Healing Time

New to the world of wet-shaving? Grab a desk and be seated! Welcome to SMFU: A place to learn and compare notes about the ABC's of wet shaving. From brushes to creams, razors and more...We've got it all!
Post Reply
samirg
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:37 pm

Healing Time

Post by samirg »

Hi All,

After 18 years of cartridge shaving and 5 months in covid working from home, I figure now's the best time to pick up wet shaving with a DE. I'm working on my routine/technique/everything. I've got about 6 shaves in so far. With work from home, I'm not too concerned about shaving every day, though at least with cartridges, I really need to. With the few shaves I've had and going 3 passes (WTG, XTG, ATG) I've been getting closer shaves, but estimate it may only last me a day and a half at most. Just starting out, I am making a ton of mistakes and trying to improve my technique, but I guess the question is, how long should you be waiting before you try again? I've been waiting 3-4 days between shaves, can/should I take shorter time to shave.

This forum and youtube have been great particularly everyone sharing their routines. The few places I'm still struggling on are basically the angles, the chin and the jawline. I also need to work on my lathering skills.
User avatar
John Rose
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:11 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: Healing Time

Post by John Rose »

samirg wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:22 pm... I am making a ton of mistakes ...
Says who?
Meaning, what evidence is there of that?
samirg wrote:With the few shaves I've had and going 3 passes (WTG, XTG, ATG) I've been getting closer shaves, but estimate it may only last me a day and a half at most.
GEM invented the advertising term "5 o'clock shadow", meaning that if you shaved in the morning but ended up with visible stubble by 5 o'clock (or the end of the work day), then you were doing it wrong, or needed to buy more of their products.
Image
Obviously, someone like a bank manager may have less tolerance for stubble than, say, a cattle rancher, but a daily shave became the default.
If you're getting a day and a half, then I guess you're doing okay.
Don't forget, you can feel stubble long before it becomes visible, especially if you have blonde hair.
My main point is that your shave results are probably better than what you imagine.
samirg wrote:...I guess the question is, how long should you be waiting before you try again? I've been waiting 3-4 days between shaves, can/should I take shorter time to shave. ...
I dunno. I shave every day, for the fun of it. Then again, I'm 67 years old and retired, so maybe my skin has figured out how to defend itself by now.
I think that most forum members would agree that the first shave following several days of no shaving is somehow more satisfying than daily shaving, if only because of the contrast in how it feels before and after.

My son often goes weeks between shaves, so when I converted him to DE razors I bought him an open-comb three-piece. You could have a ZZ Top beard, and shave it with an open-comb razor without having to pre-cut with scissors or clippers.
samirg wrote:This forum and youtube have been great particularly everyone sharing their routines.

Note that everybody has their own habits and reasons for how they proceed, but it's nice to at least be exposed to them. You can try them or not.
I, for instance, never use "pre-shave oil". I can't help but suspect that pre-shave products are a bit of a consumerism scam, but some folks seem to like them. However, I do always start with a hot shower, which may not always be practical if you are in a rush.
samirg wrote:The few places I'm still struggling on are basically the angles, the chin and the jawline.
I still get occasional nicks between my chin and bottom lip, more than any other place. It usually involves brand-new blades and carelessness in handling the razor.
Another difficult spot for me is a "\ /" shaped region on either side of my Adam's apple. I keep going over it many times because my fingers keep detecting what feels like stubble. I have to force myself to remember that after I'm done and my skin settles down, it will feel perfectly smooth. I call that phenomenon "Ghost Stubble" because of how it magically fades away within 10-20 minutes.
samirg wrote: I also need to work on my lathering skills.
As long as you have even just a thin film of lather, it should be all you need. You don't need to look like Santa Claus.
Or the Cella guy. :lol:
Image
Also, a few shaving creams are designed to be used without a brush. or they work best if rubbed on your face and you build up the lather with the brush on your face, instead of in a mug/bowl/scuttle. Read the instructions on the package, try it, then do whatever you want.

For example, this is from somebody's review of "Anthony Shave Cream":
Some Guy wrote:... I received a sample of this shave cream ... could be a long time ago. I finally opened it up and tried to use it with a brush in a bowl. Disappointing. Reading the instructions suggest applying to the wet face with ones fingers. I had enough to do this. I shaved and ..... Wow! It was like there was no blade in the razor. So so smooth, such a close shave. ...
I had a sample of that stuff, and yes, it was amazingly slick, even when applied thinly. I also recall that it smelled strongly of peppermint. Not menthol, but peppermint like a candy cane.

At any rate, what are you using (razor, blade brand, brush, soap/cream, post-shave products, other gear), and what is your routine?
"If this isn't nice, then what is?" - Kurt Vonnegut's Uncle Alex
User avatar
John Rose
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:11 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: Healing Time

Post by John Rose »

Another question I just thought of. Is your razor an adjustable?
You could dial it back to a mild setting, and shave more often for a while.

