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Shave notes



From my good friend, Jay

My first DE was a Merkur, which is always highly rated on the shaving forums.  Believe it was a “38HD” which has a slightly longer than usual handle.  It was a good middle-of-the-road razor in terms of aggressiveness.  I think I paid $40 on Amazon.  “Parker" is another well-regarded name.  Like most things, the sky is the limit.  There are DE razors out there that can go for $500.

Aggressiveness is primarily a function of the “blade gap” between the blade and the razor edge.  More gap equals more aggressive.  The other factor is the blade itself.  There is a huge variety out there made in countries all over the world.  Some go for as little as a nickel per blade.  Some closer to 20 cents.  Everyone has their own opinion as to quality.

Anyway, after a couple of months of DE shaving and reading the blogs, I decided to buy a Rockwell 6S.  About a hundred bucks.  It comes with three interchangeable plates to modify the blade gap.  6 settings are possible ranging from very mild to very aggressive.  I love it.  In my case, I shave every day so the length of my beard doesn’t vary much.  But I do switch plates occasionally when trying a different blade.  The 6S is a three piece razor: handle, plate and cap.  But once you put it together, there are no moving parts and the stainless steel is basically bulletproof.  

You can also buy TTO “twist to open” adjustable razors.  These are basically one piece razors with a mechanism to vary the blade gap.  And you don’t have to take the razor apart to change the blade.  The head has a butterfly door that you twist to open for changing the blade out.  Convenient, but the mechanism can be damaged (bent) if you drop the razor.

Rockwell has more recently come out with chromed variants of their razor (cheaper, because they are not stainless).  And they will shortly introduce an fully adjustable one-piece razor, the 6T.  I have one on order and they are supposed to start shipping later this month.

I often check the “buy-sell-trade” sections of the shaving blogs and rarely see a Rockwell available.  And I don’t recall seeing any negative reviews.  When there is a used one available, it’s generally because the owner was moving on to the next level: straight edge razors.  I don’t see myself going there.  

I can wholeheartedly recommend the Rockwell brand.  If you are willing to wait a couple or three weeks, I should have the 6T and you can try out my 6S without obligation.  Unfortunately, I sold off the Merkur a long time ago.

As for blades, you may want to check out a website called Try-a-blade.  This guy buys a spectrum of blades and will send you a selection to try.  It’s expensive on a per blade basis but a cheap way to try a bunch a different blades without buying in bulk.  I’ve done that and tried at least 2 dozen different blades.  For me, I’ve settled on Astra SP or Feather Hi-Stainless.  The Astra is a bit milder than the Feather.

Now, that brings me to blade longevity.  Some guys are more interested in how many shaves they can get out of a single blade than anything else.  I just want a close, comfortable shave.  I have not used any DE blade which felt as comfortable and sharp after 3 days as it did when I loaded it in the razor.  At they are so cheap that I don’t care.  I routinely change out my blade after 3 days.  Some guys are proud that they can get a week or even longer out of a blade.

My shave with a DE razor is generally 2 passes.  Lather/shave, then some hot water, then lather/shave again.  Remember, you’ve got one blade working, not 3 or 4 or 5 or 6.  My point is that DE shaving may take a few extra minutes.

We can save the discussion of pre-shave oils and balms, after-shave balms, etc., etc. for another time.

Lemme know if you need links to anything.  Have fun exploring!

P.S.  If you decide to take a walk on the wild side and try a scented soap, I have a bunch you’re welcome to sample.  Some are tallow based, but some are vegetable based if that has any impact on you skin.

I've created links to soaps from different retailers so you can see a variety


Shave Creams and Soaps