Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekly Shave Review: Personna Red-Label Platinum Chrome Blades

This is the ninth of my weekly shave summaries This week I have used a Personna Platinum Chrome blade (in the predominantly red-label packaging), which is manufactured in Israel as indicated on the box. The blade wrapper indicates that this blade is distributed by the American Safety Razor Co of Verona, Virginia; this refutes some claims on the Internet that this blade is not part of the "official" Personna brand.

My shave soaps this week are another week of mostly the first pre-production run of the formula and process that I call SS#11P1 (now officially referred to as Grandad's Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin, or just Grandad's shave soap) and, for one shave, the Arko shave stick.

These Personna red-label blades are each single wrapped, and bundled five blades in a cardboard box as shown. I like the cardboard boxing on the five pack, encouraging the deposit of used-up blades in a blade bank for eventual recycling.

[Reminder about my skin type: I have very sensitive, thin skin, somewhat loose (on the neck when shaving horizontally), with lots of angles and dips -- paired with a moderately tough beard. It's challenging to get a close, comfortable shave. Shaving gear must be chosen with care.]

Unless otherwise specified, 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 (when using a natural bristle; a synthetic bristle only needs to be wetted, not soaked), a shave soap, and a cool-tap-water shave.

What I Learned this Week:
The Personna red-label blade is the best I've tried for my beard and skin. It's sufficiently sharp, adequately durable to meet my longevity criterion, and amazingly comfortable.

Arko shave stick is best used as designed -- that is, as a shave stick to be rubbed on a wet beard, then face lathered. My rubbing-on-bowl-bottom experiment on Wednesday confirmed this. (I also have issues with pressing it into a mug or bowl and using it like a puck of soap; I'll post an article about this in the near future.)
Merkur 33C Classic

Merkur 33 and Grandad's shave soap kick off the week with a three-pass shave and the featured Personna red-lable platinum chrome blade. A bit of fussing on the third pass contributed to an excellent shave: very close, comfortable, and only the most minor weeper or two on the final pass. I truly believe that this is about as good a shave as I can get with the face-friendly Merkur 33. No sytptic, no alum required. The shave ended with a cool-water rinse and a Noxzema-and-water wash. This maiden shave with the Personna red had me shopping the blades to evaluate prices.

Another three-pass shave with the same gear and supplies as yesterday. The red-label Personna works so well on my face when paired with the Merkur 33 that I got a little cavalier and nicked myself while doing some third-pass touch ups. Though the nick got a touch of styptic, the three small weepers disappeared with the first cool-water rinse. I finished the shave with a Noxzema-and-water wash. Another very close, comfortable shave -- top drawer, in fact -- that is, if I dismiss my own carelessness. This shave was pleasing to the hand well into the late afternoon.

Lord L.6 (a.k.a. LP1822L) razor head
on the heavy, fat MR3B handle.
This blade has been so good on my face, that I keep being tempted to order a hundred of these red-pack blades just based on these first shaves and despite the fact that I have a large inventory of other blades on hand.

Although I was reluctant to mess with near perfection, for this shave I instead chose to use the Lord L.6 razor head (a.k.a. the model LP1822L) but with the heavy Maggard MR3B handle. I kept the same red-label blade and shave soap as previous shaves this week. Three passes with fussy touch up gave another excellent shave. A minor nick (on upper lip due to my carelessness) and neck weeper disappeared with the cool-water rinse. The shave was topped off with a Noxzema-and-water wash. No styptic or alum was used, nor was any after-shave lotions or balms.

If this blade holds up for the remainder of the week, it will be the best blade I've found for my skin and beard so far. We'll see....

Returned to the Merkur 33 razor and the same red-label blade but with Arko shave stick used in a different way today. (I will post a separate article on today's unique, non-standard use of the Arko shave stick.) The lather wasn't as slick and rich as usual, and the simple three-pass shave was safe, with no irritation, nicks or weepers, but not remarkably close like recent shaves. I chose not to try for a very close shave because of the lather. I finished with a water rinse and a water-and-Noxzema wash.

With the blade still in the Merkur 33 but with the home-grown Grandad's shave soap, I took a normal three-pass shave and then added a nearly complete fourth fussy pass. The shave was very close -- about as close as I can get with the low-blade-exposure 33 -- with only two weepers and just the slightest bit of irritation on my lower neck. The weeper on my chin took a touch of styptic, and the other on my neck disappeared with the first water rinse. I finished the process with a water-and-Noxzema wash. The Noxzema calmed any irritation, and I was left with a smooth, happy face. A truly good shave -- in terms of closeness and resulting comfort it was a step closer to the perfect shave!

The quality of the shaves this week and today's shave in particular have nearly pushed me over the edge to place an order for a large quantity of these blades. I'm going to try to complete the week before I order, but it's very tempting.

The Merkur 37C slant-bar razor. Too
harsh on my skin for normal use, but
today tested with the red-label blade.

Today saw the Merkur 37 slant razor pulled out of the closet as a risky test of the blade in a razor that is known to be harsh on my skin. For comparison and optimal protection, the shave soap was my home-grown  Grandad's. Two-and-a-half passes gave a pretty-darn-close shave but with some unwelcome irritation under my jaw, but otherwise acceptable. (In the coming week I'll post an article focusing on this shave.)

With the red-label Personna back in my comfortable Merkur 33 and with Grandad's Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin, I took the final shave of the week with this blade. Three passes -- the third being fussy -- yielded the same close, comfortable shave I've been getting most of the week. Like the others, this one was followed by a cool-water rinse, a Noxzema-and-water wash, and some after-shave lotion supplemented with vitamin-E oil

For next week it looks to be the Derby Extra blade, which is made in Turkey.

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment