Saturday, January 17, 2015

Weekly Blade Review: The Lord Platinum Class Blade and Face Lathering

This is the seventeenth of my weekly shave summaries. This week, I'm using an Egyptian-made Lord Platinum Class blade. The packaging as well as the Lord International web site doesn't mention the type of coating, if any, on the blade, and I've assumed in the past that it was uncoated. Sellers' information is conflicting; it seems that some just tend to make things up. One or more say chromium coated, or platinum coated, or PTFE coated, or a combination of platinum and PTFE! So I emailed Lord International last Sunday morning trying to learn the truth. And what I received in reply was bupkis, nada, zip, zero! (It's very disappointing when a company offers a point of contact for additional information and then IGNORES INQUIRIES.)

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

[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.
My Omega Syntex

What I Learned this Week:
Natural-bristle brushes (at least my Van Der Hagen boar and Tweezerman badger) seem to face lather a little better and with less coarseness than my Omega Syntex synthetic-bristled brush. But with a little care and attention, the Syntex face lathers fine as well. It holds a lot of water, so an extra shake before face lathering seemed to improve the outcome. In terms of bowl-lathering abilities, all my brushes -- boar, badger, and synthetic -- work just fine.

The Lord Platinum Class blade is a better blade than I remember, and for my beard is adequately sharp, comfortable, and durable. I don't regret buying 100 of these blades on a whim, and look forward to using them again as part of my regular rotation. They work very well in my preferred razor, the Merkur 33 Classic. Their sharpness and comfort combined with their very reasonable cost make them a good value for my needs.

And speaking of the Merkur 33C Classic razor, it remains my go-to instrument, offering a comfortable, low-risk shave that can be close enough in a single pass -- especially if done with all-buffing strokes with the grain, or mostly baby smooth if I get really fussy in multiple passes.

Finally, I think that the pre-shave face wash with cool water and a super-fatted bath soap leads to a slightly better shave outcome than just splashing water alone.
Merkur 33C Classic

As usual to get a baseline shave, I used my Merkur 33C Classic razor. I face lathered Grandad's shave soap with my Van Der Hagen boar brush, took a three-pass shave with an extra final, fussy half pass, and got a terrific shave -- one of the best. This was quite a surprise because my expectations for the Lord Platinum were low from previous experience. Maybe it's the shave soap... I'm not sure; but it was a great shave completed only with a cool-water rinse and a Noxzema face wash.
Van Der Hagen boar.

With a shea-butter-supplemented bath soap pre-shave wash and water rinse, I used the same gear as yesterday including the face lathering with Grandad's soap with the Van Der Hagen brush. The first pass was pretty much all buffing strokes. Second and third passes were a combination of direct and oblique strokes. After the shave was a cool-water rinse, a Noxzema-and-cool-water wash, and an after-shave balm with added vitamin E. The net result was a very good shave -- near excellent, a keeper any day.

Tweezerman badger.
Another shea-butter pre-shave wash and cool-water rinse followed by a one-and-three-quarters-pass shave -- again with the 33 and this week's Lord Platinum Class blade. I face-lathered today with my inexpensive Tweezerman badger brush and my Grandad's shave soap. First pass was all buffing with the grain, and the final three-quarters pass was mostly against the grain with no buffing. Topped off this abbreviated shave with a Noxzema-and-cool-water wash, and then Nivea after-shave balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil. The shave looked good, was close enough, and very skin friendly.

Beard prep today was cool water wetting followed by a cool-water wash with a liquid face soap, which was rinsed off before face lathering Grandad's soap with my Van Der Hagen (VDH)boar brush. Keeping the Lord blade in my Merkur 33 razor, I did a two-pass shave, the first pass (WG) being pretty much all buffing. I did carelessly inflict a first-pass minor cut on myself at my jawline, but a touch of styptic made that disappear. Cool water rinse and a Noxzema wash was capped off with Nivea balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil. Other than the cut, it was a nice shave.

Yesterday, I also washed my two natural-bristled brushes with some combination shampoo-conditioner, and combed them out -- all in an effort to reduce the number of bristles that are appearing in my daily shave lather. Today with the VDH brush, it seemed to be effective.

With an olive-oil-supplemented (super fatted) bath-soap face wash using cool water as beard prep, I face lathered Grandad's shave soap with the Omega Syntex brush, and took a two-pass shave. The passes were with grain and against grain, and the second pass was fussy on my chin, and around and under my jaw line. It was a very good shave: close (except under my jawline), and comfortable everywhere. Shave was capped with a Noxzema-and-cool-water face wash, a towel dry, and Neutrogena balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Again used a pre-shave face wash with yesterday's olive-oil-super-fatted bath soap and cool water. Then applied bowl-lathered Grandad's shave soap. After another two-pass shave, with a fussy second pass, using the fifth-use Lord blade in the Merkur 33 razor, I appreciated the close, comfortable shave. I skipped the Noxzema post-shave wash, and just enjoyed a cool-water rinse, finished off with Neutrogena after-shave balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil. An efficient shave this morning.

For this shave, I once again began with a face wash of super-fatted bath soap and cool tap water. With bowl-lathered shave soap -- Grandad's, of course -- I took a two-pass shave with a fussy second pass, which all together amounted to about a three-pass shave. Close and comfortable, the shave finished with a cool-water rinse, towel dry, and Gillette after-shave lotion supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

For next week I'm returning to the Dorco ST-301 blade.

Happy shaving!

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