Your foray into wet shaving might be laced with indecision, yet when it comes to selecting your very first blade you need not be riddled with doubt. Let's begin.
Razor blades differ from one another in how sharp they are at the beginning of your shave and how consistent they maintain this sharpness until you dispose of them. These are factors dependent upon what grade of metal the blades are made of, how precisely it is machined and heat treated and what the coating on the blade edge is, if any. Consider the chart below.
This chart demonstrates the tested blade edge sharpness and consistency of 34 of the more popular brands of DE razor blades. The numbers listed indicate the amount of force required to cut a standardized test media which simulates a human whisker, with lower numbers indicating a sharper edge. The data are organized according to average edge sharpness, with the sharpest blades on average located at the left side.
Use this chart as a loose guide when you begin your quest to narrow down your blade search. However, this should not a regarded as the "be-all / end-all" of the discussion because so very much of how well you shave is subjectively dependent upon your personal experience and comfort. Nobody else in the world has your whiskers, skin, and sensitivities during shaving. Only you will know and discover what is right for you.
How long does a razor blade last?
How long each blade will last you depends on many factors, including:
- skin type and skin softness,
- how thick and tough your whiskers are,
- how slick and lubricating your shave cream or soap is,
- when you choose to shave – pre- or post-shower, etc.
The best way to jump down this rabbit hole is heads-first. Double edge blades arrive in small packs of 5 (or rarely, 10) blades, each pack being called a "tuck". Acquire a sampler of 10 or 20 such tucks from Amazon, TryABlade.com, RazorBladesClub.com, or browse our in-house selection.
With the above in mind, pick a blade brand to begin with and keep mental or physical notes as to how it feels during your shave, while keeping other factors identical: use the same shave soap or cream you are used to, the same shaver, brush, bowl, etc. at the same time of day or night. With some patience and consistent experimentation you'll soon find the blade brand(s) which works the best for you.
Our top 10 Recommended Blades:
Astra Superior Platinum [green]: These blades are very popular for newcomers to wet shaving. They may not be the most consistent performers out there due to their substantial comfort coating, but they're easy to approach and quite forgiving for anyone who picks up a double edge razor for the first time. Consider trying these first.
Astra Superior Stainless [blue]: This blade is somewhat sharper and slightly more consistent than their more well-known platinum cousins. This should also be part of your initial tryout package, should you find the Astra Platinum to be a tad too mild for your liking.
Feather Blades: Hailing from Seki, Japan, these blades are almost the sharpest you can buy on the market. Unusually, they do not appear to have any coating on them, so they start out extremely sharp and become milder as you go along. If you have tough whiskers and resilient skin, this is a blade for you. Be advised they tend to be amongst the most expensive blades on the market because of their Japanese factory location.
Bic Chrome Platinum: These Bic blades are made by the same fine folks who originally brought you disposable lighters and disposable pens. These blades come is about as sharp as Feather brand blades, and are best suited to those with coarse whiskers, but they cost much less.
Voskhod: This blade leans towards the sharper end of the spectrum, and it is remarkably consistent in keeping an edge from start to finish. If you find the Astra green's to be too mild, consider switching over to this.
Dorco ST-301: This is another "beginner blade" and is positively perfect for someone just getting into the craft of wetshaving. They're very mild and when paired with an average or mild razor you can easily start your journey here.
Treet Platinum: This is another mild beginner blade which has remarkable consistency across many shaves. If you have sensitive skin, consider this blade as a starter.
Shark Stainless: Shark blades are among the mildest available on the market. Consider these blades if you have extremely sensitive skin, especially in your neck area.
Gillette 7 O'Clock SharpEdge: This is another moderately sharp blade with a minimal coating on them for consistency. Migrate towards these blades if you discover milder blades don't work well for you.
Sharp Titanium: These blades are of average sharpness and offer good comfort during your shave but are dimensionally larger than most other blade offerings. This means you will get a slightly closer finish with a Henson or similar type razor.