Information about the test¶
I started this test in order to chose which blade(s) suit me and my shaving style the most in every day life. I am not aiming for the alleged baby-butt-smooth shave, but a good and pleasant one that I am happy to wake up to have.
Please do not take this as a shopping guide, blades are very personal affair. Instead take it as any advice with a grain of salt and maybe a suggestion which blades might be worth trying out (or avoiding) for yourself when take on the journey to find your perfect oil shave.
The methodology of the test shaving and grading are described at the bottom of this page.
In parallel I am also conducting a test of shaving oils, that complements this page.
You can download the raw data in this ODF spreadsheet.
The bold entries are the ones that pass the “acceptable shave” mark, the rest is ignored herein.
This page will be updated regularly every time I shave with a new brand.
Favourite razor blades¶
Tiger Superior Stainless (made in Czech Republic)¶
For some reason I had the gut feeling that they would be good. Whether it was the picture of the tiger or what, I cannot tell, but this time (as opposed to with Bolzano) my gut feeling was right.
The blade glides effortlessly and it is every bit as fun to shave as with Merkur Super Platinum, perhaps even more so. My brother says these are the only ones that he gets a baby-butt smooth shave from.
Tiger’s blades were so far the longest lasting ones I tried. Each blade gave on average 9 acceptable shaves; of which 1 very good(!) and 6 “just” good. With such performance, they are even the cheapest shave I got so far : 0.02 € per acceptable shave (0.93 € per 5 blades).
As usual the damage to the skin is bigger in the beginning and end of its life, but in the middle it is very good.
The Tiger is so far the biggest gem in my collection and my absolute favourite.
Merkur Super Platinum (made in Germany)¶
This is the blade I have used the most already before this test, so I fear I might have been slightly biased to it during the test. Especially since I tested it after I got fed up with some crappy blades I tested.
It produces a pretty smooth and good shave.
The blades on average lasted me 7 acceptable shaves, of which 4 were good. This is amongst the more expensive blades, but a decent shave with it still costs merely 0.09 € (6.00 € for 10 blades).
I will probably need to re-test it, now that my bias has gone.
Bic Chrome Platinum (made in Greece)¶
Historically the French Bic (like USA Gillette and UK Wilkinson Sword) did play an important role in the development of (especially throw-away) razor blades, so I was only mildly surprised to have discovered them by chance in an Italian drug store, while looking for Bolzano.
The quality of these blades is surprisingly good, given that it is known more for its iconic invention: the throw-away razors. By sheer feeling I would compare them to Gillette Platinum.
Gliding of the blade is smooth and easy, comparable to Gillette Platinum or Derby Extra, maybe even close to Feather. But with its sharpness comes at the cost of having more cuts in the neck area (not as bad as Feather or Bolzano, though).
Bic gave me on average 6.5 acceptable shaves, of which 2.5 were even good. This means that per decent shave it set me back 0.05 € (1.78 € for 5 blades).
Polsilver Super Iridium (made in Russia)¶
Polsilver, while a Polish brand, is made in Russia by Gillette.
These are easy to shave with and produce a pretty good result. I would only wish they were a bit less aggressive.
On average, I got 4.5 acceptable shaves from a blade, of which 2 were good! This means they cost 0.11 € per decent shave (2.50 € for 5 blades).
Acceptable razor blades¶
Below is a list of razor blades that I resort to if the my favourites are not available.
Derby Extra (made in Turkey)¶
For its price, it surprised me that Derby seems to be is so popular (especially in the UK).
I was positively surprised by it. The blades do not last very long – 3 acceptable shaves, of which 0.5 good shave per blade – but while they last, they are very predictable. A decent shave with this blade will set you back around 0.08 € (1.20 € for 5 blades).
I realise that looking at the average scores it does seem special, but for a cheap option for using for only a few shaves, it is a great choice.
An issue that I found though is that from the first packet I got the used blades were flying out of the used-blades compartment. I really hope that was just one faulty box, otherwise this can be quite dangerous.
Gillette Platinum (made in Russia)¶
Gillette Platinum are readily available in Slovenia as well as pretty much everywhere I travelled to in Europe. That is a big plus.
It gave me on average 3 acceptable shaves per blade, of which 0.5 were good. This puts it in the same quality range as Derby Extra. The price for an acceptable shave therefore is 0.27 € (1.35 € for 5 blades).
Müller M-Man (made in Israel)¶
These appear to be the brand-less Personna, that budget stores re-brand – not the famous Personna Red.
I was not particularly happy with these, as I always got a tiny cut when shaving.
But still they produced on average 2.5 acceptable shaves and of which 0.5 can be deemed as good. The price of an acceptable shave therefore is 0.06 € (1.59 € for 10 blades). Also it is available in the local drug store, which is an added bonus.
Mem Super Silver Platinum (made in Serbia)¶
Not a very smooth shave, less fun to use than Derby, but not nearly as bad as Dorco.
An average blade produced 2 acceptable shaves. Shaving with blade costs 0.13 € per decent shave (1.29 € for 5 blades).
Wilkinson Sword (made in Germany)¶
I stopped the test, as I noticed that both I owned had what seemed like rust on them (not on the edge luckily) and threw them away. I suspect there was an issue with moisture in the transport or storage.
