Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to Get a Superior Standard Shave

This morning I got a better-than-normal standard shave. That is, I lathered once, did a single pass with a few touch-up strokes in problem areas using a bit of extra water, and got better than merely acceptable results. Is it baby smooth? No, but it's a good shave -- better than your average generic one and done. Here's how I did it.

I started with a Personna Super (lab blue) blade that had already performed four light shaves. This was mounted into my mild-mannered post-second-world-war Gillette Tech. The mild-shaving razor is a key point as I'll explain below.

I performed my normal, minimalist beard preparation, which includes the following steps:
  • Two full-beard rubs with cool tap water
  • A third rub with cool water and a little soap residue (from wetting in my palm the brush loaded with previously-used, dried lather)
  • Rubbing additional shave soap directly on my wet beard and face lathering
A different superior
After lathering, I made my sole full pass with grain, using an anti-raking stroke pattern. Up to here, this process was not particularly unique. What came next, however is the latest wrinkle.

What made this shave a little different is that not only did I use oblique strokes (meaning the razor's blade edge is held canted, slightly off perpendicular to the stroke direction), I combined that with short buffing, almost polishing strokes. (I keep the razor in constant contact with the beard, when making buffing strokes.) The mild Tech razor makes these oblique buffing strokes safe and easy. This yielded good results in the areas that are not difficult to shave.

For my trouble areas, which are under the jaw line and the lowest half of my neck, I re-wetted those areas without re-lathering, and took a few against-grain clean-up strokes.

The result was a good shave with no wounds, no irritation, and pretty reasonable smoothness for a single-lathered shave. In fact, because of the low irritation factor, I applied Aqua Velva after-shave lotion directly to my rinsed-and-dried face. Then as a final step after drying my gear and oiled-palm-stropping my blade, I applied a bit of fragrance-free moisturizer and called it good.

Happy shaving!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Controlling the Fire of Obsession

My non-shaving-hobbyist friends would think I'm a little nuts if they knew the truth.

Every day I look forward to tomorrow's shave.

In fact, I look forward to my next shave so enthusiastically that on many days I'm tempted to take a late-afternoon shave so I can once again re-create that pleasant smoothness on my face. I always resist this temptation, however, because I know it doesn't end well. It eventually creates sore, visibly-irritated skin.
Healthy passion or mental illness?

The late football coach of the Green Bay Packers has been quoted as saying, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." If I were to be quoted along similar lines, my quote would be, "Pain quenches the fire of our obsessions."

For example, since the age of about sixteen years, I have been an obsessive tennis player. Yet there was a span of years when the pain of a chronic lower-back problem made it rather easy to hang up my racquets and tennis shoes. It was only after I learned to coexist comfortably with my back that I could once again indulge in my tennis passion and obsession.

Similarly, it is the memory of the discomfort of lingering razor burn from too-frequent, too-close shaves that keeps me from shaving too often and too enthusiastically.

So not only do I limit my shaves to one daily, I also limit my pursuit of the gold-standard shave. When I'm going for a better shave, I take my two-pass two-rriffic shave. Lately, though, I've been pursuing a different shaving challenge.

Rather than chasing the gold-standard shave in multiple passes, of late I've been playing the daily game of trying to get the closest double-edge shave possible from a standard (single-pass) shave. It still gives me a daily shaving challenge -- and this is a real challenge -- but leaves me generally wound and irritation free, with an appropriate clean-shaven look (though I do develop a shadow later in the day).

Actually, this approach makes me feel more in touch with history of my pogonotomy obsession. Now, in my morning shaving routine, with my single-pass standard shave, I am duplicating the most common process of the generations of daily shavers who have gone before me with blade and brush to tidy up before facing the world for the day.

Happy shaving!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Standard versus Gold-Standard Shaves

A one-pass, with-grain shave is really
a standard shave.
I took a standard shave this morning; that is, a one-pass, with-grain shave. With my Gillette Slim set to five out of nine, the razor was aggressive enough to give me a pretty good shave from my jaw line up. This is what I would call a standard shave.

Of course, to optimize my single pass, I used slow oblique strokes and an anti-raking stroke pattern.

The other so-called standard shave, the oft-referred-to standard three-pass shave is what I might call a path to the gold standard. A gold-standard shave is baby smooth or nearly so. Additionally, to be a gold-standard shave, it should be wound free and low irritation.

Baby smooth is the gold standard,
and this usually requires multiple passes.
Many men can't go for a gold-standard three-pass shave often because it can be abusive to sensitive skin. That's why my normal daily shave is two passes with some extra touch-up strokes. This provides me and many other daily shavers with a sustainable, rewarding shave -- and by sustainable, I mean a shave that can be repeated day after day without accumulating ever-increasing insult to one's skin.

Today I supplemented my standard shave with a few extra clean-up strokes against the grain under my jaw line. This is an area in which it's difficult to get a close shave in a single with-grain pass. So some re-lathering there and a few additional strokes against the grain can quickly smooth out this problematic area.

My lower neck, which is an area that some men don't have to shave because their beard doesn't extend that low, could also benefit from clean-up strokes after a standard shave, but that is the most sensitive area of my beard, is easily injured with wounds or irritation, and today was deserving of minimal insult to recover from previous day's shaves. So I left it alone after my single-pass standard shave.

Yet, if I take a standard shave, which I have done for most of my adult life using twin-bladed cartridge razors, I can still get an adequate shave that will look good for the early part of the day, and will look good enough for the later part of the day. This is also true for my standard shaves with a double-edge razor.

I should probably also add that for some men (like me), it's virtually impossible to get a truly baby-smooth shave with a single-bladed instrument. There are areas of my beard where the hair is coarse and with a grain at such an angle that to shave it baby smooth would produce unacceptable wounds and irritation. The only way that I can get baby smooth in those areas is to rely on the hysteresis of the multi-bladed cartridge. The problem with that is that I then begin to accumulate ingrown hairs. So I prefer to stay with the old-school razor, and accept a nearly-gold-standard outcome.

Where my beard is more manageable -- that is, where the grain angle is not so extreme, it's pretty easy to shave baby smooth every day with my trusty double-edge razors.

Happy shaving!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Only Partially Wrong Way: the Half 'n Half Single-Pass Shave

Once again deviating from the pre-shave plan, though today was to be a standard shave (that is, single pass with grain), I did it a little differently.

