Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Ranking of Relative Mildness of My Preferred Razors

Due to my somewhat fragile, sensitive skin, I focus on suitable razors, which therefore tend to be of rather mild shave character.

These mild razors tend to be face friendly, but even so, can give a very good shave. Perfectly baby-smooth shaves may be out of my reach due to both 1) the angle of my my beard grain, which tends to be rather extreme in relation to the plane of my skin, and 2) the general fragility of my skin. Yet I still can get very close shaves -- nearly baby smooth -- when I choose to.

My razors that I keep close at hand have stabilized to six, which are listed immediately below:

  • Weishi 9306-F
  • Merkur 33C Classic
  • Lord LP1822L
  • Merkur 15C Open Comb
  • Gillette Tech c.1948
  • Rimei RM2003

These razors are listed above in order from most mild to relatively most aggressive. I emphasize the word relatively because all these razors are on the mild side when compared to some of the double-edge options that are available.

All of the razors in the list above are three-piece razors except for the Weishi, which is a one-piece design (with butterfly-type doors). So for several of these razors, I actually keep only the razor heads in my bathroom shaving drawer. The two handles that I keep in the drawer are the ball-end Gillette Tech handle and the classic handle from my Merkur razors (the handles from the Merkur 33C and 15C razors are essentially the same: chromed, well knurled for good grip, classic diameter, and relatively short at about 3 inches.)

I will now briefly explain the shave character and my use of these razors.

Weishi 9306-F

This is my final-pass finishing razor, when I want a very close shave. I tend to use it for against-grain passes and touch-up strokes. I may use it (rarely) when I choose to use a remaining Feather blade, which tends to irritate and wound my skin.

Merkur 33C Classic

I would typically use this with a new blade for passes before my final against-grain pass. The Merkur Classic razor has a negative blade exposure (blade edge is within the protective cove of the top cap and safety guard/bar -- that is, it's below the shave plane) and a modest blade-bar span (the distance between the blade edge and the safety bar/guard). 

Lord L.6 Razor Head

The L.6 razor head comes with the Lord model LP1822L razor. Often misidentified in shaving forums (and in my early blog articles) as being a clone for the Merkur 33C razor head, it is in reality a touch more aggressive owing to its safety-bar cross-section profile. This profile provides a larger blade-bar span, which accounts for the slight difference in shave character from the 33C. I use this razor head infrequently, but when I do it's because I want a razor of shave character between the 33C and my Merkur 15C open comb.

Merkur 15C Open Comb

I use this razor often as a first-pass razor when I take my two-rrific two-pass shave. The zero-span design of the open comb combined with its negative blade exposure and moderate blade angle (which is about the same as the 33C and L.6 designs) makes it work on my face for with-grain and across-grain strokes. It has never worked well on my face for against-grain passes, where it tends to be a bit irritating and prone to wound.

It is also an excellent razor for shaving body hair such as the back of one's neck. I use it for this regularly, without a single hitch. The open-comb baseplate accommodates hair of pretty much any length. (But you're still going to have to clear away accumulated shaved hair from the razor as you shave longer hair.)

Gillette Tech c.1948

This version of the Tech (and, to my knowledge, all that came later) is slightly more mild that the pre-WWII Techs. Yet it's no lap cat of an instrument. Mild, yes, but capable as an all purpose shaver. Slightly more aggressive in nature than the 15C, I would most often use this for shaves with a slightly-used blade that were going to be a single with-grain pass or that might stop with a second across-grain pass. Occasionally with it I'll do a with-grain first pass, and against-grain touch-up strokes and stop there.

Rimei RM2003

This is a fine razor head that may be ideal for those who think the c.'48 Tech is a touch too mild. This razor may have a slightly larger blade blade exposure or span than the '48 Tech. I am unable to measure this, but after long use, I'm clear that the RM2003 shaves slightly more aggressively than the '48 Tech. I will use this as a first-pass or only-pass razor. Even with a well-used blade, I can get tiny weepers from a cross-grain pass with this razor. So this one I tend to use with grain only, and it makes for a good standard shave when I'm pressed for time. If I choose to take a second pass after the RM2003, I will typically switch to the Weishi 9306-F. 

These are my six go-to razors. Of these, I find myself using the 15C open comb or the '48 Tech most often for solitary or preliminary passes, and if I want a close, safe finish, I'll usually transfer the blade into the 9306-F for that final against-grain pass and subsequent touch-up strokes.

To purchase any of the currently-manufactured razors discussed above, you can click on the links below:

L to R: Wiesh 9306-F, Merkur 33C Classic, Lord LP1822L (L.6 razor head)

L to R: Merkur 15C Open Comb, Rimei RM2003

Happy shaving!

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