Review: Astra Superior Platinum razor blades

Part of me wishes these had not worked even slightly well, then I could have used the joke “Astra-ick.”  With that joke out of the way, let’s move on to how I almost cut my face off because I’m too cheap to throw away a used 9¢ blade that I didn’t even like:

As part of the on going experiment, the last two weeks I’ve been using Astra Superior Platinum razor blades.  Made in Russia, they are one of the brands that I knew about prior to starting DE shaving due to a former professor of mine recommending them.  I was thus tempted to start using them as my first blade for the trial, but I wanted to get a bit more experience and comparison under my belt first so that I’d hopefully enjoy them more as well as have a more impartial experience.

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The muted but professional style seems fitting for a product that saw its heyday several decades ago. Unlike Shark blades there are, of course, no sharks on the packaging. While certainly disappointing, this is completely understandable.

That being said, I went into it really wanting to like them, not the least reason of which is that you can buy a box of 100 of them for the cost of a movie ticket.

The first week, simply, did not go well.  The shave were bad, both in result and in the fact that they just weren’t that enjoyable.  Shaving wasn’t smooth, nor did my face feel such afterward, and I noticed that my face felt much drier than usual.  Within a couple hours of shaving things would be feeling sharp and bristly.  It hit bottom around Friday when I had what was probably the worst shave in years, with a good amount of blood and discomfort.  Had the cold rinse and aftershave not stopped it, I would have taken a picture.  It was not good.

By the end of the week I was disliking them so much that I was ready to cut their trial period short and move on to something else.  But, after thinking on it more I decided to go one more week for a couple reasons:

  1. It was a weird week, and definitely not normal circumstances.  There were snow days, snow delays, and general disruption of the morning schedule.  Maybe that threw me off.
  2. It might have just been a bad blade.
  3. It’s just one more week, and it’ll give you more information.

So with some trepidation I set a new blade, steeled my nerves, and set out on a second week.  Luckily and happily, it went a lot better.  I made extra efforts to make sure I was lathering well, and that I wasn’t rushing things.  Most important, I paid closer attention to the angle of the blade than I have in weeks, trying to make sure that I wasn’t being too aggressive.  This extra attention paid off, and while the fun factor didn’t go up much the shaves definitely improved.  By the end of the trial I was consistently getting shaves I was satisfied with, but never thrilled.

So how do they stack up?  They seemed to hold up fairly well, perhaps getting a bit dull toward the end of the week.  But I found myself neither enjoying the shave nor enjoying the results as much as I did with the Shark blades.  Shark seemed to give me a slightly closer, smoother, more even and longer lasting shave while also leaving my face feeling better.

Astra does stack up favorably against Derby in some regards, giving what felt to be a closer shave in most places.  But Derby’s shave simply felt better, and as a result I noticed that when I didn’t shave everyday the growth seemed to be more even and comfortable than Astra provides.

Despite really wanting to like them, I just didn’t have a great experience with Astra.  I’m sure they are a fine blade for many people, but for me it just didn’t work out…this time.  I still have three blades, and later in the experiment I’ll return to them and see if and how things have changed.  Perhaps with more experience, or warmer summer months, things will be different.

Conclusion: I got mixed results, both good and bad.  So, right now I’m going with good, with an Astra-ick.

Bam, that joke just came full circle.

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3 comments

  1. Hey, everyone’s got a blade that works for them! I ended up going to Astras after deciding that Feathers would destroy my face pretty much every time. So far so good, but as they say on the forums, “your mileage may vary.” :-)

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