My Journey towards a BBS dream: W/Photos. (Warning, not for the faint-hearted)

Discussion in 'Journals and Diaries' started by Pottertons, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. I took a couple photos after a shave today.....what a great lathering session it was, thanks to the thread by "Jim".....
    However, even though I felt like I have been making some sort of progress since about a week ago when I actually decided to try and take the plunge into DE safety razor shaving, I was shocked when I actually took a look at the photos I took. (I should have bought a rubbish camera. LOL)
    Thus my reason for starting this journal accommodated with photos.

    I warn you though, these photos are not for the faint-hearted.
    Any, and I mean any assisstance or constructive criticism is more than welcome. In fact, i'd like to encourage it. :)

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  2. My Tools...

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  3. Ahh yes, the classic heavily irritated skin. I too have curly wiskers with sensitive skin, and here is what works for me:
    1) FORGET ALL YOUR BAD HABITS FROM YEARS OF SHAVING WITH A NON-DE RAZOR
    2) OK, now you are ready to move on. You need to pay attention to two things; pressure and grain of your beard.

    I found that I was putting way too much pressure on the razor, which resulted in a shave that was very irritating. The razor should really glide across your face, and you need to remember that you are not looking to remove all that hair in one pass (it will likely take you three passes). I also find that a sharper blade (I use Feathers) is best for those with sensitive skin because it takes little pressue to shave, and the blade is sharp enough to cut through course hair...

    As for the grain, you should do some face mapping to see which way your hair grows. Sometimes a north to south pass is WTG for some and XTG for others. I usually shave WTG, XTG, and ATG if time permits.

    I would take it easy on your face for the next few days to let your skin heal up, and use that time to get you a blade sampler from a vendor so you can find a blade that works for you.

    Of course there are other variables such as what kind of soap are you using? If you have sensitive skin, you maybe getting some irritation from your soap. Irritation from soap + bad technique = HORRIBLE shave.

    Tell you what, let us know your current shave set-up and we can help further.

    Lastly, enjoy the learning curve...you are well on your way to being more of a gentleman than others.
     
  4. What does your shave prep involve??

    Also, your skin looks very irritated, try to let your face get used to wetshaving with a DE before going for a completely BBS shave.
     
  5. OK looks like a Gillette TTO (40s Super Speed?) and some Porasso soap. A menthol soap may not be a great soap to learn with because the menthol will numb your face and therefore provide little "in-shave" feedback.
     
  6. That looks to me like a Merkur Classic. What blade?
    What kind of lather are you getting from your soap and what looks like a boar brush? Nice and cushiony? or thin and runny?
    Prep?

    and as already noted, pressure on the razor?
     
  7. I would agree in saying that looks like a Merkur Classic.

    First, don't use the canned stuff. Tried it once early on with me DE, bad things happened. Stick to the soaps and creams you need to make lather with, and be sure it provides a layer or both cushioney protection (kind of like the lather staying thick on your fingers when you rub them together) as well as good lubrication. You seem to be using Proraso Pre/Post. Some love it, some don't really care. I have some on the way to try myself, and am looking forward to it. Should be a nice compliment to Proraso cream (that looks like the soap in the picture)

    Second, I would cut back on the exfoliant wash. I used to do it, then skipped a few nights, and noticed shaves were a bit smoother. Be sure to massage your face with warm water in the shower to clean off the nasty stuff you accumulate in a day (I shave at night a lot) and then do a good prep, and keep the face wet while building lather. The application of lather should be enough exfoliation.

    Third, be sure you have a sharp blade. Black males seem to have tougher beard hair than most, so be sure you are showing those whiskers who's boss. Hit them with a Feather, or a Gillette 7 O Clock.

    Most importantly, keep trying. Your perfect shave is out there, waiting, in the form of different products. Blades, razors, soap, creams, razors, aftershaves, and many more things play a factor in your shave. Always keep looking for what is the best for you, and know that just because one aftershave, or one soap may not work, does not mean that none of them will.

    Good luck, and thank you for inviting us on this awesome journey.
     
  8. :wink:Yes, I believe the razor is a Merkur classic. It has "Merkur - Solingen" engraved around the base of the body with a face logo also engraved. I made a quick and impulsive purchase for $80 CAD for that thing. ($70+tx)

    I'm trying my best to eliminate the habits. I"ve done quite a bit of reading and video observation of Mantic59's channel and learned that I should hold the shaver at about a 30 degree angle, also with my index and thumb closer to the base of the stem. As for the grain, I do have this pretty well mapped out. I even went to the extent of using facial cleansing pads after one of my shaves. (It got torn RIGHT up.)
    Since using the DE I have always shaved with the grain, but I'm wondering if WTG's are causing more irritation than an XTG or ATG would. Reason being is that my hair immediately burrows itself back towards the skin before it even has a chance to stand upright. So when I do a WTG pass, I don't even notice any difference because very little hair comes into contact with the blade, thus inflicting more blade to skin action.

