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A Shave With Blue Collar vs. White Collar Gear

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roy campenella
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

Sharpologist Staff

Sharpologist Staff

4 thoughts on “A Shave With Blue Collar vs. White Collar Gear”

  1. Certainly YMMV, but Larry ignored the one thing the Fatboy can do that none of the others can — shave differently for the same shave. Perhaps 3 wasn’t aggressive enough. Then the flaw was the setting chosen not the razor. He could have started at 5 or 6 and then dropped down to 2 to fine tune his shave. Would he have gotten a better shave then? None of the others can even do that. In fact, it is impossible for any modern maker to contemplate making a TTO adjustable today. The various Merkur adjustables are a simpler technology. So sure, anyone can say they like x or y razor. But to judge the Fatboy as if it were a fixed razor at 3? You decide if that makes sense.

    1. I can see what you mean but I think the Fatboy on a single setting makes sense for the test. If Larry gets his best shave with a 3 then sticking to it eliminates a variable.

  2. Very entertaining, Larry. Thanks for sharing.
    But I might suggest you have shown “you” can get a great shave at any price point, as you only experimented on yourself. Generalizing from yourself to everyone is typically trouble, in my experience. With that said, I agree, the price point is hardly the best way to evaluate products.
    Some of the more expensive products I like for their aesthetic appeal. For example is it hard to beat classic Acqua di Parma’s scent or luxurious feel. But do you need to pay that kind of money for a great shave? Well, I know I don’t.
    Others might argue the materials used justify the high price of some of the more upscale products. I agree to a point. But they don’t make a bit difference in the shave itself, in my experience. However if you are big on luxury, or passing a razor down through generations, it might make sense to spend more upfront for a lasting product.
    I notice you didn’t distinguish between “white collar” and “blue collar” brushes. Had you done so, I trust you’d reach the same conclusion. Many brushes are very expensive simply because of the label on the handle, IMO. That isn’t to say there are brushes that work well for someone and those that don’t. Perhaps some people’s faces require a “high mountain white” to get that great shave.
    One area which I completely disagree with you is when you conclude “A comfortable DFS never beats a BBS regardless.”. If a shave isn’t comfortable for me, it is a terrible shave. I don’t care how close it is. At my age, my comfort is supreme! And as all my shaves are very close, who really cares about whether I labeled it a “BBS” or a “DFS”?
    Also I think the notion of a BBS shave is a bit absurd, to tell the truth. Can you imagine someone blindfolded feeling your face and a baby’s behind and not being able to tell the difference? My skin is pretty good–actually gotten better over the years. But I do have a rough spot or two. That just comes from living, I think. I’m hardly fretting over it. But I also understand it is my preference. It seems there are some who have a quest for a daily BBS shave. If that’s the case, God bless you. But I really can’t understand it.

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