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!


  1. Gillette 7 O'Clock Blacks are a nice blade, but the 7 O'Clock SharpEdge (Yellow label) are superior. The Yellows are perhaps the perfect combination of sharpness and smoothness.

  2. My go to blade has been the Precision, made in Israel in the Persona plant. I bought some new ones and to my horror found that they are now being made in China. The quality was no where near as good as the Israeli made blade (24 shaves is a breeze for these babies) Color me disappointed!

    1. How many shaves would you typically get from these Israeli-made blades, and how many passes do you typically take in a shave?