Shaving Gear – Lance’s Reviews

I stumbled across an arcane article here that reminded me how no two shavings solutions are the same as no two faces are the same. So I will simply offer the following as a snapshot of how things have worked for me in the hope that at least bits of it will be useful to others.

Here is where I hope to keep a record of the different shaving products I have used. I would say I have middle-of-the-road beard (and hair) thickness as wells as middle-of-the-road skin sensitivity. I have small hands and there are pictures in my parent shaving write up so you can consider my facial contours as well as you read the reviews below. Also I don’t shave everyday. Once every 2-3 days is typical, but sometimes when I’m really busy I can go a week without shaving.

RAZORS:

Lord L6:

When purchased right, this is a true budget DE safety razor. Purchased wrong like I did costs $15 instead of $6 and nets you only five “Bluebird” razor blades. Don’t do this. Get the razor and just buy the different blades you’re interested in separately. My review on Amazon is here. For $6 this is definitely worth it.

It’s a 3-piece style razor. I’ve had no issues with the threads, which a few negative reviews on Amazon mention. There are a couple places on the bottom part of the head where the chrome finish has flaked off, but there is no evidence of rusting/oxidation.

Good weight and balance, the long handle (made of machined aluminum versus the usual chrome plating) is easy to grip and maneuver; it managed to shave around my prodigious nose with no issues using the Lord Platinum Class blade (other blades did a terrible job at this).

In general the L6 a mild rather than aggressive blade. This is very advantageous for the novice and/or someone with sensitive skin. But if you have a very thick beard and/or long growth, the milder angle and broad guard arrangement (see pictures below) can mean more passes and more difficulty in tight curves, like under the nose. I had radically different performance with the four blades below; and all were completely seated, finger-tight, but not overly tightened.

razor 05

razor 06         razor 07

Bigfoot Shaves Twist (a most generous gift from Chuck at Bigfoot Shaves):

This razor is only the second safety razor I have used. Yet compared to the Lord L6 it is much more aggressive. The weight is very nice. Designed with travel in mind, the handle is short. Fine tuning the shaving angle as you go can be challenging for the novice given the aggressive nature of the safety guard/blade arrangement (compare the pictures of the L6 and the Twist) and the shortness of the handle.

The aggressive design can cut through long/tough growth more easily. But for the novice it can pull harder and run the risk of nicks if you go too fast. The chrome plated design, while beautiful, can be a little slick compared to an aluminum handle if you use a light grip (I typically just hold the very end of the razor between my index finger and thumb). But as long as you are aware of this, it shouldn’t be a problem.

I really love the look and feel of the Twist, but it is harder for me to use than the L6. If I have 5 or more days of growth (which happens when I get real busy, all too common these days) I’ll use the L6. But if I am shaving every 1-2 days the Twist works well. It feels like a precision machine; the heft and smooth finish are superb. The aggressive angle makes it very easy to shave along tight curves (e.g. under the nose) and to shape my beard with precision, yet it is not as comfortable a shave as the L6. The L6 is very smooth and forgiving, but it’s a slower shave (more passes) and somewhat clunky on the detail work.

razor 01

razor 02       razor 03      razor 04

The Bigfoot Shaves Classic is a 3-piece design with a guard arrangement halfway between the broad L6 and the very short Twist. Dani has one and I will give it a try next soon to see how it contrasts to these two razors.

RAZOR BLADES:

Lord Platinum Class

This was the one (and only one) Lord blade that came with the L6. The initial shave pulled a bit but I hadn’t shaved in many days AND it was the first time I had ever wet shaved in my life. So I don’t hold that against the blade. Subsequent shaves with this blade and the L6 went off without a hitch. I really enjoyed it and wished I had had more! Instead I had…

 

Blue Bird:

I cannot find a link to these exact blades on Amazon (though a single-edge version can be found here). They are described as “chromium ceramic tungsten platinum and polymer coated edges.” To me each word seemed an exercise in an ever-increasing struggle against reality. I hate these blades. I know sometimes it can take a shave to break in a blade. But on my third shave – and second pass at that! – this blade in the L6 was still pulling much harder than the well-used Lord Platinum Class blade that I had tossed out before.

