Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekly Shave Review: Personna Red Label, Rimei RM2003

This is the twenty-second of my weekly shave summaries. This week tests my newest razor, the three-piece Rimei RM2003, and revisits the Personna Platinum blade, the Israeli-made red-label blade.

My primary shave soap again this week is the first pre-production run of Grandad's Slick 'n Creamy Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin (formula SS#11P1).

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

Rimei RM2003 razor & case
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:
  • Rimei RM2003 razor, sometimes with its factory handle, sometimes with the fat, heavy Maggard MR3B handle

What I Learned this Week:

  • If you get one without performance-inhibiting manufacturing defects (unlike the first one I received), the RM2003 razor by Rimei gives me excellent shaves -- in most cases for me, better than razors that are purchased for seven to ten times what I paid for the Rimei. I really, really like this razor. It seems to give me both a very close and comfortable shave.
  • The Rimei RM2003, at its current price point of as low as about $5 U.S. (plus or minus depending on vendor -- but some have asked as much as $20), is an excellent value for the experienced or beginning double-edge shaver -- especially those with sensitive skin.
  • The RM2003 may not be a collector piece, but it is a very practical, utilitarian instrument.
  • My RM2003 shaves slightly differently on its respective sides: one edge is about a neutral blade exposure (blade edge about at the shave plane) with a smaller blade angle (~26 degrees), while the other edge has a slightly positive edge exposure (above the shave plane) and a larger blade angle (~28 degrees).
  • With the RM2003, I don't need a special finishing razor for the third pass, so I can put the Gillette Slim Adjustable back into the shaving box up on the shelf in my clothes closet.
  • The likely reasons for my good results with the RM2003 will be presented in an up-coming article.
  • The Personna Platinum (red-label) blade remains one of my very favorites for its sharpness and comfort.

The RM2003 razor head on the ultra-fat,
heavy Maggard MR3B handle.

A non-fussy three-pass shave (WG, XG, AG) with my new Rimei RM2003 razor head on the Maggard MR3B handle and the fresh Personna red-label blade provided, what is for me, a near-perfect shave. This shave had no new wounds; it just re-opened two pin-point weepers from previous shaves. The post-shave treatment was simply a cool-water rinse, a quick alum rub to check for irritation (there was none), and application of Gillette after-shave gel (the blue bottle) supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.2; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 5.0; Under jawline - 4.4; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.48, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-4.5

The RM2003 with the factory handle.
Note: the handle looks relatively thin
in this shot only due to the distortion
of the camera lens.
Summary rating: 4.66  (Wow! A really good way to start the week.)

Three passes and just a bit of fussing at the end gave another great shave. Today saw the RM2003 razor head with the second-use Personna-red blade on the stock RM2003 handle as shown at right. A cool water rinse and some Nivea balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil completed the shave.

The following rating was done about three hours after the shave because I got distracted immediately after. So the numbers may be a bit off, but the shave was really good -- no irritation, no wounds, pretty darned close:

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.3; Cheeks - 5.0; Lower lip & chin - 4.8; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.3, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-5.0

Summary rating: 4.46

Returning to the Rimei RM2003 razor head paired with the Maggard "big boy" handle, I took the third shave with the Personna-red blade. Three passes slightly re-opened a cut under my chin from last week that had been healing, and re-opened a weeper also from last week on my upper lip. The shave also felt slightly harsh, which is unlike the previous shaves with the RM2003, so I wondered if I were pressing a bit hard, or if the blade was going off, which is also unusual for the Personna red. After cool water rinses, a splash of witch hazel, and a Noxzema wash, I used a touch of styptic under my chin. Then after counter clean up, I finished with Neutrogena balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.0; Cheeks - 5.0; Lower lip & chin - 4.8; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.2, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-3.0

Summary rating: 3.73   A good shave diminished by careless shaving -- especially around pre-existing, healing wounds.

I resolved to be more careful today -- especially in the vicinity of healing wounds -- after yesterday's good-but-still-disappointing shave. Deviating from my normal minimalist beard prep, today I added a cool-water Noxzema wash after the usual cool-water rinse. Then I lathered and did three-passes with the RM2003 razor head on the Maggard "big-boy" handle and this week's Personna red-label blade. Post shave, I rinsed with cool water, did another Noxzema wash, applied Tea-Tree after-shave lotion, then Gillette lotion supplemented with vitamin-E oil.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.2; Cheeks - 4.6; Lower lip & chin - 4.5; Under jawline - 3.5; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.16, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating: 4.39   A good, no-fuss shave.

Thursdays through Saturday I used the
stock RM2003; that is, with the factory

Three passes with a fussy third using the stock RM2003 including the factory handle. Post shave, I did the usual cool-water rinse, a Noxzema wash, styptic on a re-opened couple of weepers, another water rinse, and Nivea balm supplemented with vitamin-E oil. With better shaves provided by the RM2003 and the more discriminating evaluations, I may begin changing my blades twice per week: on Sunday and again on Wednesday.

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

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.24, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating: 4.08

Another X-pass trial on Friday.

Today, I'm finishing the week with a slightly-used Personna red-label blade that's been lurking in my cabinet and have this morning done another X-pass shave to see if the RM2003 allows this process to work on my beard. After the two passes, I did a cool-water rinse, a Noxzema wash, a touch of styptic on a single re-opened weeper on my lip, and Gillette gel supplemented with vitamin-E oil. Better results today than my previous X-pass trials, but not as good as the usual three-pass shave.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.6; Cheeks - 3.6; Lower lip & chin - 4.2; Under jawline - 3.0; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-3.88, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating: 3.96   The RM2003 handles the X-pass shave a bit better than some others.

With the stock (as from the factory) RM2003 with the Personna-red blade that opened this week's shaves, I took a methodical-but-not-too-fussy three-pass shave. Both the process and the outcome were enjoyable. The shave finished in rather minimalist style, having only a cool-water rinse capped with some Gillette (blue bottle) lotion supplemented by vitamin-E oil to smell good and to have some cold-weather protection.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.5; Cheeks - 4.7; Lower lip & chin - 4.5; Under jawline - 4.4; Neck - 4.0.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.42, Irritation-4.5, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating: 4.31   A very nice shave to finish the week.

Next Week:
For next week I'm returning to the Lord Platinum Class blade.  I'm looking forward to next week to see how this blade performs in the RM2003. 

*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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