Need a new DE razor + need some advice after a year.

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by uniq1, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Hey all,
    Just checking in after a long long time. I got into DE shaving almost a year ago now. I've used it on and off but mostly on for the past 4 months.
    Starting with a size-able sampler pack and a Gillette blue tip I'm down to ruling out all other blades and ended up like most liking the feathers. I still average 1 every 2-3 shaves and it's never been BBS however, I just figured out that most of my cuts appear on the third pass.

    Questions to the lovely B&B vets:

    Is it uncommon to toss a blade after 2 shaves? (I do have rather thick beard hair)
    Of note I just ordered some Wilkinson sword blades to see what they're like. I hear they last a little longer than feathers but who knows.

    When attempt against the grain and use only the weight of the razor it just gets stuck on my hair. I've tried going with the grain, side ways and slightly increasing angles but in the end whenever I go against to get BBS my hair just locks the blade in place. If I add pressure sufficient to cut the hair I get nicked or get crazy amounts of ingrown hairs after. Any advice on this?

    Finally I'm thinking about finally expanding and getting a new razor. Any recommendations? I'd definitely like to get a closer shave and hopefully make it to BBS w/o "consequences".

    In case you were wondering --> Prep: almost always after a hot shower. Lather up into a mug with some taylor of old bond sandal wood cream with a boars hair brush from the art of shaving.

    Thanks a mil for your advice and working to keeping this old art alive. I used to feel bad for myself using a DE now I feel bad for cartridge users. :D
  2. Hey, how you doing? Have you thought about getting an adjustable, either vintage or new? I have a vintage Gillette Fat Boy and a Slim that I really like. I also like my Merkur Progress which seems to work just as well or better. With the adjustable, I feel, you get several razors in one and it will stay with you or grow with you as they can give mild to moderately aggressive shaves... or adjust from aggressive to mild or vice versa in the same shave. Can't beat that!

    As far as blade longevity goes, read this article "Exploring the Science of Shaving" if you can, even though it's really old (1957). It talks about some good shaving topics, and one of them is about how lack of proper pre-shave prep will cause blades to dull right away. There is a bunch of other good stuff too, if you can take the time to read the whole thing.

    Click here for the OLD ARTICLE LINK
  3. How's your WTG passes? I find if I do a shoddy WTG then I pretty much can't do ATG without significant tugging. I recommend doing multiple WTG passes so that you reduce the beard to a manageable level.
  4. I got down to as close as I can WTG before attempting any ATG. I even try going at right angles to the grain before going ATG but no matter what I can't seem to figure it out. I find that pulling my skin taut helps prevent nicks but I don't know how it affects closeness of the shave though.
  5. Wow that's one hell of an article. Thank you. In the future I'll definitely take those points into account. From what it says going ATG or stretching skin is bad because when you let go the hair will bend into your skin and cause in grown hairs and infections = this is exactly when happens when I go ATG.

    What is the solution for this? The article recommends slightly pulling the skin and not too much which I will follow from now on however, how to I work towards going ATG? Would a more aggressive razor may be able to cut closer w/o pull/stretching the skin?

  6. I get some of the issues you're describing, but only on my 'neck beard'. My buddy who has been doing it for a while states that as long as you go WTG on the first pass, you can go ATG on the second. Re-lathered up, of course.

    I've only been doing this 6, 7 weeks or so. Hearing that even experienced shavers can still have issues is actually a relief, cause other then one or two times, I feel like I'm never going to get it right.
  7. No its not uncommon to toss a blade after 2 shaves, especially feathers.. Extra sharp, means a very delicate thin edge.. And with coarse whiskers, your fortunate to get 2 or 3 shaves.. That's my experience, and I have very coarse whiskers, but they give me the best, smooth shaves.. If I use any blade more than twice, including carts, I get irritation, and ingrowns. Or if I want to get a 3rd shave, out of a blade, I only go wtg...that's rare, though because de blades are so cheap....

    Having said that, I would invest $35 and get a. EJ DE89. Coupled with a feather blade, there is no smoother shave. I don't care what people say abbot it being a mild razor.. I have a thick, wire beard, and I get BBS shaves at will with that razor and feathers, and zero irritation, zero cuts. The only blood ive ever experienced, was if theres a pimple or something that I slice.... I promise you won't go wrong ..obviously everybody has their own preference, but I've tried adjustables, slants, open combs etc. There all capable of great shaves, but for me, not as effortlessly, and smoothly as the de89.. All the talk about aggressive razors for tough beards is overrated imho...If a blade is exposed enough to reach your skin, its exposed enough to shear your whiskers down to the skin for a BBS shave, end of story.. The exposure on a de89 is just perfect.. ..
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  8. Would a EJ DE89 be much different from a Gillette blue tip as they are both mild razors? (don't know much about razor construction)
  9. I always toss my blade after every 2 shaves. Blades are so cheap that I don't see a reason to extend their life past 2 shaves. I might have missed this information so if I did, I apologize but are you doing a with the grain (WTG), across the grain (XTG) and against the grain (ATG) in that order? That can drastically improve the experience and the amount of aggression on your face. As for a next razor, since you have had the experience of a closed comb aka straight bar, I'd try a good open comb Gillette. Open comb Gillettes are notorious for being a bit more aggressive which might help with your thicker beard issue.
  10. Yes I have been using that order of shaving. Usually never go bast XTG bc ATG pulls/cuts and I get a million ingrown hairs.
    As for open comb vs closed comb what would be the difference? And how does that differ from those adjustables?
  11. I find the Blue tip a bit too mild for me, but find the 40's style SS a great shaver, as are the flair tips. Going to some other vintage Gillette DE is not only a great idea, but for the price can let you experiment with several options. Also, the techs (not too extreme though) are a bit more aggressive and might cure your ATG blues.
  12. I've found that my "sweet spot" is achieved by pairing a "mild" razor with a super-sharp blade (7 o'clock yellow/green, kai, etc.) or aggressive razor with a "smooth" blade (7 o'clock blue/black, astra sp). As chefbaze stated, the DE89 would be a great choice.

