This is a week dedicated to misspelled words and trans Atlantic products. That’s right, it’s Schick! Known as Wilkinson’s Sword in Europe, and one of the power houses of the razor industry. I grew up using their products, disposable and otherwise, so going back to them now is nearly as nostalgic as the Gillette review series. But let’s not assume favoritism, there is a reason I split from them after all, and it was mostly due to the rising price of the product. Today is all about the budget options, the Dorco Pace 3 up against the Xtreme 3.
Schick are an old enough firm, founded back in 1926, it is nothing to the age of the bought out UK firm selling the Schick blades. Wilkinson’s Sword were found in 1772, and were famous for their high quality swords. Probably not a good idea to shave with one though. The current product line is exactly as you would expect, a three blade, a four blade and a five blade design. They also sell a variety of shaving foams, gels and balms, giving them a bit of an edge over Dorco US in that department.
Dorco are a young firm, a little over 60 years old now. And founded in Korea. They are responsible for a few tech innovations, and their recent release of the seven bladed razor has endeared them to me, being a fan of the to the bone style shave. They offer the full range of blades, more so than most other companies, and sell them at bargain prices, unlike most other companies. I have been comparing their shave to a variety of firm’s products for the last two months or so, and have fallen in love with one of their products. Unfortunately it is not the Pace 3. Their product line in NA covers only the blades and shaving foam, so a little lackluster there.
The similarities here are important. They are both companies that follow the traditional model, selling a handle, cartridges then replacements over time. Rather than , say, a subscription model like Harry’s or Dollar Shave Club. I have found in the past that companies that stick to such archaic delivery systems exclusively tend to charge more for the lack of privilege.
On to the methodology. I will be using a five steep three pass shave style on three days growth, then again a few days later with the now dull blade to test longevity. First we start with an exfoliant. This remove dead skin and ensures a smoother shave. Follow up with a hot towel, opens the pores and raises the hairs. Then apply warm foam, fill a mug with hot water and add the foam on top, shouldn’t take too long to heat up. Then the three pass shave, once with the gain, once perpendicular to the grain and once against the grain. Finish up with a soothing balm, menthol is best as it closes pores faster. This method will provide you with the closest shave of your life, and if you minimize the stroke, minimal irritation will occur.
I am always wary about going back to the Pace 3, I have never been a fan of three bladed razors, neither one nor t’other from my perspective. The Xtreme 3 was one of the first multi balded designs I ever tried out, and it soured me on the whole concept for a very long time. Going back to it now, with all the knowledge I have accumulated over the years, will be an interesting experience.
So let’s cut to the chase, see which of these blades is the better buy.
The Fresh Blade – Schick Xtreme 3 Ultimate Razor
Always nice when the competing blades are on broadly equal footing. Comparing a twin blade design to a three blade design felt a little unfair last week, so I am glad to be able to pit the Xtreme 3 against the Dorco Pace 3, both high quality three bladed builds. I consider both of these blades to be stepping stones to greater things, or for a specific sect of the market who want a less close shave.
The Xtreme 3 Ultimate is the top of the top when it comes to the Xtreme 3 range. It has a newly designed handle, more lubrication on their strip and apparently more comfortable shave, when compared to other Xtreme 3 products. The handle is fantastic though, it has excellent range, more so than the Gillette or Pace equivalent, and the lubrication strip is well filled, aloe vera, Vitamin E and Shea Butter. An excellent soothing combination. Though I wonder if this combo will hold true, seeing as Shea Butter harvests have been a little harsher on the environment than was expected. The blades themselves are great too, well spaced, better than the Gillette Mach 3 and on par with the Pace 3 here.
On to the shave itself. The first pass was a bit of a sticky one. I found it took a few too many strokes before the shave smooth out. It pulled a little on the cheek, and that is usually the easiest place to shave. Once I had got going though it seemed to make short work of the hair. The second pass was a little touch and go around the Adam’s apple area, as the hair grows differently down there, and the last pass was very much a necessity. The first to passes left me with very visible stubble, and my skin was rough to the touch. If you are looking for a more rough and ready look then this is a decent option, though I maintain that the Humble Twin from Dollar Shave Club provided me with the better look in that department.