Using my Gillette Slim Adjustable with a new Personna Super (lab blue) blade, I did half my face shaving with grain and the razor set on five (of nine), and the other half shaved against grain and the razor set on three  -- sort of a half 'n half shave.

Building on my experience from yesterday, a careful first pass against grain -- even with a sharp, new blade -- can pull just a bit and perhaps leave minor weepers in sensitive areas such as one's lower neck or upper lip (though on my upper lip, I shaved cross grain and still got a pin-point weeper).

Both halves were shaved using an anti-raking stroke pattern.

The single-pass outcome wasn't terribly surprising. The good news is that the against-grain side was shaved a bit closer. The drawbacks were a few wounds and a bit of irritation. When I was done with the first pass, I actually took a second, against-grain pass on the half of my beard that originally received the with-grain pass. Interestingly and not necessarily surprisingly, the half that got the single-pass against-grain shave ended with more irritation than the side that got the two-pass treatment.

What I learned is that when I'm in a big hurry and can settle for good enough, a standard shave will do; that is, one pass, with grain. However, when I want more than enough, which is most daily shaves, an aggressive with-grain first pass followed by an against-grain pass with a face-friendly razor (or razor setting) does the trick for me -- maybe with a few extra touch-up strokes. This two-pass shave continues to be, for me, an optimal compromise between closeness and comfort. Three full passes on a daily basis is just too much for my skin.

Palm stropping a different kind of blade.
Remember to oil the palm before stropping.
I also learned that the Super-Max Titanium blade that I recycled yesterday probably had more good shaves in it, and likely was pulling and irritating a bit only because of the against-grain first pass. Remember, however, that I seem to be getting unusual durability from my blades due to my daily post-shave press drying of the blade followed by oiled-palm stropping.

Happy shaving!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Rubbing the Wrong Way with an Old Blade

Today was the 13th shave with my Super-Max Titanium blade. Maybe it was the lucky 13 that caused me to deviate from my normal shave routine, but in any case, this morning I decided to take a one-pass shave against the grain.

I also decided to use one of my gold-toned Gillette Tech razors (c.1948) for the shave.

The key to against-grain shaving on the first pass is slow, short strokes. I also make essentially all my strokes oblique, which, by the way, I no longer would consider an advanced technique. (Doing it the way Gillette showed in old, printed razor instructions is the hard way -- the famous Gillette slide. The easy way is how I have diagrammed it in previous articles: simply make your strokes in the normal directions but with the razor's edge canted slightly off perpendicular to stroke direction.)

Keep in mind that today's blade was pretty old, already having a dozen shaves on it. Still, my one-pass, against-grain shave wasn't that bad. There was some minor pulling, but I'd be inclined to chalk that up to the old blade in combination with the against-grain strokes. I also got a couple of weepers, but they could be partly residual from yesterday's shave.

I probably should have stopped after one pass but, as I commonly do, I changed my plan and went for a closer shave. So I took a second pass against grain just like the first. By the way, I didn't shave my upper lip against grain in either pass. There I went across grain.

I even took some touch-up strokes after the second pass.

My result was a very close shave with some irritation and weepers that took a touch of styptic. Unfortunately I can't really draw any meaningful conclusions because of the old blade. I topped the shave with some tea-tree after-shave lotion, then that Dollar-Tree 3-in-1 men's moisturizing lotion that Thad had recently recommended. This left me in good shape for the day.

Tomorrow's shave will be with a new Personna Super (lab blue) blade, but I probably won't repeat the against-grain first pass of today's shave because my skin needs a bit of recovery time. So the current plan is to set my 1963 Gillette Slim Adjustable to five, and take a one-pass, with-grain shave; that is, a standard shave. I am currently determined to stop with that; after all, tomorrow's Saturday, I have a morning tennis match, and I've no reason to shave especially closely except for my obsession with a good shave.

Happy shaving!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Gillette Slim Adjustable Seen with Fresh Eyes

I have opened my mind, and then re-opened my eyes and taken a fresh look at my Gillette Slim Adjustable razor.

To finally evaluate this fine instrument fairly I had to give up several prejudices, which are listed below:

  • I had to abandon the concept of the three-pass shave as standard
  • I recognized that when this razor was designed and sold, a one-pass shave was (and still should be, in my opinion) considered a standard shave
  • Despite my sensitive skin, I had to become open to making a first pass with grain using a more aggressive razor or an adjustable razor on a more aggressive setting than I would use making multiple passes with a single razor
  • I had to become committed to using short, slow, oblique shaving strokes
  • I had to become comfortable with my usual shave having only two complete passes (with grain, then against grain)
As I've written before, when I'm wrong I'm wrong (a Yogi-Berra-ism?). So here are a list of things on which I have misjudged and unfairly maligned the Slim:
  • When used properly, it does not shave unduly harshly 
  • Its lowest, least-aggressive setting can work well as a finishing razor
  • It can give a completely adequate shave when making only a single, with-grain pass (that is, in my definition, a standard shave)
The irony of this whole realization is that my Slim was inherited from my father, and was my first double-edge razor. Since that time, I have acquired many other razors. Yet, I now believe that if I were better informed when I first received the Slim, I would have never had to acquire any others.

Today I used my Super-Max Titanium blade for its twelfth shave! My first pass was with gain and had the Slim set on six (of nine), shaving in an anti-raking stroke pattern. That initial pass was adequate for going about my business of the day, though I did open a weeper or two. I do like a closer shave, however, so I dialed the Slim back to a setting of one and made a second pass largely against grain, and then made some touch-up strokes on my chin, jawline and upper neck.

Minor irritation was addressed with my favorite after-shave astringent, which is a tea-tree lotion, followed by moisturizer, and capped with a bit of Aqua Velva Ice Blue lotion.

Tomorrow I'm going to repeat this shave with the Slim dialed back to five for the first pass, which may be the ideal initial setting for my face and beard.

Happy shaving!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Economy Double-Edge-Shaving Kit

Double-edge (DE), old-school shaving can be really inexpensive. You don't have to be a hobbyist, aficionado, or obsessive to enjoy the process and reap significant savings over the more modern shaving implements and accessories.