    BTW, I too have a dense, tough, wirey beard (even that may be an understatement). The pairings above, plus a good pre-shave prep have really helped.

    Good Luck!
  13. I like that idea. Which would combo would be recommended, or since everyone has a different opinion; what are the advantages/disadvantages of each combo (blade/razor mild/sharp-aggressive)?

    As other noob questions go:
    Is the DE89 one of the mild razors? How does it compare to the blue tip?
    I've also gotten recommendations from above posters sayings try an "open comb" and another saying try "40's style SS". How do these options compare?
    Is there somewhere I can learn more about razors w/o continuously asking simple fact questions?
  14. If you've been shaving a while, you could try the Merkur Slant. It's more aggressive, and the blade slices through the hair instead of chopping. It may reduce the tugging you're getting. Since it's more aggressive, it may nick more than you're used to, until you get feel for it.
  15. i believe Gilettes are known for their mildness, and my Flaretip is certainly my mildest razor. the way you're describing your difficulty getting a successful ATG pass, you should try a more aggressive razor next. i recommend something not extremely aggressive, but getting up there. perhaps a good adjustable if you're willing to shell out the money for it, that would be a really safe bet. Merkur is my recommended brand!
    probably means you could do more in your prep and technique. try out: oil cleansing, hot towel, cold water shaving, letting your lather soften your beard for 2 minutes before rinsing and applying the lather for your first pass.
    check out mantic's video on some advanced techniques, especially if you get a more aggressive razor. you should be able to employ these, once you get good at them, without actually going truly ATG but getting a very close shave without the standard ATG problems of ingrowns and nicks:

    also, you might find a lot of benefit from getting a soap or cream that gives you what feels like a more "protective" lather. the first time i tried Tabac, after having used Proraso soap, AoS cream, TOBS cream, T&H cream, Cella soap, and Arko soap, i finally felt like i had a lather that gave me a lot of protection, like i could be really aggressive if i wanted to and i still wouldn't nick myself.
  16. here's another idea, if you don't mind having an intricate routine: try mix-and-matching multiple razors and/or methodologies. for example, i recently started using multiple razor/blade combos for different passes, and found that the best method was to use the most aggressive razor and sharpest blade for my WTG pass, an intermediate blade/razor for my XTG pass, and my mildest blade/razor for my ATG pass. i also discovered, today, that doing my first two passes with ice-cold water and my final pass at the end of a hot shower was extremely successful.

    my goal has been to get maximum stubble reduction on the WTG and XTG passes, where i can afford to have a lot of aggressive variables and not irritate or nick myself, and then be as mild as possible on my ATG pass and be successful with it because my stubble reduction has been so efficient.
  17. I have found if I do WTG, XTG and then XTG the other direction my ATG is not as tough. I also found the vintage razor or OC works best for me.
  18. Hi. I think the amount of shaves you get from a given blade is a classic case of YMMV. Some here get or only try 2 shaves, I usually get 7 - maybe my beard is softer - I don't know. But I do know that prep is the key no matter what. I shave before I shower and wash my face with a shea butter soap, which I leave on the face while I make my lather, which BTW today was TOBS Sandalwood like you! I also leave the lather on face for a few seconds, maybe 15, before a start shaving. I suggest you try more passes and stay away from ATG until you get a nickless or near nickless shave. Also usually I go for a DFS because constant BBS shaves gives me ingrown hairs, again YMMV.

    Regarding razors I would suggest an open comb style razor, they are made for tough beards. I use one regularly. You can go vintage or new. I like a hefty handle so I use a Merkur 12c. But I just tried a Merkur 1904 and like it a lot as well.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  19. A Merkur Slant would be my choice for a Second Razor too.
  20. Just spent a couple of hours on youtube with videos from mantic, geofatboy and others.
    So I'm getting a few mixed signals from the posts above.
    Merkur Slant, Merkur 12c , An adjustable of some sort, An open comb, and a DJ DE89. I have a feeling there is some overlap in my terms. So if someone could clear that up that'd be great. I watched videos on a "Vision adjustable", merkur slant, and DJ DE89L. It seems to me that the adjustable looks kind of too big and weird. Both the Merkur Slant and DJ DE89L look good (based on youtube videos but geofatboy makes everything look easy lol)
    In terms of aggressiveness based on my research I'm getting Slant > DE89L > Merkur 12c > Gillette blue tip (what I have). Is this correct?
    Based on my tugging problem/lack of aggressiveness with the bluetip (with good prep i.e. I did what mantic told me) what would be my next best step? I'll probably be using Wilkinson Sword or Feathers in the end.

    Thanks guys. I've learned a lot so far and its mainly thanks to your suggestions.

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