacity.
Used Frankenrazor II (the 33C head on the MR3B "big-boy" handle), the same Personna blade as the other shaves this week, but used Palmolive shave stick today instead of Arko. To my wet beard, I apply the Palmolive more heavily than the Arko to get the same results. The shave prep was minimalist, and after a two-and-a-half pass shave (WG, AG, buffing CG -- no, that's not a typo: I shaved against grain for the second pass and finished buffing cross grain) using mostly oblique strokes, got my typical very close result. Used a touch of styptic on a couple of weepers, but initially no other after-shave products. About an hour after the shave, applied face moisturizer with sunscreen. A pleasure to run my hand over my face this morning.

The 15C with the factory handle.
With the Personna blade in the stock Merkur 33C and my usual minimalist prep with Arko shave stick, I took three passes (the usual WG, CG, AG) focusing on a light touch but with no fussing. A good shave but not quite as close as previous "fussy" shaves. A few very minor weepers that disappeared with water rinses. Used after-shave soother lotion and separate gel as well just for the luxury of the treatments and the fresh-shaved scent.

The Merkur 15C head paired with the "big-boy" MR3B handle finished the week's shaves using the week's Personna blade as well. Instead of Arko soap, I used my newest prototype shave soap, SS#10B, which was a bit of a disappointment; didn't have the expected qualities. A three-pass shave with lots of J-hooking strokes in the second and third pass. Irritation and weepers this morning, so I used the alum block and some after-shave balm. Close shave spoiled by irritation, but don't know whether the irritation is from the shave soap or the week-old blade having fully lost its coating; I will explore this issue next week. Discovered a new use for the open-comb razor, which is trimming the back of the neck and hairline between haircuts.

Happy shaving!

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