    Oh and re:rhino616. Trust me my friend, the thought of a BBS shave is faaaaaaaar from reality. Hence the word DREAM! LOL :wink: Thanks for looking out though.

    Sluggo? What do you mean by "IN-Shave feedback"?

    As for the blade, It's funny that the replies on this thread recommend the Feathers. Another thread suggested that it would be safer to stay away from them for now because they are so sharp. However, the thought of coarse hair being successfully cut does encourage the thought of a nice sharp blade. Just to note, the above post-shave photos were taken shortly after a shave with a Derby blade. Previous to that I used a Feather blade but changed it to a Derby when I read that I ought to try and stay away from them for the time being.

    O.k So here's my prep routine. Inspired by KYLE's pre-shave thread and Jim's Lathering thread.

    1) I submerge a baby towel (if you've had little ones you'll know which ones I mean, the ones with the little hood on one corner) and a porcelain bowl with my Omega shaving brush in a sink of hot water. At the same time I sprinkle a little bit of the hot water onto the Proraso Shaving soap dish. (the white one that you can see in the photo)

    2) While those items are soaking, I jump in a hot shower to heat up the skin and wash my face with the Neutorgena Razor Defence exfoliating face wash. (what a mouthful)

    3) I rinse and then use the Neutrogena Razor defense Shaving gel to do a pre-shave lather.

    4) I quickly hop out of the shower and grab that baby towel out of the sink of hot water, give it a gentle squeeze to get rid of the excess water and wrap it snuggly around the lathered portion of my face and knot it behind the neck. Sort of like a beard net. This is why I use the baby towel because it's long enough to tie and I don't have to sit there with my head flipped back for the duration.

    5) I shower, which allows enough time for the heated towel to do it's work.

    6) Hop out of the shower, drain the water in the sink and bowl and then refill just high enough for the bowl to sit, but not be completely submerged. I follow that up by dripping the little bit of water that's in the soap dish into the porcelain bowl.

    7) Remove towl from face, pat off any excess that remains and apply the proraso pre shave cream.

    8) Use Jim's method of lathering by apply the squeezed and shaken brush to the soap and slightly coating it until the the bristles no longer glide smoothly over the surface.

    9) I go on to the bowl w/the brush and create the lather. I feel that i have definitely progressed in this department. No bubbles, nice and creamy, bristles are well coated as if I had dipped them into a tub of whipped cream.

    10) I take a minute or two to apply the soap to my face using a circular motion and then ending up with more of a smooth brush stroke function in order to make sure my face is properly coated.

    11) I wait a minute or so and then proceed with my weapon of mass destruction. LOL.

    There you go, my pre-shave prep in detail. :smile:
     
  9. I've thought about taking on shaving on a daily basis rather than on an every other day basis. Or even every second day sometimes.

    My reason is because i feel I need to catch the hairs sooner rather that later where they'll have more of an opportunity to wreak havoc on my once flawless skin. :smile:
    I'm thinking that the need to allow my skin that time to become familiar with the friction of a blade will be help by doing it this way.

    However, each day will consist of a single pass shave.

    e.g
    Mon) WTG 1 pass
    Tues) ATG 1 pass
    Wed) light XTG 1 pass
    Thurs) WTG....

    etc, etc.

    Does this routine sound like something worth considering.
     
  10. "In shave Feedback" = if you face is kind of numb because of the menthol then you maybe putting more pressure than needed on the razor, but you will not know it until the menthol has worn off.

    Regarding you last post, only shave WTG for a week or two. This will let you learn your technique without too much worry of destroying your face. I would then step up to a 2 pass shave (WTG, XTG) and then lastly a three pass shave.
     
  11. I don't think you need to do the "towel on the face" prep while in the shower, that seems like overkill. Also, you might want to stay away from anything "exfoliating", that's putting a lot of pressure on your skin right before a shave.
     
  12. i don't think you need the neutrogena AND prorarso pre-shave cream. just stick with one method. ie only shower, or hot towel. you don't need that much prep. i would also stay away from crappy blades. like the ones at your local supermarket. if you are afraid of getting a feather try a derby. i think they are quite sharp but definately not as deadly as a feather.

    i'd also think about trying an alcohol based aftershave splash. while it may sting it'll definately reduce the irritation after shaving.

    i have similar hair to black folks in that mine is short, curly and coarse. and it took me a while to not only get my techniques down (lather, blade angle, prep etc.) but it takes a bit for the in-growns and stuff to go away. remember this isn't an over night thing for 95% of people who are new to this...so take your time and remember enjoy the shave!
     
  13. I've been doing WTG for atleast a week now. In fact it has to be more than two because I bought the razor probably about 3 weeks ago now. I have done the odd XTG in between though, but as I stated above, the WTG passess seem to be gliding over more skin than hair. When I rinse, I barely see any hairs at all.

    I'll keep trying though.
     
