DE Razor Review: Derby

Derby Scaled.jpg

Honestly, after the Feather experience I thought I would be surprised if another blade proved to offer a better shave.

And, yet, the Derby (amazon link) has done exactly that; produce a silky smooth shave with a pleasant shaving experience & almost no blood loss.

I guess I shouldn’t be entirely surprised, given the rave reviews.

The Derby isn’t as sharp as the Feather, yet it produces a shave that is every bit as close and, unlike the Feather, is considerably more forgiving in doing so. The only downside (so far) is that the Derby doesn’t seem to be quite as adept as the Feather at dealing with the bit o’ skin between chin and lower lip.

For lack of a better term, the Derby is a more relaxing blade for me to shave with than any of the others. It is more forgiving in that it tends to draw less blood, yet doesn’t pull or burn anywhere near as much as the Merkur or the absolutely abysmal Personnas.

Conveniently, the little case stores used blades under the good blades (with a divider between). Handy.

Assuming the Derby provides a bit of durability — lasts at least a week — it is currently the leading blade for me.
The Derby blades have provided a consistent shave for a full week, at that. Great blade for me.

The blade was starting to pull just a bit after 6 days, but flipping the blade over restored the quality of the shave to pretty close to new.

Currently, the Derby blades are my blade of choice. I still have about 5 or 6 brands to try, though.

In the meta, the Derby (amazon link) comes as a surprise. After all, a razor blade is really just a super damned thin piece of metal with very sharp edges. Yet, there is quite a bit more character to that piece of metal and its interface with my beard than I imagined.

(And, no, I have no idea why the blade has the numbers 3 and 4 on it. Nor why the other side has 1 and 2. Anyone? Update:Apparently, it is so you can keep track of which side you might have used or something. Seems silly, but… OK.)

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10 Responses to “DE Razor Review: Derby”

  1. David Buxton says:

    The numbers are there so you can identify which edge you are using, working through them methodically until all are blunt. I only wish mattresses did the same when it comes to turning them over.

  2. Ashley Aitken says:

    Whilst I haven’t moved beyond twin-bladed cartridges, all this talk of blood doesn’t make the double-edged *safety* razors sound much fun to me, especially since I usually shave half asleep.

    I’ve always thought the logic of the twin-bladed cartridge sounded a bit suspicious (i.e the first blade lifts or cuts part of the whiskers and the second completes the cut) but having two blades in a protective cartridge seemed like a reasonable approach (twice the cutting surface). I didn’t go for three, or four, or have I see them up to five blades recently, since it seemed more like feature bloat and somewhat unmanageable with the larger size.

    Sure I can believe you would get a closer shave with a double-edged safety razor and it would be significantly cheaper that the ridiculously expensive cartridges (although I tend to make my cartridges last for quite some time), but I think I can live without the absolute closest shave (given that it will grow back in a short while anyway ;-).

    That said, I guess I should try a good shave from a reputable barber and see how it feels one day.


  3. Geo says:

    Hey Bill,

    Let me know if you like to try BLUEBIRD Blades, I’m positive you’ll reconsider your opinion about DERBY!

  4. Tony says:

    Agree completely on the Derbys. Not that I have tried every blade, but out of the selection in West Coast Shaving’s sample pack, the Derby blades were the only ones that (almost) never cut me. I ordered a bunch from Amazon, too.

  5. webgrunt says:

    Well, after shaving with disposable cartridges for twenty-five years, I decided to take the plunge. I started with the feather blades, knowing that I’d have to be especially careful since they’re so sharp.

    This morning I shaved with the double-edge (with the feather blade) and I can honestly say that I didn’t really notice any difference between this and the dual-blade cartridges. It felt about the same, and the shave didn’t seem any closer than the cartridges–they both leave sharp stubble on my throat and under my chin unless I go once with the grain and two or three times against the grain, which irritates my skin. I didn’t suffer any cuts with the feather blade, but I don’t usually get cuts anyway. FYI, I’m using Edge “tough beard” formula gel, and I shave immediately after a hot shower without drying my face first.

    In fairness, there may be a learning curve to the double-edge technique that I’m not aware of. I’ll have to try different things to see if I can get better results.

    I’ve ordered some Derby blades and I’ll give them a try as well.

  6. bbum says:

    I’d suggest getting a brush and a good specialty shaving cream.

    To me, the advantages of the DE shaving experience is three fold; it is cheaper, the resulting shave is smoother and stays smoother for longer during the day, and the actual shaving experience is more relaxing and personally intimate.

    After DE shaving for a couple of months now, I can honestly say the skin of my face is smoother and healthier than it has ever been.

  7. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » DE Razor Review: Astra Superior Platinum says:

    […] blade does, however, pull a bit more than either the Derby or the Feather. It doesn’t necessarily feel that dull, it just pulls a bit and leaves the […]

  8. webgrunt says:

    Thanks! I did just get a brush (badger hair, no less) but I haven’t used it yet, probably tomorrow, with some glycerin shaving soap I also bought.

    I like the cheaper aspect. I picked up the shaver, new, for $15 on eBay.

  9. webgrunt says:

    Well, with the badger hair brush and the glycerin shave soap, the shave did seem a lot smoother. The soap comes in its own little tub, so I got the brush wet and whisked it around on the soap to make some lather (I’m not sure if that’s how this soap is supposed to be used, and the lather was rather thin, but it provided a better shave than the Edge gel I had been using.) Thanks for the tip!

  10. Review of Derby Razor Blades | A Penny Shaved says:

    […] Bbum’s Derby Blade Review […]

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