There is no trimmer here, and the final results of the shave were fine. A little too much left after the first two passes, and sans trimmer there was nothing I could do about the hair left uncut on my upper lip, to say nothing of the hair on my actual Adam’s Apple. In the end I had to pluck them, probably best to do that anyway I suppose.
The Fresh Blade – Dorco Pace 3 Razor Experience
Back to the Pace 3. I still have a few left over from my original test batch, mostly because I stuck with the Pace 6 Plus until I ran out of cartridges. Going back to a three bladed build, as I mentioned before, was not something I wanted to do. Thankfully I won’t have to after next week, as I will be finishing up my series on razors. For now though… The Pace 3 has one of the finer handles for a low cost build. It is weighty, with a nice grip and little in the way of bells and whistles. It is sturdy, fit for purpose, and the one I use even on the Pace 6 and 7 cartridges. The strip contained on the base Pace 3 is one of my favorite combination of chemicals on a razor. Olive oil, chamomile and allantoin, the first two create a smoother shave, while the last is an interesting chemical. It can help close cuts quick, so even if you mess up a little, you needed worry about being covered in pock marks and scabs.
I have shaved with this blade six times now, and am very familiar with the results. The first pass is closer than the Xtreme 3, but only slightly less tuggy if you know what I mean. Hair length plays a role in that, I know, but three days does not seem an unreasonable time frame between shaves, especially when you consider that all those subscription services only give you four or five blades a month. Due to the closer first pass the rest of the shave was a lot quicker than the Xtreme 3 too. I found that a two pass shave left me looking respectable, but with still the feel of stubble on my face. A quick final against the grain pass cleared that up nicely.
If you have read my razor reviews before you will already be familiar with the Dorco shave. It gets better the more blades are added. For trimming I would recommend you buy a dedicated product, but in a pinch, and with a steady hand, this blade will be up to the task, for those who rock the beard look.
The Dull Blade – Dorco Pace 3 Vs Schick Xtreme 3 Razor
This section worries me at the best of times. Not all blades handle being left next to a sink for a few days well, the Pace 6 Plus does fine with it, but the fewer blades we have the more I am likely to bleed. The Xtreme 3 was a nightmare after a few days left languishing next to the lather. I just about got through the first two passes and gave up. This is not a blade meant for long term use, or poor storage.
The Pace 3 fared a little better, I made it all the way through my shaves, but it is not something I would wish upon anyone. The tug was real, and the irritation on my neck was a sight to behold, even if I didn’t want you to. Better to stick with a fresh blade if you do decide to go for a three bladed option.
Conclusion & Pricing – Dorco Pace 3 Vs Schick Xtreme 3 Razor
Here is where the choice is made. That seems to be my go to phrase for pricing sections, no matter what i am reviewing. It’s true though, price can forgive a mediocre product and condemn a great one. The Xtreme 3 Ultimate is more of a disposable razor, limiting it’s use and utility. The price varies, but on average you can expect to spend $9 for four blades. Bear in mind, reusing these is a bit of a hazard, so that’s a per week style price, and even then that is as low as I have found them expect to pay more in the high street. Getting the Pace 3 is much better value for money. The handle with 24 cartridges is $28. Each cartridge can do about two shaves, 3 days or so. So on a week to week basis you are really spending closer to $3.
For once a firm matches Dorco in terms of product range. That is to say, Schick also don’t sell much beyond razors. Both Dorco and Schick sell shaving foam and little else besides the core shaving products. No balms, no exfoliants, just a focused product line. Dorco have a leg up though. The Quattro and the Hydro 5 cartridges are not interchangeable, but buy a Pace 3 handle and all the other cartridges in the Dorco stable will fit it. The Xtreme 3 being disposable excludes it from having extended use.
This was not a close race. The Xtreme 3 is inferior to the Pace 3 in every conceivable way, even in terms of price, and that is just unacceptable from a disposable razor. The product line comparison really should have been in Schick’s favor, seen as they are the more established firm, but a lackluster list of products found it fumbling there too. Dorco Pace 3 hands down the better option.
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