Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weekly Shave Review: Lord Platinum Class Blade

This is the twenty-third of my weekly shave summaries. This week revisits the Lord Platinum Class blade made in Egypt.

My shave soap again this week is from the second pre-production run of Grandad's Slick 'n Creamy Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin (formula SS#11P1), which will be used for client samples.

Reminder about my skin type: 
  • Sensitive & thin skin, somewhat loose on neck
  • Lots of angles and dips -- paired with a moderately tough beard
  • Challenging to get a close, comfortable shave

Face care this week, unless otherwise specified:
  • Cool-water rinse only, prior to lathering
  • Grandad's shave soap lathered with a boar brush
  • (After-shave treatments are specified in each day's notes)

New in This Week's Review:
  • The second pre-production run of Grandad's Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin

What I Learned this Week:
  • My two favorite razors, the RM2003 and the Merkur 33C have different design factors (which I'll discuss in an up-coming article), but both can work well on my face despite having different shaving characters.
  • Stretching skin slightly up over the jaw helps get a close shave under my jawline.
  • The Lord Platinum Class blade remains a less than ideal match for my skin, and maiden shaves with a new blade work better with a negative-blade-exposure razor such as my second-favorite razor, the Merkur 33 Classic. Subsequent shaves are acceptable with the RM2003 as well.
  • Next week, when testing a Feather blade for the first time, the initial shave will definitely be in the Merkur 33, not the Rimei.
The stock RM2003,
 with its factory handle.

A non-fussy three-pass shave (WG, XG, AG) with my new Rimei RM2003 razor as it comes from the factory, and a new Lord Platinum Class blade provided gave lots of weepers that appeared in the third pass. The post-shave treatment was simply a cool-water rinse, a quick alum rub on the weepers, and application of Nivea after-shave lotion for sensitive skin supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 3.8; Cheeks - 5.0; Lower lip & chin - 3.5; Under jawline - 3.6; Neck - 3.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-3.38, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating: 3.79   (Not a great shave: not particularly close nor comfortable.)

The Merkur 33 showing blade exposure.
Today the shave was with my Merkur 33 razor to try to match the Lord blade with a shaving instrument that, in combination with the blade, may be more compatible with my face and beard due to the negative blade exposure compensating for the relative harshness of the blade on my skin. Taking it easy after yesterday's rough shave, I limited the shave to two passes (with grain and across grain). I completed the shave with a cool-water rinse and an application of Neutrogena balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 3.0; Cheeks - 3.5; Lower lip & chin - 3.8; Under jawline - 3.0; Neck - 3.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-3.26, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-5.0

Summary rating: 4.42   (Though this shave has a high numerical rating, I value closeness very highly, and as a result, I consider this a mediocre shave because of its unremarkable, unrewarding closeness.)

Looking for a bit closer shave than yesterday but with the same hardware, I planned to take a three pass shave -- but this one was to be with grain followed by two opposing passes across grain. After the three passes, I was unsatisfied with the closeness of the shave, so I took a fourth, against-grain pass over most of my face except for my upper lip. In the third pass, which was cross grain from the direction that I normally do not use, I created a minor cut under my Adam's apple, low on my neck, which marred an otherwise fine shave. Finished the shave with a cool-water rinse, a splash of some tea-tree lotion, and Nivea balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil. Overall, the shave was very good, but the smoothness was limited by mild character of the 33 razor. On the other hand, the 33 is very friendly to my face, and the overall irritation and wound results were very good.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.5; Lower lip & chin - 5.0; Under jawline - 4.8; Neck - 4.5.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.6, Irritation-4.5, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating: 4.37   A good shave diminished by that single wound from cockpit error, for which I deviated from my normal wound rating to get a better rating of the shave from the gear used.

Using the RM2003 with this week's blade, I took a three-pass shave with a bit of touch up after the third pass. I finished with a cool-water rinse, Noxzema wash, and Gillette gel (white bottle) supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.2; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.6; Under jawline - 3.6; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.24, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-4.5

Summary rating: 4.58   Another good, no-fuss shave.

Using the 33 razor, took a 3-and-1/2-pass shave; very close. Even shaved against grain on upper lip. Finished with cool-water, tea-tree lotion, then Gillette lotion (blue bottle) supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 5.0; Cheeks - 5.0; Lower lip & chin - 4.8; Under jawline - 4.0; Neck - 4.4.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.64, Irritation-4.8, Wounds-4.4

Summary rating: 4.61  One of my better shaves.  :-)

Shaved with a newly-arrived (a back-up) Rimei RM2003 razor, with what appeared to be a cosmetic, not functional flaw in the top-cap edge. A three-pass shave, finished with cool-water rinse, a Noxzema wash, tea-tree lotion, and capped off with Gillette lotion (blue bottle) supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.6; Under jawline - 3.5; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.18, Irritation-4.8, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating: 4.33 

The final shave of this week was with the Lord Platinum Class blade in the Merkur 33. Four passes included against-grain shaving on my upper lip. One old, not-yet-healed weeper was re-opened on the second pass, and two new ones on the fourth. Aside from the wounds, which diminished an otherwise excellent shave, it would have been near perfect. Post shave skin care included touches of styptic on the weepers, a cool water rinse, followed by a Noxzema wash, a splash of tea-tree after-shave lotion, then Gillette lotion (blue bottle) supplemented by vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 5.0; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.6; Under jawline - 4.4; Neck - 4.6.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.68, Irritation-4.5, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating: 4.39   A very nice shave to finish the week.

Next Week:
For next week I'm trying for the first time a Feather blade.  Because of its reputation for sharpness but not optimal face-friendliness, I'm going to start the week using the Feather blade my Merkur 33 razor. 

*Rating Key:
Closeness -- a separate evaluation is done for each of these five areas: a) upper lip, b) cheeks, c) chin, d) under jaw line, and e) neck; then these five are averaged together for a single closeness rating. The following are the scale criteria:
5 – Smooth when rubbed against grain & other directions
4 – Smooth across grain but not against grain
3 – Smooth with grain only
2 – Not smooth to touch, but appears adequately clean shaven
1 – Not smooth to touch, and stubble apparent

5 – No perceivable irritation
4 – Minor irritation just after the shave, disappears quickly with time or applied balm
3 – Minor irritation that lingers for more than an hour but less than six
2 – Irritation that is perceived throughout the day
1 – Visible razor burn

5 – Absence of any wounds
4 – Pinpoint weepers only
3 – A total of three or less nicks, small cuts, and larger-than-pinpoint weepers
2 – A total of four to six  nicks, cuts, and larger-than-pinpoint weepers
1 – Worse than 2, above (first aid, quick!)

Regarding use of tenths of rating points: For closeness or irritation, each additional tenth of a rating point represents about 10% of the shaving area in question. For wounds, it represents gradations within a rating. For example, if I have, say, six pinpoint weepers only, I might give a wound rating of 4. However, if I only have one wound, which is a pinpoint weeper, that would likely get a rating of 4.9.

Happy shaving (and question everything)!

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