Monday, August 18, 2014

The Combination of Gillette Adjustable, Lord Blade, and a Minimalist Process

I am still in the process of trying to decide whether to include the Gillette Slim razor as part of my stable of daily shavers, or to put it back into the shoebox in the closet. Today's shave was another test of that vintage Gillette set on three, and this time with a second-use Lord Platinum Class blade. The one-pass shave was essentially the same as yesterday: close, but a little harsh -- leading me to pull out the alum block for a rub after the shave.
Tomorrow's shave with the Frankenrazor, left, will give me the opportunity to compare the harshness of shave to the vintage Gillette, right, when using my least-favorite blade of those in my weekly rotation: the Lord Platinum Class blade.

Because the alum is a little drying, I may apply a little after-shave balm after I finish this article.

So what does this morning's shave mean? (Often helpful to seek meaning...  ;-)

I'm inclined to revert to my old suspicions that the butterfly-door designs tend to be slightly more scraping against tender skin, and the Gillette seems to be no exception. However, it is still likely that choice of blade plays a factor -- as well as technique, obviously. The Gillette gave a good minimalist blade with a Dorco blade on a given day, but not so good on another, and clearly has seemed more harsh with the Lord brand of today's shave. As I discussed many weeks ago, it is likely the combination, but it will be interesting to compare how the Lord-brand blade feels in a nice three-piece razor.

Obviously I'll know better after tomorrow. For that shave, I'll put the same Lord blade into my much-appreciated Frankenrazor, the Merkur 33C head with the heavier Chinese handle, and give that combination a go using the same basic process and techniques of the last few days; that is, a minimalist shave with my my shave soap formula #10A, one main pass and touch-up strokes, and making those strokes against grain below the jaw line and varying strokes cross grain, against grain, and in between, when shaving above my jaw line.

And some additional words about the shave soap. After being shaved off and prior to rinsing, it leaves a thin, invisible, slick layer on my skin such that by adding the slightest additional moisture, I can safely take additional touch-up strokes without adding lather.

Also, because I'm a thrifty shaver, I squeeze the residual lather out of the brush and use my index finger of my other hand to squeegee it off and back into the soap bowl (which is a recycled Greek-yogurt cup). This clean, rich lather dries out over the intervening day and night, and for the next shave, a wet shaving brush almost instantly revitalizes it into a rich, abundant lather for the subsequent shave, ready to apply directly to face.
Though the picture really doesn't do it justice, even more than two hours after the shave, there is substantial rich, creamy lather from shave soap formula #10A.

Tune in tomorrow for the latest test to help answer the question, are butterfly-door razors really a bit more harsh on the skin than their two- and three-piece-design cousins, and will I reject the vintage Gillette (gasp!) and put it back into storage in favor of newer-built but more ancient razor designs?

Happy shaving!

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