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Results of my first wet shave! (and some questions)

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Results of my first wet shave! (and some questions)

Postby olufadi1 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:16 pm

Hey guys! New to the forum. I am an African American that has been using electric shavers and andis trimmers for shaving previously. I wanted a smoother shave so I did some research into wet shaving. I just did my first wetshave on Saturday. Here is what I was working with:

Edwin Jagger De89bl Double Edge Safety Razor
Merkur super Double Edge Razor Blades
Colonel Conk Progress Model 1001 Standard Pure Badger Shaving Brush
Proraso Shaving Soap, Ultra Sensitive Skin
Proraso Pre and Post Shave Cream

The shave was weird, but I have some experience with "not pressing down" and using the weight of the shaver from cutting my own hair and such. I did 4 passes just because it was my first time. 2 of them with the grain, 1 across from the ear in, and against the grain. I got a few nicks, but I think it was mostly from bumps that were from previous shaves.

The shave seemed smoother than usual, but I think if I improve my technique it will be even smoother. A day after the shave, I don't think I will get bumps, but my skin still feels irritated and itchy. I try applying the preshave I bought as aftershave to try and soothe it. Will it take some time for my skin to get used to new products and the new shave? Thanks for any help! [/list]
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Postby CMur12 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:42 pm

First of all, welcome to SMF!

If you managed your first shave with no razor bumps or ingrowns, that is great news.

Next, you want to aim for a comfortable shave. A close shave will come naturally with time and experience. Your skin isn't accustomed to this type of shave yet and you wouldn't yet have fine control of the angle of the razor, so I would recomend no more than 2 passes. They could be 2 with-the-grain (WTG) passes or one WTG and one across the grain (XTG).

When the angle of the blade is just right, you get a clean cut and minimal irritation. When the angle is off, you get scraping, ineffective cutting, and more irritation. It takes time and experience to be able to maintain just the right blade angle over your entire face. This irritation will decrease as your experience builds.

Merkur blades aren't very popular here, and many find them rough. (Even so, we do have a rather vocal minority that loves them. :? ) Another blade of more universal acceptance, such as the Crystal brand, might work a little better for you. If you do try some Crystal blades, I would stick with them until you get your technique established. Then you could start trying other blades.

It sounds like you are off to a good start. Keep up the good work and stick with us!

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!
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Postby RazoRock » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:51 pm

Seems like you are off to a good start. On average, I would say it takes at least a dozen shaves to get the hang of it.

I would recommend cutting down your passes to 2, until you are proficient; that will reduce any irritation.
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Postby Squire » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:14 pm

Hey olufadi, welcome aboard. You're off to a solid start and things will only improve. Not much I can add to the other posters except to mention that your itchiness and irritation may well be left over from your prior shaving practices. That and shaving slowly should eliminate slight cuts or weepers. I would also recommend you limit your passes to two at most, one might be better.
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Postby olufadi1 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:38 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I think I will try the two passes WTG like everyone is suggesting.

I will look into crystal brand blades also. My razor came with some Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades. What are the reputation of these blades? (I was thinking of trying them for my next shave).

Last, I couldn't really tell, but I think I was having trouble working up a good lather with my shaving soap. I tried doing it straight out of the tub. Would it be better to do it in a mug or something or does it not really matter?
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Postby CMur12 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:59 pm

Derby is another good middle-of-the-road blade. Go ahead and give it a try. If you would like to try some Crystals, PM me your name and address and I'll send you some.

Lather will definitely make a difference. You don't have much room to make lather in the tub the Proraso soap comes in, so I would recommend loading your brush with plenty of soap and making the lather in a separate bowl or directly on your face. My skin is very sensitive and doesn't tolerate face-lathering, so I make lather in a bowl.

Making lather is another skill that will improve with experience.

- Murray
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Postby brothers » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:15 pm

Hi olufadi, welcome to SMF. Thumbs up on the Derbys and the Crystals. Sounds like you're off to a good start, and I hope you continue to enjoy this tried and true way of shaving.
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Postby olufadi1 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:20 pm

Wow. Thanks!

Alright. I think I will try lathering in a mug next time like I've seen in some videos.

