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Took the plunge

Thoughts and input on anything related to wet shaving or men's grooming.

Took the plunge

Postby GA Russell » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:45 pm

After studying the DE world for about a month, I placed my first order tonight, thanks primarily to your comments and recommendations.

I called Giovanni at Tryphon and ordered:

Weishi Polished Chrome razor
ARKO regular shave cream
Derby Extra
Dorco Platinum
Crystal Platinum
Personna Platinum Red (Israelis)

The total comes to $22.50 plus shipping.

Last week I picked up a tube of Bigelow (Proraso green), but haven't felt like wasting it on the disposable multi-blade that I've been using, so I'll hold off until Giovanni's package arrives.

Thanks for your input, guys!
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Postby Killian85 » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:52 pm

Sounds like you have a great starter package. Best thing you did was gather ideas from here before taking the plunge. Please keep us posted on your progress.

I'm considering picking up a Weishi myself. Have to start the RAD somehow. 8)
Alan

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Postby notthesharpest » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:01 pm

I'm assuming you have a brush?

Your creams are not much good without one.

And if you do have one, go ahead and lather up the good cream with your old razor. It makes those shave better too.
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Postby GA Russell » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:21 pm

notthesharpest wrote:I'm assuming you have a brush?

Yes, NTS, I used a brush with hard soap for a number of years, although I can't say that I did it properly as shown in Mantic's video about lathering.

Since moving to North Carolina, I haven't used the brush because the water is so hard here. Someone, I think Gordon, suggested that I use distilled water, so that's what I'll do.
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Postby notthesharpest » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:48 pm

GA Russell wrote:
notthesharpest wrote:I'm assuming you have a brush?

Yes, NTS, I used a brush with hard soap for a number of years, although I can't say that I did it properly as shown in Mantic's video about lathering.
Well, there's more than one way to get it done.
Someone, I think Gordon, suggested that I use distilled water, so that's what I'll do.
If your water is really bad, I would think that's a good idea.
Happy shaving!
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Postby Squire » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:33 pm

You should have your stuff soon, Gio's delivery is usually two days for me.
Regards,
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Postby GA Russell » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:48 pm

Squire, he told me that he sends everything Priority Mail. I'd rather save a few dollars and have it take a week, but I didn't want to make an unusual request for my first order.
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Postby Squire » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:53 pm

However he does it the stuff shows up fast.
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Postby MiloFinch » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:59 pm

And the downward spiral begins.

I'm planning on putting an order with him soon. That Gio's a great guy.
-David
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Postby Squire » Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:05 pm

Don't know him personally, he is a very attentive vendor.
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Postby Rich53 » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:02 pm

GA,
By all means use the distilled water. It makes a tremendous difference. I can't make a decent lather with hard soap using the tapwater here. But if I use distilled water it is thick and luxurious. Also, I have found that my shave quality goes way up when using distilled water.

regards,
Rich

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Postby GA Russell » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:17 pm

Thanks Rich.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:21 am

I placed my order Monday night. The package went out Thursday, and arrived this morning (Saturday).

So far, so good! The shipping was only $4.60.
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:23 pm

Shortly after posting the above, I decided that I couldn't wait any longer, so I ploughed in. (I didn't shave this morning.)

Let me say as an introduction that for a number of years I used a brush with hard soap, both Surrey and some expensive soaps with lanolin (maybe Crabtree & Evelyn, I can't remember). I usually used a single blade Bic disposable. I was quite content with that set-up.

When I moved to NC over five years ago, I couldn't get the soap to lather, so I gave up and started using an electric shaver mostly.

For the past year or so, I have been using the Schick Xtreme3 disposable with canned shaving cream, either the Walmart house brand or Barbasol.

After two weeks of reading this board, I ditched the Barbasol and bought on a whim a tube of Neutragena shaving cream, which is a greasy lotion which is used brushless and works surprisingly well. My shaves the past two weeks have gone quite well.

Last week I saw Mantic's video on lathering, and learned that I had been doing it wrong all that time! I was using too much water, and never got the lather the soap was capable of!

My shaving mug is much like an average size coffee mug, so I decided to use it to hold the distilled water. I used a small (and cheap) china bowl for the lather. I decided to use the Arko, figuring that there was no need to waste the Bigelow on a first effort.

The Arko lathered up beautifully in the bowl right away. The best of my life! However, the lather with the room temperature distilled water seemed surprisingly cold on my face. I got used to it, but it was not a comfortable temperature.

The Weichi razor came with a single Dorco blade (which maybe Giovanni slipped into the case), and since the Dorco is recommended for beginners anyway, I decided to use that.

