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A nervous black male seeking a solution...

....to the dreaded razor bumps and ingrown hairs.

I came across this site during my hours and days of browser research for a solution to lay this painful issue to rest once and for all.

I've tried many a solution over the years except for the wetshave and have just a few questions before I start off.

At the moment I have both slightly over my cheeks and mostly under my chin and around my neck. Based on the reading i've done, the general consensus seems to be that I should let the hair grow out if my bumps continue to be a problem.

Now, my question is this.

Prior to my first ever wetshave with a DE Safety razor, should I trim the hair down with my electric Andis Outliner and start the shaving procedure, or should I let the hair grow out some more to help reduce the severity of the bumps?

Or, maybe I could just start the Wetshave straight from the length it is now. I'm not sure what to do.

My facial hair length at the moment is still short, skin still visible, but looks shorter than it really is due to the coil action of my hair.

My list of tools are:

- A Merkur DE safety razor. (not sure what kind exactly, but I bought it today in Ontario at "Personal Edge"
- Black Opal Men's Shave System; http://www.blackopalbeauty.com/men.htmlwhich consists of an "Anti-Bump Shave-Gel", "Anti-Bump Treatment", and "Anti-Bump Cleanser"

-Body Shops "Maca Root Shave Cream".
More of an impulse purchase really. I read that Shaving cream is more effective than Gel because it helps to better raise the strands of hair from the skin. It was in the same mall, so I grabbed some.
Definitely looking at the Col.Conk Bay Rum shaving Soap though; and very open to any other recommendations.

- A brush also from the body shop. I highly doubt that it's real badger hair as it was only about $10 if that. I'm assuming it's one of the badger/horse ones, or maybe even all sythetic material. Does a real badger brush make that much of a difference?

One last thing before I get on my way. The Merkur DE razor that I bought was $70+tx CAD.

I did a little browsing on a few sites that are probably well know to many of you and saw complete sets. Being that I don't have a stand and "real" badger brush, would it be worth it to order one of the sets online and return the razor back to Personal Edge?

Thanks guys and sorry for the long first post. I've been battling this crap for a good 15 years and really want to get it right this time.
 
From my understanding, boar hair and synthetic brushes are a little better at getting out those ingrown hairs because they are tougher material. That said, once you get used to wet shaving, you will probably find that a boar hair or synthetic is a little too tough. Or maybe not, it's all about your preference.

I like that you are thinking of a Col Conk soap--I don't hear it mentioned enough, as I am an avid fan. They provide a great lubricating layer, and they smell awesome. A word of wisdom, though: Bay Rum products might sting a little, and they are supposed to. If you like it, go with it. If not, well, you know what to do.

You also don't need a set or stand, unless you really want one. Many brushes can be stood upright on their handle, and this will let them air dry just fine. Again, all about your preference.

Congratulation, and welcome to wet shaving. Take it slow and easy, and as a disclaimer: your first few shaves will not be the best (unless you are a natural); you will need time to alter technique and unlearn bad habits (even from electric shaving) and your face will need to adjust. Don't worry, with practice and patience, it improves.


PS--when you have technique down, embrace the AD's, because you never know if you are getting the best shave possible until you try new stuff!
 
Welcome to B&B. I am a Black man who had the same skin issues as you have now and I wore a full beard for 30 years before coming here to see if DE shaving could be the answer. It has been for me, and I hope that it will be for you also. Although ethnic hair and skin pose somewhat unique problems, ingrowns are ingrowns and bumps are bumps. You can get a world of help here from each and every member. For my part, I would say that you need not shave at all until your skin has cleared beneath the beard that you currently have. Start by treating the damage that exists. You have some good tools already and you don't "need" a set just yet. Believe me, if things go as they usually do, you will accumulate more things in short time. What's important right now is not what you buy so much as what you do with it. Work with the Black Opal products for now and read the sticky posts, I cannot stress this enough, read and re-read them. Print them out if it is possible and study them like there is gonna be a test. While you are waiting to start shaving, order a blade sampler from west coast shaving.
This won't get fixed overnight, and it won't get fixed just because you picked up a DE razor and a brush. It will get fixed because you learned how to use them correctly. You can learn that here. Now PLEASE read the sticky posts and also read every response that you are going to get on this thread.
We are glad to have you here.

