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A beginners journal from someone who hated shaving

Back to basics

I couldn't stand not being able to use the Tech. So I went back to the basics. This shave was about getting the Tech to work, the result was less important.

I first looked at the Tech and compared it to photos I found online. It seems to be in good condition. Nothing bent or twisted. The back plate is nice and straight and the blade seems to center itself quite nicely.

Next, I applied a generous amount of Proraso pre shave, created a nice lather and lathered my face with a Bob Ross kind of brush strokes. I started with the Tech perpendicular on my face and I started to tilt it slightly until I could feel and hear it shave and continued with that angle. This is a more shallow angle than I used earlier with the Tech (that is, riding the cap is shallow, isn't it?)

I tried to taut my skin just enough for it to be flat, but I tried to prevent from tauting it too much when going ATG.

While doing the WTG pass, again with the Shark blade, I noticed that it was a bit tuggy. Was it the blade, or was it the razor? To rule out the blade, I decided to use the Merkur on the left side of my face and the Tech on the right. As I'm right handed, shaving the right side of my face generally is a bit easier for me.

The Merkur had the same blade feel though, so that was due to the blade. I first finished of the left side of my face and while doing my neck I noticed I had the same uncomfortable feeling as I had with the Tech. Which was odd because the first shave with the Merkur/Shark was great. But I soon found out why.

I'm using the four-pass system as I mentioned earlier. This is a WTG pass, 2 XTG passes and finally a ATG pass. The two XTG passes are:
  • On the face diagonally from ear to mouth and in the neck from below ear to mid of neck
  • On the face diagonally from mouth to ear and in the neck from mid to ear
The last part, that was an issue. And I should have know as I have mapped my beard when I started using a safety razor. Going from the mid of neck towards my ear is ATG for a big part of my neck. If I do that pass before actually doing a proper WTG and XTG pass, the stubble is too long. With a sharp (yet comfortable) blade, I can get away with that but it definitely doesn't work with the Shark. Even with the Merkur 34C that first few strokes weren't very nice.

So with that in the back of my head, I started looking for the best XTG pass in my neck. Turns out that a diagonal downward followed by a diagonal upward pass does the trick. For some reason my skin can cope with multiple passes better than shaving ATG too soon.

With all that knowledge I started with the right side of my face, with the Tech. I still need to keep an eye on the angle, but I had a lot less alum sting an a lot less irritation. It still is a bit irritated though, but that for some reason it only shows after a while.

So I learned quite a lot today:
  • Hair grows in strange ways. You can't simply uses the passes someone else describes. You always have to look at your own beard
  • Short strokes work better than long strokes
  • For me, a shallow angle works better with the Tech
  • Bob Ross is a better painter than I am
Next step in your technique development is to adjust the XTG. The Four Pass Shave XTG is using Gillette Slide strokes rather than diagonal strokes. Or specifically it’s moving the razor diagonally but with the razor head parallel and not diagonal.

Excellent work and description on getting the Tech to work for you. Riding the cap is indeed more shallow.


Thanks for the tip @Guido75

I tried it with today's shave. It will take some time to get used to that though, as I automatically seem to do straight strokes. I really have to think about doing the Gillette Slide.


I loaded a fresh blade in the Tech today, the Astra Superior Platinum. I liked its Stainless brother but read that the Superior is slightly less sharp.

With everything I learned last time, I started this shave with confidence. The confidence was justified, it was a good shave. I did make the small error of tauting the skin in my neck tight by tilting my head backwards, but then I remembered not to pull the skin too tight and let the safety bar do its job.

Trying the Gillette Slide resulted in one small nick as it is easy to move the razor lateral. But nothing a bit of alum doesn't solve.

All in all a great shave and once again: thank you all for all the tips!

It has been a while since my last entry. I've been quite busy the last few days. Previous I was one of the photographers of a local tattoo. Two days filled with marching and show bands, parades and shows. I took over 4000 photos that weekend. And last weekend I had another shoot already. So a lot of culling and post-processing for the coming days.

I did find time to shave too though. Last Saturday I used the Astra SP with the Merkur 34C. The Merkur almost always gives me a great shave, but I tried to get a BBS a bit too hard this time with some mild irritation as a result.

Today I used the Laurel Vest Pocket. I've neglected this razor a bit, due to my recent adventures with the Tech. It gave me a great shave today, DFS, but somehow it's never as close as with the Merkur though. It feels very smooth after shaving but I can already feel stubble again after a couple of hours. Much sooner than with the Merkur or Tech. It's not that much of a problem though, more an observation.

As for the Gillette Slide; I'm getting better at it :)
Blades anonymous
Again quite a gap between my journal entries. Days are filled with wokr as I started on a new project and the weekends are filled with all kinds of end-of-season activities. band concerts, BBQ's etc.

I didn't stop shaving though. A couple of weeks ago I bought this package of Hema razor blades

HEMA, short for Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam (Dutch Unit Prices Company Amsterdam according to Google Translate) is one of the last few remaining Dutch department stores with stores throughout the county. The first store opened in 1926 in Amsterdam.

The store is famous for its smokes sausages, which you can buy to warm up at home. But you can also buy a warm half sausage as a snack. They started selling them as a snack in 1936, after the store manager accidentally ordered 10.000 sausages instead of 1.000. He decided to warm them up in the store's kitchen and sell them. It was an instant hit and the idea was adopted by the other HEMA stores.

Nowadays they have 750 stores, mostly in The Netherlands but also in Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, France and UAE. They sell everything you need in daily live, from underpants to birthday cakes and everything in between.

They also sell razor blades. A 10-pack for €2.25/$2.43. Not the cheapest but not very expensive either. Made in Germany, but the actual manufacturer is unknown. Some say it used to be Personna but nobody knows for sure.

The blade and package are very anonymous. The blue cardboard packaging is the only thing that mentions the HEMA brand name. Except for the manufacturing date on the plastic blade container, the blade, wrapper and container do not contain any text. So I tried to take the dullest, most boring photo of it I could...


It doesn't shave too bad. In the Merkur it was quite comfortable and a near BBS shave. In the Tech I had to be a little bit more careful to use the right angle but I also managed to get a DFS with it. I did shave off a pimple of some kind though, I can't recommend that 😅

So overall not a bad blade. And locally available, with 2 HEMA stores within 5km. I will be taking this pack with me on holiday, together with the Merkur, as it's the only blade I still have multiple blades of.
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Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
In English-speaking parts of North America, HEMA is an acronym for Historical European Martial Arts.

No underpants, no birthday cake, and not enough razor blades. Your smoked sausage selling store is superior to wearing plastic replicas of Hungarian plate mail armor and chasing friends with a padded bludgeon.
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