Saturday, January 31, 2015

Weekly Shave Review: The SuperMax Titanium Blade

This is the nineteenth of my weekly shave summaries. This week is another blade previously reviewed: the SuperMax Titanium blade, which is manufactured in India and listed in some places as having a coating of titanium, in others a coating of PTFE, and still other sites as having both coatings. The packaging doesn't specify a coating.

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.]

The shave prep this week, unless otherwise specified, was a cool-water rinse only, followed by Grandad's shave soap lathered with a boar brush.

Merkur 33C Classic as it comes
from the factory.
What I Learned this Week:
The SuperMax Titanium blade is adequately sharp and comfortable for my beard and skin, respectively. This week it performed well in my Merkur 33C and Lord L.6 razor heads as well as in my Gillette Slim Adjustable razor.

A more important concept that has proved promising this week is the two-razor shave. A mild, face-friendly razor is used for the first two passes, and a more aggressive razor is used for the final, against-grain pass. I prefer my 33C for the initial passes and my Gillette Slim Adjustable for the final, finishing pass.

Again the normal baseline shave of the week with the 33 razor. Since my skin is still recovering from the harsh shaves last week, this week kicks off with a two-pass shave. It was a reasonable, fairly close shave, and not a weeper in sight. No irritation either. Only took some cool-water rinses after the shave before applying some Nivea after-shave balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil. A good start to the week. Things are looking up.

Pre-shave, my face was starting to feel normal again. So today I used the same blade and razor as yesterday to get the most face-friendly shave, keep the trend going. A cool-water rub preceded the non-fussy three-pass shave (WG, XG, AG). The outcome was pretty trouble free. A small, lone weeper on my chin disappeared without styptic or alum block. The shave was topped off with my usual cool-water rinse, Noxzema wash, and, today, with Neutrogena after-shave balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil. Today's shave, though not record-setting close, was a good, close shave with no irritation and no first-aid of any kind needed.

Tuesday: the 33C head on
the Maggard MR3B handle.
Today of course using the same SuperMax blade, but this time I put the heavy MR3B handle on the 33C razor head. Similar three-pass shave process to yesterday, except I was a bit fussy on the final pass. A single neck weeper was the only blemish on an otherwise fine shave: close and comfortable. The shave ended with cool-water rinses followed only by Neutrogena balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

The Merkur 15C open-comb head
with the fat, heavy MR3B handle.
Trying to do a better job with the open-comb 15C razor head than I did a week ago, I paired it with the MR3B handle and took a three-pass shave with fussiness around the jaw line and just under after the third pass. One larger and three pin-point weepers on my neck all disappeared with cool water rinses. No styptic, alum block, or Noxzema wash today. Finished off with Gillette lotion supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Returning today to the 33C razor head on the MR3B big-boy handle, I took a three-pass shave with a fussy clean-up pass that amounted to almost a fourth. I slightly nicked my chin and had a couple of weepers that all took a touch of styptic. After rinsing that off and towel drying, I simply used Gillette after-shave gel supplemented with vitamin-E oil to complete the shave. Except for the minor blood shed, one of my better shaves: smooth, and comfortable this morning.

The Gillette Slim is potentially back into my bathroom cabinet
to stay for use as a final-pass razor for the closest shave possible.

Two passes with the 33C head on the heavy Maggard handle, then a third-pass finish against the grain using the SuperMax blade transferred into the Gillette Slim. Started the third pass with the Slim set to one (out of nine), but that was not aggressive enough to be effective per the perfect-shave plan. I quickly advanced to a setting of three for the remainder of the third, AG pass, which had a bit of fussing, but less than usual. A few weepers (four) got a touch of styptic, but the shave was reasonably comfortable and unusually close in the problem areas around and under my chin and under the jaw line and upper neck. Cheeks not quite baby smooth, but overall, one of the closest shaves ever. After I rinsed off the styptic, I finished with a Noxzema wash followed by application of Neutrogena balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil. In all, a superior shave. Tomorrow I will use a setting of four on the Slim for the the final pass.

Today's shave was as suggested in yesterday's summary: the Merkur 33C for the first two passes, and a final pass with the Gillette Slim set to four. In terms of smoothness, it was about the same as yesterday, which is very good. However, the more aggressive setting against my face requires a touch too much care, which I didn't quite provide. So this day's shave had, actually, not more weepers, but a couple of minor cuts that took a touch of styptic pencil. The shave was finished with cool-water rinses, a Noxzema wash, and Nivea after-shave balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Rating today's shave (each on 1-5 scale, 5 being best):     Closeness-4.4, Irritation-4, Wounds-3

For next week I'm returning to the Astra Superior Platinum blade.

Happy shaving!

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