The foundation of DE shaving is the razor, of course. My economy recommendation is also a high-quality-shave recommendation. That is (drum roll).... the Rimei RM2003 razor, which can still be purchased for US$4 to US$10. The lowest price that I know of is on the Deal Extreme web site ( If you get this razor, I would recycle the blades, and buy some higher-quality brands.

Shave Soap

I think the best value in shave soap is.... Arko, the shave stick from Turkey. Some don't like its bouquet, while others think it smells clean like Ivory soap. There are a couple of ways to head off objections to its scent.
  • Expect it to smell like old-school bath soap (as I said, think Ivory soap). By having appropriate expectations, you won't be disappointed when it doesn't smell like your favorite cologne.
  • When it arrives, unwrap the soap and let it air out. The fragrance intensity diminishes with a little time.

This soft shave soap is formulated and formed for face lathering, but can also be pressed into a bowl for loading onto one's brush rather than one's face, and from there, either bowl or hand lathered.

If you shop the Internet, you can get this quite inexpensively. A single stick can be purchased for less than US$4, and if you buy in some quantity, the price begins to approach US$1 per stick.

Shave Brush

The brush that I recommend isn't the least expensive out there, but it isn't very pricey either. This brush is my personal favorite, and has the following characteristics:
  • It is moderately sized for easy storage at home or for travel
  • It has synthetic bristles, which are low maintenance: they dry quickly and the knot tends to maintain its shape
  • Though the synthetic bristles feel a bit harsh at first, they seem to become more face friendly with use
  • The brush tends not to shed any bristles -- almost none in my experience
  • It can easily hold a lot of water or a little -- all due to water tension
  • The synthetic bristles require no pre-shave soaking
This brush is the Omega Syntex. If you shop the Internet carefully, you shouldn't have to pay more than about US$11.


Blades are a somewhat personal choice. This is especially true if one is obsessive and going for the baby-smooth shave, which, of course, will typically require no less than three passes. These shavers would want to take the ubiquitous advice of purchasing small quantities (ideally only one or two) of many different blades and testing to find the ones best matched to one's own face and beard.

However, if one is an economy shaver and not obsessive about results, that is, willing to settle for an acceptable shave that can be had in less than three passes and often just a single, with-grain pass, then a large-quantity purchase of a single brand may be the way to go. Some options include the following blades:
  • Personna Super (<US$13/100 blades)
  • Dorco ST-301 (<US$10/100 blades)
  • Lord Platinum Class (<US$12/100 blades)
  • Astra Superior Platinum (<US$11/100 blades)
  • Super-Max Titanium (<US$11/100 blades)
If you are an economy shaver, then blade care might be worth addressing. A small container of oil on hand will be helpful so you can strop your blades on your oiled palm after each shave after patting the blade dry with a wash cloth or square of toilet tissue. You can use an oil from the kitchen, or mineral oil, or even baby oil (which is just scented mineral oil). I'm going to call the cost negligible -- both of the oil as well as a small oil container for your bathroom cabinet; I'll chalk that up to your creativity. This drying and oil-stropping of the blade may significantly increase the useful life of your blades.

Also, remember to learn to use slow, short oblique shaving strokes and perhaps in an anti-raking stroke pattern to optimize your shave.

Other Accessories

If one is new to DE shaving, minor nicks and scrapes are likely. Ultra-minor wounds will disappear with rinsing, in my experience. However, sometimes a touch of a damp styptic pencil can do wonders to make a wound go away completely, or at least, stop being an annoyance almost immediately.

I would buy a thin styptic pencil at a local pharmacy or department store -- but if you pay more than US$2, you might be paying too much.

After my shaves, I also like a bit of a mild astringent, but this is completely optional. Common witch hazel, usually available from the local pharmacy or grocery store, is very mild and does the trick, but doesn't, in my opinion, smell very nice. Still, it's a great economy choice.

After the astringent, I like a balm or moisturizer. If you like a mild fragrance, check out the selection at your local pharmacy, grocery, or department stores. Common brands include Gillette, Nivea, and Neutrogena. The least expensive that I've seen is Gillette in the blue plastic container that sits cap down. I see this at the bulls-eye department store for just over US$2 per bottle.

So, let's see.... $4 - razor; $4 - shave-soap stick; $11 - brush; $2 - styptic pencil; $12 - blades; $3 - after-shave balm. All that adds up to about $36. That investment will keep you going for a long time.

Happy saving and happy shaving!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Slow Strokes and Thank Yous

As planned, I took the Super-Max Titanium (SMT) blade into uncharted territory this morning, using it for the eighth shave. It was a good shave, and otherwise uneventful. My first pass was with the Merkur 15C open-comb razor, which, though a mild shaver, has been harsh on my skin when used for multiple passes. However, I find it is a good instrument for a standard, one-pass shave (which I almost never do) as well as for a first pass in a two-pass shave (which I almost always do). After the first pass, I used the 15C for a few extra touch-up strokes under my jaw line, then transferred the SMT blade to my mild finishing razor for the final pass and any clean-up strokes.

I find that the key to a two-pass shave that goes from a with-grain first pass directly to an against-grain second pass is slow, deliberate strokes during the second pass. These slow strokes can also be helpful during the first pass when shaving injured or otherwise sensitive areas.

I have given up on achieving baby-smooth-shave outcomes. My beard and skin make that goal a high-risk and low-probability outcome. Yet, with more modest ambition, I am actually able to achieve a rewarding and still-very-close shave in two full passes with some extra touch up, and still have my skin in good shape -- day after day.

Today I capped the shave with some tea-tree (astringent) lotion, which I like for its pleasant citrus bouquet. Then after that dried, I applied some Aveeno fragrance-free moisturizer topped with some Aqua Velva musk after-shave lotion. (The musk version is not as initially pleasant to my nose as the ice blue, but it's fine after a short while -- and I have to use the stuff up anyway.)


Tomorrow is the ninth shave with the SMT blade in the c.1948 Tech for the first pass. As usual, looking forward to that one.