The first stroke was a very unpleasant surprise. The blade seemed very dull. The entire shave was like that for both edges. Was it the blade or my technique? Time will tell. A most uncomfortable shave.

I was careful to shave lightly without pressure. The blade was not getting to quite a number of whiskers on my upper lip. Eventually, I used the Xtreme3 to remove the last hairs nearest my nose, for fear of cutting myself.

It was not a close shave, but it was satisfactory for a first effort. There were no nicks or cuts, no razor burn or rash, nothing like that.

I don't usually use after shave, so I thought that I would do without it to see what would happen. What happened is that my face felt great for more than an hour! I credit that to the Arko.

Many of my Bic disposables were uncomfortable the first shave, so maybe this is a case of a cheap blade which needs to be used once. I am going to use the Dorco one more time to see if it improves. If not, it's definitely headed for the blade bank.

All things considered, my first DE shave in 40 years was much worse than my shave yesterday with the disposable multi blade with the Neutragena cream. No one would switch to DEs on the basis of that experience, but people might switch to a brush and cream because of it.
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Postby Mottern Man » Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:32 pm

Maybe it was a bad blade for you. Also how was your angle?

Sounds like the lather went well, good work!

Keep at it my man, it will come.
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Postby alabamalawyer » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:15 pm

Take your time and check the angle. My first DE shave was far from my best. It takes some time to get the hang of it, but great shaves will come. You certainly might want to heat your water up before using it. Warm lather is one of the great parts of traditional shaving with a brush.
Chris
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Postby GA Russell » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:23 pm

ALJD, I've thought about putting the water in the microwave for a little bit. Next time I will.
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Postby GA Russell » Sun Apr 27, 2008 8:31 pm

My second shave was a real improvement over the first.

ALJD, I took your advice and nuked the water for 30 seconds. It seemed hot to my fingertips, but by the time I placed the lather on my face it seemed room temperature. Still, it was more comfortable than yesterday. Maybe the room temperature lather yesterday seemed cold because room temperature is about 75. Maybe today's lather seemed like room temperature because it was really 98.6! So maybe I need to heat the water up for 60 seconds and see if that won't be too hot.

The Dorco was much more comfortable the second time around. Seemed like a different blade. No complaints about today's performance, but if the first day of every Dorco is as bad as yesterday's, I won't be buying any more.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I didn't feel comfortable with the balance of the Weichi razor. Today it seemed OK. Maybe I was holding it differently and didn't notice. Maybe it took me a day to forget about how the balance of the Xtreme3 is. Clearly the Weichi's head (if that's the right word) is heavier than that of a disposable, so maybe it takes a few times to get used to it. Yesterday I was thinking that maybe I need a Merkur long handle, but today I'm satisfied with what I have.

Much closer shave today. But I am having trouble taking the whiskers off my chin. Had to make a number of passes before they all were gone.

So I'll give the Dorco a third day tomorrow to see how it goes.
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Postby notthesharpest » Sun Apr 27, 2008 8:38 pm

Water that's too hot will ruin your lather and even your brush (especially the glue that holds the bristles into the handle). Water that seems hot at first, but ends up comfortable on your face (just like today), sounds perfect.

You may have improved your razor angle today as well. That will make any blade feel better. (You want the blade to skim over your face like a stone skipping on a lake.)
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Postby Magnulus » Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:30 pm

Arko/Derby is decent shave cream, especially for the price. I like the formulations with allantoin (all the Derby branded creams, Arko Sensitive), but they are all good. Proraso is an interesting shaving cream, as it is mentholated and produces a cold, numbing sensation (it also contains eugenol- clove oil). I'd say it's about as good as any other shaving cream, really- not bad, but not really special. Proraso is definitely something a shaver should try at least once. Kiss My Face is probably the best all-round shaving cream I've tried so far. I haven't tried the 3 English T's but they'd have to be pretty good to beat KMF, especially for the price.

Don't forget trying a soap, eventually. But don't be too put off if you find it harder than it looks at first and you go back to creams. Williams Mug Soap is available at just about any drugstore, and from my experience with high-end and low end soaps, it's perfectly serviceable. Surrey Deluxe is another good soap, and is more "cream" like.

You should try a Derby blade to start out. I think you'll find they are fairly mild and sharp enough (Dorco seems to be a cheaper Korean blade that is levereged more on price, but alot of people seem to like them). I've tried Feathers, Personna blades (made in US), a few others, and Derby's, but I keep going back to Derby blades as they are consistant and mild (if not the sharpest blade- you really need to spend the time on preparation if you have a tough beard). The US Personna blades are also OK, although overpriced unless you get them at Wal-Mart (if they have them).
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