Mantic59′s 4 Tips For Shaving Success With The Merkur Progress Razor

It is no secret that my favorite DE razor is the adjustable Merkur Progress.  I’ve often said that it will have to be pried out of my cold, dead hand.  I have plenty of razors in my collection but I keep on coming back to the Progress.  Here is how I use it with success.

Shaving With The Merkur Progress

First, like some other razors (such has the Bakelite Slant) there is no need for a high performance blade.  My personal favorite blade for the Progress is the quite middle-of-the-road Israeli-made Personna, also sold under the Crystal brand.  Derby blades–which many people dislike–also work well for me in a Progress.  High performance blades such as Feathers will work in the Progress but for me but there’s something about the combination that makes it less than ideal.

Second, rest a finger on razor head when installing a blade.  This will prevent the head from shifting slightly, causing an asymetrical blade exposure on the sides of the razor.

Third, grip the razor so that its angle is more parallel to the skin.  Unlike most other razors the Progress bends the blade quite dramatically so if you are used to another razor you will have to adjust your hold accordingly.  I now find this grip more “natural” than othe DE razors (and similar to Single Edge razors like vintage Injector or GEM units, even some modern cartridge razors).

Forth, start mild.  I always make my first reduction pass on a low setting: about “2” on my Progress (remember, Progress razor settings are not necessarily consistant across all units manufactured) will comfortably reduce the worst of my stubble.  Then I raise the setting for the rest of the shave (usually about “3” or so).  If I need to do a “touch & cut” cleanup I will drop it back down to a much milder setting.


This post originally was published on the Village Barber website blog.



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  1. Rory says

    Hi Marc,
    Totally agree with these points, with maybe the exception of the last one – I generally start off at about a 4 then dial it down for any further passes, as this would be where I would be likely to get cuts or irritation. Just a thought…

  2. Larry says

    Thank you so much for this post. I have heard of two techniques for an adjustable. One starts more aggressive and dials it down for the 2nd and 3rd passes. The other is mild for the first pass, with increasing blade gap for later passes. I think the former makes more sense. Feedback?.

  3. Tom says

    I have been using it for about a month and it has become my favorite. It provides a smooth shave. I start out with a one for the first two passes and for the final pass I crank it up to a four. Because of its flexibility it can be used by many people in different ways.

  4. Jeff Hall says

    Hello Mark,

    great post as always. The one thing that you have not addressed is the fact that you can “zero” your Merkur Progress. What do I mean by this?

    All of the threads on the adjustable shaft of the Progress are the same, but is the base setting dot directly above the +, or somewhere else? How do I “zero” my Progress?

    “My Way”

    1) Have no blade in your Progress and tighten it down to where it stops. If the setting is not where the + aligns directly below the dot, then you need to adjust it.

    2) Loosen your Progress two complete turns, and grab the shaving head firmly.

    3) Turn the handle, only while gripping the head, in the proper direction so as to align the dot with the +. This may take a few tries before you succeed. You need to re-tighten it each adjustment to see if it lines up properly.

    4) Once the + aligns with the dot, you now have a “zero’d” razor. Now reinstall your blade.

    I use this as a “baseline zero” due to the fact that I use between two and three different blades, depending on how my facial skin condition is. This way I have a definite setting, and can adjust the blade’s aggressiveness depending on which blade I am using.

    For instance, with a Feather blade, I use setting 4, and with a Merkur blade, I use setting 5. Both settings could be exactly the same angle of the blade, but depending on the thickness of the blade, it’s flexibilty, and sharpness, I get a completely different shave.

    However you wish to “zero” your Progress is up to you, but this is my own general guideline.

  5. Larry says

    Tried it your way going up between passes. I believe you are correct. It was a smoother shave. End result may have been equal but it was more comfortable using your technique

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