The importance of a good blade
Razors are a joy to admire and collect, but when it comes down to it, about 80% of the comfort of a shave comes from the blade, while only 20% comes from the razor. We’ve stressed the importance of good razor blades before, but today we want to share a method that will not only help you find your best blade, but possibly several excellent blades you can switch out for variety.
A note on blades
Blades differ greatly in sharpness and smoothness, and how you respond to a blade can vary greatly from how another shaver responds to the same blade. If you visit wet shaving forums, you’ll see some tout their love for Feather, while others might complain about how it fiercely tugs at skin.
Each blade will also work differently in different razors, due to variance in blade angle and exposure.
Thus, the only way to find the right blade for you is to try a multitude brands.
How to find a good blade
The general rule of thumb is that if you have trouble with the blade despite correct prep, blade angle, and pressure, you should try a different brand. Once you find one that works, stick with that brand until you’re getting consistently good shaves that are both pleasurable and leave you with smooth skin. Don’t keep changing blades as you learn, because you will not develop your shaving rhythm.
You’ll know you’ve hit your sweet spot when you produce efficient, smooth strokes and rarely encounter nicks and irritation.
Why explore if a brand is already working for me?
Many shavers stick with the first passable blade they encounter, even if it gives them nicks or razor burn. They figure it must just be how wet shaving feels like.
Even if your current blade gives you a fine shave, you may be able to find a blade that takes it to the next level. You might find a new brand that you love, and you might not. Either way, it’s inexpensive and fun to do so (certainly less expensive than trying out a bunch of new razors or shaving creams).
We recommend purchasing several sampler packs and then working your way through them to see if there is a blade that can give you a more comfortable shave.
To fairly compare your new blades, try each blade twice before deciding the brand is not for you. If your first shave with one brand’s blade is bad, it could just be a faulty blade. If shaving a second time with a blade from the same brand still causes trouble, you should move on to a new brand.
If you have more than one razor, try the blade in another razor before you deem it unusable. A blade that does a clean sweep in the Merkur HD might be dreadful in the Muhle R89.
The approach (from Leisure Guy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving):
Let’s call the blade that works best for you the “best blade.”
- Shave for a week with the current “best blade.” This sets the baseline.
- Shave for a week with the new brand of blade (unless it fails the test of two terrible shaves).
- If the new brand is the better of the two, it becomes your new “best blade.” Go to #2 to try a new brand.
- If the new brand is not better, go to 1.
This approach ensures you’re always comparing just two brands: your best so far and a new brand. By always starting the comparison with a week shaving with your “best blade,” you get a break from testing and a reminder of what a good blade feels like.
Note: If two brands feel similar, alternate them every other day. You should know after a couple of shaves if you like the new brand or not.
Purchase RoyalShave DE razor blade sample packs here.