Best SE for a newbie?

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
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ingrownwarrior
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Best SE for a newbie?

Post by ingrownwarrior »

I'm curious as to what you all think would be the best SE for someone new to wet shaving (i.e. - someone who also hasn't used a DE)?

From my research on here, there seems to be lots of recs for the newbie to start with a Featherweight or the G-Bar/HFT. I've also seen a few people suggest the 1912 or the Damaskeene. Do these sound about right as a starter SE razor that won't be too aggressive for a newbie? What would you suggest?

For more on my particulars, as my member name implies, I have some facial hair/shaving issues. These include ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and sensitive skin irritation, as well as crazy directional growth in some spots and some hairs that basically lie flat on the skin. Over the past few years I have incorporated the wet shaving method (face mapping, good prep, brush, proper soap/cream, light touch, beard reduction not elimination, etc.), and this has been a HUGE help. I can't thank you all enough!

But at this point, I'm ready to 'find the right razor' for me. I tried a couple of the injectors at the front end of this adventure, but have basically just been using a bump fighter for this entire time. This razor, along with the wet shave steps, have eliminated many of my (shaving) issues, so I've held steady for a while. However, while the shaves are passable, stubble is basically visible at all times. So...at this point, I'm ready to give SEs a proper try and hopefully have minimal irritation, ingrowns AND also a close shave.

I've been recommended (from another member with very similar issues) to try a 1924 EverReady or the original Contour. I'm definitely up for trying these, but I'm now wondering if I should start with one of the milder razor as I hone my SE shaving angles/technique?

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!

(edited for clarity)
Last edited by ingrownwarrior on Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Issac
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river1
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Post by river1 »

MMOC, Lather Catcher, and Gem Lightweight were the ones that I liked. For the DE, the 40' s Super Speeds are a good value and should be among the first in any rotation. Later, you can always add the Fatty, Slim, Flares, and of course, an Aristocrat when you have a flaming RAD. :roll:
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ShadowsDad
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Post by ShadowsDad »

IGW, I assume you want a milder SE razor than a more aggressive one to start out.

The razors you mentioned will shave more aggressively than a comparable beginner DE razor. They'll still give an easy BBS and be kind to the face (no blood) if one pays attention to technique.

FWIW, I learned to blade shave with a Featherweight, so they aren't so aggressive as to be unuseable for a rank beginner.

Again, assuming you want a beginners SE, the more aggressive razors wouldn't be good choices IMO. Cursor down (and back) for some SE razor reviews if you haven't seen them already. A bit into your SE career you may want more aggressive razors, but IMO not to start out unless you absolutely have technique down 100%.

OK, how ot judge it... Can you handle a Slim or Fatboy set to 9? Or a Muhle '11 R41? If so, then you can also handle the OCMM (other MicroMatics as well) or most of the other aggressive SE razors. If not, they'll be a horror show. That doesn't mean you won't in the future though.

If you're interested, I have a decent Featherweight and G-bar that I could to part with. If I do, great, if I don't, that's OK too- no big deal. We'd need to take it into the proper forum, but I can post pics and the price would be reasonable if you're interested beyond mere curiousity. I always post pics that point out flaws- I want you to have no surprises.
Brian

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Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square
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Araner
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Post by Araner »

As an interim step in the direction you intend to go, why not buy a pack of BIC single edge disposables and give them a try. It would be an inexpensive way to have the single edge experience and see if it suits your needs.

Mike
themba
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Post by themba »

For more on my particulars, as my member name implies, I have some facial hair/shaving issues. These include ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and sensitive skin irritation, as well as crazy directional growth in some spots and some hairs that basically lie flat on the skin.
One of the bigest problems with your hair/skin type is the difficulty most safety razors (and electric razors as well) have with cutting your hair. Many of the milder razors will require multiple passes and in the end may cause you more harm. What you need is a razor that can give you a WTG BBS with only one or two passes, with no need to apply pressure. Shaving with the grain is pretty much a requirement for those that suffer badly from ingrown hairs.

