I received the Merkur 23C, which is also known as the Merkur 180 or the Long Handled Classic, in a trade I made with a fellow wet shaver. The 23C has the same head as my Merkur 42C, along with a host of other Merkur razors, but I was curious nevertheless as to how the head of this razor performed with the longer handle of the 23C.
I used the razor this past week, and although it did provide me some excellent shaves, I found that my experience was missing something or perhaps I am just accustomed to my other razors. One of the things that I find makes a great shave is not being aware of the razor you are using – I was aware of the razor I was using. I found the razor a bit too light for me – I prefer a razor with some weight to it. I also found that the handle could have used a bit of substance, my fingers felt a bit too close for comfort (I would say that I have average sized hands). Having said that I could also see someone enjoying this razor – especially if the only thing they are comparing it to is a cartridge razor (my neighbor has the Merkur 25C, the open comb version of this razor and he swears by it).
Although I wouldn’t classify this razor as being light, it could use a bit of weight. Which was a bit surprising due to the extra length of the handle – which must be pointed out is hollow. I felt at times that I had to direct the razor rather than it being a mutual endeavour However, if you are weary of making the switch from a cartridge razor to a DE razor the Merkur 23C may still be make a good choice simply because the length of the handle gives you one less thing to have to consider while shaving.
Although the etching on the handle of the 23C provides a nice texture to hold on to, I found that the handle itself was quite thin, I would have to say thinner than most cartridge razors, and definitely the thinnest DE handle that I own or that I have used.
Blade Exposure 3/5:
The Merkur 23C isn’t overly aggressive, with a middle of the road blade exposure , it is yet another factor that makes this razor a great choice for a first razor, or if you are looking for a razor you could shave with daily, while avoiding any skin irritation.
As mentioned above I feel as though the razor could use a bit more weight, but that, as many things with wet shaving, is a personal preference.
Price 4/5: The Merkur 23C is decently priced as an introductory or additional razor.
If you had your eye on the Merkur 23C, or like the idea of a longer handled, not overly aggressive razor, than you will not be disappointed. If you are looking for something with a bit more weight and better balance you may want to consider something along the line of the Edwin Jagger 89lbl. But if your mind is made up on a Merkur I say you can pull the trigger on the 23C, and it will satisfy you.