Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Favorite Razor at the Moment

You may laugh at me; that's okay. I recently nominated the Merkur 15C open-comb razor as the best in the world (maybe). Yet, actually, it's not quite even my favorite razor at the present time.

[UPDATE 29 DEC 2015: The moment has passed. I have long stopped using this 33C razor with any regularity. Actually, I have returned to the Merkur 15C as my most-favored instrument, with a vintage c.1948 Gillette Tech as my second choice. I don't expect that my preferences will change going forward. That said, read on to see my thoughts at the time this was first written.]

Now, to be fair to myself, I did advise right up front in that article that the 15C may not be the razor any one individual might like best. The 15C, as the best razor in the world (maybe), is a compromise choice; it's a one-razor-fits-all selection. The reality is that any one-size-fits-all anything is likely to be truly a great fit for relatively few. No exception with razors. And so after giving it more consideration, my personal preference actually leans ever so slightly toward the 15C's cousin, the Merkur 33C Classic.
This blogger's favorite razor (at the moment): the Merkur 33C Classic.
It can get complicated; my shaving experience varies according to which blade I use from my inventory of regular-rotation blades. With a SuperMax Titanium blade that I used last week, for example, the 15C is a real contender. (It was in the heady glow of those shaves that I wrote the best-razor-in-world article.) With the Astra Superior Platinum blade that I'm using this week, the 33C seems to clearly be the better performer giving me a less harsh, yet closer shave.

[UPDATE: Actually, the harsher shave of the 15C with the Astra blade may be cockpit error. Subsequent, more-careful shaves were better. See the weekly summary posted on Saturday, 27 Sept. 2014.]

I have also written of the irony surrounding the 33C: it happens to be the first new DE razor that I purchased. My only DE razor prior to the 33C was the Gillette Slim Adjustable that was my father's DE razor. It took the acquisition of ten additional razors [actually, nine, I believe] after the 33C, culminating with the 15C, to make me realize that I had perhaps the best instrument for my face in my bathroom cabinet all along.

The 33C, about which I have often written, is a great daily shaver for those like me with sensitive skin, a fairly tough beard, and a face with lots of dips, curves, angles, and ridges -- not to mention hair that grows in various directions in patches. The 33C's less-expensive equivalent, the Lord LP1822L, is my designated travel razor primarily because of its similarity to the Merkur 33C.

For my skin, when paired with a sharp and coated blade, the 33C gives consistently good shaves in two or three passes. I can get a good-enough shave in a single pass. Just as when using the 15C, however, one does have to have a good repertoire of shaving skills, however.  I often use oblique strokes (also known as the Gillette slide) over much of my face and neck. I also use buffing and J-hooking (see Mantic59's video for more info) on a regular basis.

To summarize: though the 15C often comes close, the Merkur 33C Classic, my favorite razor, suits my daily-shaving routine, my sensitive and irregular shaving surface (skin), and my desire for a close but low-irritation shave.

What's your favorite razor, and more importantly, why?

Happy shaving!

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