Growing up near an affluent town, I became aware of the have and have not scenario in my youth. Half my classmates came from wealth, & lived in private homes just like Dick, and Jane. The other half lived in apartments, and played stickball. One of my kindergarten classmates owned a pony! Regardless of status, baseball ruled supreme, and the television carried an ad for Gillette featuring Pee Wee Reese, Don Zimmer, and Roy Campanella. These guys were inspirational to us, because like us…they never had a pony. Through baseball, men from humble backgrounds became icons of baseball, and lived well off their skills. When I returned to wet shaving, I was reminded by these lessons, and decided to stage a “shave off” between those cheaper, time proven products, with the higher end versions for wet shaving. Below are the materials and methods.
White Collar: Standard, EJ89, Weber PH, Gillette President
Blue Collar: Merkur 1906, Gillette SS Flare Tip, Gillette SS Red Tip, Gillette Fatboy
For this test I used the Fatboy set to 3. Even though the EJ and Merkur are of similar construction the chrome vs. nickel and fit and finish elevated the EJ.
White Collar: Trumpers Coconut, Cade, Jack Black, QCS Vostok
Blue Collar: Palmolive Sensitive, Nivea Mild, RSC Shave2Cream, Proraso.
I used the blades I find best for each razor.
EJ Best Badger, Kent Infinity, Omega 10006, Elite
Pre shave oil (I use organic cold pressed coconut oil. Cook with it too!), Shower shaver with Dr Bronners prep.
3 pass technique
Blades: I want each razor to perform at its best, so the blades vary from razor to razor.
Judge: My Mrs, feels my face and gives it a letter grade. (I can add a +/- based on comfort of the shave). A comfortable DFS never beats a BBS regardless.
Matchups: They are based partially of blade gap. As Leisureguy has demonstrated there is more to it than gap alone. Blade exposure and angle really matter as well. All blades used are new. Same blade brand used in each heat.
EJ89 vs. Red Tip both using Derby
STD vs. Fatboy both using Astra SP
President vs. Merkur . both using IP
Weber vs. Flair Tip Astra SP in both
I was able to get a BBS every shave, being careful, irrespective of equipment.
The Red Tip outshaved the EJ
The Standard outshaved the Fatboy
Merkur tied the President!!
Weber outshaved the Flare tip.
The more expensive creams did give a slightly more comfortable shave. Whether that small difference is worth the extra money is your call. YMMV.
Surprises? First Cade: Product is poor performer in hard water. I have soft well water and was able to get great shaves with that. It was the worst hard water performer at a high price point.
RCS cream may be bargain priced, and the tea tree oil isn’t for everybody, but this cream tied for the top. Not surprising considering Creighton’s also makes the Trumpers cream I used. Jack Black is consistently good as well.
The least expensive razor the Merkur gave identical shaves to the Rhodium festooned Gillette President. Since all shaves were BBS, the comfort of the shave really mattered in the results.
So you can get a great shave at any price point.
By Larry Isaacs, MD