P.S. In answer to your question: Yes, when your skin clears enough to attempt your fist DE shave, I would first trim the hair with that Andis Outliner carefully, you are not shaving with it. I would also advise that you do that a full day before you plan to shave. I have found that when I go for too many days between shaves I have to reduce my beard with electric clippers and I generally find it better to do that and then shave a day later. I am also going to strongly suggest that you start wetshaving slowly by purchasing some single edge disposable shavers. My personal recommendation would be BIC Metal Guard or BIC Sensitive. The Merkur is a very good razor, but there are a lot of variables in successful shaving. Proper prep and building good lather are every bit as important as using the blade. If you can focus on those two things without the additional worry about how aggressive your angle and pressure are with a tool that definitely bites, then you can take this a step at a time. This is what worked for me. Others have been able to start off with the DE razor right away, and you may be one of them. It's just something to to consider.
Just keep coming here and don't stop asking questions when they come to mind. You will always get answers.
 
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Do you have more than just a handful of merkur blades that came with the razor? Those merkur blades only get so so reviews. My best advice is to go get a sampler pack of blades. When I try to hook friends I always start them off with Derby's.

Don't be too nervous. Once you put blade to face you'll realize it's not too bad. T
 
Excellent post ProphetNoir, I would strongly second his recdommendations to put a lot of effort into proper use of the tools. The best tool will give you unsatisfactory results if not used to it's potential.

I'm willing to bet that proper preperation and careful attention to the razor (remember, beard reduction, not elimination in one pass) will give you pleasant results in a very short time. After only one or two weeks of paying careful attention to my shaves my skin quality was greatly improved and now (3 months later) I can whip through my shave in short order (when I need to). Good luck and let us know how it progresses.
 
I'll just take the brush piece of this...

I also use the Body Shop brush. Yeah, it's not the fancy $80 badger brush people scream about, but it does the job. It whips up lather and gets it on my face. And after a few months, it has softened up a bit, so now I can fan out the bristles and really get decent results. For the record, it is made of synthetic bristles. Don't sweat the details... there are luxury brushes, and there are cheap brushes. Any of them are capable of making lather and getting it on your beard.
 
Welcome aboard! A ton of great information here to be had. Be sure to keep us up to date on your journey into wet shaving.
 
Hi and welcome! I'm of Scotch Irish descent so can't relate directly, but I have been fighting with fearsome ingrown hairs for a good 15 years as well. Bump Patrol and that sort of stuff was ineffectual. DE shaving didn't clear it up 100% in the last month but my god has it made a difference. I've seen about an 80 or 85% reduction so far.

See how far the Opal stuff takes you. I have heard great things about Anthony Logistics ingrown hair treatment but don't have am opinion yet...been using since Tuesday. Will let you know how it goes.

Good luck! Stick with it and you'll definitely be able to improve your skin. And welcome again!
 
....to the dreaded razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
ProphetNoir really hits several nails squarely on their heads with his response. It's all about taking it slow and easy and not expecting miracles to happen immediately.

I second his advice about letting your skin heal a little first, and then getting your technique down by starting out with a mild razor like the Bic Sensitive Disposable. No matter what the color of the skin is topside, we all bleed red and it's always a good idea to start gently.
 
Welcome to B&B. I am a Black man who had the same skin issues as you have now and I wore a full beard for 30 years before coming here to see if DE shaving could be the answer. It has been for me, and I hope that it will be for you also. Although ethnic hair and skin pose somewhat unique problems, ingrowns are ingrowns and bumps are bumps. You can get a world of help here from each and every member. For my part, I would say that you need not shave at all until your skin has cleared beneath the beard that you currently have. Start by treating the damage that exists. You have some good tools already and you don't "need" a set just yet. Believe me, if things go as they usually do, you will accumulate more things in short time. What's important right now is not what you buy so much as what you do with it. Work with the Black Opal products for now and read the sticky posts, I cannot stress this enough, read and re-read them. Print them out if it is possible and study them like there is gonna be a test. While you are waiting to start shaving, order a blade sampler from west coast shaving.
This won't get fixed overnight, and it won't get fixed just because you picked up a DE razor and a brush. It will get fixed because you learned how to use them correctly. You can learn that here. Now PLEASE read the sticky posts and also read every response that you are going to get on this thread.
We are glad to have you here.