I know you are asking about SE razors, but have you tried a Gillette New. It's an open comb three piece. A Gillette Senator is also good, This one is a TTO. These open comb style heads can easy remove flat hairs with one of two passes WTG. You will still feel a hint of stubble ATG which is a good thing for you. However, the most important part is that they seem less likely to cause ingrown hairs.

As for SE razors, I found that the 1912 models are not the best at dealing with really flat hairs using a 1 or 2 pass WTG shave, especially if your whiskers are tough. They also seem more likely to cause razor bumps.
These others are also not the greatest for this type of hair, shaving the way I described: Featherweight, Flying Wing, Gem Junior Bar.

On the other hand, the 1924, the original Contour, the Micromatic Open Comb or Clog Pruf, the Star version of the Gem Junior bar, Original AutoStrop razors fair much better.

Remember some mild razors will either leave to much hair behind and will cause razor bumps or will require to much effort to cut your flat hairs and will result in ingrown hairs. However, an "agressive razor" used improperly will also cause problems. The key is to learn how to use the razor to cut hour hair at skin level.


Oh yeah, by the way, a properly honed straight razor beats them all, but that is a whole other story.
ingrownwarrior
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Post by ingrownwarrior »

On second thought, perhaps my subject heading wasn't the best expression of my more specific situation/question(s). My bad. Anyhow...
themba wrote:I know you are asking about SE razors, but have you tried a Gillette New. It's an open comb three piece. A Gillette Senator is also good, This one is a TTO. These open comb style heads can easy remove flat hairs with one of two passes WTG.
No, I haven't tried any DEs. Based on what I've seen on here, I was under the impression that a SE blade is likely better for me given that they tend to be stiffer and have less give (or flicking?), which is an important factor to consider with ingrowns and bumps. Since most of my info comes from (too many hours of) reading this site, is this actually an incorrect summary of what I've read?
themba wrote:As for SE razors, I found that the 1912 models are not the best at dealing with really flat hairs using a 1 or 2 pass WTG shave, especially if your whiskers are tough. They also seem more likely to cause razor bumps.

These others are also not the greatest for this type of hair, shaving the way I described: Featherweight, Flying Wing, Gem Junior Bar.

On the other hand, the 1924, the original Contour, the Micromatic Open Comb or Clog Pruf, the Star version of the Gem Junior bar, Original AutoStrop razors fair much better.
Thank you for honing in on my specific issues. So if this is basically the case (knowing the YMMV disclaimer and all that), then which one of these would be the 'mildest' of the ones that would probably do the job in the way I need? I ask because I know I'll need to work on my technique a bit and many folks say these are 'agressive' razors and 'not for a newbie', so I feel a bit confused.

Also, I don't have too much cash to throw at this, and it appears that the frustration & angst of the years of these problems are showing up again now that I'm looking at switching things up. I just can't shake the feeling that there must be a way for me to get a better shave without having to have a permanent shadow...
Issac
themba
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Post by themba »

For a DE razor look for a used Gillette open comb three piece razor on everyone's favorite auction site or in the for sale forum here. SE razors are all cheap so you should not have any problems getting a hold of a few of them. Try a few of them out and see which one you like. Maybe your whiskers are not that tough and most of the SE razors will work for you.
CMur12
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Post by CMur12 »

I don't have problems with ingrowns or with whiskers that lie flat, but I do have a coarse beard and sensitive skin.

I can use an SE razor (Featherweight or HFT/G-bar), a couple times in a row, but not for long, because they are so aggressive. The 1912 is completely out of the question.

I can usually get away with using an aggressive razor once or twice, but the Gillette NEW was the only razor I tried that was so aggressive that I couldn't get through a shave with it.

In my own case, going from a Merkur to a Weishi and a Gillette Tech solved my problems, but I didn't have to deal with whiskers that lie flat.

For a stiff blade in a razor that is effective without being too aggressive, wouldn't a Schick Injector work?

- Murray
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Quarterstick
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Post by Quarterstick »

It can get very confusing very fast because we have so many options and there are so many different factors that can influence an individual’s experience. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer. It really comes down to trying a razor out. Start somewhere; buy one razor you think you will have a reasonable chance of getting along with. Get to know the razor and button down your technique. Then you can look into something different if you still have not zeroed in on a satisfactory result.

