Saturday, December 13, 2014

Weekly Shave Review: The Voskhod Blade

This is the twelfth of my weekly shave summaries. This week, I'm using a Russian-made Voskhod blade. This blade is chromium and Teflon coated per the company's web site. They come double wrapped as shown below.

My primary shave soap again this week is the first pre-production run of Grandad's Slick 'n Creamy Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin (formerly called SS#11P1).

Now called Grandad's Shave Soap
-- slick 'n creamy, for sensitive skin.
[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.

What I Learned this Week:
The Voskhod blade gives a comfortable, low-irritation shave, is sharp enough to handle my moderately-tough beard, and durable enough to last an entire week. At the right price, this blade would be another that could find its way into my high-quantity inventory and become a regular in my blade rotation.

Occasional shaves with a low-blade-angle razor such as my modified Re,Mei on Saturday also suggest that blade angle is a significant design factor influencing harshness and the resulting post-shave irritation.

Using the Merkur 33 razor, the first pass was uneventful, with none of the minor tugging that I felt last week with the Merkur Super blade. Second pass also uneventful. Third non-fussy pass opened three small weepers, one on my chin and two on my upper lip. However, shave was pretty close for such a non-fussy shave and there was no irritation. The maiden shave with this blade led me to want to order more. Will take a breath and wait until the end of the week to evaluate blade durability. Touch of styptic on the upper-lip weepers, followed by the Noxzema-and-water wash, and Gillette after-shave balm for sensitive skin supplemented with vitamin-E oil.
Merkur 33C Classic

A repeat of yesterday's shave and with similar results. A close shave everywhere -- more close than usual under my jaw line. No irritation and a single weeper, which  was probably re-opened from yesterday and got a touch of styptic. The shave was finished off with a Noxzema-and-water wash, and a splash of tea-tree after-shave soother.

Unwrapped Arko shave stick and the
container in which I store it.
Today the primary variable was the shave soap using Arko shave stick instead of Grandad's for sensitive skin. With the Voskhod blade in the Merkur 33 once again, a three-pass shave with just a bit of fussing again yielded a great shave. The Arko is a great shave stick, but my skin felt just a touch dry after the water rinse and Noxzema wash. So I did apply a bit of after-shave balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Today was the Voskhod blade and the Merkur 33 razor but back to my Grandad's shave soap. I took three passes plus a fussy extra 3/4 pass and got a very close shave with no irritation beyond a two weepers and a trivial cut on my chin, all of which got a touch of styptic and disappeared. After that it was the usual water rinse and Noxzema wash. Because of the low irritation, I simply applied Aveeno daily-moisturizing lotion to my face and neck as a moisturizer and protectant.

Lord L.6 razor head with the Maggard
MR3B handle, which is currently offered
only in all chrome, identified as the MR3.
Today the Voskhod blade was in the Lord L.6 razor head with the Maggard "big boy" fat-and-heavy handle, again using Grandad's shave soap. Two normal passes with a fussy third gave another very good shave but with several weepers that got a touch of styptic. Then a Noxzema wash and some face moisturizer with sunscreen finished the shave. The Lord razor made perhaps the slightest bit of difference giving an ever-so-slightly closer shave but with an additional weeper or two.

Using the Voskhod blade, of course, I did two passes with the Merkur 33 and the final fussy pass with the Gillette Slim Adjustable set on 1. The shave was not baby smooth everywhere, but was a bit closer to that aspect of the ideal shave -- especially on my cheeks, which were pretty much baby smooth. There were several pin-point weepers that disappeared after the cool-water rinses and the Noxzema wash. There was also noticeable post-shave irritation (slight burn), which was highlighted by the Noxzema, but then quickly disappeared. I finished the shave with Gillette lotion supplemented with vitamin-E oil. Overall in terms of closeness, I don't think I can do much better, but the weepers can improve and the irritation reduced.

Again today -- the final shave of this Voskhod week -- the first two passes were with the 33 razor, and the final pass was with my modified low-angle trash-or-treasure razor. A single third-pass weeper on my upper lip got a touch of styptic. The shave wasn't an improvement over Friday's shave in terms of closeness, but the post-shave irritation was lower. I finished the shave with only a Noxzema-and-water wash.

For next week I'm shaving with a made-in-India Gillette Wilkinson Sword blade.

Happy shaving!

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