Saturday, April 25, 2015

Weekly Shave Review: Personna Red Label Blade

This is the thirty first of my weekly shave summaries. This week involves the Personna Red Label (PRL) blade.

This week, my razors are limited to three: the Merkur Classic, Lord L.6, and Rimei RM2003 razor heads all on the Merkur Classic handle. The plan is to use the Lord razor head for the bulk of my shaves.

My shave soap again this week is from the second pre-production run of Grandad's Slick 'n Creamy Shave Soap for Sensitive Skin, which is just getting comments from the initial users of the sample offering. I'm pleased to say that I've gotten positive feedback saying it's easy to later, slick and creamy, not drying, and rinses cleanly. I've also received suggestions for similar soap formulations with minor tweaks such as adding fragrance.

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:

New/Different in This Week's Review:
  • The PRL blade, made in Israel.
  • Emphasis on my favorite razor heads -- especially on the Lord L.6, which is becoming my preferred instrument for its nice compromise between face friendliness and closeness of shave.

What I Learned this Week:
  • The PRL blade remains one of my most preferred, being adequately sharp, but also comfortable on my skin.
  • The Lord L.6 razor head is my preferred instrument for a very close shave but I have to be cautious.
  • The Merkur 33 razor head is the go -to choice for an easy, fairly-close shave.
  • My Rimei RM2003 razor head shaves just a bit too closely to assure a wound-free shave, and tends to leave weepers in its wake whenever I try to take advantage of its more-aggressive nature.

Next Week:
The Gillette 7-O'Clock blade is on deck.

This week's shave journal:

The Merkur Classic, model 33C.
The PRL blade is in the Merkur Classic razor for an assured low-risk shave to start the week. Three passes with some fussing in the second and third gave an acceptable shave. I re-opened two pre-existing weepers, which disappeared without needing any attention. After shave treatments were a cool-water rinse capped off with Gillette (blue bottle) gel.

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

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.22, Irritation-4.4, Wounds-4.7

Summary rating4.39**  (A nice shave to start the week.)

The Lord L.6 razor head on the
Merkur Classic handle.
What was to be a simple three-pass shave was spoiled by cockpit error this morning. The L.6 razor head was providing a close shave until some cavalier strokes created unnecessary blood shed. Finished the shave with a cool-water rinse, styptic application, witch hazel rub, and Gillette gel (blue bottle).

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.1; Cheeks - 4.5; Lower lip & chin - 4.5; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.5.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.37, Irritation-5.0, Wounds-3.0

Summary rating4.19**  (A nice shave spoiled by a careless lack of mindfulness.)


In an effort to get a fast, efficient shave, today I pulled out the Merkur Slant (37C) and did a quick two-pass (WG, XG) shave. Reopened a weeper on my cheek but the other wounds from yesterday were largely undisturbed. Did open two pinpoint weepers on my chin. Finished with cool water, styptic on re-opened weeper, alum on the chin, and Gillette (blue) gel.

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

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-3.64, Irritation-4.2, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating3.86**  Not a great shave; not a great idea using the slant.

Trying to recover from the mediocre at best shaves of the last few days, I got back on the horse by pulling out the Lord L.6 with the Personna red, and took a three-pass shave. With only a little fussing got a very good shave, which was followed by a cool-water rinse and a splash of witch hazel prior to my morning shower. After the shower I applied some Neutrogena balm because I like the smell.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.5; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.8; Under jawline - 4.7; Neck - 4.8.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.72, Irritation-4.7, Wounds-4.8

Summary rating4.74**  WOW.  :-)

Same gear and process as yesterday. A couple of tiny weepers. Rinsed with cool water, then a splash of witch hazel. Finished the shave with a cool-water Noxzema wash.

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.8; Cheeks - 4.9; Lower lip & chin - 4.9; Under jawline - 4.6; Neck - 4.7.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.78, Irritation-4.4, Wounds-4.3

Summary rating4.57**  A good shave.

Rimei RM2003 head on the Merkur
Classic handle.
Today used the Rimei RM2003 razor with the Personna red that had five previous shaves on it. Three standard passes yielded a close shave with a few pinpoint weepers. Finished the shave with a cool-water rinse, witch hazel splash, alum rub, and Gillette gel (blue bottle).

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.5; Cheeks - 4.8; Lower lip & chin - 4.8; Under jawline - 4.3; Neck - 4.8.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.64, Irritation-4.2, Wounds-4.0

Summary rating4.37**  A close shave with some weepers.

Three passes again today with the Personna red in the RM2003. Finished with cool-water rinses, a splash of witch hazel, an alum rub, and Gillette gel (blue bottle).

Closeness details: Upper lip - 4.2; Cheeks - 4.7; Lower lip & chin - 4.7; Under jawline - 4.2; Neck - 4.5.

Rating this day's shave*:     Closeness-4.46, Irritation-4.0, Wounds-3.0

Summary rating3.98**  A fairly-close shave, but no fun; too many weepers.

*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.

**Regarding the single-number overall shave rating: To give equal weight to shave closeness and harshness, I now double the shave-closeness rating, then add the values for closeness, irritation, and wounds, and divide that sum by four.

Happy shaving!

1 comment: