Gillette Silver Blue – A tale of an exemplary DE blade
Random Stash Review:
The Gillette Silver Blue (aka GSB) blades enjoy a high status and are very popular among the wet shaving community. A large majority of wet shavers have a positive experience with the GSBs. For many, it performs well enough to rank among a wet shaver’s top 3 blades. So, what makes these blades so good?
The Gillette Silver Blues are one of the sharpest* blades you can find, just a notch below the revered Feather blades. Especially so when going against the grain (ATG). They provide good tactile and audible feedback when taking the stubble off one’s face, which I really enjoy. I found that additional passes were equally done with ease, and I didn’t need to put any pressure on the handle to get the blade to cut.
* ‘Sharp’ here refers to the ability of the blade to cut through stubble. A blade is sharp when it removes hair with ease (ie like a hot knife through butter) and with as few passes as possible .
Well, this blade does excel in the smoothness* department as much as it does in sharpness. Given that this blade already excels in sharpness, it is a pleasure to use and it glides along the skin and provides a smooth shave. It does not drag or skip spots, even when used ATG under the chin, a tricky area in itself. Ever since I started using the Gillette Silver Blues, I have not had razor burn or ingrown hairs as compared to other blades *cough* Derby *cough*. Finding a blade that is both sharp and smooth is quite difficult, and the smoothness of the GSBs really allow you not to miss hairs and follow your face’s contours well.
* ‘Smooth’ here refers how well the blade glides over the skin. A blade is smooth when it does so with minimum or no resistance and tugging.
The Gillette Silver Blues do last quite a long while. Most who use the Gillette Silver Blues change their blades every 4-5 days, with some reportedly stretching to a week. My own finding is that the sharpness is maintained through to three days, and can be stretched to the fourth day. However, the fourth shave does not give the same smooth/sharp shave as the previous three days, which felt like I was using a new blade each shave.
Most use the GSBs for at least four days (as usual, YMMV :P). They do hold their edge to last three shaves (or more) and that is quite important when considering taking up the Silver Blues as a daily user blade. They also do not rust even when used up to a week, but just show discolouration and spots.
The Gillette Silver Blues, like other blades from the St Petersburg plant, come packed in little cardboard boxes of five. Each blade is individually wrapped in two pieces of paper and adhered to the piece that is waxed by four dots of glue. Some are quite annoyed at the four dots of glue but personally I do not find that these affect the shave in any way.
Worth its price?
Now for the million dollar question – Are the Gillette Silver Blue blades worth their price? As of time of writing, Gillette Silver Blue blades are available from Connaught Shaving at £38.00 (US$60.75) for 200 blades, which works out to around US$0.30 a blade. By comparison, there are of course much cheaper blades that offer almost the same shaving experience (such as the popular Astra SPs). The GSBs are certainly worth the price, but for some, they may not be an economical option for everyday use (that is if you are really trying to justify switching to DE blades from cartridge shaving). But, they are affordable and still cheaper than cartridge shaving. Besides, why stinge over something you change every four days or so?
All in all, the Gillette Silver Blues are one of the best double-edge razor blades that one can buy. It may seem that this can fit in as a “grail blade” (and a personal fav). They offer the perfect balance between sharp and smooth, and are a pleasure to use each morning for an effortless but–more importantly–bloodless shave. I have not tried them with other razors, except for my Edwin Jagger DE89 Barley.
However, many users on Badger & Blade forums have noted that the GSBs work well in different razors with equally good results. Hope you enjoyed this little review and do drop a comment and check out our other shaving articles!
Update: You might also want to check out the Polsilver Super Iridium, which is a touch sharper than the Gillette Silver Blue but is just as smooth. (The Gillette Silver Blue still remains in my blade rotation of 3 blades.)