Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Shifting Sands of Blade Preference

Last week's blade review was on the Lord Platinum Class blade. Of the  blades that I have in a large quantity, this one had been acceptable but, of those acceptable blades, was actually my least favorite.

The strange thing is that as I rotate through the use of both my large-inventory blades as well as those in my small-quantity samples inventory, my opinions of certain blades change like the surface of desert sands shift in the wind.

What is troubling to me is that there seems to be no consistency to this shifting of opinion. It would make sense if I started liking blades that were previously too sharp and began completely rejecting blades I previously thought slightly dull. But it cuts both ways (pun intended): some blades such as the Lord PC I previously thought a bit dull and on the harsh side of acceptable I now find seemingly improved; but also blades I previously thought a bit on the sharp-harsh side I also find improved.

I don't think my shaving technique is changing; in fact, I'd bet it's quite stable. My shaving process, too, is fairly stable despite occasional minor deviations from my usual routine. Certainly my face isn't changing; it's as sensitive today as when I first shaved with my dad's Gillette Slim and that awful generic, uncoated-stainless drug-store blade.

This week I'm using a Dorco ST-301 blade, and, just the opposite of the Lord PC, I'm not enjoying its shaves quite as much as I had previously. Of course, it's always possible that I got a blade that has some manufacturing variation, but I seriously doubt that. Given my background in manufacturing and quality processes, I know that in an automated manufacturing process, if the variation of the product is starting to go south, it's a gradual process and blades in a sequence would tend to have only small variation from one to the next. There would likely be little noticeable decline (or improvement).

On the other hand, maybe I'm just not quite awake enough in the early mornings when I shave, and my perceptions are off kilter. Or maybe I'm in the Twilight Zone.

Happy shaving!

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