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3 month report

Hi, I switched from cartridge razors about 3 months ago. I'd switched to a shave soap and brush a couple of months prior and that helped with some redness and spots on my chin that I hadn't attributed to shaving. Both that change and the switch to a DE razors were for environmental considerations and to cut down on my waste.

I didn't expect to get so much of a better shave, or to enjoy it so much.

I got a Merkur 34c, because the consensus of the internet told me to. And some Derby Premium, Astra SP and Nacet blades, because the internet and the vendor (the one in Albany, for the Kiwis) told me to. I got a tube of Proraso Blue cream, because I didn't think the soap I had would lather enough. The first shave was great and I was astonished at how much better it was. In a week I'd worked to a 3 pass daily morning routine WTG/XTG/ATG, working up from Derby Premium to Astra SPs. Along the way I bought Proraso Blue Preshave and Balm and use that daily, and got come new blades in the pack.

I liked them more as I got sharper Derby Premium-Astra SP - Vokshod - Astra SS, with a couple of strong dislikes on the way (Bolzano, which I wanted to love, Treet Platinum and Rockwell). Enjoying the sharpness, I wondered about aggressiveness and got a QShave adjustable, because its so cheap, I can find out about increasing aggression and longer handles at the same time. I enjoyed that too, getting to 3/3.75/4.5 on a 3 pass shave. I'd been wondering about a slant, and impulsively bought a FOCS one night, leading me to switch back to the 34c so I had a baseline before I start trying that, it will arrive next week.

So... advice for someone about to buy their first razor, from someone who's just been there. I'd get cheap mild razor first, maybe a Weishi 9306, based on reviews I've seen (cheap, mild, blade loads OK), then maybe a Weishi Adjustable (the QShave adjustable's head is really big, but I enjoyed it) after a few months, to play with aggression. And a few blades, maybe Astra Sp, Vokshod and Astra SS/Nacet/Feather to get across mild/medium/sharp. Then you'll know about what works for you and and you'll be able to invest in your first love razor with some knowledge. I'm sure there are alternatives to those razors (especially in the USA) and blades.

And... the next things I have to work out. I'm finding my chin harder to shave than with a cartridge. I think it may be that the shave is closer, so the stubble is shorter the next day, therefore sticking up straight and has less give. I think the higher settings on the adjustable helped, and the FOCS should too.
I'm not always getting consistent shaves, especially since going back to the 34c. When the FOCS arrives, I'll have to find the right blade and stick with that setup for a while. I have red hair, I would have not imagined its especially coarse. My skin is sensitive, though.
Then, I'll start playing with soaps.
My other question (other than the general fishing for feedback on the above) is a brush. I have a cheap NZD22 ~USD13 Omega boar brush. Is that fine, or is spending more going to make a difference at this stage?

Sorry its a long post, but considering it is all of my shaving experience and knowledge, maybe it's short :)

Thanks for everything that is in this forum. its a great resource
Welcome and thanks for sharing your experience. Six months ago I started with a Merkur 34C, the classic Omega 49 boar brush, Proraso white cream, and a multi-blade pack. We must have done the same research :)

I too have been curious about different razors, and have enjoyed exploring. As to your brush question, I personally consider it the least important item to upgrade. The Italian boar brush is a classic. I also added a Yaqi Familia Sagrada to try a synthetic brush. It is very different from the boar, and worth the expense. I alternate equally between both, not really having a preference for one over the other overall. The boar does a better job lathering up Williams Mug Soap, and I prefer the softer synthetic for face lathering.
First, CONGRATULATIONS!! Great progress!

To answer your question: you are the only person what can truly decide what brush works best for you.

I started with boars and still enjoy one on occasion. Boar brushes deliver great value for the dollar. And there are tons of excellent options to explore.

Synthetics are very popular these days and are also worth considering. These also offer great value. Unlike boars, no break in is required.

Over time I became a ‘badger boy’ because they simply worked better for me. There is a wonderful world of badger options to explore. Just be aware that the price of a good badger is substantially more, at least for me. Although many enjoy them, the ‘pure’ grade has too much scritch for me. So I suggest starting with one of the mid-range, if you decide on badger next.

Finally, you might consider horse hair or mixed hair options which many enjoy.

The main thing is to appreciate the journey!! :clap: :clap:
Sounds like you're making great progress. Keep trying things and having fun with it!

I agree, the chin is hard to shave. I'm not sure how much difference a brush will make there, but then again I bowl lather and just paint the lather on with lots of paint strokes. No scrubbing for me.

Here are four things in no particular order that I have found over my 7 month journey that made shaving the chin easier:
--a slant razor (both FOCS and German 37)--I think you are going to appreciate this--enjoy!
--slicker soap (Tabac sticks and Stirling are both great, IMO, and inexpensive)
--a recent foray into single edge shaving, since Artist Club blades are a lot thicker and more rigid
--not attempting ATG there if it's not comfortable on a given day. Just an extra WTG or XTG pass if desired, stretching the skin.
Many thanks for the post - I'm another fan of long reads and Omega boar brushes.

Lot of good suggestions already, and I'm guessing from the scientific run through the blades you'll be firmly down several rabbit holes in no time at all, with a badger, a horse and a robot for company.
I am new to wet shaving myself. You mentioned having sensitive skin. I would recommend a synthetic brush such as the Fendrihan 24mm knot. It is super soft. I also suggest you use painting strokes with the brush. Maybe a "smooth" blade as opposed to a "sharp" blade would work for you.
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