As I have previously written, my favorite brand of razor blade appears to be out of production and now that I am almost out I have been trying other brands. I had been told that the Crystal brand was the same blade as my beloved blue label “Israeli Personna” blades so they were the first I tried. I used three different razors with this brand so I could see a variety of performance.
Unlike my beloved “Israeli Personnal Blue” (IP) blades, Crystal blades were less forgiving and a bit more harsh in most environments. My first few shaves with the Merkur Progress and Parker 92R resulted in a number of small nicks. Interestingly, shaves using Crystal blades in my Merkur HD were much closer to what I experienced with IP blades. This may be why some people say they are equivalent products.
Viewing IP and Crystal blades under a scanning electron microscope (SEM) shows the dramatically different manufacturing (the blade edge is near the top of these pictures):
The SEM operator and I puzzled over this image for a while until we realized the cloud-like look coming in and out of focus was an exceptionally thick non-stick coating. By the fourth shave this coating was largely worn away:
Interestingly, the edge still looks in pretty good shape! I could have easily gotten a few more shaves out of it.