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New DE Shaver

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New DE Shaver

Postby dosco » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:39 am

Gents:
I'm new to the forum, I have to say that I'm glad there is such a forum for the exchange of ideas, methods, and products for better shaving.

Beware, long post.

I'm sure my shaving experience is similar to others'.

I began shaving seriously in college as I was involved in a ROTC (military) program. I don't recall what I used...I think I used 2-blade disposables but I'm not entirely sure. I do recall that shaving wasn't pleasant. Razor burn was my permanent 'facial coloring' to which I soon grew accustomed. I never really had any other chronic problems (ingrown hairs, etc.) other than the razor burn.

I went on active duty and around that time the Gillette Sensor was introduced. I gladly bought this product thinking I would get a better shave. I was wrong. I did notice that after letting my beard grow over the weekend, I would get a very enjoyable and close shave on monday morning. Tuesday shaving was always unpleasant, though.

The Mach 3 came out around the time I left active duty, again I bought this product thinking things would get better. They stayed the same. I bought a Mach 3 kit for a friend stationed in Japan, he said that it 'looks like a Klingon battle cruiser.' Around this time I gave up on aftershave liquids and went to isopropyl rubbing alcohol. I also tried facial moisturizers hoping the razor burn would go away. No such luck.

Then the Fusion came out. I bought one of those thinking things would get better. No joy.

A few years ago I thought it would be interesting to look into straight razors...after all, all of my best barbers used them. I did some research and came across Chris Moss' guide. I happily devoured that information and adopted the use of shaving soap (Williams), a Williams brush, and pre-shave preparation (mostly soaking my face in hot shower water).

I also recently (perhaps 2 years ago) switched from isopropyl alcohol to CVS ethyl alcohol (I think it is 'denatured' as it has a teeny bit of acetone in it).

About 2 a week ago I got a bug in my shorts and ordered a DE razor on Amazon. Without knowing what to expect I was hesitant to drop 40 bux on a razor, so I bought a Lord P6 (appears to be a cheap knock-off of a better brand (perhaps Merkur?)). I bought a sample pack of razors, and have 3 DE shaves under my belt (I'll have a 4th in a few minutes). My first 2 shaves were with a Derby blade, 3rd shave was with a Feather. So far so good.

My current process is:
1. Wash head and face in shower
2. Apply "regular" conditioner
3. After showering, use the brush to make lather (Williams soap)
4. Apply lather
5. DE shave using 4 passes
6. Rinse with hot water
7. Rinse with cold water
8. Splash of Aqua Velva

Right now I have 2 questions:
1. My lather seems to dry up ... any advice for making it thicker and longer lasting?

2. I'm not a big fan of strong cologne odors ... is there anything like Aqua Velva (similar ingredients) but without the strong odor?

Thanks!!

-Dave
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Postby brothers » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:09 am

Dave, I'd suggest that you might want to try one of the hundreds of other shaving soaps and creams that are readily available out there, at prices not necessarily considered higher end.

If you are one of those who enjoy menthol, I'd suggest a trip to Bath and Body Works where you can get tube of CO Bigelow shaving cream (rebranded Italian Proraso) which is highly regarded as an entry level shaving cream that lathers brilliantly with your brush. If you don't like menthol you can get a wide variety of products online in tubes or tubs.

Williams is not extremely popular, even though it does have its fans. Some people have problems with the performance of Williams soap. I don't have any Arko Soap on hand, but it's very cheap and very good, and if I did have one, I'd send it to you.

I'm going to stop now, because a lot of the guys will also be coming along soon to give you some encouragement and support. Nice first post, and welcome to SMF! Best regards,
Gary
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Postby gsgo » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:52 am

Dave, welcome to SMF!

A dry lather is easily fixed by adding water, just make sure to load up the brush properly and then add water to build a nich rich and dense lather. Practice a few times when your not shaving to experiment with the amount of soap or water you need to come up with the lather that you want, everyone varies a little on what they like so it's a matter of finding out what works best for you.

