Months prior to this review, when I first unpacked my new Mühle R41, I thought to myself, “How much different can this razor be than what I’m already using?” I should have known better. Just for starters, the Mühle R41 is significantly heavier than any of my Merkur or Edwin Jagger razors. The weight difference is noticeable even without the assistance of a digital scale.
The next day, after my first shave with this beast, I knew I was out of my depth. If I wanted to start using this razor, I had to do some serious work on my technique. I had heard the stories and read the reviews of how great this razor could be, and I wanted to experience that. I wanted to know what a two-pass BBS shave felt like. I wanted to take that next step on the journey to straight razors. But I wasn’t ready. I needed to train.
I began, almost exclusively, using the two sharpest blades I know (the Feather and the Kai) on a daily basis. I pushed myself to complete three-pass shaves routinely. I worked on finding the right blade angles while using as little pressure as possible. I imagined I was shaving over sunburnt skin where the slightest hint of pressure would penalize me with immediate pain. Slowly, I got better. Less irritation on my neck. No nicks on my chin. No missed hairs around my mouth.
A few weeks ago, I retrieved the Mühle R41 from my razor stand (which is really just a re-purposed toothbrush holder!) feeling much more confident in my technique. Since then, my results have been varied, but overall much better. I am certainly not consistent with this razor yet. When I’m on, it’s amazing. These are the best shaves I have had. When I’m off, I pay the price...in blood.
This razor is extremely aggressive. For me, this is the most aggressive razor I’ve used. I have discovered that I needed to learn a new blade angle as well. My other razors all operate around a similar angle. The Mühle R41, however, seems to prefer a steeper angle, and I found that holding the handle closer to my face gave me the best shaves. As with anything in shaving, your results may vary, but consider this a reference point for starting.
I do not recommend this razor for beginners, and I suggest that intermediate shavers go into this expecting a new learning curve. That being said, the Mühle R41 is an incredible razor capable of delivering extremely close shaves with little to no irritation when handled properly. I highly recommend this tool for anyone willing to put in the work to learn how to use it effectively. As with most skills, the more you’re willing to practice and learn, the more you will be rewarded.