Razor Blade Review: KAI Stainless Razor Blades

Posted: August 16, 2015 in Shaving Articles
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Testing Protocols:

1) Parker 99R Shaver
2) Proraso White Shave Soap; no pre-shave treatment
3) Escali Badger Hair Brush, soaked in warm water with 30 second load of soap
4) Four Pass shave
a) With the Grain
b) Across the grain from ear toward nose
c) Across the grain toward ear
d) Against the grain
e) Lather after each pass
5) Comparative Baseline: Personna Lab Blue blades
6) All blades brand new
7) All grades assume the Personna is “Good” in subjective score
8) Grades (worst to best) Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Amazing

***

KAI Stainless Razors

1) Sharpness: Good
2) Comfort: Poor
3) Value: Poor
4) Availability: Fair
5) Country of Origin: Japan
6) Passes “First Shave Test?: NO (Sadly!)
7) Longevity (# of shaves): N/A
8) Notes: I really had high hopes for the KAI razors. I am a big fan of the Kershaw knife brand, which is a subsidiary of KAI. Unfortunately, these razors have a lot of knocks against them. Thus far, they are the worst performers in the test. They are the most expensive blades by far, for one thing. At the price, which is more than double what a lot of other brands charge, they have a lot to live up to. For me, they did not do so. I got an unparalleled level of irritation, such that I will need to lay off shaving for multiple days to allow the razor burn to subside. Compounding the problem, I did not get a spectacularly close shave to go with all that pain. I get a much closer shave with the Personna, with little to no irritation, and equal closeness with the Shark Super Chrome, albeit with some razor burn (a small fraction of what I got with the KAI). At this point, I see no way that they would be viable daily shavers with this razor. Even with very elaborate preshave rituals, I think I’d have to either do shoddy one-pass shaves or deal with stubble in order to preserve my face. This is one of the blades that I will give another whirl with a different razor in the Last Chance Rodeo, sometime down the line.

Additional editorial:

This was the razor that solidified my feeling that I need more than one razor to test all of these blades. I believe that the blades on the high end of the sharpness/aggresiveness spectrum will not end up being comfortable with the Parker 99R. Thus, I will bifurcate these tests and concentrate my efforts with the Parker on the blades at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of aggressiveness. I will henceforth come out with another, concurrent test that will use the Feather AS-D2 razor, and use that one for the sharpest/most aggressive blades. There will likely be some overlap in regards to blades that could work with both razors. I am enthusiastic to see how things progress.

Cheers,

Patrick

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