Another ad, where Gillette kicks it up a notch by asserting that you really need to make it last to midnight, by shaving twice a day:

Image
"If this isn't nice, then what is?" - Kurt Vonnegut's Uncle Alex
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10176
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: Healing Time

Post by drmoss_ca »

Welcome to SMF! John has given you a comprehensive answer, but I'm going to be a bit simpler in my approach. Since you're working from home and don't need to look slick (somehow someone who always looks perfect appears inherently untrustworthy to me. I'd rather a rumpled human salesman, for example, than the very perfection of metrosexuality) - you can afford to relax and experiment. We choose to shave this way for the fun of it. Enjoy it at the rate that continues to provide pleasure, rather than being a duty. Keep that up long enough and you become a master at it without trying.

I don't need to shave at all. In fact I'm not supposed to given my blood won't clot. But having had a beard for a few months I returned to daily shaving just for the fun of it. I have always been a wetshaver, since my teens. But I'm only seventeen years into straights, and I threw myself into that hard, with twice daily shaves to learn twice as fast. But I got a sore face and soon didn't enjoy it. The trick is to relax and shave at the rate that is fun. When you think "I'd really enjoy a good shave right now" it's time to make lather. And if you have to go back to the office and shave at a rate that's higher than your ideal, remember you can look good all day with a single pass in the morning; you are the only person at work stroking your face (unless your job is way more exciting than most) and only looks count, not feel. So don't feel there's a right and a wrong way. Enjoy the ride and allow expertise to grow organically.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
samirg
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:37 pm

Re: Healing Time

Post by samirg »

Thank you all for the encouragement and feedback. I actually do want to practice my technique more frequently just worry about my face getting hacked to bits. While I do consider myself making mistakes (too much pressure, shaving over the same area multiple times in one pass, etc), it is how I learn. I've actually been shaving at night to allow myself more time instead of trying to rush through it in the morning. I am thoroughly enjoying the experience so far.
User avatar
John Rose
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:11 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: Healing Time

Post by John Rose »

samirg wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:38 am I actually do want to practice my technique more frequently just worry about my face getting hacked to bits.
Again, what kind of razor and blades are you using? Some razors are not for everybody.
Occasionally I use one of my Schick Injector razors. I have a "G" type model, and an "E". They look identical at arms length, except for some small details. Even so, the E feels far rougher than the G. The best injector I have though is a Lady Eversharp Type K1.
While I do consider myself making mistakes (too much pressure, shaving over the same area multiple times in one pass, etc), it is how I learn.

Multiple times over the same area in the same pass is not bad. I frequently do it on my neck. See "blade buffing" in this video, beginning at around 02:10.

If you do it right, on each stroke you can drag the lather back over the area you just went through. It's easier with an open comb or "SLOC" (Self Lubricating Open Comb) razor, but I can manage it with regular guard bars too. That way you're constantly shaving skin with "recycled" lather on it, not just bare skin.

One criticism I have of his technique is that it looks as if he is "riding the guard", which tends to scrape rather than slice, producing more irritation. I would raise the angle of the handle (with respect to the skin surface) and "ride the cap" instead.

Riding the guard (exaggerated):
Image

Riding the cap (also exaggerated):
Image
I've actually been shaving at night to allow myself more time instead of trying to rush through it in the morning. I am thoroughly enjoying the experience so far.
I'm retired so I don't have to shave at all, but I do enjoy my evening shaves as my "spa time". I typically spend 30-45 minutes at it.
"If this isn't nice, then what is?" - Kurt Vonnegut's Uncle Alex
samirg
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:37 pm

Re: Healing Time

Post by samirg »

I’m using a merkur 23c with astra platinum blades
User avatar
John Rose
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:11 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: Healing Time

Post by John Rose »

samirg wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:01 pm I’m using a merkur 23c with astra platinum blades
Those both seem to be a sensible choice.
Astra Superior Platinum (and now Shaverboy) are my favourite blades, particularly for smoothness.

I've never used a Merkur razor, but I hear that the 23C is fairly mild, so that'll help reduce irritation.
I generally prefer a shorter handle than that one, but with the razor being only 65 g, the balance should be fine.
The "balance" of a razor was something I didn't quite understand until I got one of the Wilkinson Sword Classic TTOs (in the black and grey package, metal handle, 114 mm, 85 g) and I just can't get used to it, even though I have heavier razors.
The ideal razor for balance (to me) is a Gillette Fat-handled Tech, at 48 g, 83 mm length. The handle is hollow, so you get the extra diameter for grip without the extra weight. It doesn't quite have my favourite head geometry though.
"If this isn't nice, then what is?" - Kurt Vonnegut's Uncle Alex
User avatar
primotenore
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:17 am
Location: Vault 101
Contact:

Re: Healing Time

Post by primotenore »

