Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday Review: Gillette Silver Blue, More Tech Thoughts, and the Shaving Process

Today I'll be taking my last shave of the week with the Gillette Silver Blue blade.It has been a week of comfortable, low-irritation shaves, which is one of the reasons I have consistently enjoyed this blade whenever I've used one.

Is it my preferred blade? No, they're a bit pricey, and for the money, I think the USA-made Personna Super blade, the so-called lab-blue blade is an excellent substitute. This is for the following reasons:

  • At current market prices the Personna Super, the lab blue, is less than half the cost of the Gillette Silver Blue.
  • The Personna Super has the most ecologically-responsible packaging, when purchased in a bulk pack of 100 blades: a single, small card board box.
  • The shaves that these blades offer are similar in sharpness, comfort, and durability.
  • The Personna Supers are made in the USA, and there's something to be said for keeping our dollars local (economics used to be my hobby; although the exporting of dollars isn't a huge negative, still every bit can help our economy).
That said, if a bunch of Gillette Silver Blue blades were given to me, it would be a happy moment because I think they are a fine blade.

I had my last shave this week with the vintage Gillette Tech razor head. It's currently packaged for shipping back to the generous Stephen in Massachusetts, and I plan to leave it at the post office today. (Once again, many thanks to Stephen! I've cleaned it up for return with a bit of SoftScrub with bleach, and it looks good and is clean and sanitary.) The quality and shave character of the razor still impress me. I may still pick one up if the spirit moves me.

This whole Tech trial and my pre-work shaves of the last month or two has had me pondering the DE shaving process. I currently use a two-pass shave (with grain, then against grain) before work, which is a compromise between closeness and duration of the shaving process. Though two passes doesn't yield a baby-smooth shave, it's certainly close enough so that I don't have noticeable stubble by the end of the day. Using the vintage Tech has had me wonder if, back in the day, many men were using multiple passes on a regular basis. After all, even the Tech, with its reputation for being a mild shaver, is more aggressive in character than many new DEs made today such as the following mild razors:

  • Weishi 9306 TTOs and those rebranded such as the Dorco, MicroTouch, and Van Der Hagen
  • Wilkinson Sword Classic (two piece)
  • Merkur Classic (33C)
  • Lord LP1822L (the L.6 razor head)
I wonder if the Tech and other vintage razors were designed to give a close-enough shave in a single pass. After all, consider the straight razor; imagine it's 1905, and though safety razors are available including King Gillette's double-edged innovation, most men are still having their whiskers removed with a straight. Was anyone doing more than a single pass with a straight? I suspect not most. 

During yesterday's shave, I nicked myself near the corner of my mouth during the first pass (and it's very unusual for me to draw blood on the first pass with any razor) owing both to the slightly more aggressive character of the Tech than my regular razors and some carelessness on my part. But it got me to thinking: if it's 1905, am I just happy to be clean shaven and not obsessed with a baby-smooth outcome? I suspect so. So am I shaving with a one-and-done pass? Again, my intuition says yes. I wonder if like so many other things, we expect more today than our fore bearers of a century ago. It's not enough to be clean shaven, we like to be smoooooooth.

Maybe just for today I'll pull out the slant (my Merkur 37C) and take a one-pass shave just to see how I feel about the outcome.

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. I've used a couple of variations of Techs and most felt too mild for me. Then I got a 1972 made in England one and while it was supposed to be mild I found it quite efficient and it's now one of my favourites when paired with a nice heavy handle. I also recently got an open comb Tech which I also really like. Just a bit more efficient than the Merkur OC, which is too mild for me, but I still need to try a shim in it to see how that affects the shave. Maybe worth looking into that as well for your mild razors if they feel too mild.