Monday, June 26, 2017

Pre-shave-trial notes and DE-Blade Maintenance

Regular readers of Shave Like Grandad will know that I'm in the earliest stages of evaluating some pre-shave products.

There are several key aspects to evaluations such as these:

  • Methodology
  • Sample size 
  • Unavoidable subjectivity

Sample Size

One can no more reliably evaluate a product from a single shave any more that one can predict a potential World Series contender from watching a single baseball game. So rather than continuing to offer my observations following each test shave with a product, I may offer weekly summaries -- which still may be a bit too frequent and reflect too small of a sample size.


I've committed to keeping my shaving methods (described in yesterday's article) consistent. One problematic aspect, however, is the blade.

I could have chosen to use a new, fresh blade of the same brand and model for each shave, but that is horribly wasteful. I can't do that. So I'm taking the other reasonable option. That is to use the same blade for its full useful life and cycle through the pre-shave products as the blade ages.

Certainly this will potentially change the shave character from day to day irrespective of the pre-shave product. So this renders more questionable one-shave comparisons of different products. However, small sample sizes have the same effect. So I'm going to cycle through the pre-shave products and look to comparing my overall impressions rather than just those from a single shave.


No matter how I try to be objective, there's no way for me to objectively measure the quality and lack of irritability of a shave. So we just have to accept that, ultimately, the conclusions that I form are merely impressions, not hard fact.

False Starts and Restarts

So this pre-shave-product comparison actually kicked off yesterday with my first use of the Scentsless (sic) pre-shave soap and lather booster. Due to my enthusiasm to start the trials, I lost my head and didn't follow the explicit usage instructions for this pre-shave soap. I did not wash and rinse my beard with the soap and then reapply the soap against the grain before lathering with my regular soap. Instead I washed as directed but did not rinse, and simply lathered over that un-rinsed pre-shave soap.

This first start was also combined with the fact that I retired my previous blade after 15 shaves and used a new blade for the kick-off pre-shave trial. The bottom line was that the combination of my least favorite at-hand razor (the Slim), a new blade (SuperMax Titanium), and the imperfect application of the pre-shave soap yielded a shave that was irritating. So I scrapped that trial and did a re-do this morning.

Today's shave with the Slim, the second-use blade, and the correct application of the pre-shave soap yielded better results. How that compares to other products and other shaves as the blade is used through its life cycle will be determined in time.

Reminder of My Blade Care

By the way, keep in mind that after each shave, I rinse clean and then press dry (using toilet tissue) my DE blades. Then with dry hands I palm strop each side of each edge of the blade for an equal number of strokes -- usually two, but sometimes as many as four.

I do believe that this careful drying and stropping of the blade leads to greater longevity. The reasons for this certainly include diminished micro-oxidation at the blade edge due to reduced moisture. Also, there may be some micro-straightening of the shave-inflicted micro damage to the blade edge.

Stay tuned for periodic updates as these pre-shave-product evaluations continue over time.

Happy shaving!

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