I think it's great that you are discovering the pleasures that come from traditional wet-shaving. Of course there is a learning curve. I can't tell you how often to shave, but since you work from home and seem to have the time, I say go for it daily. Keep the pressure light, bearing in mind that cart shaving basically DEMANDS that you press down hard. Imagine removing the lather NOT the stubble. Hone your prep technique, making sure whatever soap you are using is properly, read significantly hydrated. Practice using your non-dominant hand to shave your left side of your face (assuming you are right-handed). Learn how to find the correct angle so you are SLICING hair and not scraping it. Ask questions, post comments and above all, enjoy your shaves. :D
~~~~~
Primo


Shaving since 1971, enjoying my shaves since 2014
Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere per un barbiere di qualità... =D>
CMur12
Posts: 7187
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:41 pm
Location: Moses Lake, Washington, USA

Re: Healing Time

Post by CMur12 »

Hi samirg, welcome to SMF!

You've gotten a lot of good advice here. As others have suggested, you will have to determine for yourself how long you go between shaves. It depends on your skin and your beard.

I have very sensitive skin, so I have never shaved on a daily basis. Any time I drag a blade across my skin, there is some irritation. Skipping a day, helps my skin to recover. Skipping two days is even better. The Merkur razor you use is too aggressive for my skin, so I use milder razors. Mild razors don't shave quite as close, but, with a three-pass shave, this doesn't make much difference.

As a general rule of thumb, I suggest choosing a razor for your skin and a blade for your beard. I use a mild razor because I have sensitive skin. I use sharper blades (but not Feather) because I have a coarse beard. It isn't always quite this simple, but it's a good place to start. It sounds like your combination of razor and blade may work for you.

I have had a beard since 1972, so I shave my neck and shape the beard a bit on the cheeks. A day's growth of my blond/gray whiskers isn't really noticeable in the shadow of my beard.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!
brothers
Posts: 20738
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: Healing Time

Post by brothers »

Welcome to the forum. Your initial post tells me you're on the right track, and your concerns are pretty much common to all of us at one time or another as we begin to enjoy our shaves more than we used to. Obviously, the responses you've received so far reflect that. I hope you will continue to post and join in these discussions as your shaving journey matures.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444
samirg
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:37 pm

Re: Healing Time

Post by samirg »

Just wanted to give an update and say thanks - definitely having much better shaves these days. On the whole, am having a much better experience and my face is sooo much smoother than it was before.
User avatar
primotenore
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:17 am
Location: Vault 101
Contact:

Re: Healing Time

Post by primotenore »

samirg wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:09 am Just wanted to give an update and say thanks - definitely having much better shaves these days. On the whole, am having a much better experience and my face is sooo much smoother than it was before.
=D>
~~~~~
Primo


Shaving since 1971, enjoying my shaves since 2014
Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere per un barbiere di qualità... =D>
CMur12
Posts: 7187
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:41 pm
Location: Moses Lake, Washington, USA

Re: Healing Time

Post by CMur12 »

samirg wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:09 am Just wanted to give an update and say thanks - definitely having much better shaves these days. On the whole, am having a much better experience and my face is sooo much smoother than it was before.
Good news, samirg!

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!
User avatar
John Rose
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:11 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: Healing Time

Post by John Rose »

samirg wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:09 am Just wanted to give an update and say thanks - definitely having much better shaves these days. On the whole, am having a much better experience and my face is sooo much smoother than it was before.
Well, that's good to hear. =D>
What changes would you say have made the biggest difference?
"If this isn't nice, then what is?" - Kurt Vonnegut's Uncle Alex
samirg
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:37 pm

Re: Healing Time

Post by samirg »

primotenore wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:40 am Practice using your non-dominant hand to shave your left side of your face (assuming you are right-handed).
I'm a lefty so I just reversed your comment, but it did get me thinking. I've never had to think about shaving with my non-dominant hand before. What's the rationale/benefit for being able to? I guess better angles?
brothers
Posts: 20738
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: Healing Time

Post by brothers »

samirg wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:10 am
primotenore wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:40 am Practice using your non-dominant hand to shave your left side of your face (assuming you are right-handed).
I'm a lefty so I just reversed your comment, but it did get me thinking. I've never had to think about shaving with my non-dominant hand before. What's the rationale/benefit for being able to? I guess better angles?
Yes, in my case. Being able to switch hands is helpful. When shaving with a straight razor, it's almost a necessity. One good thing about it is that most guys seem to be able to start using the non dominant hand while shaving their face without too much trouble.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444
User avatar
John Rose
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:11 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: Healing Time

Post by John Rose »

samirg wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:10 am I'm a lefty so I just reversed your comment, but it did get me thinking. I've never had to think about shaving with my non-dominant hand before. What's the rationale/benefit for being able to? I guess better angles?
I can do it, but I don't really see the benefit unless I've injured my dominant hand.
I might just reverse my grip (i.e. hold it upside-down) for some parts, but sitting here on the couch without a safety razor in my hand I'm not really sure what I do. :-k
"If this isn't nice, then what is?" - Kurt Vonnegut's Uncle Alex
CMur12
Posts: 7187
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:41 pm
Location: Moses Lake, Washington, USA

Re: Healing Time

Post by CMur12 »

I have an area under the back of my left jaw, using backward strokes, that I can only shave with my left hand. It would be extremely awkward to reach over there and execute this maneuver with my (dominant) right hand.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!
Post Reply