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A beginners journal from someone who hated shaving

@amateur
It's like parking your car on a very big parking lot: you roughly know where you left it. In most cases, the aisles are numbered or otherwise labeled. And this photo makes it look worse than it actually is, due to it being a close-up of a couple of bikes. Although it can sometimes be challenging to get your bike out, if it's closely packed with other bikes!
 
Cyclist are also very well protected. If you hit a cyclist with your car you're almost always liable
I've watched quite a few videos on YouTube about the cycling culture in the Netherlands. Unfortunately in the US, we are so car-centric that the cyclists/pedestrians/motorcyclists are often made out to be the ones who caused the wreck, but just being there. Never mind the inattentive driver who caused the wreck.

I am enjoying your journal and journey into wet shaving.
 

Flanders

Stupid sexy Wing Nut
I've watched quite a few videos on YouTube about the cycling culture in the Netherlands. Unfortunately in the US, we are so car-centric that the cyclists/pedestrians/motorcyclists are often made out to be the ones who caused the wreck, but just being there. Never mind the inattentive driver who caused the wreck.
This is one of my long running side interest. I am afraid we are simultaneously pulling at both ends of the rope at the same time: there are urban renewal projects under way, but the suburbs are continuing their expansion unabated. If you want some anti-car porn content recommendations, just let me know. I am impressed that you are aware of this; not because of any personal deficiency, but rather your location. Hmm, that still sounds insulting... sorry!

(my secret dream is that we revive some of the small towns into high density villages; even if people still have to commute for work, having all services available by foot or public transit will move things in the right direction. Eventually, they will earn a connection to commuter rail by necessity)
 
This is one of my long running side interest. I am afraid we are simultaneously pulling at both ends of the rope at the same time: there are urban renewal projects under way, but the suburbs are continuing their expansion unabated. If you want some anti-car porn content recommendations, just let me know. I am impressed that you are aware of this; not because of any personal deficiency, but rather your location. Hmm, that still sounds insulting... sorry!

(my secret dream is that we revive some of the small towns into high density villages; even if people still have to commute for work, having all services available by foot or public transit will move things in the right direction. Eventually, they will earn a connection to commuter rail by necessity)
Keep in mind I’m a primary motorcycle rider who fully knows the danger of riding among the ever degrading skill level of the average driver. I’m about as anti-car as you can get. I have a Licence plate bracket for my motorcycle that says “One less car.” Haha. I see no use in having a big arse vehicle to carry my butt around with a motorcycle will do. I’m seriously considering going the biking route because my work is about 3 miles from my house. But that lovely Texas heat keeps me from doing that. No offense take from anything. I’m a Cajun living in Texas. I get plenty of crap. And I give it right on back. Haha.
 

Flanders

Stupid sexy Wing Nut
Keep in mind I’m a primary motorcycle rider who fully knows the danger of riding among the ever degrading skill level of the average driver. I’m about as anti-car as you can get. I have a Licence plate bracket for my motorcycle that says “One less car.” Haha. I see no use in having a big arse vehicle to carry my butt around with a motorcycle will do. I’m seriously considering going the biking route because my work is about 3 miles from my house. But that lovely Texas heat keeps me from doing that. No offense take from anything. I’m a Cajun living in Texas. I get plenty of crap. And I give it right on back. Haha.
I still can't imagine commuting with modern distracted drivers, it was bad enough 15 years ago! I was carless from 2002-2010 when I sold my Ducati. I am not sure when I bought the old pickup truck that I still have, but it was only used for accessing remote camping sites. I commuted on a single cylinder until I blew it up from oil starvation, maybe that's when I got the pickup. I rebuilt the engine and had the bike a few months more until it was stolen, I bought it new so that hurt. The Ducati never suited as a substitute, but it was fun for touring around well maintained roads. I know the feeling of apprehension of giving in and driving a car as a primary means of conveyance; for me it was a decision that I didn't really have a choice in. I will eventually get another bike, just like every mid life crisis goes. I grew up riding bicycles everywhere, so many miles. I love being on two wheels, it's part of my very being. Sorry for the derail in your journal @RvL!
 
