- Sensitive & thin skin, somewhat loose on neck
- Lots of angles and dips -- paired with a moderately tough beard
- Challenging to get a close, comfortable shave
- Cool-water rinse only, prior to lathering
- Grandad's shave soap for sensitive skin lathered with a boar brush
- (After-shave treatments are specified in each day's notes)
- The Rapira Platinum Lux blade is the blade of the week.
- I pulled out the open-comb Merkur 15C razor for a face shave on Tuesday instead of just reserving it for a back-of-neck shave only.
What I Learned this Week:
- The difference between last week's Derby Extra and this weeks Rapira is noticable both in comfort on my skin and also in the removal of whiskers. The Rapira seems better in both categories on my beard.
- Despite being a mild razor, the Merkur 15C open comb seems to irritate my skin, and I'll continue to reserve it for trimming longer hair such as at the back of my neck.
- With a sharp, durable blade like this Rapira, the Rimei RM2003 razor remains my preferred instrument for a close, comfortable shave.
- The Merkur 33C Classic razor is my close-second go-to razor (and sometimes still my first choice). It doesn't generally shave quite as closely as the RM2003, but is usually slightly more forgiving.
- Alternating the 33 and RM2003 razors may be optimal for my skin because of their differing natures despite both being rather mild razors.
- Adding water only for touch ups in the final pass helps to get a close shave.
The Dorco ST-300 blade is on deck for next week's shaves. I have never used this blade before -- only its cousin, the ST-301. They are reputed in some circles to be the same blade, but this seems illogical to me. (After all, why sell the same blade in the same markets under two different identifiers? Although, since I come from Detroit, I have to admit that the auto companies did something similar to that for years. Remember so-called badge engineering? Yet even then, they weren't selling identical products, just cars with the same underlying architecture, but often different spring rates, tires, wheels, trim, and interior appointments.) Since I am very familiar with the ST-301, I'm interested to see if I can sense any difference compared to the ST-300.
This week's shave journal:Sunday:
Despite its ~30-deg. blade angle,
the Merkur 33 has a negative blade
exposure and therefore, combined
with its modest blade-bar span,
provides a mild shave.
Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.5; Under jawline - 4.4; Neck - 4.7.
Rating this day's shave*: Closeness-4.56, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-3.8
A non-fussy three-and-a-half-pass shave with the Rapira in the RM2003 went swimmingly until I decided, against normal practice, to shave against grain on my upper lip, which left weepers behind (and didn't actually much improve against-grain smoothness!). Other than that tactical error, the shave was very good. Finished with a cool-water rinse, alum block on the upper lip, and some Gillette Gel (blue bottle) to make me smell like Gillette Gel.
Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.7; Lower lip & chin - 4.4; Under jawline - 4.0; Neck - 4.2.
Rating this day's shave*: Closeness-4.26, Irritation-4.6, Wounds-3.8
|Merkur 15C open-comb razor.|
Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.0; Lower lip & chin - 4.6; Under jawline - 3.0; Neck - 4.0.
Rating this day's shave*: Closeness-3.92, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-4.3
|Merkur Classic (33C).|
Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.4; Under jawline - 3.0; Neck - 4.3.
Rating this day's shave*: Closeness-4.10, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-4.0
Summary rating: 4.30**
|Rimei RM2003 side view with blade.|
Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.4; Cheeks - 5.0; Lower lip & chin - 4.3; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.0.
Rating this day's shave*: Closeness-4.38, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-4.5
Summary rating: 4.57** A very nice shave.
Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.2; Cheeks - 4.7; Lower lip & chin - 4.2; Under jawline - 3.0; Neck - 4.0.
Rating this day's shave*: Closeness-4.02, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-3.5
Summary rating: 3.89** A couple of large weepers under my jawline and on upper neck sunk the summary rating, but actually is a pretty good shave otherwise.
Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.7; Lower lip & chin - 4.7; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.0.
Rating this day's shave*: Closeness-4.32, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-4.8
Summary rating: 4.61** Nearly as good a shave as I can get with the 33 razor.
Closeness -- a separate evaluation is done for each of these five areas: a) upper lip, b) cheeks, c) chin, d) under jaw line, and e) neck; then these five are averaged together for a single closeness rating. The following are the scale criteria:
5 – Smooth when rubbed against grain & other directions
4 – Smooth across grain but not against grain
3 – Smooth with grain only
2 – Not smooth to touch, but appears adequately clean shaven
1 – Not smooth to touch, and stubble apparent
5 – No perceivable irritation
4 – Minor irritation just after the shave, disappears quickly with time or applied balm
3 – Minor irritation that lingers for more than an hour but less than six
2 – Irritation that is perceived throughout the day
1 – Visible razor burn
5 – Absence of any wounds
4 – Pinpoint weepers only
3 – A total of three or less nicks, small cuts, and larger-than-pinpoint weepers
2 – A total of four to six nicks, cuts, and larger-than-pinpoint weepers
1 – Worse than 2, above (first aid, quick!)
Regarding use of tenths of rating points: For closeness or irritation, each additional tenth of a rating point represents about 10% of the shaving area in question. For wounds, it represents gradations within a rating. For example, if I have, say, six pinpoint weepers only, I might give a wound rating of 4. However, if I only have one wound, which is a pinpoint weeper, that would likely get a rating of 4.9.
**Regarding the single-number overall shave rating: To give equal weight to shave closeness and harshness, I now double the shave-closeness rating, then add the values for closeness, irritation, and wounds, and divide that sum by four.