The quandary: Everyone agrees soap strips oil from your face, and that's great because it allows your beard to absorb water so it is much easier to cut. Everybody also agrees that it is bad to use soap because it strips the sebum from your face, leaving you with no barrier between the blade and the skin. The hypotheses: Using soap to strip the face of oil, then wetting the beard to absorb water, and then replacing the stripped oil with a shave oil, should provide all the benefits of stripping oil and all the benefits of not stripping sebum. Methodology: So for the last week I've been soaping up with Arko or Floris Santal to strip the oil before I wet my beard, and then shaving with Shaver's Secret, one of the oils you can use with or instead of shave creams or soaps, once my beard has absorbed all the water it can. The result so far: The Good: I'm catching BBS with less irritation than I ever have. The oil really protects the skin, not only from burn, but from weepers. It also conditions the skin, and it seems to keep the blades sharp. Not sure on that, but it seems that way. I still get to use the brush and enjoy the initial smell of the soap, which is important. The Bad: I'm using Ron's 4 passer with touch up, and there's more touch up than normal because the oil is almost too protective. (Still, the touch up isn't irritating my skin, so it is more a time and bother issue than anything.) Also, I don't know if this will work if I use creams rather than soaps. Next: I'm going to try this for a few more weeks, trying to get the wrinkles out, maybe shave a little more aggressively, and also try to switch to some creams for the oil stripping. Prorasso should work, as it has soap ingredients.