Thursday, August 21, 2014

Returning to the Slant and the Minimalist Shave

Using my now-favorite razor, the Merkur 37C slant-bar DE [UPDATE: regular readers will know that I vacillate on this, and usually prefer my Frankenrazor], my least-favorite blade of the four that I keep in larger quantity (though not a bad blade), the Lord Platinum Class, my proprietary shave soap #10A, and a one-pass minimalist ritual, I got a very close shave this morning. It was baby-bottom smooth on my face and lower neck, and adequately close under my jaw line, which has my most sensitive skin and is the most difficult to get completely smooth.
The capable Merkur 37C slant (right), and my Frankenrazor (left), which is a Merkur 33C head with a heavier Chinese handle, thus emulating to a degree the Merkur 34C. Once again through experimentation I have confirmed that these are the only two razors that I will keep in my bathroom cabinet. 

The only price to pay was a few small weepers, only one of which needed a touch of styptic pencil to quickly go away. The rest disappeared with the usual cool-water rinses after the shave.

This recent two-week trial of the one-pass shave with a minimalist ritual has confirmed several things:
This represents the blade brands currently in my inventory. Most are in
smaller quantities, but the high-quantity blades are the Personna Blue
(top center), the Lord and Dorco (lower left), and the Astra SP (lower right).

  • The Merkur 33C (and likely its heavier sibling, the 34C) razors are excellent all-purpose razors that can serve new DE users at the beginning and for the remainder of their shaving days
  • The Merkur 37C (though usually not recommended for beginners) is a highly capable and efficient razor and likely to be my go-to instrument for my daily shaves -- particularly when I want a close shave with a single lathering pass
  • The 37C shaves best when using a light touch and short, almost-buffing, direct strokes
  • My dad's heirloom Gillette Slim Adjustable is a fine razor and a nostalgic reminder of the "good old days," but is not quite as good for me to use as the Merkurs
  • Of my four larger-inventory blades, Lord Platinum Class, Personna Blue, Astra Superior Platinum, and Dorco ST-301, though none of these are bad blades, the least comfortable of these on my face is the Lord brand
  • The minimalist ritual including a one-pass shave is the way to go for me on a daily basis
  • My shave soap formulation #10A is a very good product: slick, rich, and creamy
Happy shaving!

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