Well, after putting both my feet firmly in my mouth in one of the recurring Once you go Feather, you never go back! threads, a gentlemanly member graciously sent me a couple of Feather blades to revisit. Thank you very much! I had tested these some time ago and decided not to repurchase them, so I appreciate it.
Well, the short background -- I've been brush and soap lathering for close to twenty years now, but just started on the DE a little less than a year ago. I learned to shave, and did shave with, a Schick Injector back in the early 70's, but had gone up the Gillette ladder of products since my college days. Being somewhat 'old school' and former military, and in the financial business for 20 years, I am used to shaving every day. I cannot abide what I’ve come to call the “Yasser Arafat Look” that seems to be all the rage these days. Indeed, I’ve only taken about a half-dozen days off from shaving since last April.
I always get DFS results, and BBS whenever I really want to with a little extra effort. I have had a total of about 3 uncomfortable shaves in the last year. I started with an Edwin Jagger DE89, then ran through a half dozen other razors before deciding to get a Bob’s Razor Works XXL handle to stick the DE89 on, and that is it! No more fiddling around, this is the ‘one razor to rule them all’ for me. Since the Feather is often highly-touted in the EJ, I thought it high time to give it another run.
Today, I got a DFS, as per usual, no issues, no razor burn, in fact very little alcohol burn from the Pinaud Lilac Vegetal I splashed on afterwards, it was a very nice shave, indeed. However – you knew there was a but coming, right? – it was no better (or worse) than I get with my daily blades, the Gillette Super Platinums, Black (Indian, AKA: Ninja). It was the same. Great, comfortable DFS, with just the merest hint of stubble right under the right jawline, where I always have it (unless I decide to spend the time eradicating it for a BBS). The shave results and face feel are, in fact, about as identical to my Gillette Blacks as can be. Now, at about 1:30 PM, I am experiencing the same face feel I always do at this hour. No better, no worse.
This is in no way a criticism of any kind, I always thought the Feather was a good blade, and I am acknowledging that they are the equal of my favorite, buy-in-bulk, daily shaver blades. The only reason I am even bothering to write this is that it is an odd product, in the way its aficionados rave about it. I don’t mean in the same way the Arkoleptics do, we tolerate them as the fun and entertaining creatures that they are—not in the same way the Vegomatics praise their AS splash (for the record, I have been ‘chosen’ ) – no, the …. What to call them? Featherbrains? No, that’s not right, we don't want to inflame. Well, lets just call them the FeatherFans—they are different. They actually BELIEVE their product really is the best on the planet!
And Feathers get talked about around here in almost reverential tones. “There’s the Personna reds, the Astras, the Personna meds, the Gillette (insert color here), the… blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada, then there are … (suck in your breath a little, widen your eyes) the FEATHERS!” All as if there are all the other blades over here, and then there is the Feather, over there, in a class all by itself.
I say baloney! I’m not bashing the Feathers at all! They are great blades! But they are just great blades, like the Personna meds/labs or the Gillette Blue/Black (interchangeable in my mind, both sets). If they were truly in a sharpness category all by themselves, I should have had a different shave this morning and I did not. It was just as good, but certainly not better than I get with my ninjas or my NOS Schick Plus Platinums.
Plus (and I will report back in a couple days), I don’t get as many shaves on these. I can go a week on a ninja or NOS Schick, but will admit the weekend shaves are perhaps not quite as close. But changing a blade on Monday morning and using it through Sunday works very well and comfortably for me on my favorites. The Feather has always lost its close or its comfortable (or both) shaving quality in the 3rd shave. Maybe I could get through number 3, but since I hate changing blades mid-shave, and since I can’t tell whether it will make it through shave 3, I treat them as a 2-shave blade. For the sake of the next comment, let’s treat them as a 3-shave blade, though. And have me take a hypothetical day off each week with my Gillette Blacks, so we have a 3-shaver versus a 6-shaver, OK? Using today’s West Coast Shaving prices for 100-packs of blades, we have $40 for the feathers and $32 for the Gillette Blue. Since we get twice the shaves out of the Gillettes, though, let’s double the Feather cost to $80 and we get a ratio of 2.5 times the per-shave cost for the Feather. ($80/32)
FeatherbrainsFeatherFans often reply, “Who cares, it’s still pennies, not even the cost of a cup of Starbucks!” That is true, but I think like an economist, so if the per shave cost is 2.5 times higher, should I not expect better results with the Feathers? I certainly don’t get worse! I get the same excellent, close, comfortable shave results as I get with the Gillette Blue/Black! Um, so why the huge increase in cost? It’s not the pennies, it’s the economic value in question here. I can certainly afford the darn things, and I’m no penny pincher, by any stretch of the imagination.
So all this is to simply say to the
FeatherbrainsFeatherFans … “Hey, Feathers are a nice blade! They provide high-quality, close, comfortable shaves, just like all the other blades that provide high-quality, close, comfortable shaves!” They are very nice!
But they are not in a category unto themselves. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, YMMV!
This was written somewhat tongue-in-cheek and no disrespect is intended to the