These blades are so terrible I will throw them out unused if Dani doesn’t like them in her razor.  Or maybe I’ll give them one last try in the Bigfoot Shaves Twist. But generally I do not like these at all. I have noticed the same word-salad slogan plastered on Derby blades so I’m wondering if, regardless of the brand name, these are all sourced from the same factory. In the name of SCIENCE I suppose I should give them one last try in my Bigfoot Shaves Twist. I hope Dani will try one in her Bigfoot Shaves Classic (the 3-Piece version of their razor) as well so we can see if the blade is truly terrible or if the terribleness is in the combination of Blue Bird – Lord L6 – Lance’s face. [Coming Soon – Blue Bird blade comparison using Bigfoot Shaves Twist razor.]

 

Kroger:

Bought at Fred Meyer in Idaho. I believe these are an American Safety Razor/Personna product, but they say “Made in Israel.” So I have not located information online to nail down their origin definitively. Definitely cheap-o, budget blades (My 5-pack cost just over $2). But I dropped the first one in my Lord L6 and it blew the Blue Bird Word Salad blades out of the water! On the first shave with three days stubble the Kroger worked through it like a champ. My second shave with it a few days later was even better. Still not as preferred as the Lord Platinum Class, but the Blue Bird was so bad, anything was an improvement. [Coming Soon – Blue Bird blade comparison using Bigfoot Shaves Twist razor.]

 

Bigfoot Shaves Super Stainless:

I first used the Bigfoot Shaves Super Stainless in my Lord L6 in order to weed-whack my collection of five-day old whiskers. It was fantastic! I wish I could do a side-by-side comparison between this blade and the Lord Platinum Class blade. Memory and experience are lacking to do a great comparison. I had not once managed to shave under my nose perfectly with either the Blue Bird or the Kroger blade (though the Kroger was definitely better), but with the Bigfoot blade every little whisker under the nose was easy to sweep away. Zero burn, nicks or irritation came with my first use of the Bigfoot blade on five days’ growth. I am supremely happy with these blades! So then I loaded the blade on the second shave into the Bigfoot Shaves Twist itself!

It was a shock transitioning to the Twist. The blade held up great, but the safety razor itself is far more aggressive than the L6. I have zero complaints with the blade following this transition attributing the difference from the L6 shaves to the Twist shaves as differences in the safety razors themselves (see reviews above). In the Twist this blade does tight curve and beard shaping work very easily. But the aggressive nature of the Twist head design can be tough to control for the novice.

SOAPS:

Men’s Soap Company Himalaya:

As you can read in my parent write up I loved this soap from day one! It’s only grown on my the past couple of months. I do look forward to finding homemade, 100% natural/biodegradable goat’s milk soap now that we’re get resettled in Maine (just have to find land first!). Until then this is a wonderful soap that protects, doesn’t take too much elbow grease to whip up and has a lovely, lingering scent that fades over a few hours. Makes you feel like a million bucks when combined with homemade beard/face oil made with tea tree oil. I expect the cake to last for 8-10 months at the rate I use it. My Amazon write up is here.

I’ve talked with MSC quite a bit and they have a new lavender soap they hope to launch on Amazon soon. Courtesy of Shawn at MSC they have sent us a sample for testing (thank you, Shawn!). When we have a chance I will use it and post updates here! Dani loves lavender and, even though it’s from Men’s Soap Company I don’t think gender plays a big role in skin-soap interaction. We are intensely searching for land right now so this is a minor detail to address at this time. Stay tuned…

Wellness Mama’s Shave Cream:

Coming Soon. Dani made this before our move to Maine. I have had merely one, two-pass shave to test it and it was the first time I had ever used shave cream and was unsure of the procedure. Both passes were miserable, but I may have done them wrong. The first I put a light coat of cream on my face and tried to build a lather on my face. It didn’t work. The second pass I just slathered it on like a gel and tried that. Every bit as miserable. My only guess is it takes as much cream as I used in the second pass further whipped into a big lather to work, but I have not tried this method yet. I will and will post the results here when I do.