I recently joined B&B and saw the journal section. I read a lot of posts in various journal, although I have to admit that I didn't read all the thousands of replies some journal have! 🙃

It made me wonder, should I start writing my own journal? What do I have to offer that might be interesting to others? How is my story about getting into wetshaving, my mild case of RAD developing from the moment I started and my search for the ideal blade different from any other story? Will someone even read it if I start writing a journal?

Well, let's find out!

Introduction

Let's start with an introduction. Born and raised in the south of the Netherlands and I have been shaving since my mid teens. At the very beginning, having to shave was cool. I was becoming a man! Of course, the fuzzy beard (if you could even call it a beard) was nothing compared to a adult man's beard.

But as I grew older and my beard got coarser, shaving became less and less cool and more of a burden. I used the readily available cartridge and I think I tried them all: Gillette, Wilkinson, store brands of all drug stores in The Netherlands, 2 blades, 3 blades, 5 blades. You name it I tried it. All with the same result: skin irritation, ingrown hairs. I couldn't shave daily because it would slowly turn me in to a tomato-red, pimply mess. I really, really hated shaving!

At one day, some 20 years ago, my granddad looked at me after a really a bad shave and said Boy, you should use a safety razor! That will give you a much better shave, trust me! I've been using one for almost 75 years.

Sure granddad. Let's use an antique and dangerous looking apparatus. Times have changed! So I was stubborn and moved from cartridges to electric razors. Yikes.....

Fast forward to 2018 or so. I had been using cartridges ever since but managed to improve the shaving experience a bit by using a decent shaving soap (Proraso Green) instead of canned creams. But I still hated it. Philips released its OneBlade device a couple of years earlier. It's not really a razor but a trimmer. I decided to give it a go, to finally get rid of the irritation and ingrown hair. And it worked! Of course, it wasn't nearly as smooth as a good shave but at least I was free of irritation! I still didn't like shaving though.

Let's skip a few year again, to February 2024 to be exact. My wife came home from a fair with a new razor as she read that it could really reduce irritation. I thought it was yet another cartridge but to my surprise she showed me a safety razor! An unknown brand, called Bamboozy. Research I recently did learned me that it is probably a Chinese Haward D657.

I was cautious, because it was a similar razor as my granddad showed me all these years ago. Did she fall for a sales pitch? Or does it really work? I was curious, but still cautious. But when my wife used it for the first time and she didn't come running for the first aid kit afterwards, I became more than curious!

Then next couple of days I watched tons of videos on how to use a safety razor and looking up the advantages until I finally was up to trying it myself. Cautiously I loaded a new blade in the razor, created a nice lather and started shaving. Very cautiously I handled the deadly razor, getting more confident with each stroke and I even dared to go ATG in my first shave! That first shave took me 45 minutes. I won't pretend it was the best shave ever, but I was still alive! Not even a single weeper! And my skin, although not completely free of irritation, wasn't nearly as raw and irritated as it was with a cartridge. Could it be that my (back then) 90 y/o granddad was right?

Within the hour, the irritation I had even disappeared. And in the days after that first shave, no ingrown hairs formed at all! This marked the beginning of my Safety Razor journey and I haven't looked back since. I did apologies to my late granddad though, for not believing him. He was right...

More to come in the next posts :)
Great first post! Thanks for sharing the story.
 
@amateur
Well, The Netherlands is a very big country in the west of Europe as you probably know, with its 41.543 km² :laugh:. It's less than half the size of US states such as Tennessee (109.247 km²), less than 1/3 the size of North Carolina (139.509 km²) and even less than 1/4 the size of Florida (170.451 km²). And compared to Russia, well let's not even do the math on that (it's 0.24% by the way).

