Razor Blade Review: Dorco ST-301

Posted: July 9, 2016 in Shaving Articles
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Dorco ST-301 “New Platinum”

1) Sharpness: Good
2) Comfort: Great
3) Value: Amazing
4) Availability: Good
5) Country of Origin: South Korea
6) Passes “First Shave Test?: Yes
7) Longevity (# of shaves): 3
8) Notes:
Let’s get this out of the way first. The company name Dorco has been an object of juvenile humor on my part. I just have a hard time taking it seriously. It sounds like something that Biff would call Marty McFly in “Back to the Future”. I certainly don’t wish to demean the noble name of Dorco. I’m sure that it simply doesn’t translate well.

Before my “official” test of this blade, I used it for three consecutive shaves with my Gillette Aristocrat. Two two-pass shaves, and one three-pass. The blade worked well in the Aristocrat. There was no harshness or irritation, no cuts during that run. The Aristocrat is an efficient razor. I wouldn’t call it aggressive, but it is certianly a bit more potent in regards to cutting hair than a lot of twist-to-open vintage razors.

I would call the run in the Aristocrat good, but not one for the books. On the two pass shaves, it achieved perfectly acceptable results, and got nice and close on the three pass. When I say nice and close, the Aristocrat is known as a razor that can nullify stubble like crazy. It doesn’t appear to be a terribly fussy razor, however, so I all my bold generalizations will need to wait until I try it with some other razors. In terms of retaining sharpness, my feeling is, with the cost of the Dorco blades, I really can’t see why you would keep it more than three shaves. Pushing it with the least expensive part of the shave is a false economy, especially if you get a sub-par shave or irritate yourself as a result. I felt like the blade was just beginning to lose its sharpness. More to come on that later in the review.

With a new blade, I did a three pass shave with my Gillette Ball-End Tech razor (pre 1951). Proraso Red soap provided the slickness, and I had a very comfortable and close shave. No feeling of roughness or dullness in this, a mild to moderate razor. Again, impressed by the Dorco blade. Because the Tech is quite similar to the AS-D2, I’m calling the test valid because of its inclusion. It should be noted that the Tech didn’t yield quite as perfect or lingering smoothness as the Aristocrat, but that’s in line with what I expect of those two, regardless of the blade being employed.

For the second shave in the pseudo-official test, I used my Gillette “Old” open comb. Cella soap did its typical amazing job, and I got a very, very close shave with no blood or irritation. I’m quite happy with the smoothness of the Dorco blade. I think that its sharpeness could be termed moderate. It isn’t prone to tugging or juddering, but it seems to work better in more aggressive razors. If your razor of choice is very mild, it might not be a perfect fit (unless your beard is very light). I also went over the back of my neck, taking off the fuzz that grows between my hairline and the nape. Shaving blind with an aggressive razor verges on foolhardy, I suppose, but the razor and blade did a great job on these softer, longer hairs. My boldness resulted in no pain, blood, or injury. One shave to go…

The final shave (6 shaves considered!) was done with the Merkur 39c “Sledgehammer Slant” razor. I used Noxzema as a pre-shave, as has become my standard process. I bowl-lathered Palmolive Classic cream (I can’t seem to quite run out of that stuff) and performed a two pass “maintenance” shave. The blade continued to work well. I had an excellent shave (within the realm of two pass shaves, of course) with no irritation at all, no discomfort, and really nice closeness.

With the big Merkur, the primary quality that counts is smoothness. It doesn’t need the sharpest blade to do its work, as the dynamics of the slant is such that it has a mechanical advantage in that regard. I typically use a Personna Blue or a Derby Extra in this razor, or throw a blade that has two or three shaves already on the clock. A blade of vorpal sharpness, with this razor, might make it a bit perilous if you’re not really paying attention.

So, back to the shave. The Dorco retained plenty of sharpness into its third shave, even with switching razors between shaves, the whole nine. Plenty of sharpness for an aggressive razor to shine. More importantly, there was no incipient roughness or lack of smoothness that I could detect. I never felt anything resembling harshness from the Dorco blades.

In summation, I’m very impressed with this blade. Considering that the Dorco is one of the cheapest blades on the market, it is a quality product. I would call its sharpness very similar to the Personna Lab Blue. Its smoothness, though, has really impressed me. I would say that it may be nearly as smooth as the Derby. While I don’t find the Derby quite as dull as some people believe it to be, I will say that the Dorco 301 is sharper than that.

If you have a moderate to aggressive razor, this blade is worth a try. If your go-to razor is extremely mild, perhaps not. That is, unless you have a fine or soft beard. Really, at the price, you don’t have much to lose. My apologies to Dorco. They have a fine blade here.

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Comments
  1. Jerry E Jensen says:

    So Patrick, how are you storing your blades after use? I have heard you should dry them completely and not keep them in the bathroom because of the moisture will destroy the edge/sharpness. And Advice on a razor, blade and cream? I have sensitive skin with light whiskers. Shave daily and in the shower. Willing to change the routine if it improves my acne.

    • Jerry, I rinse the razor and blade (with the blade still in the razor), and then swirl them in a Mason jar filled with 91% alcohol and lemon oil. I wipe the outside of the razor down and let it air dry. The alcohol displaces the water and kills off the soap, while the lemon oil stays on the metal, giving it a little protection. Your question encourages me to write a bit of a how-to in regard to gear and methodology. In brief, if you have a light beard, you’ll only need a mild razor to get a good shave. I wouldn’t recommend shaving in the shower, but many people do it that way (not often with double edged razors or straight razors). It’s a bit of a big question, so I’ll refer you to an upcoming article (I’ll like you on FB when I post it).

      Thanks for the comment!

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