For any new wet shaver testing a variety of double edge safety razor blades is an essential part of the process. This is because no two brands are the same. Although all blades fit universally in vintage and modern double edge safety razors, they come in varying sharpness levels, brand types and price points.
Testing blades will allow you to determine which type of blades work best with your razor, skin type and overall shave preference. Testing for many shavers can be a bit annoying, but if you stay committed to it, the results will end up saving you a pile of money on blades. Once you find your favorite you can then purchase them in bulk, often by the 100 pack. Here are some tips for testing safety razor blades.
BUILD A SCHEDULE
It is important to test in a logical order to determine your sharpness preference. This is ideally from dullest to sharpest, working your way up to sharper brands of blades as you go. Here is a rough razor blade sharpness guide for some of the mainstream brands of double edge safety razor blades.
To some, the idea of taking notes may sound extremely nerdy, however if you are testing 5 to 10 different types of safety razor blades you will be thankful you did this. You can use a paper notebook or the electronic notes feature on your smartphone. It doesn’t matter where or how, just remember to take notes, as this will serve as a good reference point later on.
CHANGE ONE VARIABLE AT A TIME
This is the most important rule with testing. It is essential that you only change one variable at a time. When you start the razor blade testing journey, it is always recommend you stick with one and only one safety razor, brush and soap type through the duration of your entire testing period. Changing too many variables at once will confuse the process and will significantly impact the results.
This also goes for blade brands, so it’s best to only test one blade type and brand at a time. This may seem obvious, but testing two blades during one shave might seem like a good experiment, but this will also really confuse your results. An example of testing two blades at once would be to shave half of your face with one blade brand and then switch it out for a different blade brand to finish the shave. It seems like a neat experiment, but it’s always best to complete a full 2-3 pass shave with one type, take notes and go from there.
It is recommended that you start with the same amount of hair growth when you start testing a new blade. For example, consistently start a new blade brand with one, two or three days of hair growth, but always start at the same point of hair growth. This is one important detail that will help you remain consistent.
USE FOR 2-3 SHAVES
Use one blade for 2 – 3 shaves in a row. This will allow you to test the initial sharpness, but also allow you to test deterioration factor of the blade, as the blade becomes duller with use. Knowing the stop or recycle point for each blade brand is really important because you will then know how many comfortable shaves you can get with each type. On average, you should be able to get 3 – 5 shaves with a safety razor blade, but again this will depend on the brand and your preference.
If you have an incredibly uncomfortable shave the first time using a blade, it’s always recommended to discontinue using that blade. Side effects of a bad blade include a large amount tugging or extreme razor burn. Life is too short to mess around with a blade you don’t like.
TEST EVERY BLADE AT LEAST TWICE
It’s good to build a schedule and try to complete two full rounds of testing. For example, if you are testing 5 blade brands and you shave twice per week, your testing schedule will run for 10 weeks. Sometimes blades can be inconsistent, even from one blade to another from the same package. That’s why it’s best to try every blade brand at least twice. If you encounter a blade you dislike, which is inevitable, take your notes and move on to the next brand. Always give that blade band another try on your second round of testing to determine if it is indeed not a good fit for you or if perhaps you had a bad blade the first go around. If you get two rounds of bad results, you can now eliminate this blade brand from your favorites list.
You can make the testing process as simple or as complicated as you want to. The goal of testing is to identify one or two brands that you love, so you can buy them in bulk to save money. Remember to have fun with it, as it shouldn’t be a chore. Happy shaving!