P.S. In answer to your question: Yes, when your skin clears enough to attempt your fist DE shave, I would first trim the hair with that Andis Outliner carefully, you are not shaving with it. I would also advise that you do that a full day before you plan to shave. I have found that when I go for too many days between shaves I have to reduce my beard with electric clippers and I generally find it better to do that and then shave a day later. I am also going to strongly suggest that you start wetshaving slowly by purchasing some single edge disposable shavers. My personal recommendation would be BIC Metal Guard or BIC Sensitive. The Merkur is a very good razor, but there are a lot of variables in successful shaving. Proper prep and building good lather are every bit as important as using the blade. If you can focus on those two things without the additional worry about how aggressive your angle and pressure are with a tool that definitely bites, then you can take this a step at a time. This is what worked for me. Others have been able to start off with the DE razor right away, and you may be one of them. It's just something to to consider.
Just keep coming here and don't stop asking questions when they come to mind. You will always get answers.
This is a fantastically written post.
 

htownmmm

Moderator Emeritus
....to the dreaded razor bumps and ingrown hairs.

I came across this site during my hours and days of browser research for a solution to lay this painful issue to rest once and for all.

I've tried many a solution over the years except for the wetshave and have just a few questions before I start off.

At the moment I have both slightly over my cheeks and mostly under my chin and around my neck. Based on the reading i've done, the general consensus seems to be that I should let the hair grow out if my bumps continue to be a problem.

Now, my question is this.

Prior to my first ever wetshave with a DE Safety razor, should I trim the hair down with my electric Andis Outliner and start the shaving procedure, or should I let the hair grow out some more to help reduce the severity of the bumps?

Or, maybe I could just start the Wetshave straight from the length it is now. I'm not sure what to do.

My facial hair length at the moment is still short, skin still visible, but looks shorter than it really is due to the coil action of my hair.

My list of tools are:

- A Merkur DE safety razor. (not sure what kind exactly, but I bought it today in Ontario at "Personal Edge"
- Black Opal Men's Shave System; http://www.blackopalbeauty.com/men.htmlwhich consists of an "Anti-Bump Shave-Gel", "Anti-Bump Treatment", and "Anti-Bump Cleanser"

-Body Shops "Maca Root Shave Cream".
More of an impulse purchase really. I read that Shaving cream is more effective than Gel because it helps to better raise the strands of hair from the skin. It was in the same mall, so I grabbed some.
Definitely looking at the Col.Conk Bay Rum shaving Soap though; and very open to any other recommendations.

- A brush also from the body shop. I highly doubt that it's real badger hair as it was only about $10 if that. I'm assuming it's one of the badger/horse ones, or maybe even all sythetic material. Does a real badger brush make that much of a difference?

One last thing before I get on my way. The Merkur DE razor that I bought was $70+tx CAD.

I did a little browsing on a few sites that are probably well know to many of you and saw complete sets. Being that I don't have a stand and "real" badger brush, would it be worth it to order one of the sets online and return the razor back to Personal Edge?

Thanks guys and sorry for the long first post. I've been battling this crap for a good 15 years and really want to get it right this time.
Welcome to B&B first of all-you've come to the right place. No longer any need to be nervous, DE shaving will clear up your skin.

Yes, definitely let your hair grow out for 2 reasons:
a. Gives your face time to improve and the ingrowns time to subside.
b. You will be able to observe the direction in which your hair grows on your face-this info may mean nothing now, but it will be handy.

Next, after your hair has grown out and the bumps are gone you can trim it down with your Andis.

Get the Col. Conk soap(RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!-wait until u find out what that means):wink:

Do not use the Merkur blade that came with your razor(BTW, hopefully you did not get the Futur or VISION to start with.)

Get the sampler pack as mentioned-it's worth it.