It occurred to me that I owe thanks to those who have provided useful information and food for thought in my shaving endeavors. Also there are those who have supported my humble blog. Below is a short list of kind and hard-working characters to whom I say thanks:

  • Gotta start with Mantic59, the Sharpologist, who is recognized far and wide for his fine, informative videos and his interesting web site. Thanks, big guy!
  • Also want to extend a thank you to Shawnsel and his peers who have striven to accumulate and make available objective data on razors and related stuff.
  • Thanks to those who take the time to post comments on my blog site. It's always nice to get input from others.
  • Thanks, of course, to regular readers of this blog. I appreciate the fact that you take a few minutes from time to time to review my articles.
  • Finally for the moment, I want to thank Bruce Everiss, the Brit who wrote the blog, He no longer posts new shaving articles, but has kept his blog going for those who might review his significant archive. He was the first to make me aware of the potential for using more than one razor for a shave. In that sense he is the intellectual father for my preferred method of a two-pass, two-razor daily shave.
That's it for today. Happy shaving!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A 33C Trial

This morning I returned to an old friend, my Merkur 33C Classic razor. I used it for the first pass of my usual two-pass daily shave. The three-piece 33C is a pretty mild shaver, though not as much as my finishing razor, the one-piece Weishi 9306-F.
This is the Merkur 33C Classic razor, the cousin to the more popular, more-aggressive-shaving Merkur 34C HD razor.

Even with the seventh-use Super-Max-Titanium (SMT) blade in the 33, the first pass was adequate to stop after a standard one-pass shave. However, adequate isn't adequate for me. So I used the 33 to take a few clean-up strokes under my jaw line prior to transferring the blade for my final pass.

Using my finishing razor for the final (second) full pass left a fairly close shave, but with a few weepers on my lower neck that took a touch of styptic. This may be due to the 33C not being quite aggressive enough in shave character. This mildness of the 33 may prevent sufficient beard reduction to comfortably shave against grain in a second pass.

Tomorrow being tested beyond my customary seven shaves.
The good news is that the SMT blade seems good to go beyond the seven shaves that has been my previous recycle point. So tomorrow's shave number eight will be an interesting kick off to pushing the performance envelope of the SMT blade to see what it can do.

Happy shaving!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Life Decisions and Klondike

I have been wrestling with a significant personal issue. I haven't been able to make up my mind as to what I should do. I feel stuck, trapped, with no clear positive move to make. I have a choice that can be taken, but it comes with absolutely no guarantees of success.

To do, or not to do? That is the question. (Apologies to the Bard of Avon.)

Because I am deliberate rather than rash, I have been pondering this question. And ruminating. And processing. And thinking. And not thinking.

The not-thinking aspect of my decision process is attempting to invoke my intuition; after all, there are benefits and drawbacks to both sides of this decision, and there are also clear uncertainties involving real risks. I want to be sure to include not just rational considerations; there is also the aspect of trusting, or at least getting in touch with, one's gut for big life decisions.

So to disengage from my ruminations, I play Solitaire, the card game for one. Occasionally I play Solitaire with a real deck of cards, but since upgrading my computer to Windows 10, I play Solitaire on my laptop -- a lot. There are many versions of Solitaire, but the best known version is called Klondike. (You can even look it up in Hoyle's rules of games if you have doubt.) Klondike is my game.

Klondike is distracting. It is an old friend from childhood, and doesn't require much more to play than paying attention. It allows one's conscious mind to focus fully on the cards in the moment thus leaving the subconscious to process in the background and occasionally pop in with an insight.

This happened this morning. I had scanned the news and sports on line, and was playing Klondike on my laptop while drinking my morning coffee before breakfast and my daily shave.

Super dealer?
I have played literally hundreds of games of Klondike in the past few weeks. This is easy to do because playing on a computer, unlike using a real deck of cards, can be lightning fast. Game after game -- win, lose, lose, lose, win, lose, lose, and so on. The computer can deal the cards like the Flash on amphetamines.

In Klondike there is strategy; it's not just the luck of the deal and not missing any moves. Often Klondike tactics involve deferring a play or making a neutral move to open the potential for real progress. This morning I had to make such a move.

My insightful Klondike game looked like a sure loser. I was just playing out the deal, waiting for the computer to acknowledge that there were no more moves; but it didn't happen. I was stalled, but apparently the game wasn't over. Then I saw the neutral move that would open up a single positive play -- just one, but the game was still going.

As happens sometimes, that play led to another and another until suddenly the game opened up to clear and certain victory. And then it hit me from somewhere in the recesses of my brain pan that life is like that; sometimes you get stalled and the only thing to do is to make the only move you've got. It doesn't look like a sure winner, but sometimes it can get you unstuck and open up the game for real progress.

So now I just have to screw up courage and make the move. My subconscious has given me the insight. Who knew that a game of Klondike could lead to danger, adventure, and, potentially, a gold mine?

Happy shaving!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Recipe for My Blue-Ribbon Every-Day Shave

A delightful routine; perhaps an ideal compromise between comfort and closeness -- though, of course, tastes do vary.


  • 1 blade well matched to skin and beard -- my first choice is a Personna red label
  • 1 moderate-shave-character razor -- my choice today would be Gillette Slim on 5 of 9 
  • 1 mild-shaving finishing razor -- Weishi 9306-F or the Dorco one-piece razor, for example
  • Shave soap
  • Shaving brush
  • Astringent for after shave -- my favorite choice is a citrus-scented tea-tree lotion
  • After-shave balm -- my first choice is Neutrogena balm for sensitive skin
  • Cool tap water
  • One face towel

Simple Beard Prep

Wet beard by rubbing with cool water. Repeat.
Hold some cool tap water in your cupped hand and wet the outside of the shave brush (already containing dried lather from previous shave) by rolling it in your cupped hand.
Using the soap in your hand from wetting the outside of the brush, add a bit of water and massage that into the beard.
Rub shave soap stick or puck onto the wet, unshaven beard.
Add a small amount of cool tap water into the shave brush and begin building lather on face. Add water as necessary to the brush, and finish building lather ensuring that it is sufficiently wet and creamy.

First Pass

If not already done, insert the blade in the moderate-shaving razor. 
Wet the razor top-cap surface.
Make your first shaving pass, generally with grain, using careful, short, slow, oblique strokes, shaving in an anti-raking pattern; that is, from the lathered area into the perimeter or just-shaved area of the beard.
When the entire beard has been shaved with grain, rinse with cool tap water.

Second Pass

Apply lather to beard using the residual from the shave brush.
Transfer the blade from the moderate razor to the mild razor. 
Ensure the razor top cap surface is wet.
Make your second shaving pass, generally against grain, again using careful, short, slow, oblique strokes, shaving in an anti-raking pattern
When the entire beard has been shaved generally against grain, do not rinse face and do leave lather on the underside of the razor.

