By Popular Demand-The Four Pass shave

Discussion in 'General Shaving Discussion' started by guenron, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. guenron

    guenron Moderator Emeritus

    Greetings Gents,
    On more than one occasion I have shared my time-tested shaving regimen with those that were seeking the ultimate in closeness along with an irritation-free experience. So that this message does not go on forever, I am not going to talk about prep, razor angle, blades, creams, or soaps, just the Four Pass patterns. A note of caution, this methodology is based upon the gradual reduction of the beard on each pass. Each successive pass depends upon the prior passes being completed correctly, thereby reducing the whiskers for the cutting angles to be used in each successive pass. Failure to do this can result in a a great deal of irritation, a miserable shave, and an inestimable number of nicks and/or severe cuts.
    To facilitate our communication, let us begin with a few (simple) terms and ideas. When I refer to the face, I divide it into four quadrants (just like quarters only different).
    The dividing lines are:
    • the vertical line running through the center of your nose
    • and a horizontal line that runs along your jawbone.
    Quadrant one (Q1) is the left cheek and other parts of your face left of the nose out to the ear, from your jawbone up to the top of your left cheek. Quadrant two (Q2) is the same area on the right side of your face. Though your moustache and chin are included within these boundaries, we will treat them separately. Quadrant three (Q3) is the area to the left of the vertical line and below the horizontal line running along your jawbone. Quadrant four (Q4) is the area to the right of the vertical line and below the horizontal line described above.

    Let us begin! First at the beginning of each pass we rinse the face with comfortably hot water, leaving the face wet and then lather.

    Now for pass one. In Q1 we stroke from North to South, starting at the ear-side of the quadrant performing parallel strokes until we reach the leftmost edge of the lip. The bottom of the stroke is at the midline of the jawbone. Depending on your style, you may wish to take one long , two medium, or three short strokes to do each "STROKE." Now we move to Q2 and perform the same series of strokes, but from right to left. Now it is time for Q3. Starting all of the way to the left again, gently lifting up (if you need to) the left cheek, begin your North to South stroke where the lather begins on your left cheek/jawbone. Stop at the end of the beardline on your neck. Now continue with parallel strokes until you reach the chin. Now we do Q4 much the same as Q3, except we start at the right and work our way to the right edge of the chin. We are now ready for the moustache. Simply and carefully, perform a series of very short North to South strokes starting at the left side working to the middle (filtrum). Repeat the process working from the right side to the center. The very last strokes should shear the whiskers from the filtrum. Shave the chin in much the same fashion as the moustache, working from left to right with North-South strokes until you reach the center, and then working from right to left with North-South strokes until you reach the center, finally overlapping your last left to right North-South stroke.

    Now rinse the face with comfortably hot water, leaving the face wet and then lather. (I'll wait for you.)

    Now for pass two. The strokes in Q1 and Q2 are going to be one half of the letter V, i.e. in Q1 from the top of the area near you left ear to the bottom of the area near the chin. We do a series of strokes paralleling this first one until we have completed the quadrant. Caution, you must keep the skin taut or you will be in danger of cutting yourself at this point Before moving on to Q2 we do a stroke where you gently lift the cheek and run the razor along the skin that was just on the jawbone (until you just raised it by raising your cheek) from under the ear to the center of the chin. Q2 is done just as Q1 but from your right ear to the right of your chin, etc. Caution, you must keep the skin taut or you will be in danger of cutting yourself at this point Finish Q2 just as you did Q1, but from the right end of the jawbone to the center of the chin, lift the skin and keep it taut so that the razor does not grab any extra skin. Q3 and Q4 are shaved with a series of horizontal strokes, Starting with Q3, up under the jawbone by the left ear you will stroke to the centerline under your chin. Follow this stroke with a series of parallel strokes ending at the centerline until you reach the bottom of your whiskered area. Now we move on to Q4. Repeat the same process as Q3, but from the right to the left. Once finished Q4 we shave the moustache. Taking care to keep things taut, work with a series of very slightly angled strokes from the outside of the lip on the left to the filtrum. Then work with a series of very slightly angled strokes from the outside of the lip on the right to the filtrum completing the moustache with a single North-south stroke to shave the filtrum. Shave the chin in the same fashion as the moustache, left to center, right to center with slightly angled (each side describing a half of a V) strokes.