Almost 18.5% of that 41.543km² is water. Although, due to the ongoing rains since October 2023 that probably has increased quite a lot!
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Philips isn't what it used to be anymore. The only manufacture health technology, from medical devices to personal hygiene (electric razors for instance :laugh:).

As for photos, I must admit that most of the photo I take either:
  • have our Labrador in it
  • have shaving product in it (as of February of this year)
  • are close-up of flowers, plants, insects, mushrooms, birds, figurines etc.
  • are take abroad (Denmark, Sweden, Portugal amongst other)


Today is a shaveless day by the way. My beard is moderately coarse, but it's slow growing. I shaved yesterday late afternoon and was DFS++ on the @blethenstrom scale. Today, over 20 hours ago I would still define it to be CCS.

My brush on the other hand doesn't know what's happening to him. It's a relatively cheap synthetic Wilkinson brush I bought in a French supermarket some 9 years ago, after my previous (even cheaper) brush started shedding like crazy. All those years it had a quiet and peaceful life as it's owner hated shaving. One shave a week, tops. In most cases even once every 1.5 weeks and in during the pandemic even less.

Now it suddenly has to work! Multiple shaves a week, yikes! It starting to look more and more like a brush with a bad hair day. Something like this:
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It still get's the job done though!
Well...I'm sure there are a few of us who would be happy to share thoughts on new brush ideas with you. So far, your acquisition disorder appears to be quite mild.

We can fix that

:devil2:
 
@Flanders
No problem, I don't mind discussions that arise from my posts. It quite interesting to read the differences between our countries.

@BigAlVista
I'm sure you can, I'll warn my wife 😂



As for shaving, well, I haven't since my last post to be honest. Life has been very busy these last few days. I planned on shaving this weekend but didn't come to it. I worked on cleaning out the attic, which is still filled with boxes of when we moved in, 8 years ago. For years on end, everything was put on the attic. I found (luckily paid😂) invoices dating back to 2009, warranty receipts of devices that have been recycled years ago. Cables of all sorts, none of which I still use. Power adapters of all kinds. Pieces of wood, probably leftovers from some long forgotten project. Empty containers of laundry detergent... You name it, I probably had it...

It's a good thing that we finally started cleaning it out. But it will take a while before it's actually nice and tidy again.
 
@Flanders
No problem, I don't mind discussions that arise from my posts. It quite interesting to read the differences between our countries.

@BigAlVista
I'm sure you can, I'll warn my wife 😂



As for shaving, well, I haven't since my last post to be honest. Life has been very busy these last few days. I planned on shaving this weekend but didn't come to it. I worked on cleaning out the attic, which is still filled with boxes of when we moved in, 8 years ago. For years on end, everything was put on the attic. I found (luckily paid😂) invoices dating back to 2009, warranty receipts of devices that have been recycled years ago. Cables of all sorts, none of which I still use. Power adapters of all kinds. Pieces of wood, probably leftovers from some long forgotten project. Empty containers of laundry detergent... You name it, I probably had it...

It's a good thing that we finally started cleaning it out. But it will take a while before it's actually nice and tidy again.
If you did that in my attic, you would find nothing but a few mouse and bat carcasses buried in fiberglass bedding
 
@BigAlVista
Our attic is not a traditional attic, but more like a top floor utility room. All too easy to say let's put it in the attic for now' 😂

It's been a week since my last shave. As I explained, during the weekend I was quite busy and earlier this week there was no real need to shave. Tonight it's orchestra rehearsal so I really needed to get rid of that one week's beard.

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Today I chose the Merkur 34C and a Shark Super Stainless blade. A lot of people seem to like these Shark blades so I wanted to try one for myself.

I can imagine why people like these blades. It was a really comfortable shave. The combination doesn't give a lot of feedback. Of course, there was some feedback on the first WTG pass, removing the most of that one week's beard. But XTG and even ATG were very comfortable but lacking feedback.