Final Touch Ups

Feel face and neck for areas not shaved sufficiently smooth. 
In those areas needing additional strokes, wet with cool tap water. If there is enough residual soap on the skin surface to be slippery, make careful touch-up strokes strictly against grain or in other directions as best indicated. If there isn't enough slick residual soap on the skin, use a finger to swipe some residual lather from the underside of the razor and apply over the wetted skin.

Post Shave

Rinse your face and neck with cool tap water.
Dry with towel.
Apply after-shave astringent. Allow to air dry as you prep blade and razors for daily storage.
Apply after-shave balm.


Happy shaving!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Some Observations from Today's Shave

The third shave with the Super-Max Titanium (SMT) blade was a pretty good one. I did notice several things though:
Like the man of steel, the Super-Max Titanium blade is a
blade of steel, but isn't as super as the Personna red label.

  • With the SMT blade, I can definitely notice a difference in cutting efficiency when comparing direct to oblique strokes; the oblique strokes are smoother, more efficient -- especially when doing against-grain strokes
  • I had some obvious irritation and weepers on my left-lower neck -- still residual from the past few days, but the aggressive against-grain strokes on my second pass were a contributor as well.
  • Today's shave was close, but the alum block did reveal some irritation beyond that described in the preceding bullet.
  • The above observations suggest that though the SMT blade is not bad, the Personna red is superior.
  • I don't expect to get the same longevity from the SMT blade as the Personna red, but will see how much I can extend the useful life of this blade beyond the normal seven shaves that I would routinely take prior to depositing the blade in the recycle bank. As is my now-usual process, I oil-palm stropped the blade after press drying, and then put it back into my c.1948 Tech for tomorrow's first pass.
Happy shaving!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Better Today :-)

Today's shave with the Super-Max Titanium (SMT) blade, second use, continued to be a dramatic improvement over the prematurely-ditched Gillette 7-o'clock black blade.

My first pass with the SMT blade in the c.1948 Gillette Tech gave a very good standard shave, with which I could have stopped and pretty happily gone about my day. In my experience, the only major drawback to a good standard shave (that is, one pass) is it isn't very close just below my jaw line where the surface is the most horizontal.

So I did opt for a second pass, and this one against grain -- even on my upper lip. The result was a very close, comfortable shave. After splashing on some witch hazel, I applied an alum block to test for irritation. The alum revealed almost none, which was a dramatic improvement over the shaves with the India-made Gillette blade. After I rinsed off the residual alum and dried my face, I rubbed on some Gillette after-shave gel (blue bottle) to cap the shave.

I did have a few minor weepers, which may have been partially vestiges of the last couple of days, and perhaps partially due to my excessive confidence with the Weishi 9306 as a finishing razor. I expect that my shave tomorrow will be even better using the same gear and process.

Happy shaving!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fold a Losing Hand

Yesterday's shave with the Gillette 7-o'clock black blade was so irritating that my face only began to feel normal in the evening. Then considering my next shave, I didn't want another possible shave like the previous; after all, you fold a losing hand.

So I dealt out the next blade on deck in my rotation, which was a SuperMax Titanium. I stored the Gillette blade for possible use another time (like for opening a box or something; no, actually I'll want to see if the aggressive palm stropping had any effect on the comfort of the shave -- just not today), and, for the moment at least, put the SuperMax blade into my c.1948 Tech razor for this morning's shave. The plan is to take my preferred two-pass shave (WG, AG) for a high-quality outcome, using the Weishi 9306-F for the finishing pass.

It's been so long since I last used one of my SuperMax-T blades that today's shave was an unknown. Would it again rile my skin like the Gillette 7-o'clock did yesterday, or would it feel rather face friendly?

I did a quick search of my own blog for a previous article on the SuperMax blade. Interesting that in the most recent shave summary and review of 31 January 2015, I was experimenting at that time with a two-pass shave, also WG then AG, but using a more aggressive razor for the second pass. I believe I abandoned that approach simply because of the high risk of the final pass with the less-face-friendly instrument.

What a Difference a Day (and a Blade) Makes

My shave with the SuperMax was night-and-day better than yesterday. Perfect? No, my skin was probably still injured and sensitive from the previous few days' abuse with that &^%$#@!! Gillette 7-o'clock-black blade, but today was noticeably better with more comfort during the shave, less irritation after, and fewer weepers -- and those that are present this morning are likely residual from yesterday.

After today's shave I had a splash of witch hazel, then some Neutrogena balm. The blade got just a bit of oiled-palm stropping, then back into the Tech for tomorrow. (All's well that oils well?)

Happy shaving! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Oblique Buffing and 7-o'clock Black

I'd like to start today with an update on my latest blade, the Gillette 7-o'clock black, which is made in India.
Thinking of the 7-o'clock black blade....

This particular blade I'd like to sum up in a word... yuk. In three words... sharp but irritating.

This morning after my third shave, which was a two-pass shave with some extra fussing, it was again close but irritated and leaving behind several weepers. My choice of shaving implements were the Merkur 15C open comb for the first, with-grain pass, and then the now-familiar Weishi 9306-F for the second, against-grain pass and the additional clean-up strokes.

This blade is SO NOT comfortable that after today's shave, I palm stropped with a dry palm to try to increase the abrasion and hopefully smooth out the blade edge. Then I stropped again with an oiled palm to help seal the steel from oxygen.

Maybe the comfort of the blade will be improved tomorrow from all the stropping. This is such a disappointment after 24 fine shaves with the Personna red label.


On another note, do you use buffing strokes during your shave? For a little extra whisker whisking, you might try making those buffing strokes with the razor edge not quite perpendicular to the buffing-stroke direction. In other words, try oblique-buffing strokes.

When I use buffing strokes, I do not lift the razor; I keep it in contact with my skin for both the cutting and return strokes. I have found no drawbacks to this, and the advantage may be that the return stroke brings some moisture and lather back over the just-shaved area to help lubricate the next cutting stroke.

Hope your shave this morning was better than mine. Happy shaving!

Friday, September 11, 2015

More Fun than Writing About a Good Shave....

Today's shave -- my second with the Gillette 7 o'clock black -- was better than yesterday. Still close, but not so irritating.