    Now for pass three. The strokes in Q1 and Q2 are going to be the other half of the letter V you started in pass two, i.e. in Q1 from the top of the area near you nose to the bottom of the area near your left ear, in Q2 from the top of the area near you nose to the bottom of the area near your right ear. After the first stroke in Q1, paralllel it with similar strokes until you have completed the quadrant. Caution, now you must keep the skin taut or you will be in danger of cutting yourself at this point Prior to going from Q1 to Q2, gently lifting the skin, you make a stroke along the jawbone from the center of the chin to the area under the left ear. Just like in pass two, only in the opposite direction. After the first stroke in Q2, paralllel it with similar strokes until you have completed the quadrant. Caution, now you must keep the skin taut or you will be in danger of cutting yourself at this point After Q2, gently lifting the skin, you make a stroke along the jawbone from the center of the chin to the area under the right ear. Beginning in Q3, starting at the centerline under your chin you will stroke (horizontally) to under the left ear. Follow this stroke with a series of parallel horizontal strokes ending at the end of you whiskers until you reach the bottom of your whiskered area. Now we move on to Q4. Repeat the same process as Q3, but from the left to the right. Once finished Q4 we shave the moustache. Taking care to keep things taut, work with a series of very slightly angled (to the left) strokes from the middle of the lip (filtrum) to the outside edge on the left. Then work with a series of very slightly angled strokes (to the right) from the filtrum to the outside of the lip on the right. Shave the chin in the same fashion as the moustache, center to left, center to right with slightly angled (each side describing a half of a V) strokes.

    Now for pass four. This is where the rubber meets the road! You should have a very close shave by now. If you have done everything correctly up to this point you should have very near to baby's butt smoothness on the cheeks. This pass is the South to North pass. It is executed starting in Q3 out by the leftmost part of the quadrant with a series of parallel South to North strokes up to the jawbone until your parallel strokes reach the centerline. Then you do a similar sweep of South to North strokes in Q1, starting by the ear at the jawbone up to the top of the whiskered area working your parallel strokes over to the left edge of the lip. Now to Q4. Just the same as Q3 but working your parallel South - North strokes from the right to the left, from out by the ear-side to the centerline. Then tackle Q2 with a series of parallel South to North strokes just as you did in Q1, but working from the right to the left. This brings us to the moustache and chin. Caution! Depending upon your skin and whiskers you may wish to shave your moustache with a series of South to North strokes, working from the outside to the middle (filtrum) or as a series of diagonal upward strokes (SW-NE and SE-NW) working from the outside to the filtrum. Even with the very reduced shrub (well shaven?) on the upper lip, many gents have whiskers so tough and dense on the upper lip that it is inviting carnage to do a pure South-North. The chin should be approached in much the same way as the moustache.

    You can or may need to tailor this methodology to your own needs and facial topography. You may wish to run through the four passes with a bladeless razor just to get it down. If you haven't done horizontal strokes across your neck before, a bit of bladeless practice is a good thing! Do the washing and lathering even with the bladeless razor to get a feel for it. I do NOT recommend this technique for a newcomer to DE shaving. That's it! Enjoy.
     
  2. I don't know why in 2+ years no one ever responded to your thread but anyway, great post! Your 4-pass shave is the original shave I used to formulate my own technique. I don't do the N-S pass - I start my shave with the first half of the V in pass two. Your approach to shaving the jawline is a staple in my shave though. Pulling the skin up makes a big difference. The 1st half V and the jawline pull-up were especially important because my ex-gf always ran her hand down my face, towards the chin. She'd comment on how smooth my face always was. It saves a lot of time to do it this way at the beginning and not deal with a lot of chin/jawline touchup. Great work!
     
  3. I read this years ago and it was invaluable. You can use the approach to shave with almost anything sharp - including a weishi. However the four pass approach with slant + feather is too much for my skin, so adaptation is needed for some razor-blade-skin type combinations. What I particular like, is that the disciplined approach (or customised variation) is faster overall than constinually going back to shave over the less easy areas, even with less passes.
     
  4. guenron

    guenron Moderator Emeritus

    Thank you Telly. I certainly hope the 4-pass was not the reason the gf is now ex!:blush:
     
  5. Indeed. Historical post along with Jim's soap lathering and Kyle's pre-shave routine.
     
  6. I really like htis method... I just need to either practice it or adapt it to my face... either or... most parts are really smooth...
     
  7. I've been trying the DE wetshaving method for a few months ago, and when I was doing research before I took the plunge, I ran across your tutorial. Here's my question...

