Saturday, April 4, 2015

Weekly Shave Review: The Dorco Prime Starter Set

Dorco Prime starter set: TTO razor, 30 ST-301 blades,
and a  nice case with mirror.
This is the twenty-eighth of my weekly shave summaries. This week discusses the Dorco Prime starter set, with twist-to-open razor, 30 Dorco ST-301 blades (which, like their ST-300s, are made in Vietnam), and a nice brown-plastic travel case that has a small mirror built in. The ST-301 blade comes single wrapped in paper, and the ten packs come in a plastic container. A number of individual blades in their paper wrappers will fit in the travel case with the razor, but the entire ten pack in its plastic case will not, which is fine in my view.

My shave soap again this week is from the second pre-production run of Grandad's Slick 'n Creamy Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin, which is being used for the initial offering of client samples.

Reminder about my skin type: 
  • 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

Face care this week, unless otherwise specified:

New/Different in This Week's Review:
  • The Dorco Prime razor.
  • The use of the Dorco ST-301 blades for most of the week, finishing with last week's ST-300 blade for the final two shaves.
  • Since I finished last week with two shaves on an ST-301 blade from the Dorco Prime set, I will begin the week with that same blade, thus starting this week with the third shave on the 301 blade in the Dorco Prime razor.

What I Learned this Week:
  • I'd rather have some minor blood shed and a very close, near-totally-baby-smooth shave, than a mediocre, coarse shave and no wounds at all.
  • The Dorco Prime razor -- likely a twin to a chrome-plated Weishi 9306 version -- can give an good daily shave -- and I could use this razor as a daily instrument.
  • The Dorco Prime DE razor and the Weishi 9306-F give me shaves that are indistinguishable from one another.
  • My one day, Thursday, returning to the Merkur 33, however, gave a better overall shave -- even with a last-use ST-301 blade! -- slightly less irritation, fewer wounds, a bit closer. However, this was before I slowed down my shaving strokes a bit.
  • I like the Dorco ST-301 blades, and they are a good blade for me to use and give me good results, but they're not the absolute perfect match for my skin (matching blade to skin is a very personal thing).
  • On Thursday's shave I began making slower strokes with the razor, which, going forward, may improve the overall quality of my shaves.

Next Week:
The Polsilver Super Iridium blade is on deck.

This week's shave journal:

Dorco Prime razor
and ST-301 blade.

With a two-shave ST-301 blade in the Dorco Prime TTO razor, I determined to take a non-fussy three-pass shave. Finished with cool-water rinse, splash of tea-tree lotion, and Gillette gel (blue bottle).

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.5; Lower lip & chin - 4.5; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.8.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.40, Irritation-4.2, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating4.25**  (A pretty nice shave with a rating lowered by some minor third-pass wounds.)

Three passes, with the last being very fussy, gave me as close a shave as I've had. The extremely close and fussy third pass did open some minor wounds. Finished with a cool-water rinse, tea-tree after-shave lotion, a partial beard alum rub, and Gillette lotion for sensitive skin (white bottle).

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.2; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.5; Under jawline - 4.7; Neck - 4.2.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.48, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating4.24**   (Again a good shave with a diminished rating because of minor wounds.)

Today I planned on a not-very-close three-pass shave that didn't include an against-grain pass, but in reality added a near-full fourth pass. This planned "light" shave was to allow my repeating minor wounds to heal so later in this week I can return to attempts at maximum closeness -- thus really pushing the performance envelope of the Dorco Prime razor. (I would also like to try a fresh Personna blade in this razor.) However, in the second pass, I unwisely got too tricky on my mid and upper neck. Damage done, I finished the shave with a light touch but with thoroughness. After the shave, I used a cool-water rinse, a splash of witch hazel, and Neutrogena balm (my favorite scent) supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.2; Lower lip & chin - 4.2; Under jawline - 4.0; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.08, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-3.5

Summary rating3.92**  (A forgettable shave.)

The Weishi 9306-F: an apparent twin
to the Dorco Prime razor.
Today I pulled out my Weishi 9306-F to do a comparison shave to the Dorco Prime razor. I did a no-frills three-pass shave still using the ST-301 blade, which prior to today had five shaves on it. I finished the shave with a cool-water rinse, witch hazel rub, and face moisturizer with sunscreen that was also supplemented with a bit of vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.5; Lower lip & chin - 4.5; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.24, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating4.12**  (Not a bad shave, just unremarkable.)

Merkur 33 with blade, side view.

I put the Dorco ST-301 blade into my Merkur 33 for a comparison shave to the Chinese TTOs, the Dorco Prime and the Weishi. Another three-pass shave with six previous shaves already on the 301 blade. (This is the last shave for this blade, and tomorrow I'll return to the five-use Dorco ST-300 blade from last week.) Such a pleasant shave! Finished only with a cool-water rinse and some Neutrogena balm, which is my favorite fragrance.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.5; Cheeks - 4.5; Lower lip & chin - 4.7; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.3.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.44, Irritation-4.3, Wounds-4.8

Summary rating4.50**  (A nice shave -- even with the final-use -- seventh-shave -- ST-301 blade.)

A ten-minute shave today. Two passes (WG, AG) using the Weishi TTO, a sixth-use Dorco ST-300 blade, and initially fast strokes, which I then remembered to moderate. Finished with a cool-water rinse, a touch of alum on my neck (where I carelessly opened a pre-existing weeper due to my iinitial impatience), then some straight, un-doctored Gillette balm (blue bottle).

Closeness details: Upper lip - 3.8; Cheeks - 3.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.5; Under jawline - 3.7; Neck - 3.7.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-3.90, Irritation-4.8, Wounds-4.5

Summary rating4.28**  (This might be a good process for late-to-work mornings.)

Merkur 15C with blade, side view.
On a whim, I wanted to try the Merkur 15C open comb razor with mindful slower strokes. I intended a two-pass shave (WG, AG), but after the second pass, I couldn't get close enough with the 15C, so I put the final use Dorco ST-300 blade in the Weishi TTO and did another AG pass. The passes with the 15C opened a few small weepers on my neck and despite my careful passes, left a bit of irritation. I finished the shave with only a cool-water rinse and application of un-doctored Nivea after-shave balm. Not a bad shave, but I think I'll keep the 15C for hair-line and back-of-neck trimming.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.5; Cheeks - 4.2; Lower lip & chin - 4.8; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.3.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.40, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating4.20**

*Rating Key:
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.

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment