Friday, August 9, 2013

Shark Super Chrome Double Edge Safety Razor Blades - Much Better Than Fusion

After using electric shavers for decades and achieving less than perfect shave, I decided to try Gillette Fusion. That resulted in fast and close shave, but irritation. I have a combination of tough facial hair and sensitive skin, which puts me at a disadvantage when shaving. Skin irritation from shaving is very difficult to avoid and although various Panasonic electric shavers worked well for me in this regard, I always wanted a closer shave.

I tried to use 2-blade Gillette Sensor razors when I was a teenager and had to stop because of the skin irritation. Now, after decades of using electric shavers, I discovered that a close shave was within my grasp, if only I could do something about the resultant irritation. Electric shavers have other disadvantages in addition to lack of close shave: cleaning, charging, bulk and blades that would get dull after 1-2 years and require now screens and cutters that cost as much as a new shaver.

Just to illustrate this point: I recently used the following shavers: Panasonic ES8101S Electric Shaver, Panasonic Pro-Curve ES7037. The blades and screen combos for each were in $35 range, making it more practical to just get a new shaver. Bad for the environment.

After trying the manual Gillette Fusion and a battery-powered vibrating Gillette Fusion power razor, it was, to avoid irritation, a time to try something new. Or rather something old. The old-fashioned shaving with double-edge safety razor and blades. I bought the Parker 86R safety razor and 100 Shark Super Chrome double edge safety blades.

Normally, when you are new to double-edge safety razor shaving, it is recommended that you buy small numbers of different blade types and see which suits your skin and beard better. In this sense, buying 100 of the same blade type was a bit of a gamble. But the blades were super cheap and had excellent reviews.

About Shark Super Chrome

Shark Super Chrome double edge safety blades are blades that can be used in any double-edge safety razor. Razors are currently produced by Parker (India), Merkur (Germany) and quite a few other companies. The Shark blades reviewed here are stainless steel blades with polymer coating for smoothness and longevity.


Shaving with a DE razor requires some learning (there are plenty of articles and videos online) and practice (don't expect great results at first). Still, the first time I tried these blades, I got a decent shave and less irritation than what I got shaving with Fusion. With every shave, I got better and after a few weeks I got very close shave with very minimal irritation, which is a perfect combination I tried to achieve. Less irritation than Fusion and closer shave than an electric shaver.

Another appealing aspect is the blades are cheap and last over a week each, even if shaving daily. They are light and are made entirely of metal, so environmental impact should be small. The Shark blades come in plastic cartridges (5 blades per). The cartridges have a blade disposal slot in the back, making blade disposal safer.

The math is simple: each blade costs about 12-16 cents and lasts over a week, resulting in cost of $5-8 per year. Fusion blades are over $2 each. Even if you manage to make one Fusion cartridge last 2 weeks, that works out to $60-80 per year. It is worse for the environment and I get skin irritation with Fusion. This is a no-brainer.

I use them in either Lord L6 razor and the excellent Edwin Jagger de89bl 3-piece razor.

Compared to Derby Extra Blades

I also got Derby Extra blades and they are quite different. Derby blades seem less sharp and Shark blades last longer. So these Shark blades are sharper and longer-lasting.

After using Derby blades it was a relief to go back to Shark Super Chrome. Shark blades produce less tugging, closer shave and longer life.

Compared to Astra Superior Platinum

I also got Astra Superior Platinum and although I liked them on first use, I was ultimately disappointed. Not only did Astra blades result in skin irritation on every single use, they also don't last as long as Shark and their packaging is frustrating to deal with.

After using Astra blades it was a relief to go back to Shark blades as well. Again, Shark blades produce less tugging, closer shave and longer life. I will try something else soon though.

Compared to Dorco ST-301.

The Dorco ST-301 blades seem duller and I much prefer Shark or Personna "blue" blades.

Compared to Wilkinson Sword Classic

The Shark Super Chrome are sharper and longer lasting than Wilkinson Sword Classic.

Pros: Low price, sharp, durable, smooth shave with virtually no irritation, blade disposal slot in case
Cons: None

Bottom Line

Both Gillette and Schick produce "shaving systems" with more and more blades. The results are not necessarily better. It was fortunate that I decided to give old-school shaving a try and I couldn't be happier. Although double-edge razor shaving requires practice and it does take a bit longer to shave with a DE than with Fusion, I get good shave with no irritation. I also find the shaving process more soothing, which makes me sleepy, which in turn makes it ideal after shower and right before going to bed.

DE shaving is also better for the environment as only the blade itself is disposed of and not the cartridge with its surrounding plastic, packaging, etc. Shark Super Chrome are sharp, stay sharp for over a week and provide excellent combination of cutting and smooth gliding over the skin. They are also significantly cheaper than Merkur and Feather blades. And they are sharper and longer lasting than Derby blades. The Shark cases come with a blade disposal slot and the quality of blades has been very uniform. I highly recommend them.

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