How to Find the Right DE Razor Blade for You

vintage chrome plated razor with a blade on a white background

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.

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RoyalShave sample pack

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.”

  1. Shave for a week with the current “best blade.” This sets the baseline.
  2. Shave for a week with the new brand of blade (unless it fails the test of two terrible shaves).
  3. If the new brand is the better of the two, it becomes your new “best blade.” Go to #2 to try a new brand.
  4. 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.

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Wedge Straight Razors vs. Hollow Straight Razors

grind

Shaving with a straight razor is a glorious experience we share as wet shavers; however, the type of straight razor each of us uses is very personal. While there are many facets to consider when selecting a straight razor, today we will concentrate on the grind of a razor blade, which runs the spectrum between extra hollow and true wedge.

To simplify things, we’ve compiled a contrast and comparison chart noting the differences between a hollow grind and a wedge. A wedge, for instance, has a nice heft that’ll clean up your whiskers easily on the weight alone. As such, it’s an excellent blade type for those just starting off with straight razors and are still refining their technique. It’s also preferred by wet shavers who enjoy the sheer luxuriousness of the extra weight.

Meanwhile, a hollow grind provides much better feedback, both audibly and physically, which allows you to glide over the contours of your face with more finesse and reduce razor burn. It does require more dexterity to handle, however.

If you are currently a veteran wet shaver with a clear preference, we suggest using this chart to learn more about your favorite grind. With so many beautiful razors on the market, this is also a chance to explore new options.

Note: Whichever grind you prefer, opt for a stainless steel construction when possible, since it oxidizes at a slower rate.

 

Hollow-vs-Wedge-Grind

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The Grooming Artist News Roundup: March 2016

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Now that we’re on the verge of spring, our spirits are up and we’re looking forward to new beginnings and adventures outdoors. So this month, we’ve rounded up 7 life-changing European road trips that will have you exploring the rich art, culture, and history of the south of France and taking a grand tour of Italy’s greatest food hits. Prepare for your trip with a brand new pair of leather boots from UK-based Grenson, which just opened its first US store.

And while you’re at it, stock up on all your wet shaving travel essentials at our new storefront in Costa Mesa! Place an order online and pick it up in store, or simply visit us and feel free to browse before you buy!

Finally, we’re wrapping things up with some wet shaving advice and Oscars style lessons.

Enjoy!

Ever been tempted by the allure of a vintage razor? Here’s how to restore old razors without too much frustration, using only household products. (Why I Wet Shave)

Styling advice we can all learn from the men at the Oscars: when you’ve got a divet in your shoulders, your suit doesn’t fit right. (GQ)

RoyalShave has a new storefront, and you should visit. Although you can also see a peek here on the blog. (Grooming Artist)

15 interesting tidbits about moustaches, including the fact that in the finals of the MLB Word Series, MLB teams with more overall facial hair usually win. (PPCORN)

Northampton-based brand Grenson has just opened its first U.S. store, landing on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan. Grenson has been crafting beautiful shoes and boots since the 19th century and will sure to become a mecca for shoe lovers. (Esquire)

The seven greatest European road trips you can take this spring/summer. (GQ)

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