Str8 Newbie - Burning & Itching....

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by gooferbert, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. I recently (three days ago) switch from a Merkur Progress to a str8. I am getting decent shaves. Here are my “issues”…

    1. The first pass is ROUGH. I mean I almost want to quit because the blade just doesn’t seem to cut through my beard well. I have a very tough beard. Subsequent passes are better. (I am comparing to a Merkur Progress with a feather blade…this gets through my beard like a hot knife through butter.)
    2. After a 3 pass shave I have a darn fine shave…but my face is quite irritated. It burns, and itches on my neck.

    What could I be doing wrong, if anything? I think I am getting better at blade angle mainly because the shave closeness is getting better.
  2. JPM


    I'm pretty new to straights also, but here are a few ideas.

    1. Are you sure your blade was honed properly and is shave ready?
    2. What's your prep like? Are you softening up your beard first?
    3. Blade angle might be a problem. The spine can be pretty close to your face and should shave nicely without pulling.
  3. Luc

    Luc Moderator Emeritus

    I would pick 1 and 3 from John's post.

    The prep is very important but if you are doing the exact same prep, it should be that.

    Technique is most likely to be blame at first. The first few shave are not so good at first. I think it took me a dozen shaves before I started to have something good.
  4. Mr. Scruffy

    Mr. Scruffy Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    I would go with no. 3
  5. mdunn

    mdunn Moderator Emeritus

    the problem is youre new and have lousy technique. Of course your first few shaves wont be great - just stick with it, work on your angle and pressure and you'll get some fantastic shaves in no time
  6. I only started with a straight a week ago, but I've been mostly sticking to 1-2 WTG passes. My first shave had some irritation, but the others have had no irritation or burning. I figured that while I was still learning, keeping the number of passes low would help.
  7. This is what I found, and I agree here +1

    As my technique improves, so do my shaves. :001_tongu
  8. Sorry to hear, but thanks for the insight.

    I'm about to go Straight and am kind of worried.
  9. Thanks for the tips everyone. I bought the razor Shave Ready from LarryAndro on I don't think it is the blade. I feel my prep is pretty good and it hasn't changed since I switched from DE. this leaves only one technique. After reading your responses, I am convinced my blade angle (among other things) is my problem. I will work on that this AM:wink2:!!!
  10. netsurfr

    netsurfr Vendor

    blade angle and pressure... no pressure, no pressure, no pressure. say it to yourself like a mantra. congratulations on getting a decent first shave. i worked quite a while before even getting that. i even took the easy route and only started by shaving the flat surfaces on my face with a straight. You have a lot to be proud of with your progress to date.
  11. Luc

    Luc Moderator Emeritus

    Post your progress. Getting started is the most difficult step...
  12. You give me hope that I might not kill myself when using a straight. I really want to try but am seriously scared of butchering myself. I have the DE thing down and find that Feather is the blade for me. I have two of my grandfather's old straights. Do you suppose they might be made "shave ready"? How do I find out if they are even candidates for use?
  13. Just gonna throw it out there, have you stropped this razor at all? If you are a newbie as you say it could very easily have been that you rolled the edge; a very common occurence.
  14. I am new to straight razor shaving as well, so not sure I have much to add, except that straights are unforgiving if any of the following are less than optimal:
    1. Blade sharpness
    2. Blade angle
    3. Stropping technique
    4. Pressure
    5. Lather

    All these are important when it comes to using a straight. It may sound intimidating, but its really pretty straightforward. The first time you shave though, your face will probably protest since it is a totally new experience.
  15. I'm not gonna lie...I have cut myself several times after 5 shaves. I think you probably will too. ( even have cuts on my hands!)

    From what I've read, the old razors are most likely not shave ready. You should send them to a B&B member that does honing before you try to use them.
  16. Well I suppose it has to be one of these...

    1. Pretty sure it isn't sharpness (at least originally). It was honed by LarryAndro.
    2. Could be blade angle ( i have been trying different angles each time getting more and more shallow...almost flat on my face)
    3. Could be stropping...I think I am doing it right, but everything I read says newbies don't really know what they are doing here...
    4. I don't think it is pressure. I use very little...just enough to keep the blade on my face. (If I use too little, the blade catches on hair and skips around)---is that a sign of dullness????
    5. Don't think it is lather...I have been getting some pretty sweet lathers lately.

    Summary of what I think it could be based on these 5 items...

    Could be blade angle
    Could be stropping / blade sharpness / blade curving???
  17. Just noticed this post. I appreciate your vote of confidence. No matter the reason, incorrect stropping or just plain old use or Larry had a bad day honing... I will resharpen for you for a small amount. Or, free.
  18. I started this straight shaving adventure back in March after great success with DEs. I am not going to lie...I quit after about 2 weeks. I was so frustrated that I was not getting BBS after the first pass:mad3:. how naive I was.

    I am just getting back into it (and trying to be a little more patient this time). Phase II of on adventure has lasted about a week now, and I am getting more and more confident with my strokes and angle. Still not great shaves, but better. And almost no irritation due to a dramatic decrease in pressure.

    It is looking like you guys know what you are talking about after all! Practice...Practice...Practice!
  19. You can't complain about straight shave quality after only 3 shaves.

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