As mentioned previously(BobaFett,Prophetnoir, and Farrell) equipment, patience, and prep are important. You currently have the equipment, you will learn the prep but you must cultivate the patience. Remember you have had this problem for 15 years and it won't be solved overnight(but it will be solved!).

I found this site also back in March of 2006 after years of futility shaving with everything except for a DE or a straight. I can honestly say that my life has had a seismic change as a result of getting rid of my ingrowns and road rash. As a fellow brotha', I definitely feel your pain and have walked in your shoes-as prophetnoir has also. If we can do it, you can to.

Ask as many questions as you need to be comfortable-there are no stupid questions, only unasked ones. if you are unsure you can pm me whenever you need to.

marty
 
Welcome to B&B, a great and informative site! But you've already learned that reading the posts in this thread.:smile:
 
Pottertons --

First off, welcome to B&B!

You aren't the first and won't be the last to show up here with the dreaded bump problems. Follow what the guys above have written, and in short order you'll find that your shaving problems will clear up.

You don't need to spend a lot of money on a razor --modest cost shave goods work well and will afford a fine shave.

Remember: 'Technique' (what you do) is more important than 'Stuff' (what you use).

You're gonna like this wet-shaving stuff. :w00t:

-- John Gehman
 
Welcome to B&B!

As someone who's had similar problems can tell you, wet shaving sure worked for me, but it did take a little while. For me it was two months before I started really seeing the results I wanted, and now that I've been using a straight my skin is even better.

Hang in there, and good luck!
 
Welcome to the B&B forum. I can offer no advice beyond what the previous posters have said. So I'll be a cheerleader. Be patient and enjoy the shaves it will come together.
Best of luck.
 
Welcome to B&B. I am a Black man who had the same skin issues as you have now and I wore a full beard for 30 years before coming here to see if DE shaving could be the answer. It has been for me, and I hope that it will be for you also. Although ethnic hair and skin pose somewhat unique problems, ingrowns are ingrowns and bumps are bumps. You can get a world of help here from each and every member. For my part, I would say that you need not shave at all until your skin has cleared beneath the beard that you currently have. Start by treating the damage that exists. You have some good tools already and you don't "need" a set just yet. Believe me, if things go as they usually do, you will accumulate more things in short time. What's important right now is not what you buy so much as what you do with it. Work with the Black Opal products for now and read the sticky posts, I cannot stress this enough, read and re-read them. Print them out if it is possible and study them like there is gonna be a test. While you are waiting to start shaving, order a blade sampler from west coast shaving.
This won't get fixed overnight, and it won't get fixed just because you picked up a DE razor and a brush. It will get fixed because you learned how to use them correctly. You can learn that here. Now PLEASE read the sticky posts and also read every response that you are going to get on this thread.
We are glad to have you here.

P.S. In answer to your question: Yes, when your skin clears enough to attempt your fist DE shave, I would first trim the hair with that Andis Outliner carefully, you are not shaving with it. I would also advise that you do that a full day before you plan to shave. I have found that when I go for too many days between shaves I have to reduce my beard with electric clippers and I generally find it better to do that and then shave a day later. I am also going to strongly suggest that you start wetshaving slowly by purchasing some single edge disposable shavers. My personal recommendation would be BIC Metal Guard or BIC Sensitive. The Merkur is a very good razor, but there are a lot of variables in successful shaving. Proper prep and building good lather are every bit as important as using the blade. If you can focus on those two things without the additional worry about how aggressive your angle and pressure are with a tool that definitely bites, then you can take this a step at a time. This is what worked for me. Others have been able to start off with the DE razor right away, and you may be one of them. It's just something to to consider.
Just keep coming here and don't stop asking questions when they come to mind. You will always get answers.
:eek: Wow. Outstanding information; and I apologise for feeling the need to reveal my ethnicity. It really doesn't matter now that I've read these posts.

Hi and welcome! I'm of Scotch Irish descent so can't relate directly, but I have been fighting with fearsome ingrown hairs for a good 15 years as well. Bump Patrol and that sort of stuff was ineffectual. DE shaving didn't clear it up 100% in the last month but my god has it made a difference. I've seen about an 80 or 85% reduction so far.