After shaves vary but if you are looking for a good unscented post shave treatment give Thayers Witch Hazel After Shave a look.

Good luck!
Good shaving,

Gary
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Postby Quarterstick » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:02 am

Welcome to the forum.

I will second what has been said above. More water, but it can be a fine line between enough and too much. Add a bit at a time until you get something that is thick and creamy, but not too foamy. I use standard Thayers Witch Hazel as an aftershave and it has a very mild scent and is soothing. The aftershave version has more alcohol which may work better given your preferences.

Don’t discount the scented stuff. I used to be a strictly low to no scent type of person until I discovered some of the higher quality products associated with wet shaving.
Andy

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Postby dosco » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:03 am

On the way to work I picked up some CO Bigelow at the local Bath and Body Works.

4th DE shave under the belt today, 2nd on the Feather blade I first used yesterday. Nice shave.
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Postby jww » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:41 am

Welcome to SMF.
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Postby churchilllafemme » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:54 am

Welcome, it's good to have you here.
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Postby desertbadger » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:26 pm

Welcome to SMF!

Regards,
David
Gotta have the "Fat"!
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Postby dosco » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:21 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome, gents.

Am eager to use the OC Bigelow tomorrow ...!
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Postby ShadowsDad » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:09 pm

Welcome to the forum! It sounds like you're off to a good start, and it just gets better.

Williams can be a difficult soap to use, but lots of folks use it, and I'm one. It's particularly difficult if you have hard water. Either hard or soft water though, load the heck out of the brush. Then hydrate it enough. Make test lathers as though you're a student, which you are right now. You won't waste much soap and you'll learn a great deal. Add small quantities of water at a time to your lather and when you think it's hydrated enough spread some on your arm to see how long it lasts. I like it to last for at least one pass, some would say 8 minutes. When you have good lather with microscopic bubbles that lasts, continue to add water in small amounts to take it too far. That way you can see what too much water or not enough product looks like. Lather is a basic building block of a great shave and it must be mastered. The good thing is you don't need to wait for a shave to practice it.

Bigelow is a nice cream. When you want some others that you can probably find locally, there is Kiss My Face in a pump bottle and VDH Deluxe. The VDH isn't much for scent, though I don't find it unpleasant, but they both work far better than their price would suggest. KMF is in the same league as Bigelow IMO. Both also can be used w/o lathering. They give up some cushioning unlathered, but gain lubricity. I like them best lathered with a brush.

I have used generic Witch Hazel and still use it from time to time. It's hard to beat $3/pint witch hazel for an after shave splash. The little scent it does have fades extremely rapidly. Some folks hate the scent, some like it.

If you can't find what you like in an after shave you can always make your own. That's what I did with my own bay rum. I spent hours researching it and made many batches formulating it, but now I have something that I like enough to use most every day. It puts most commercial bay rum formulas to shame for skin care and scent. No it's not for sale. Anyway, you can do the same... make your own.
Brian

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Or find it at Bullgoose, Italian Barber, and West Coast Shaving. Brick and Mortar: The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, in Pasadena, California
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Postby dosco » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:00 pm

ShadowsDad wrote:Williams can be a difficult soap to use, but lots of folks use it, and I'm one.


Thanks for the advice on the Williams soap. I'm going to give the Bigelow a try tomorrow but I will very likely end up using Williams again in the future. I will check around for the others you mentioned as well.


If you can't find what you like in an after shave you can always make your own.


That occurred to me yesterday. I was thinking I could "water down" the Aqua Velva ... this morning I did some research and found that I can purchase menthol crystals. So. I like alcohol and I like menthol, so I just may give it a shot.

Good stuff, keep it coming. :)
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Postby ShadowsDad » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:54 pm

I dissolve menthol in alcohol (vodka will do) until it begins to form a "liquid layer" above the alcohol. Then it's saturated. I use that to "flavor' soaps and such, for each use. I suppose an entire grated soap puck could be flavored, but I find it just as easy to add a few drops for that days shave, and I still have the rest of the puck for when I don't want the menthol. Just go easy with the saturated solution, it's really easy to use too much.

