Razor Blade Review: Personna Platinum Chrome “Red”

Posted: October 4, 2016 in Shaving Articles
Tags:

1) Sharpness: Good/Great
2) Comfort: Good
3) Value: Good
4) Availability: Good
5) Country of Origin: Israel
6) Passes “First Shave Test?: Yes
7) Longevity (# of shaves): 3
8) Notes: I am a fan of the Personna Lab Blue blade. It forms one of my reference points for evaluating blades. To me, it’s the sort of quintessential “middle of the road” blade. Sharp enough. Smooth enough. Good value. Reliable. Decent reliability. Easy to find.

I’ve heard a lot of things about the Personna Red, the “Israeli Personna”, as it is sometimes called. It’s allegedly sharper than the Lab Blue, and many shaving personalities have good things to say.

My first shave was with the Gillette Knack razor, and it came off quite well. Paired with this, a fairly gentle razor, it gave a very close shave. It certainly felt a bit more aggressive than the Lab Blue. Sharpness seemed quite good. Smoothness was not quite as good as my favorite blades, but sufficient on the first shave.

Second shave was with the Gillette Aristocrat. Close shave, but just verged on being a little harsh. One weeper, a few times in the later passes when I felt like things were starting to get “spiky”. I am not sure what to make of this shave. I’ll have to put it into perspective with the third and final shave of this test.

Sometimes, you don’t know exactly what kind of shave you’ve had until some time has passed. Upon further review, I got a very, very close shave from the Aristocrat on the second test shave. I had no lingering difficulties, no razor burn or bumps today. The Aqua Velva did its job and rehabilitated any overshaving I may have done. So, effective, if not the last word on comfort.

I loaded the Personna into the trusty AS-D2 Feather for the third shave. It was an excellent outing. Completely comfortable. An easy shave. It appears that the Red blade is a great match for the Feather, which is a very safe, very smooth shaver. If it’s working right, the Feather has nearly no blade-to-face feeling. It gets the hair off, but in the gentlest way possible. It is also a razor that has interesting interactions with some blades. It can work very well with blades that, on the surface of them, differ greatly in terms of sharpness. Now and then, it’ll simply work poorly with a blade. If that’s the case, I don’t shy away from kicking that blade to the curb. There are plenty to choose from, and I don’t need to chase trouble. That, for the attentive reader, is what’s known as a digression.

Over time, I’ve become more demanding in terms of what I consider “state of the art” closeness. In that time, I’ve learned that the Feather razor, for all its wonders, isn’t the razor to use if you need every microscopic remnant of stubble gone. It leaves you comfortable, well shaved, and quite smooth, but other razors might get just a touch closer. You only notice this if you’re really thinking about shaving way too much. Just a data point.

What have we learned? I think we’ve learned that the Personna Red is a good, sharp blade. Perhaps not quite as smooth as an Astra or Polsilver, but sharp. My take is that, if you have any issues with sensitivity or overshaving, you may want to pair it with a fairly gentle razor. Unless, of course, you need the aggression to get through a thick, wiry beard.

Certainly, this is a nice blade. I can see why people like it. For my own stable of razors, and for the level of aggression I find necessary to shave well, it might be just a little spiky. If I only used the Feather – great match, but for the Aristocrat, or a Gillette Adjustable turned up above 3, I’d probably prefer the Lab Blue blade. The Blues are cheaper, if that’s a concern. As are the Astras.

In my experience, as long as the razor is smooth enough, and you pair it with a razor capable of close shaving, you don’t need the very sharpest blade. Most of my favorites are on the sharp side of moderate, but all of them are smooth. I’d take a Derby Extra, not renowned for its sharpness, over a rough blade that is sharper.

The Personna Red is certainly worth a try. I think it’s a good compliment for a mild razor, particularly. Does it unseat the favorites for me? No. Certainly functional and would make a good match with at least a few razors I have kicking around.

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