    In Q1 of my face, the hair on my jawline runs from my chin to right below my ear. Of course, Q2 would be a mirror image, assuming the Y-Axis line running through my nose down the center of my face. I've always read that if you're going to learn wetshaving with multiple passes, the first pass should always be WTG. For my face, it seems as though the first pass should be switched with the third pass, and that the upside down "V" pass from top of the nose to the bottom of the ear would be best. The true N-S pass is, for the most part, XTG for me, and horizontal W-E/E-W is ATG. Am I thinking about this correctly?

    I have pretty curly facial hair and a sensitive face, therefore, I'm much more suseptible to razor bumps and burn more than others. I've found that I have much less, practically ZERO, irritation when I keep face BBS as often as possible. Your immediate thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

    -Mark
     
  8. This (the original post by guenron) should be made into a "sticky." I have been reading through posts on this site, which I have enjoyed and found to be very informative, for several days. It was not until I saw a thread on multiple passes that I saw a link back to this one. This seems like great advice. I have been shaving with a DE for about two weeks and still have not quite had the BBS smooth shave that I read about here. I will give this method a go tomorrow morning.

    Thanks again,
    MJC in Tennessee
     
  9. My apologies, it is already listed as a link on the sticky at the top of the "Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In."
     
  10. I've been trying the four-pass for a few days and was getting a lot of irritation on my neck. This is because the second pass includes NW-SE on Q3 and NE-SW on Q4. This is XTG or ATG for me.

    So I just flipped those two quarters, making chevrons on my face with axis along the jawbone. So it's WTG (mostly) on pass 2. Worked pretty well today. So this is what I'll be trying:

    Pass 1: N-S
    Pass 2, Q1: NW-SE
    Pass 2, Q2: NE-SW
    Pass 2, Q3: NE-SW
    Pass 2, Q4: NW-SE
    Pass 3, Q1: NE-SW
    Pass 3, Q2: NW-SE
    Pass 3, Q3: NW-SE
    Pass 3, Q4: NE-SW
    Pass 4, S-N
     
  11. Great post!
     
  12. snippet


    I think is was due to it being a sticky and people just reading it, going " AHHHHhh " in their head and trying it out. Kind of like seeing a chalkboard at an eatery that says thanks! No one replies until that first person picks up the chalk and writes a comment, then everyone does.
    I tried out this technique and found it works very well. I modified it somewhat to do a with, across, across then against the grain shave as I thought that was the intended purpose.
     
  13. And might I also add this was done by a fellow Okie! ( sorry if you hate that term Ron, I use it as someone from or living in Oklahoma, nothing derogatory intended ).
     
  14. I agree, great instructional. This, Kyle's prep and Jim lathering is all one needs.
     
  15. I am so glad that I saw this post. I'm fairly new to DE shaving (about 3 weeks) and I've been struggling a bit with missed patches and spots of rawness.

    This morning, I shaved based on what I learned from Ron's post.

    I don't know if the new blades (trying Gillette 7 o'clocks) or better technique contributed, but what I do know is that this was the closest, smoothest shave I've ever had. No patches, no rawness, nothing missed, just a comfortable BBS shave. Even the jawlines, a big problem for me, were perfect; smooth and irritation free.

    For the first time, since starting, I'm totally happy with my shave.

    So, I just wanted to thank Guenron for his original post! :001_smile


    jim

    P.S. Since I need reading glasses in order to read, and since I can't wear reading glasses while shaving without getting them covered in shaving cream, I have created a one page MS Word document in LARGE print that contains shortcuts to the essence of Ron's method. If anyone would like it, let me know. It only took about 10 minutes to create, so you could do it yourself, but if you want to save 10 minutes :)
     
  16. Tried this method myself tonight, gotta say it seemed to work a treat. Futur set at 1.5, Astra Platinum and Taylors Avacado.
    Followed the drill as given but omitted the south to north pass, virtually BBS all over and zero irratation:smile:.
    I used full single strokes for a change and i think this may have helped me immensely, i think with short strokes i have been over doing it on unprotected (unlathered) skin.
    Very useful advice giving great results with no irratation, doesn't get much better than that:smile:.
     
  17. I hadnt even read this and this was my first DE shave style. Great minds think alike!:wink:
     
  18. Ron,:biggrin:

    You are definitely THE MAN when it comes to designing a model for a fabulous shave. I have been using your method now for months, and unless I am in some somnolent state when I shave, I never fail to achieve a great BBS shave. Thanks for re-posting this.

    Justin
     
  19. This is more or less how I've been shaving with my Fusion for the last couple years. Glad to hear this will work with DE. Great post! :thumbup:
     
  20. +1.
     

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