The Lost Art
It has always been a challenge for men to find the best method to trim and cut their facial hair. Over time men have tried everything from straight razors to safety razors to the new 16 bladed cartridges that mold and bend to the users face. Some even prefer the electric razor for its quick and easy use. There are pros and cons to each of these shaving methods. Some take more time, while others might require multiple passes in order to complete the job.
With the rise of such websites like Art of Manliness or Order of Man, there has also risen a popularity in the old wet shaving methods of taking hair off of mans face. This could mean using a straight razor or a safety razor and applying shaving soap or cream with a badger hair brush warmed in water. Both of these methods use a single blade razor and require focus and time to give a complete and close shave. This added time has given men the time to gain a sense of pride in their work. What was once a result of what razor cartridge you used was now a direct result of how much time and careful attention you gave to your face, all while invoking a sense of nostalgia for a time when things were simpler. While also giving men a new manly task to complete, wet shaving also has the added benefits of being far cheaper than using a regular cartridge razor or an electric razor, and healthier for a man’s skin since most of the creams and soaps can cause less irritation and give skin a healthy look and feel.
I made the switch to wet shaving a little over two years ago. Since then I have seen no reason to go back. I don’t care that it adds an additional five minutes to my daily routine since it gives me one of the closest shaves of my life; sometimes almost too close!
I decided to test five brands of safety razor against each other just to see which one worked best for me and hopefully guide someone who might be new to the art of wet shaving. I used each of the blades for two weeks just to see how long it took for the blade to be completely useless.
The brands tested were:
- Derby Extra
- Feather New Hi-Stainless Platinum
- Personna Platinum
- Astra Superior Platinum
Derby Extra – Worst of the Worst
It makes me sad when I think about the fact that I have more of these blades than I do with my favorite of the bunch. These blades are only slightly worse than the blades that come with your safety razor. It feels like the blade is being pulled across my skin and it might just grab a few hairs along the way. After about a week I felt like I was using an empty safety razor. I would not recommend these.
Crystal, Personna Platinum – Middle of the Road
Both the Crystal and Personna blades were just ok. The Crystal felt a lot like the blade that came with my Mühle R89 – a good starter blade. It wasn’t too sharp, but it didn’t last very long either.
The Personna was just as sharp, but it lasted longer. It was actually really pleasant to use, and since I used it in the order you read above, it provided great relief after the Feather and before the Astra blades. If you are just starting out using a safety razor I would highly recommend looking at the Personna Platinum for your first pack of blades.
Feather New Hi-Stainless Platinum – Mostly Likely to Recreate The Silence of the Lambs
The Feather blades are sharp…REALLY sharp. The first time I used one of these blades I made the terrible assumption using it would be just like any other blade I had used before. I was wrong. These blades were too sharp for my liking. They required extra care and attention when I used them. I was no stranger to accidentally cutting myself while shaving (don’t text and shave), but these made it seem like I was good friends with cutting my face. For the first time since switching to wet shaving I had cut my lip. If I wasn’t careful, I imagine it wouldn’t have been hard to take my face off. With all that being said, these blades also lasted the longest out of all of the blades I tried. They could have easily lasted longer than my usual two week period. If you feel like you need something closer to a kitchen knife than a razor blade, I’d recommend these blades for you. Just remember you need extra care and precision when using these.
Astra Superior Platinum – The Winner
I think I’ve found the perfect blade for me. These blades were the perfect sharpness out of the packaging, and they lasted me up until the very last day of my two week trial period. The shave was as close as I would like it without having to do multiple passes, and they were the only blades I didn’t cut myself on. If you are looking for a blade for both beginners and more experienced wet shavers, this is the blade for you.
In a Nutshell
I just want to note that there is no perfect blade, and no blade is going to be perfect for everyone. Hopefully my review of these five blades will give you a solid starting point when looking at the overwhelming amount of safety razor blades out there, and hopefully it will give some of you an interest in trying wet shaving for the first time. How does 30 cents per blade vs about $5 per cartridge sound? I also want to note that the time each blade is used will also vary depending on the user. My facial hair doesn’t come in very thick and is almost non-existent which means I’m lucky enough to use each razor a little bit longer.