But where the Shark is very comfortable, it's not the sharpest blade in the set. Using the 4-pass shave method I've been using for a while now I was able to get a DFS. The combination of the moderately mild 34C and this very comfortable Shark blade resulted eventually resulted in a smooth and irritation-free shave. But sharper mild blades such as the Gillette Platinum and Personna Platinum Chrome are much more efficient.

In the meantime, my Proraso AS is almost empty. Luckily it's Fathers Day this weekend, so I'll drop a hint when the kids get home 😂
 
Sorry, no photo today...

I think I need your help for a bit.

After the very comfortable shave of last Wednesday, with the Merkur 34C and the Shark SS, I today tried it with the Gillette Tech.

WTG and XTG are very smooth, but for some reason I just can't get the Tech to work comfortably when going ATG. I've witness this with the last couple of blades, which makes me believe I'm the problem and not the Tech.

As for the passes, I did the exact same thing as I did with the 34C. I try to shave as smooth as possible before going ATG. This works great with the Merkur and even with the Laurel. The Merkur is more comfortable than the Laurel, but with the Tech going ATG is not comfortable at all.

The result is irritation all over the place. With the Merkur, the alum sting was next to non-existant. Today with the Tech, I learned to Jodel. Especially in the neck.

I tried different angles, ride the bar, ride the cap and in between but it just seems to tuggy. I taut my skin as good as possible. All to no avail.

What am I doing wrong here? I'd like to like the Tech but it's hard on its way to be my least favorite razor.
 
Sorry, no photo today...

I think I need your help for a bit.

After the very comfortable shave of last Wednesday, with the Merkur 34C and the Shark SS, I today tried it with the Gillette Tech.

WTG and XTG are very smooth, but for some reason I just can't get the Tech to work comfortably when going ATG. I've witness this with the last couple of blades, which makes me believe I'm the problem and not the Tech.

As for the passes, I did the exact same thing as I did with the 34C. I try to shave as smooth as possible before going ATG. This works great with the Merkur and even with the Laurel. The Merkur is more comfortable than the Laurel, but with the Tech going ATG is not comfortable at all.

The result is irritation all over the place. With the Merkur, the alum sting was next to non-existant. Today with the Tech, I learned to Jodel. Especially in the neck.

I tried different angles, ride the bar, ride the cap and in between but it just seems to tuggy. I taut my skin as good as possible. All to no avail.

What am I doing wrong here? I'd like to like the Tech but it's hard on its way to be my least favorite razor.
I do know that the Gillette Tech have a bit of positive blade exposure and I am not sure if the Merkur 34C has that, but if it does not it might explain things. Many rate the Tech as a mild razor, but personally I deem it more in the medium range because of the positive exposure. The Tech can bite if you are not careful. It does take a bit of practice to nail it down. I experienced that myself.
 
I do know that the Gillette Tech have a bit of positive blade exposure and I am not sure if the Merkur 34C has that, but if it does not it might explain things. Many rate the Tech as a mild razor, but personally I deem it more in the medium range because of the positive exposure. The Tech can bite if you are not careful. It does take a bit of practice to nail it down. I experienced that myself.
I guess I need to go back to the basics then: start with the razor on the cap and increase the angle until I can feel and hear it.

I don't want to give up on it yet. I tamed the Laurel so I can tame the Tech too!
 

Flanders

Stupid sexy Wing Nut
I mostly agree with the above, but I would add that I do pull the skin from below just enough to prevent skin bunching up; you want the skin loose, but still relatively flat. Tightly stretched skin definitely will allow the blade to get closer. The safety bar is designed to push the skin just ahead of the blade and too tight or too loose puts you out of the safe zone where more skill is required.
 
I find with my Techs, all hail from the 50's, that riding the cap with short overlapping strokes works the best for me. The way I figured out the right pressure is I started off with ultra-light pressure, increasing it till I got the desired effect. It will take some time to get it down, once I figured it out, it became like second nature.
 
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