First time DE shave, new guy

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by mrk2007, May 8, 2012.

  1. Hi All,

    Well I decided that I would attempt my first DE shave today! Unfortunately not the results I wanted but I am hoping that its just my technique at this point (most likely).

    First some background. I've been shaving with all electric for about the past 6 years. I have always had trouble with wet shaves hence why I decided to use electric. I've had mostly good luck with my Bruan (tried several different ones) but as its going on 5 years and slightly broken I thought I'd give DE a shot.

    So I ordered up a Merkur Long Handled #180 razor and a Van Der Hagen brush/bowl/soap set and went to town. So I showered, put some baby oil on my face (read that from someone that it helped prevent cuts), built my lather and applied. Waited about a minute and started shaving. I tried to get the angle right (I know i could improve here). I probably had to layer on the lather about 4-5 times to even get a remotely close shave (2 days growth) and ended up with a less close shave then my Braun. I would say I have thicker than normal/sensitive skin because I end up with not a close shave and usually a cut or two...

    So what do you guys think? Should I stick it out or just pick up a new electric? I really wanted to learn to shave with a safety razor but I'm not sure if I can stick it out. Thanks!

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  2. Welcome to B&B!

    If DE shaving is something you want to do, I would encourage you to stay with it. Let's see if we can't help you troubleshoot this a little bit.

    One basic concept of DE shaving is that unlike an electric or cartridge razor that lets you take off your beard in one swipe, you need to do multiple passes. Each pass reduces the beard a little bit more. The first pass is normally with the grain (WTG), followed by another pass across the grain (XTG), and often but not always finished with a pass against the grain (ATG).

    For most of us, the sideburns and cheeks grown in a pattern such that our WTG pass goes from North to South and XTG is from East to West. The grain of your beard below the jaw line can be radically different, so this is where you really need to map out the direction of the grain. North to South doesn't always equate to WTG everywhere on every face.

    You may need to stretch your skin a little bit to get a good shave, especially if the trouble spots are just spots instead of all over. You can stretch your skin by pulling or pushing your skin in tension against the direction of your shaving stroke. You can also use facial expressions or stick your tongue into your cheek to distort the surface.

    If you continue to have problems you can search the archives or watch the Mantic59 videos on some special razor strokes that can be used instead of just chopping through your beard. The Gillette Slide and J Hooking are ways to introduce a scything motion into your shave. Blade buffing is a way to work a small spot repeatedly with minimal irritation.

    I think I would skip the baby oil. Maybe check out the archives for Kyle's Prep, which is a routine to use a hot towel to get a better preparation. After all, good prep is key to a good shave.
  3. Welcome to B&B!
  4. Welcome Aboard!
  5. Welcome to B&B!

    Keep working on your technique and it will come together.
  6. Welcome 2 B&B. Please... don't give up. DE shaving takes time, patience, and commitment.

  7. Hi and welcome!
  8. Welcome to B&B !!
  9. Welcome to the group.
  10. Welcome to B&B !! Hang in there and don't give up !!
  11. Ouch!

    Let's see what we can do to help you here.

    This what works for me. Not the next guy. Just me. I don't have the heavy beard you have, but I do have lots of chin and neck swirlies, and my regimen allows me to go over problems areas WTG, ATG and XG as many times as I need to using an R41 with no cuts or nicks. FWIW, here goes . . .

    Prep with Noxzema. Just a few dabs, rubbed in with hot water.

    Uber lather (see shave Wiki) that I add olive oil to, then whip up real good. Sounds like the oil should kill the lather, but it does not.

    I butter up with uber lather, then let it sit for as long as it takes to have a cup of coffee or tea.

    By this time, the lather is pretty dry, so I wet it lightly with an atomizer, then re-lather right over the old stuff. I add more water as needed, and just work the new in with the old.

    Then I shave, often wiping a bit of lather off my face in advance of the razor with a wet finger the way old-time barbers used to so I can see what I am doing.

    I finish up with a cold rinse . . . a good squirt of Thayer's Rose and Aloe Witch Hazel . . . then slap on some flavor of Pinaud.

    Remember, this is what works for me. YMMV. But it is a place to start that, at least for this shaver, has gentled and civilized the whole process.

    However you choose to proceed, I wish you well. DE shaving is a skill well worth mastering, as nothing looks and feels quite as good as a damn fine or baby bottom shave.

    Best of luck. PM if I can be of help.



  12. Try the old 1-2-3 step:

    1 - lather up and shave with the grain
    2 - lather up again and shave across the grain (ear to nose) - I can't do this on my neck - your results will vary but do the best you can
    3 - lather up a third time and shave against the grain. This is where the BBS shave comes.

    Another idea if you are a bowl latherer, grab a bottle of glycerin at walmart or target. It is about $4 and a bottle will last several years as you only want to use 3-5 drops. It's located in the band aid and first aid area around sunburn treatment. This will make your lather super slick helping that blade slide across your face easier.
  13. Welcome to B&B!
  14. Thank you everyone for the advice!

    I shaved again yesterday with about 2 days growth (I can't shave everyday, and my hair grows extremely fast). Here's what I did:
    Kyle's prep with shave soap under the hot towel.
    Cheated and used Gillette foam out of can to lather up. (skipped the baby oil).
    Did 2 WTG passes. 1 XTG... then I started to run into trouble. My sides/neck seem to be doing ok but my chin area basically looks like I haven't shaved (yikes!). I have very thick hair it would seem...
    Finished up with ATG and 1 pass just for the chin area. Rinsed off with cold water and used some lotion on my face (I know, I actually don't own any aftershave).

    Anyway... this is actually my 3rd attempt and I seem to be getting somewhat better but its still bad and I come away with at least 5 cuts on my face and not a close shave...

    I've been watching some videos on youtube and it seems where I differ is in my passes don't seem to be taking enough hair each time? So I'm wondering if its my technique, type of blade or... my insanely thick hair? Lol. I keep telling myself that I should be able to do this but I am getting discouraged. I am using a Merkur blade that came with the razor. I think I will replace it with a new blade before my next attempt.
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  15. Well folks I think I'm going to go back to my braun... too much blood for me :)
  16. Sorry to her you need to give up. I guess it is not for everyone. My buddy does not even want to try the DE razor. He has been using the carts forever and is stuck there. I think you do need to leave the lather on your face for a few minutes before even attempting to shave so the lather has a chance to soften your whiskers. Hey, If you don't feel comfortable shaving with a DE, then don't do it just because others are. You have to make yourself happy before making others happy.

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