Since you have expressed hesitation with your newness and technique, I would stick with your initial inclination and not go with anything that is too aggressive. I do not think you would seriously injure yourself if you did get an aggressive razor; It’s just that mild razors are more forgiving. Why risk it at this point. I would say go with the Featherweight or G-bar since those seem to be recommended by many. They may not work in the long run, but given their price point it is probably a low risk proposition.

I hope this helps.
Andy

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itsmedave
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Post by itsmedave »

Ingrown, I have a 1912 SE as well as a Gem OC MM that you're more than welcome to borrow for a few weeks if you'd like to give them both a test run. All I ask is that you pay shipping both ways and take good care of them. If you're interested, just PM me and we'll go from there.
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Post by jww »

Quarterstick wrote:It can get very confusing very fast because we have so many options and there are so many different factors that can influence an individual’s experience. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer. It really comes down to trying a razor out. Start somewhere; buy one razor you think you will have a reasonable chance of getting along with. Get to know the razor and button down your technique. Then you can look into something different if you still have not zeroed in on a satisfactory result.

Since you have expressed hesitation with your newness and technique, I would stick with your initial inclination and not go with anything that is too aggressive. I do not think you would seriously injure yourself if you did get an aggressive razor; It’s just that mild razors are more forgiving. Why risk it at this point. I would say go with the Featherweight or G-bar since those seem to be recommended by many. They may not work in the long run, but given their price point it is probably a low risk proposition.

I hope this helps.
+1

I also would endorse the Bic sensitive route - they are my go-to travel razor when I fly for business as they are both TSA and CATSA friendly. They will help you develop proper technique, and are capable of producing an excellent shave without distress to the skin.

As a newbie paying particular attention to technique is easily as important if not more so than equipment imho. Also - check out Matic's videos if you haven't already.
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Pauldog
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Post by Pauldog »

Which injector/blade had you tried? If it left you with stubble, the razor was probably faulty. There are so many injector models that I would expect more than one to work pretty well for you.

I would also suggest considering an adjustable injector.
ingrownwarrior
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Post by ingrownwarrior »

Thank you everybody for your thoughts, advice, and generous offers of assistance.
Quarterstick wrote:It can get very confusing very fast because we have so many options and there are so many different factors that can influence an individual’s experience. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer. It really comes down to trying a razor out. Start somewhere; buy one razor you think you will have a reasonable chance of getting along with. Get to know the razor and button down your technique. Then you can look into something different if you still have not zeroed in on a satisfactory result.

Since you have expressed hesitation with your newness and technique, I would stick with your initial inclination and not go with anything that is too aggressive. I do not think you would seriously injure yourself if you did get an aggressive razor; It’s just that mild razors are more forgiving. Why risk it at this point. I would say go with the Featherweight or G-bar since those seem to be recommended by many. They may not work in the long run, but given their price point it is probably a low risk proposition.

I hope this helps.
Yes, this does help. I think this is the direction I was leaning and appreciate the advice. I've got to actually try something and see how it works for me. I think I'm going to try a somewhat milder SE, hope that the one that I go with doesn't aggravate too many of my issues, and if needed, I'll go for one of the ones Themba recommends once I get down my technique. Based on what I've read, it really seems that Themba has similar issues to mine, and I hope to learn from his prior experimentation.
itsmedave wrote:Ingrown, I have a 1912 SE as well as a Gem OC MM that you're more than welcome to borrow...
Yet another example of why this community is awesome! Perhaps I'll take you up on this once I attempt one of the 'milder' razors.
Pauldog wrote:Which injector/blade had you tried? If it left you with stubble, the razor was probably faulty. There are so many injector models that I would expect more than one to work pretty well for you.

