Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Current Preferences in Primary Shaving Gear

My preferences regarding DE gear tend to change. Why? I guess there are several reasons. I continue to experiment, and as I learn, preferences will change. Also, I think that as time goes on and I gain more experience with different products, I simply get more well acquainted with them and my opinions change -- for better or worse.

So this morning, thanks to some comments on yesterday's article, I've been motivated to offer some thoughts on my current preferences and priorities.

Every week in my Saturday shave reviews, I include the same paragraph on my skin type, so I won't bore you with that here. If you haven't seen that, any Saturday article from the last seven months will likely have that information.


My favorite razor is probably the Merkur Classic (model 33C). Consistently face friendly yet offering a shave that is about as close as my skin can tolerate on average (albeit very mild), I always feel comfortable with this razor.

Honorable mention goes to the Lord LP1822L and in particular its L.6 shave head, which is similar to the Merkur Classic. I don't like the aluminum handle on this razor only because of the softness of the metal, rendering its threads susceptible to damage over time. Otherwise, I think the handle is just fine.

I also like the Rimei RM2003 razor. Though it is too aggressive for my skin when paired with very sharp blades and therefore likely to leave weepers in its wake, it also provides the closest shave of those that suit me, and with it I can sometimes get a very good shave indeed.

Over time and various trials, I have become less fond on my Merkur open-comb razor, the model 15C. I don't find that it shaves closer than the 33C, but seems to leave a bit more irritation and weepers. So I do keep this on hand for trimming the back of my neck, where the skin is much less sensitive, and for trimming any hairline such as above the back of my neck.


Gun to my head, I would say that the Personna red-label made in Israel is my favorite, but not by a mile. The Personna Super (the so-called lab-blue blade) is good for me, as are Astra Superior Platinum, Dorco ST-301, SuperMax Titanium, and others including Blue Bird (really like), Gillette Silver Blue (also really like), and other blades from Gillette as well. Generally a coated blade in the mid-price range is my preference. Feathers and Polsilver seem a bit too sharp to be excellent for me, and combined with their price tag makes them not worth it for me. The only other blade that I've tried and tend to avoid is the Derby Extra, which on my face feels like it tugs the whiskers a bit and leaves some skin irritation as well -- the worst of both worlds.


Since I formulated my own soap, Grandad's Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin, that one is suited to my face. I've tried others but found them a bit drying or not slick enough.


I'm frugal, so I have only tried brushes with a very modest price tag -- and not many of those. My favorite from my stable of three (Omega Syntex synthetic bristle, Tweezerman badger, and Van Der Hagen boar brisle) is the VDH boar. With use, the boar bristle tips develop split ends (a good thing) and thereby become softer and face friendly, but the boar bristles retain good backbone. Yep, this brush has shed an occasional bristle, but that has diminished over time, and I consider this brush an excellent value and a pleasure to use.

Well those are my preferences in the primary gear that one uses for a shave. Happy shaving!


  1. Nice that we have such a variety of razors, blades etc available so everyone can find what works for them.

    Without having tried the closed comb Merkur (it's not easily available where I live and relatively expensive) I'd have to agree on the comments on the open comb one. It's quite mild and I struggle to get a bbs shave from it. But my goal / preference is rather for less irritation and ingrown hairs than bbs, so it suits me. I'll probably still buy the closed comb version if it becomes available here.

    I think you'll enjoy the Gillette Wilkinson Sword blades. I've found the SuperMax Super Platinum to be nice blades for me as well.

  2. Thank you very much for this - I was the poster yesterday who asked what your go-to blade was (I did in the end discover you mention the Personna Reds in one of your posts).

    May I suggest that you have your current favourite tools o' the trade in your About Me section, that can get updated as and when your tastes change/you discover something new? That way, it would be easy for us readers to quickly see your current preferences, and gain a quick understanding of the item you're reviewing as compared to said current preferences.

    Perhaps you could also put your skin type in the About Me section too, seeing as - from this post at least - you might not fancy describing your skin type preceding every post! (But I do agree it's very useful to have that knowledge going into the review).

    Also - do you think you'd be doing a review of the Feather AS-D2 any time soon? Or would that require a generous benefactor first?! (Perhaps the Feather heads would be kind enough to supply you with one, seeing as they responded to your questions in a previous article?)

    Keep up the great work - this blog is one of the few I subscribe to in my RSS feed so that I don't miss a post!

    1. Thanks for your comments. Regarding the Feather AS-D2 razor, $180 (US), I wouldn't mind giving it a try, but since I already have a stable of razors that work rather well on my beard, I wouldn't pay $20 for the chance much less $180 or so. Maybe if I'm good, one will be offered (but I'm not holding my breath). ;-)