Or you could add some menthol crystals to witch hazel. You'd have the cooling effect of the menthol and the healing effect of the WH. Go to a health food store and get some real peppermint extract. The combination of mint and menthol is amazing.

To dissolve menthol you either need to have a warm solution or alcohol. Alcohol is the easiest way IMO. (distilled witch hazel contains 14% (?) alcohol so it dissolves menthol easily)
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it at Bullgoose, Italian Barber, and West Coast Shaving. Brick and Mortar: The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, in Pasadena, California
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Postby dosco » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:35 pm

ShadowsDad wrote:I dissolve menthol in alcohol (vodka will do) until it begins to form a "liquid layer" above the alcohol. Then it's saturated.


Good info, thanks.

Or you could add some menthol crystals to witch hazel.

Hmmm. Menthol+witch hazel+camphor+splash of alcohol ... ... might be on to something there.
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Postby dosco » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:22 am

Used the OC Bigelow (by Proraso) this morning.

Not sure if it was the key to a great shave...but I have to say that in all my 20+ years using cartridges, I have never gotten as smooth and comfortable a shave on a Friday as I have this morning. Never ever.

Fridays are usually an unpleasant shave due to teensy stubble and a dulling multiblade cartridge. Razor burn is (was?) the order of the day.

Used the el-cheapo Lord safety razor with a Feather on its 3rd shave, used OC Bigelow soap instead of Williams. Used Aqua Velva as aftershave. Slight razor burn on my right jaw/cheek area (a chronic problem spot).

FANTASTIC!
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Postby ShadowsDad » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:46 pm

That's a good feeling isn't it?
=D>

To get rid of the razor burn it might be 2 things; pressure, but you already know that, or lather. One of the most difficult things to come to grips with when moving from cartridges to blades is that the less pressure applied the better a blade works- up to a point. You don't want the blade to chatter across the skin.

For lather you want microscopic bubbles. It should resemble whipped cream, but much finer. The lather should almost be irridescent or satiny. To feel it between the fingers it should provide some resistance to allowing the fingers to come together, and should be slippery. If the bubbles are large and easily visible it's either too much water or not enough product of both. Using more product generally solves all lather problems. If you have hard water you definitely want to use a lot of product, the danger with soft water is using too little product.
Brian

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Or find it at Bullgoose, Italian Barber, and West Coast Shaving. Brick and Mortar: The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, in Pasadena, California
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Postby JarmoP » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:32 pm

Lather does not dry very fast. I build lather on my face on the first pass, being face latherer, quite some time. 3 minutes I think. It gets the badger brush a proper consistence also for the second and touch up pass.

I warn against getting the lather too watery, since it is not then supportive. My water is soft, so I dont rinse my face between passes. It will only make the lather too watery.

The whole shave pass will not take more than a 1-2 minutes, once you get your technique right. Not enough time for the lather to dry.
Jarmo
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Postby dosco » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:47 am

The OC Bigelow/Proraso is great. I made an improvised scuttle, so the soap "cream" was nice and warm.

Got my 7th shave today with a Feather blade. Still getting exceptionally close shaves.

Also got some Personna HU blades from brothers, that is next on the Lord razor.
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Postby CMur12 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:15 pm

Welcome, Dave!

Though the idea may not have much appeal at this time of year, I have read from another experimenter that Williams Soap provides a much better lather with cold water. (A cold lather can sometimes help discourage razor bumps, also.)

- Murray
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Postby dosco » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:27 pm

Thanks for the tip, Murray. I'll keep that in mind and give it a try ... although I have to say that I really enjoy the Proraso.
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Postby dosco » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:12 am

I got my 7th shave out of my 1st Feather blade...no tugging or nicks, however I used a new Personna HU blade this morning and the difference was noticeable.

I'd guess that 5 or 6 shaves from a Feather is about the limit for me.
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