Can I attribute it to being one shave older, or due to the initial post-shave oiled-palm stropping? It may be due to a combination of both.

I did use the same razors, however, just so I could fairly compare the first two shaves. Tomorrow I'm going to use the open-comb Merkur 15C for the first pass.

I was thoroughly impressed by 24 shaves out of the Personna red, and next time that blade comes up in the rotation, I may push the envelope further. After all, the 24th shave with the Personna was actually as close and more comfortable than the first shave with the Gillette 7 o'clock black.

So what have I learned lately? Let me count....
  1. A one-pass standard shave may be adequate, but two passes can be much more satisfying.
  2. A very mild "finishing" razor (for example, the Weishi 9306-F) for the final pass can provide a face-friendly end to a shave.
  3. Stropping a blade on an oiled palm post shave may be a key to comfortable blade longevity.
  4. Shaving isn't a test of bravery or manliness, and there's no need to use a ridiculously aggressive razor. Two passes with moderate razors, or a first pass with a medium aggression razor and a finishing pass with a milder razor may be enough for most. The key to this is remembering to shave with oblique strokes that are rather short and go into the lather in an anti-raking stroke pattern.
  5. It's more fun to get a good shave than to write about one.
Happy shaving!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A New Day, A New Blade: the Gillette Black from India

Into the recycle bank went the Personna red blade yesterday after its 24th shave. It probably had a few more left in it if I was going for some kind of record or whatever, but 24 shaves is a good run, I think. Though the shave quality wasn't noticeably poor, it was time to give another blade a chance to show what it could do. A shave with a new blade should give some indication of exactly how much (or little) the Personna had declined over those 24 days.

Still, the Personna red performed admirably. The final shave (its 24th!) of two-passes was close and reasonably comfortable. For its retirement shave, on the first pass I used the Gillette Slim Adjustable razor set to four (of nine). Then for the final pass, in which I even shaved against grain on my upper lip (always risky, but especially with an old blade -- and did get a pin-point weeper that required no treatment, and disappeared with normal post-shave rinsing) I used the usual Weishi 9306-F non-adjustable one piece. For this shave, at the end I did take a few additional clean-up strokes under my jaw and on my upper neck. In all it was a good shave.

As I wrote above, I thought it would be interesting to compare a shave with a fresh new blade after pushing the durability-performance envelope of the previous one.

So today, the blade on deck was the Gillette 7 o'clock super platinum blade (black) made in India. I made the first pass with the c.1948 three-piece Gillette Tech razor, and the final pass was with the Weishi one-piece (TTO) 9306-F, which is my preferred finishing razor.

I followed my usual shaving process including oblique strokes, an anti-raking stroke pattern, short somewhat-slow strokes, and with-grain and against-grain (generally) passes, skipping a cross-grain pass.

I chose the Tech for the maiden pass because of its moderate capabilities: not too mild, not too aggressive. Since I shave every day, I figured that with a sharp, new blade, the Tech would be completely adequate -- perhaps even over kill. A with-grain pass using oblique strokes knocked down my one-day's-growth stubble leaving a closely-shaved first pass. But I actually lost my bearings and shaved my lower neck against grain for the first pass, which left some weepers. (I should have had another cup of coffee prior to the shave.)

As usual, and in particular today, I could have called it good after this initial standard (one-pass) shave, but do prefer a the closeness that comes with that second, against-grain pass.

The Weishi is a pussy cat of a razor being of exceptionally mild character. It is based on the old Gillette Super Speed design, and even has the little notches on the side of the center bar, which were for hooking and holding the blade as one inserted it in the razor by drawing it out of the original Gillette-blade-dispenser package.

This Weishi 9306-F continues to be ideal for my second, final, against-grain pass, which can be prone to creating wounds if I'm not careful -- especially when using more aggressive razors.

After the against-grain pass, I took some additional strokes under my jaw line and on my upper neck. The over-all result was a very close shave with a couple of tiny weepers and a bit of general irritation. So in sum, today's first shave on this new blade was closer than yesterday's 24th-shave blade, but slightly more irritated.

I'm following my oiled-palm stropping process, so perhaps this will make subsequent shaves less irritating.

Happy shaving!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Final Thoughts on the Standard Shave

I don't recommend that everyone take a standard shave (one pass). It's just that I suspect that most of the world's wet shavers do exactly that. I also believe that, historically, most wet shavers took a single pass.

I don't believe that a standard shave stroke direction is necessarily with grain. I just believe that's how most do it -- especially those using multi-bladed cartridge-type razors, which are otherwise prone to encourage in-grown hairs.

I, myself, prefer a two-pass shave. This, for me, is an near ideal compromise between closeness and comfort. A standard (one-pass) shave gets me smooth enough to look acceptable for most of the work day, but not smooth enough to feel rewarding, and not near smooth enough to be at the level of closeness that got me hooked on DE shaving in the first place.

I can do a two-pass shave every day without irritation or wounds. I cannot do a three-pass shave every day without generating increasing skin irritation over time.

I suggested the concept of a standard (one-pass) shave to rebel against the idea that a proper wet shave is three passes (with grain, across, grain, and against grain).

I think a proper wet shave is defined by each person himself. If a standard shave is the preference, then so be it: one and done. If one has sensitive skin but prefers a close shave, then two passes may be the norm for that guy. If one loves uber-close shaves -- near baby smooth everywhere (and who doesn't?) -- and has skin that will tolerate such shaving obsession, then the three-pass shave will be the go-to process in those cases.

There are no rules, only guidelines and preferences.

Happy shaving -- according to your whim!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Standard Shave Report #2

Regarding Yesterday's Article....

Unfortunately, when I wrote yesterday's piece I was significantly sleep deprived. Even though I proof read it several times prior to abandoning it to the ethers of the Internet, when I came back and gave it another glance in the afternoon, I was horrified to find a few cases where I hadn't even written what I meant to say -- typos aside. Sorry about that.

So I revised a few things without actually highlighting the changes. If you give it a second read, it may make more sense in a few places.

Now back to my standard shaves this week:

Gillette Slim Adjustable on Six, One With-Grain Pass

Today I followed through with my shave and, as Thad L. predicted a couple of days ago in a comment, even set to six of nine, the Slim Adjustable wasn't able to shave that closely under my jaw line and on my neck. So today I took an extra half pass with the Slim still on six, and cleaned up from the jaw line down.