  14. I strongly recommend using Kyle's Prep AS WRITTEN for a couple weeks, and before your shower, with no variations.

    Use the first part of your lather, apply the hot towel for no more than ~3 minutes (I find I have to re-soak the towel in hot water and re-apply 3-4 times to get the ~3 minutes).

    With all that you are doing I think your skin is swelling up from the heat and becoming too irritated and sensitized to what's about to happen to it. :eek: (I figured out that I was doing too many hot towel applications and cut back, which made a significant difference.)

    You also might just try lathering and then rinsing your face to see if your skin is particularly sensitive to using a brush; it also may be too irritating.
     
  15. Wow man, that looks painful. I'd be afraid to shave if my skin was that irritated.

    Do those bumps settle down if you don't shave for a few days?

    Before you will be able to get a nice smooth shave, you need to find a way to that irritation to settle down, otherwise you'll just be raking your skin off.
    I would say ATG is out of the question right now.

    I'm at kind of a loss to make a recommendation.

    Maybe some kind of super moisturizing lotion or aloe vera treatments for a few days without shaving? Or washing your face, but not shaving, with the brush and a very moisturizing shave cream or soap like TOBS Sensitive skin, or Nancy Boy, to exfoliate the skin and help lift the hairs out.

    Do any of those anti-bump treatments made for African American mens beards work at all to prevent ingrowns?

    This might sound stupid, and I admit I'm ignorant about hair relaxers, so please don't take this the wrong way. I'm just throwing ideas at you; what if you let it grow out a while, then apply a hair relaxer made for African American coarse, curly hair to the hair on your neck, in conjunction with some kind of healing/moisturizing treatment, to get the hairs to stop turning inward and causing that severe ingrown situation?

    Once they are are laying more on top, and your skin isn't so irritated, you probably could get a decent shave. You'd definitely have to stay on top of them to prevent them from going ingrown again.

    Have you ever spoke to a dermatologist?

    Good Luck my friend. I'll be watching your journal.
     
  16. I'm lost. What exactly am I doing that varies from Kyle's pre-shave method. As far as I know, i've been following it to a tee. What am I missing or doing to much of?

    The irritation does settle down after a while, but I basically have to grow it to the length of a full blown beard.

    I suppose this is my best and perhaps ONLY option. OH well, i'll be looking dog rough at these weddings I have to attend. LOL

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhh the itching I went through to get to that stage. PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  17. First off personally I think your doing too much prep. Sounds odd I know but my face becomes more sensitive with excessive prep. One hot towel for about 1 1/2 minutes then create your lather , wet face with lots of water and massage your lather in. Get a sharper blade, MAKE SURE you use no pressure. Follow your beard grain completely.2 passes should suffice. 2WTG or 1 WTG and 1 XTG. Take your time and hang in there!
     
  18. I have purchased some of the American Personna's from Wal-Mart, and found them not both forgiving and capable of providing a close shave. True, most supermarket blades will be crap, but there are a few proverbial diamonds in the rough; just experiement at your own risk.
     
  19. I think my best option here is to just grow the beard out first and start from scratch. It's very hard to comprehend the benefit of a WTG when I have all these bumps. You see, I have a few ppl on here stress that I need to stick to WTG's only for now, but what ppl aren't quite understanding is that WTG's will get the bumps more than the hair; and if the ingrown hairs create the bumps, I don't see how a WTG shave will help me.

    As stated, those photos were taken on the same day that I shaved with a WTG pass. I had also been shaving that way for about 2 wks prior to that. All I got was aggressive irritation and I believe that it's because of the WTG passess.
    Yesterday I did a 2 pass shave which consisted of 1 XTG and then a light ATG. Today I feel much better, no pin-like prickin feel into my skin, the hairs that I couldn't get before with 2 weeks of WTG's are now gone. The irritation has reduced quite a bit also. ( I will post photos ASAP ). So now that the irritaion has reduced (as far as I can tell anyway.) I'd feel more comfotable maintaining a good shave with WTG passes.

    I do cherish everyone's advice here, but the WTG's were making things worse because the bumps sat slightly higher off of the surface than my hair did.
     
  20. Perhaps I might be able to help a little bit.

    I've got some pretty sensitive skin too. If I try to ATG, I get bumps like you do, although they are not nearly as bad (I just get a red sort of a rash). Repeated days of irritation will cause my face to become red and irritated and generally sore. I have found the best thing to do in this case is to not shave for a day (or longer) until the irritation subsides.

    Do you have naturally oily skin, or is it normal to dry? If you have naturally oily skin then perhaps just one facial cleansing wash might be good. If you have normal to dry skin, try skipping the pre shave wash altogether.

    Do you have access to any other soaps/creams? That proraso stuff is considered awesome by many, but it may not be good for your sensitive skin. I have personally found that anything with a scent to it will burn my skin, and mint/menthol is painful. Would it be possible for you to try a cream/soap that is unscented/unspiked?

    I also recommend you try some other blades. Astras, Derbys, and Red IP's are fairly high on the try list (especially Astras).
     

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