I'm looking forward to improving my technique. There really is a zen to it that people seem to talk about a lot.
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Postby Squire » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:18 pm

It's making a pleasant experience out of something that we have to do anyway.
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Postby Squire » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:19 pm

And yeah, we like to compare notes.
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Postby JayTrek » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:40 am

olufadi1,

Welcome to SMF!!!

Look forward to chatting with you here.

Sounds like you are starting off right. One thing that will learn along the way is that each man has to experiment in terms of blades, razors and such to see what works best for him. Keep working on technique and find the products that work for you...and one day you will wonder why in the world you were not doing this all along.

Happy Shaving!!!
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Postby SRD » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:00 am

olufadi1 welcome to the group. It sounds as if you are off and running in good form. The shaves will get better and better as you learn the direction of beard growth on different parts of your face. I look forward to your posts. Keep us informed on your progress.
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Postby Quarterstick » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:09 am

Welcome olufadi1!

As a fairly recent newcomer myself (about 4 months in), I wanted to share a few lessons learned and insights I have had during my starting experience.

In another thread a member warned to watch for hubris. It sounds like you had a good first experience and when I started, I had a number of very good shaves. I am sure part of this was contrast effect from what I was doing to my face previously. So I thought I had this this down and did not pay attention to technique. The outcome was predictably ingrowns, razor burn, and nicks. :(

From your short post, it sounds like you are patient and thoughtful about your approach. This will serve you well. Take your time, do some research, and ask questions. There is a wealth of information that can help you including the fine gentlemen on this board (as you have already discovered). If you have not already found them, I recommend the Shaving Tutor videos by fellow member Mark, aka mantic59. They provide good information and are entertaining to boot.

http://www.youtube.com/user/mantic59

I would recommend slowing down on switching blades unless what you have is intolerable. If you have read around a bit, I am sure you have seen YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) in reference to different blades. This is what JayTrek mentioned above and others have hinted at. The way a blade performs for you is influenced by a lot of things, including but not limited to the particular razor you use, the corseness and thickness of your beard, and sensitivity of your skin. If you move around too much early on, it is difficult to tell if the issues you are experiencing are due to the blade or your technique. I started out with Merkur blades and had good experiences with them. Others think they perform like a rusty lid to a tin can.

Having said that, certainly take Murray up on his kind offer to send you some Crystals to sample, whether you go with these for now or save them to try later. One of the great things about this community is the generosity of the members to not only share their knowledge and experience, but also share products to help us newer guys get to a better shave. :D
Andy

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Postby Squire » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:06 am

For the record I'm not against Merkur blades I just think they are overpriced.
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Postby jww » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:14 am

Squire wrote:For the record I'm not against Merkur blades I just think they are overpriced.


They are just "meh" for me -- I prefer Derbys and Feathers (never thought I would actually say that when I started wet-shaving).

Oh, and welcome to SMF, olufadi1.
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Postby olufadi1 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:49 pm

Thanks for all the welcomes. As the days pass I have good news and bad news.

First the good. I don't think my shave gave me any additional bumps which was a huge factor in why I pursued wet shaving.

The bad. The irritation is lingering! Maybe this is people call razor burn? I am not sure exactly what it is though (it might also be my hair growing back again so i hope its not ingrown hairs). I try to soothe the irritation with hot/cold water and the preshave that I bought. And I am fighting to urge not to scratch! Ha. Are there any good products or ways to soothe irritation?

I am not discouraged, because as everyone has said I am sure this will get better with time.
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Postby kronos9 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:50 pm

olufadi1 wrote:Maybe this is people call razor burn?


Razor burn is when the top surface of your face goes down the drain along with your whiskers. IMO, angle is a greater culprit than pressure. My suggestion is to do only one pass, with the head of the razor keeping the blade off the skin, so that the blade edge contacts only the whisker and not the skin.


Edit: Squire, I'm sticking with angle over pressure. Maybe it's just my face.
Last edited by kronos9 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Squire » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:32 pm

Razor burn burn is skin abrasion and the usual culprits are too much pressure or shaving too fast. Easy does it.
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Postby JayTrek » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:07 pm

Squire wrote:For the record I'm not against Merkur blades I just think they are overpriced.


:-)

My experience with Merkur blades is more like the "rusty lid to a tin can" analogy.

I too prefer Feathers.
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Postby brothers » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:36 am

I've used a very few, and can't say I had a strong dislike for the Merkurs, but they were just too average to catch my attention in any positive way.
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