So I got a completely adequate 1-1/2-pass shave -- sort of a standard shave plus. It's not baby smooth, but good enough for government work. No wounds, no irritation. ;-)

Tomorrow I'm going back to my usual, two-pass shave so I can better enjoy the outcome throughout the day. So much for a full week of standard shaves; they're just not sufficiently satisfying.

Update: Blade-Longevity Reminder

Today was the 23rd shave on my Personna-red blade. It was still working well shaving against grain on my sensitive neck, so it's clearly got some life still left in it. WOW! is all I can say. Obviously oiled-palm stropping after the shave is the way to go for better blade life and more comfortable long-term shaving.

Happy shaving!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Standard-Shave Report #1

The Shave

I took the promised standard shave this morning. To recapitulate, it involved the following aspects:

To make an oblique stroke,
simply angle the razor head
off perpendicular to stroke
  • Most importantly, it was a single pass only.
  • It was with the grain of my beard, although a standard shave, in my opinion, doesn't have to be limited to with grain; it can be in whatever direction works best in a single pass.
  • I used my Gillette Slim Adjustable razor set to five of nine, which is a fairly aggressive setting for my skin.
  • I used oblique strokes in an anti-raking pattern.
  • I used a Personna red-label (Israeli-made) blade, with 21 previous shaves on it. (Today was the 22nd shave!!!!!!)


The outcome was fairly predictable as outlined in the following bullets:
  • When rubbed with the grain, the shave feels smooth to the hand.
  • When rubbed in other directions, the shave feels increasingly coarse as the direction gets closer to fully against grain.
  • The shave looks completely fine, but I predict that by mid to late afternoon, shadow or stubble will be visible.

Safety & Comfort

In terms of skin friendliness, the shave was irritation free except for two wounds:
  • I got a single, tiniest weeper on my neck.
  • A careless stroke on the most pointed aspect of my chin created a significant weeper/nick that got a touch of styptic pencil, and this wound was the only real disappointment in an otherwise adequate but less-than-stellar shaving experience.
  • Both wounds are invisible as I write this, but tomorrow I'll have to be careful as I shave that injured point on my chin so that I don't re-open the wound.

Initial Conclusions

In terms of both closeness and comfort, I don't think today's shave is much different than the shaves I got for years using a double-bladed, pivoting-head disposable razor.

Given the care that I should take when using a more aggressive razor (or razor setting, when using an adjustable razor), and when any wound treatment is necessary, I don't think a standard shave is significantly faster than a two-pass shave done with less aggressive instruments. In terms of closeness and shave satisfaction, a two-pass shave is definitely preferable.

I will continue the experiment tomorrow and increase the stakes by kicking up a notch the aggressiveness of the razor to a setting of six. This will be uncharted territory for me using this razor; but, of course, in the past I've always done multi-pass shaves. Just planning to shave with the grain with this setting causes me no pre-shave concern.

About the Blade Longevity

It's impressive to get 22 shaves on a DE blade with more waiting in the wings. However, it is the sustained smoothness of the shaves that is even more remarkable.  This is attributable to the lightly-oiled-palm stropping that I've been doing as part of my post-shave routine.

I've been so impressed by this blade-care process that I'm going to return to my previously-rejected remaining Derby Extra blades and strop even prior to the first shave. I'm betting that this will render the blades more enjoyable to use.

That's a wrap for today. Check back tomorrow for the shave-on-six report.

Happy shaving!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Standard Shave Week

This week I'm determined to take a standard shave every day.

I use the word determined because it's difficult for me to stop with a single pass. Take this morning, for example: I used my c.1948 gold Gillette Tech and a 21st-shave Personna red blade (21 shaves!!!!), with oblique, with-grain strokes. I got an adequate but mediocre and unrewarding shave. So I couldn't help myself as I pulled out the Weishi 9306, transferred the blade from the Tech, and took a quick, against-grain second pass.

When I say quick, I'm not kidding. Though the mild, face-friendly Weishi rightfully inspires confidence, it's still a razor after all, and a careless beginning to a stroke gave me the tiniest cut, which disappeared with rinsing and required no post-shave care.

The result of the second pass, however, was much more rewarding, being comfortable and close enough to really satisfy.

Still, tomorrow's shave is the Gillette Slim set to 5/9 of max. capacity, and I'm determined to really shave old school, meaning one and done.

The formula for shaving technique tomorrow will be as follows:
  • Razor set to moderate aggression (5 on the 1-9 adjustment scale)
  • With-grain strokes
  • Oblique strokes
  • Anti-raking stroke pattern
  • Short, slow, deliberate strokes
I'll report out Monday on the result.

Happy shaving!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Saturday Summary: 20 Shaves, Keeps Going....

Energizer Bunny -- with an Edge

Today was my 20th shave with a single DE razor blade. This morning I used my Merkur 15C open-comb razor for the first pass with grain. Then I switched the blade into the Weishi 9306-F one-piece razor for the second pass against the grain. I was in the mood for a very close shave and took another 3/4 pass after that. The result is a very close shave -- nearly baby smooth (certainly that on my cheeks) -- with no wounds.

The blade happens to be a Personna red label. I don't think the brand matters as much as the type of daily maintenance I provide to the blade.

Not only do I rinse and, with a square of TP, pat dry the blade after each shave, I also apply a bit of oil to my palm prior to palm stropping the blade before storing it in the razor for the next day's shave.

After 20 morning shaves, this blade is certainly getting long in the tooth, but that tooth has still got some bite; I don't think it's ready for the recycle bank quite yet. I'm going to push the performance envelope to see what this baby can do.

Recent Themes

In addition to the oiled-palm stropping, I have been emphasizing these themes, which are summarized below:
  • A standard shave is a solitary, with-grain pass, not three passes in varied directions. Essentially everyone outside the DE-enthusiast community that I query takes a single pass. (In fact, most look at me like I'm a little deranged when I discuss taking two or more passes.)
  • Because I, myself, am a DE-shaving enthusiast, my daily routine takes a step beyond the standard shave with a second, against-grain pass -- and occasionally a little more.
  • I use different razors for my shaving passes. First pass is what ever razor is the instrument du jour. The second pass is with my ultra-face-friendly Weishi 9306-F (or its cousin, the Dorco one-piece razor).
That's it for this morning. Big things to do today... helping a loved one move into a new apartment.