From the shaves I did manage to take it did not performed as nice as Gillette Platinum.
I will repeat the test later.
Cost: 1.96 € for 5 blades and available in pretty much all local markets and across Europe.
Not my cup of tea¶
And finally a list of all the blades that I would rather not have near my face.
Feather New Hi-Stainless Platinum (made in Japan)¶
Feather is famous for its sharpness. With the sharpness also comes at the cost of aggressiveness. The shave itself is very smooth, but the damage it results in is just not worth it. For some reason, only the second shave of each blade resulted in a comfortable (and good quality) shave, and every other shave included massive burn and usually some blood as well. Especially the neck area was impossible to shave without problems.
As for the quality of shave, per blade it produced 1.5 acceptable shaves, of which 1 good shave. Again, the neck area was usually shaved very patchy and sometimes the hairs were even cutting after a few hours. The price of an acceptable shave with it is 0.27 € (4.00 € per 10 blades)
I realise many people swear by it, but I am sadly in the camp that swears at it – for my method of shaving, it is just way too aggressive. I imagine, if you put it into a less aggressive razor (e.g. Feather’s own razor) and using a thick shaving foam, it might even be nice to use. It is incredibly smooth…
Bolzano Superinox Indossabile (made in Germany)¶
Bolzano Superinox Indossabile were the blades that I was hunting down for the longest and had high hopes for them. Since I could not find it in its native Italy1, I had to buy them on-line (also not easy to find!).
The shave quality was OK, but the blade was just a bit too aggressive for my taste. Some compare it to a slightly less sharp Feather, and I agree that this is a good analogy.
On average, I got just 1 acceptable shave out of a blade. So an acceptable shave set me back to 0.50 € (2.50 € for 5 blades).
Given how much time I spent finding these blades, the results crushed my hopes even more. But if you liked Feather, these might be a good option to try.
Dorco Platinum ST-300 (made in Korea)¶
To this day this is the single most awful shave in this test – none of the three blades produced even one acceptable shave. All the time I was just waiting to stop using it. Since none of the shaves were acceptable, its low price (1.5 € per 10 blades) does not help here either.
I wanted to call it a dull affair (pun intended), but the resistance it brings, makes it a sheer battle to (survive the) shave.
As for the quality, after the shave, my significant other thought that was still my yesterday’s beard.
I am not giving up on finding a perfect blade for shaving with oil, so I am keeping a list of blades I still wish to test out some day:
- Rapira Swedish Supersteel (made in Russia)
- BlueBird (made in Turkey)
- Gillette Silver Blue (made in Russia)
- modern Tiger, Tatra, Sokol, Luxor and Leon (all made in the Czech Republic, by the same company)
What I use to shave with:
- Edwin Jagger with their DE8 head
L’Occitane Cade (wild juniper) shaving oil Refinery Shave Oil (sometimes as aftershave, instead of Cade)
- one of my favourite oils to shave with2
- Edwin Jagger leather travel case (for transport, not shaving obviously)
For every recorded shave I shaved using the same method of shaving with oil.
The test shaves were done in normal every-day conditions, which sometimes include shaving on a driving train, suboptimal light and no(t very) hot water available. In those cases I have not made any corrections in my grading.
For each model I used three blades to shave with, but the first blade is used only to get used to the blade and therefore its results do not count into the end results. Also the shaves which had any of the tests graded with a
1 are automatically unacceptable.
If a shave is unacceptable – average grade of tests below or equal to
2.0; or any test as
1 regardless of others – this is considered the end of life for that blade. The only exception is this happens to the first shave, just to give it a second chance.
Every shave was graded using the table below.
|ease of use||flawless, pleasure to shave||pretty smooth, fun to shave||needs some work or attention||needs a lot of work or attention||battling with the razor|
|damage to skin||no damage at all||minor burn, nothing else||some burn, weeper or two||proper burn, or several weepers or a bloody nick||several nicks or ingrown hair or zit|
|resulting quality||perfectly smooth||fiancée approved smoothness||almost smooth, or mildly rough||rough, or patchy shave||like you did not shave at all or cutting|
- Ease of use
- The quality tested was how easy and pleasurably it was to shave with it. If the blade was so blunt that it needed extra work to shave, it was graded lower. If the blade was so sharp it needed a lot of attention to shave with it, it was graded lower as well.
- Damage to skin
- The quality tested was how much damage did the skin take by shaving. This was checked immediately after the shave, when the damage is the most visible. So any later healing is not taken into account. There is an exception to this rule – namely if the day after a zit or ingrown hair emerged, the grade was corrected to 1. Here it is important to note, that with “weeper” I meant any visible damage that was less than a cut, but above a simple burning sensation.
- Resulting quality
- The quality tested was how smooth was the beard/skin as a result of shaving. This was checked and recorded twice – 1) shortly after the shave and 2) after about half a day. The second grade is there to correct the first impressions – e.g. some blades cut the hair at an angle that makes it very sharp and this cutting feeling appears only in time.
Yes, Bolzano is actually an Italian brand, that recently moved its production from Italy to Solingen in Germany. ↩
Since L’Occitane changed Cade’s formula, it is inevitable that the test will not be able to be made with the same oil all the time. In order to keep the conditions as fair as possible, I am using only the best performing shaving oils for this test. ↩