Ever notice how the second time you use a razor is usually the best it performs? Shaves always seem easiest and smoothest the second time you use a blade. The first time you shave with a brand new blade, sure it’s sharp and clean, but the blade seems to cut up your face. And then every time after the second shave the blade is so dull it painfully pulls at your hair and jerks across your face. The second second shave is the magic shaving sweet spot between being too sharp and too dull. I recently purchased a sample pack of double edged safety razors and now I’m trying out each one to see which ones I like best.
First up are razors made by Wilkinson Sword. I chose these first because growing up we had a kitchen knife made by this sword fabricator that always stayed sharp. Or, at least I think we did, I was a child after all.
Wait, did I say sword fabricator? I did. Wilkinson Sword started in the 1700s making swords. This is really the only piece of information that you should care about because it means the same people who make swords make razors. Think about that the next time you reach for Old Man Gillette’s “safety razor.”
Of course, Wilkinson Sword is now owned by Energizer and makes their own cartridge-based safety razors under the Schick brand, and then there’s the part where they sold off the sword business so I suppose these German manufactured modern blades aren’t anything like their historical counterparts. But there are swords on the logo and that counts for something. The Wilkinson Sword Classic Double Edge Blade fits all double edge razors and I know this because it says so on the package.
While I feel the second shave with a razor is the best, I’m going to describe the first shave I had with this blade so we can all see the difference a single shave makes. Also worth noting is when I shave I normally make two passes with my razors — the first with the grain and the second against the grain. Don’t judge me, this is what works.
On the first pass I found the Sword to be smooth. It worked well on my cheeks and especially my chin. In fact, I commented to myself in the mirror that this first pass on my chin was “the best in my life to this point.” You see, my chin has a cleft and a small scar and usually I need to make a few delicate passes to clean it up. But the sword shaved what I would say as 99% of my chin stubble. Impressive! I felt it performed similarly on my upper lip, but when I checked later there was a lot more stubble remaining than I had expected.
When it came to my neck, it sliced it up pretty bad. But here’s the best part: I had no idea about my neck trauma until it started bleeding. The blade cut my neck so smoothly I didn’t feel the nick like you usually do. I’m upset that it cut me but I’m impressed more that it did it silently and without any pain. My neck ended up with a lot of stubble after the first pass except in a spot I didn’t expect: my adam’s apple.
The adam’s apple is normally the hardest part to shave. The skin is thin and sensitive, and there’s this hard bit under the skin that moves around and creates an awkward bump. With the Sword, it shaved my adam’s apple without any issue at all, much like it did with my chin. Well done.
All-in-all a good first shave. There were a couple pleasant surprises but more or less the shave I received was what I expected with a new blade.
As hoped, the second shave was indeed smoother. This time there was no unexpected neck slicing, and the blade ran over my face without pulling or getting stuck. The work it did on my chin was even better than the first round and is the best I’ve ever felt since whiskers first sprouted from my face. After the first shave I didn’t think it could get any better, but the second shave was so smooth and close I couldn’t feel any stubble. I noted the smoothness of my chin using a ten-point scale from sand paper to baby’s bum and noted the smoothness like this:
sand paper <---------|> baby's bum
The Sword performed excellent on my cheeks and did a really good job on my moustache zone. Again it worked its swordy magic around my adam’s apple, leaving the area smooth and without blood. As I mentioned at the beginning of the first shave, I usually make two passes. On this shave however this decisiong was probably a bad idea. The second pass worked well on my jaw line and cheeks but when I got to my neck I nicked it pretty bad in several spots — so much on this second pass I wrote down the note:
slaughterhouse <--|-------> not slaughterhouse
Overall I found the Wilkinson Sword to provide me with a really smooth shave, but in both tries there was a lot more blood than I would had liked in a regular shave and didn’t have a lot of luck shaving my neck except for my adam’s apple which I totally appreciated.
I am going to give this blade an entirely subjective rating of 8 crossed swords out of a possible 10 crossed swords.