I would also suggest considering an adjustable injector.
I don't recall, but the first one was one of those bakelite handles, which wasn't so great for me. The other was an "M" I believe, and it worked fairly well, though I still had some of the issues I discussed in my original post. I tried a couple different blades and found quite a variation between them, but I don't recall what they were. I actually hadn't considered the adjustable. For whatever reason, I feel like the other SEs are the way to go. I really can't explain why I have this feeling...

Well, as has been said, I need to actually try one of these things to see how it works for me. Just thinking about it will only take me so far :wink: Based on the preponderance of the advice at this point, I think I'm going to try to find a G-Bar/HFT, focus on technique, and pray that my multiple, insane shaving issues don't crop up too badly. And if there's issues at that point, I'll have some additional data to figure out next steps...

Many thanks to everyone's advice so far!
Issac
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Post by itsmedave »

You'd better hurry, with as many brushes as I've bought this week, I'm getting ready to have a fire sale!!!
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Post by ShadowsDad »

IGW, I went back and read your original post.

I think I read that you have tried the techniques we use and the products but you still have ingrowns? Would I be correct in assuming you did that with cartridges?

If so, that could be what is causing the ingrowns. They pull the whisker out and then cut it, leaving the stub below the skin line. Using what you know now, coupled with the SE razor (or DE for that matter) might cure that. They don't have the same "pull then cut" action of a cartridge.

Going against the grain just makes ingrowns worse with a cart'.

Early on I found that carts and against the grain shaving gave me ingrowns, so I stopped doing that. Now with blades I normally go ATG and I haven't had any ingrowns at all.

After you get your razor, if you still have problems, we can help.
Brian

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Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square
ingrownwarrior
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Post by ingrownwarrior »

ShadowsDad wrote:I think I read that you have tried the techniques we use and the products but you still have ingrowns? Would I be correct in assuming you did that with cartridges?

...Using what you know now, coupled with the SE razor (or DE for that matter) might cure that. They don't have the same "pull then cut" action of a cartridge.

Going against the grain just makes ingrowns worse with a cart'.
I think my post may have been a bit convoluted, and also I think most folks aren't up to speed on the BumpFighter (BF) razor. Basically, I've been using most of the techniques and have minimized most of my problems. I sometimes get ingrowns and irritation, but there has been a vast improvement in these areas and happen infrequently.

The BF razor is a cartridge, but it is a single blade with a wire guard on the blade itself. I think the guard helps prevent too close of a shave, preventing the hairs from being cut (too far?) underneath the skin, and the single blade prevents the 'pull then cut' action that you discussed above. And, as I didn't mention above, I do two passes with the grain and stop.

Because the BF prevents you getting too close of a shave, which definitely helps the ingrown hair, razor bumps, and irritation issues, it does, well, prevent too close of a shave. So I more or less always have a visible shadow, like Homer Simpson:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbHmj-i5 ... re=related

Basically, I'm trying to figure out how to not have all these issues AND not have perma-stubble. So I'll give one of these SEs a try and take it from there.

Many thanks for the advice so far, and additional input is always welcome...
Issac
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Post by Quarterstick »

Just something that I was reminded of as I was reading the new posts. With the Featherweight I can apply too much pressure which leads to irritation. This was especially true when I first started using it or when I pick it up after a hiatus. I guess since I am more used to my DE I have a slight expectation of a heavier feel against my face and I try to unconsciously compensate. It is not terribly difficult to adapt and it may not even be an issue if you are used to working with a cartridge razor.
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ShadowsDad
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Post by ShadowsDad »

I hope I'm not stealing IGWs thunder... He's going with an HFT and Ted Pella 121-3 (GEM triple facet SS ptfe) blades to start. He's being looked after.

He'll have the weight you suggest 1/4stick. I suggested a Featherweight as an additional razor for a reduced price, but he didn't go for it.
Brian

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Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square
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Post by SharpSpine »

The HFT sounds like a perfect start. I've found some DEs that will work well for me but my SEs are still my favorites!
> Brian < Shave On & God Bless!!

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alcx77
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Post by alcx77 »

Wish I could held but since the only SE I own is the Contour 2 I have no basis of comparison to offer. Alot of great advise on this page from others as you can see. Good luck in your quest. :wink:
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