Happy shaving!

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Moth-ball Shaves

Since I have settled on the optimal shave for my face -- the ideal compromise between closeness and comfort, which is the two-pass shave -- I have been re-evaluating my razor inventory. In other words, I've been pulling previously-rejected razors out of moth balls (that is, from a bedroom closet) and reconsidering their use.

As regular readers know, my two pass shaves are generally with grain, then against grain, using oblique strokes as much as possible. The exception, which I haven't emphasized much, is shaving my upper lip, which is with grain, then across grain with a slight against-grain bias -- again using oblique strokes.

A key to this two-pass approach has been the rediscovery of the Weishi 9306-F razor as a finishing instrument. It is very mild, with a slightly smaller blade angle than is commonly seen, and a modest blade-bar span -- both of which tend to be face friendly.

Another key to a successful two-pass process is getting a good standard shave for the first pass. (I refer to a standard shave as a one-pass shave, which I believe is actually the traditional shaving process for most men -- both historically and currently, though not for shaving hobbyists, of course.) I believe that a foundation of a good standard shave is shaving with the grain (more or less), using oblique strokes as much as possible (as old Gillette instructions suggested), making my strokes short and not too quick, and using an anti-raking shaving pattern across the real estate of my beard.

Many of the razors that I've tried and rejected in the past were due to their unsuitability to my face using multiple passes. Typically my complaint would be irritation and minor wounds -- usually weepers, and those most often occurred on later passes, not the initial one. So, I thought the other day, these razors are probably designed to give a pretty good standard shave; why not give them a go as a first-pass-only razor, and use the Weishi for the final, clean-up work?

I first considered my Maggard MR3B razor head, which I've never actually used; I've only used its fat, heavy handle because I just don't want to use a three-piece razor that isn't guaranteed to self-center the blade when the proper process is used to insert it. Tempting though it is to give the original Maggard razor head a try, I still didn't do it; in the closet it will stay. Too much trouble.

Similar story for my Weishi model 2003-M: too light, and unlike its cousin, the 9306, it isn't precisely-enough made (I had to metal smith the new razor to get the blade to seat with straight edges), and, most importantly, the butterfly doors don't open enough to easily slip on a blade without risk of nicking the blade edges against the razor itself. Nope, Again too much trouble.

Yesterday, however, I did give the Merkur 37C, the slant-bar razor, a go. I got an adequate standard shave, but, despite the 37C's generous capacity and natural aggressive blade orientation, it wasn't quite as good as I get with my every-day Tech razor. This was probably due to the extra care I have to take to avoid wounds on my sensitive skin. As a result, the 37C goes back into moth balls.

That got me to thinking about my Merkur 15C, the open-comb classic. I have kept that around because of its unlimited shaving capacity (due, of course, to the open comb), and which I use to trim longer hairs on the back of my neck as necessary. I rejected it as an every-day shaver because I found it to irritate my skin when used with multiple passes, this despite its rather mild shave character. But I wondered what kind of a standard shave it would provide. So I used it this morning for the first pass, and got a very good standard shave.

As I suspected, this razor (like most, I have come to assume) provides an adequate one-pass shave. Like my Techs and Gillette Slim Adjustable, this mild-mannered razor with its open-comb baseplate is back on the table for use when I only have time for a standard shave, or as a first-pass instrument when I take my usual two-rriffic shave. I was so comfortable with it today that it's on deck again for tomorrow.

So to summarize my moth-balled-razor explorations, the following are those that have made the cut and remain on the team as initial-pass or stand-alone standard-shave razors:

  • Gillette Tech (both the c.1948 and 1965 designs)
  • Rimei RM2003 Tech emulator
  • Gillette Slim Adjustable (for me, set to 4/9)
  • Merkur 15C open comb
There are two razors on the bubble because I haven't given them sufficient playing time with the new perspective of a standard shave or a two-rriffic shave. They are listed below:

  • Merkur 33C classic
  • Lord LP1822L (the L.6 razor head with the long, light aluminum handle)

The razors that I've rejected as one-pass or first-pass razors are listed below with the reason for their exclusion:
  • Merkur 37C slant-bar razor: a bit too aggressive; I need to be too careful, which lowers my chances for an optimal outcome
  • Weishi RM2003 one-piece razor: just not of adequate quality; lacks precision in manufacturing, doors don't open wide enough; I'm going to put it in the recycle bin
  • Maggard razor head: looks like it would have the appropriate shave character, but because I take the blade out during or after every shave, I don't have the tolerance for a razor that isn't guaranteed to self center every time like all my other razors including the cheapest of the cheap Chinese razors
  • All my cheapo trash-or-treasure (?) Chinese razors: I have much better alternatives at hand, so why bother with these?
Also worth mentioning is the Dorco one-piece razor. A near clone to the Weishi 9306-F, it is the other razor in my stable that is a good finishing-pass razor.

Happy shaving!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A New 1-2 Punch: Slant-Weishi

Today I took my two-rriffic shave using the Merkur 37C slant-bar razor for the first pass, and then using the Weishi 9306-F for the finishing pass.
Today's opening act: the fearsome Merkur 37C slant- bar razor.

Despite the capability of the 37C, today's shave wasn't much different than previous days: comfortable, close, no wounds. It was, perhaps, a little less close on my lower neck, where I was probably extra careful on the first pass.

In sum, however, I think I've found the optimal formula for a great shave on my mug, which is the following:

  • A moderate (not mild, but certainly not uber aggressive) razor for the first pass
  • First pass made primarily with grain (vertical strokes keep things simple but still largely with grain)
  • A very mild razor -- the Weishi 9306-F being my best option -- as a finishing razor for the second pas
  • Second pass primarily against grain: strokes still largely vertical, but in the opposite direction from the first pass
  • Touch-up strokes with the finishing razor as necessary after the second pass
After the shave, I now routinely include stropping my dry blade on my lightly-oiled palm as part of my blade care. I believe this definitely aids in significantly increasing blade longevity as well as likely increasing blade comfort over the life of the blade.

Today was my 18th shave with the Personna red-label blade, and there's still no apparent impending end in view. This blade longevity harkens back to the claims made by Gillette with their original razor-and-blade offering, which suggested exceptional functional longevity of their blades.

Happy shaving! (Mine certainly was.)