See how far the Opal stuff takes you. I have heard great things about Anthony Logistics ingrown hair treatment but don't have am opinion yet...been using since Tuesday. Will let you know how it goes.

Good luck! Stick with it and you'll definitely be able to improve your skin. And welcome again!
Encouraging words. Thank you.

Well put. I would like to add incase your facial hair may also cause you irritation the following.

I have a ethnic client that uses magic shave, but every so often has to give his face a break from the chemicals and lets his facial hair grow. The facial hair itself breaks out his skin as well and i have to shave him via straight razor which makes the puffed up pink skin go back down. I would say use several steam towels, do not stretch the skin to tight but just a little, apply a shave oil and more towels, Apply shave cream, apply no pressure and let the razor glide across you skin in a direction away from the stretching direction. clean the face and apply very cold towels. Your skin is very complex almost like a soft microfiber. If you stretch it out completely taught you will notice the hairs hiding underneath. This is why your skin is so soft and hydrated. Problem is any kind of irritation and your skin traps bacteria causing a little swelling add that to curly hairs and it will curl up into a ball and create bumps and papules. So prep is key and not shaving to close to irritate is also key. third day beard growth is best for shaving. Longer hair has more wieght and softens the whiskers allowing for the blade to glide through it. Short whiskers are more harsh and can cause the blade to pull hairs and also pull your blade down the hair into the skin, or when the hair pulls out the pore gets caught in the blade.

I do shaves on several black guys on a regular basis that usually have to use magic shave. I wish there were a way to demonstrate as i am not that great with words. Alas this will have to do.


Hope that helps
Yes. I've also tried the magic and it burned like a ..................
It was a very short lived experiment.

Overall I have to admit that my laziness does not help either. There are times where I would shave, but not maintain the use of my facial cleansing products for a couple of days. Get so caught up and excited about the nice smooth feel of relier after I'd shaved and assume that it would be the last time i'd be dealing with my little friends.

Before I posted this thread I thoroughly read over "Kyle"'s tutorial, and overnight whilst all of your were kindly responding to my cry for help, I indulged myself into a series of true scholarship with Mantic59's video tutorials.

In a nutshell.........I've been absolutely abusing my face up until now and never even knew it.

My current product line up and routine would be (or previous I could say)
1) Soak face with hot water and use a loofa to help loosen up the ingrown hairs

2) Apply Neutrogena's Razor Defense face wash.

3) Rinse, then lather up with Neutrogena's Razor Defense Shaving gel.

4) After few minutes in the hot shower, Jump out, wipe the mirror off, open the door to let the cool air in and the steam out. (hate that part FREEEEEEEEZING, and I often set the fire alarm off. LOL)

5) Using a Disposable Gillette Pivot head twin blade razor I begin to shave the above the jaw line area, downwards. Then below the jaw in an upward motion.

usually ending up in more strokes than I ought to because of the little stubble that remains. Which I guess means, more against the grain, thus resulting in more irritation.

Thanks again for all the helpful tips people.
 
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:eek: Wow. Outstanding information; and I apologise for feeling the need to reveal my ethnicity. It really doesn't matter now that I've read these posts.

<snip>

Thanks again for all the helpful tips people.
No apology needed!

Welcome again...this is a great place (as you've seen). We're glad you're here!
 
It sounds to me like you are no stranger to the preparation needed for a shave. The attention to the details that you give to everything up to this point really need to be applied to the whole process: pre-shave prep, lather and shaving, and post shave care. I find that I am a little aggressive in my shaving and will wind up applying too much pressure or going over an area too many times. All in all, I try to ensure that I keep track of what 'procedure' works for me. I like to lather up and place a hot towel over my stubble to help clean the face and soften the beard at the same time. After that, I move on to lathering up again and shaving. (I don't open the door and let the cold air into the bathroom though.) At the end of the shave I rinse with warm water and then cold water. To complete this, I have found that Witch Hazel helps me (well it did last time) with some of the irritation and razor bumps. Make a mental note of what you did that works and what did not work and adjust accordingly. After that, it is aftershave and rub on the wife!
 
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