After about a week of shaving and growing and shaving again I am ready to provide a review of the Merkur 37C. I mentioned in a previous post that the purchase of the Merkur 37C is directly correlated to my purchase of the Bakelite Slant a few weeks back. Although I don’t want this review to be a Merkur 37C vs Bakelite Slant I feel that it will be difficult, if not impossible, not compare the two, but I will try my best to limit this review to the 37C. As with the Bakelite, I gave the 37C three shaves under different conditions and I have broken them down below. If you are reading this review and are unfamiliar with slant razors you may wish to read this write-up.
Shave 1 – For my first shave I used a fresh Astra blade, I had two days growth, and used some Edwin Jagger shave soap. To say that I was more than pleased with my first shave using the 37C would be an understatement. The shave was comfortable, needed zero – noticeable – adjustment with respect to handling and angle. I performed three passes with the end result being a really impressive close shave with no irritation, cuts or nicks. After one shave I was ready to make this my #1 razor – shunning all other razors in my collection – including the Bakelite. That was until…
Shave 2 – For the second shave I once again used a new Astra blade. I had one day of growth instead of two. Changed shaving cream to Taylor of Old Bond Street Avocado For
this shave I was most interested in how the 37C would perform with only one day of hair growth. Apparently, at least for me, not so well. It was an extraordinarily uncomfortable shave – like I was using a different razor altogether. I experienced irritation and discomfort with nearly every stroke – especially on the second pass. So much so that I decided against a third pass. If I didn’t enjoy the Taylor of Old Bond street shave soap as much as I do, and had previous success with it, I would have questioned it as the culprit behind this terrible result. Needless to say my Alum block got a workout after this shave, leaving me thinking that perhaps the 37C needs to be relegated to a use only when multiple days of hair growth is present razor, which will be determined after Shave #3.
Shave 3 – For the third shave I decided to stick with the Taylor of Old Bond Street; my reasoning being that if it is a successful shave I could rule out the shave cream being the issue in the previous shave, and in the process solidify the fact that the Merkur 37C should be reserved for days when I had multiple days of hair growth. Yet another new Astra Blade and three days of growth. I’m happy to say that things were back to normal for the third pass. Irritation gone and discomfort were both gone. I will have to say however that it didn’t feel as good as the first shave with the razor, leaving the Taylor of Old Bond Street the possible culprit – an issue I will have to investigate. Either way the third shave with the Merkur 37C left me clean shaven and feeling good. Not that I expected it to be, but I will have to say that this razor will not be my every day razor, reserving it for those days with extra growth.
A couple of more items to point out about the 37C – it felt good to hold – both in balance and texture. I wasn’t able to say the same thing about the Bakelite, at least regarding the texture of the handle itself. The only other issue I had with the Bakelite was a bit of difficulty using it under the nose, which I didn’t find an issue at all with the 37C.
So what of the fate of the Bakelite Slant? The 37C was purchased because of the curiosity the Bakelite created in me. The original plan was to try both and then commit to one over the other. This is not really possible because I enjoyed both and as a result (should have known better) will just keep both in my rotation. Both provided excellent shaves, I prefer the feel of the 37C, however, in addition to the conversation element of the Bakelite, it was a bit more consistent when it came to multi-day growth shaves. Deciding which to purchase may make things easier for you since the Bakelite isn’t actually in production any more and is limited to auction sites and a few limited razors at the Italian Barber, whereas the Merkur 37C is readily available and in production.