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A newbie’s journey into DE shaving

I started my DE shaving journey in December 2021 after a hiatus from wet shaving for more than 20 years. During that interbellum I was on the dark side of shaving with only the occassional wet shave. I was a cartridge man at that using a Gillette Sensor. It was the cost that ultimately drove me to my Philishave. Back then I did not know DE shaving even existed (anymore).

And then in December on a sort of fluke I put DE shaving on my gift list for the holidays. I went to Etos (a Dutch version of Wallgreens or Boots) and got hold of a King C Gillette with an additional 10 pack of blades (not having a clue as to what the longevity of those blades would be) together with a puck of De Vergulde Hand (which is available just about anywhere in the Netherlands) and some alum. I had already found my brush again (which turned out to be badger). In all I think I paid €25 for the whole lot. I imagined that if it was not for me the investment would not be too steep (*fast forward - how wrong I was!!*).
 
Now, just prior to purchasing the KCG I did a little bit of research to get to know the how and what. I started by watching two videos over and over again until I could almost repeat them verbatim. I am not sure if deeplinking is allowed, but I guess we are all familiar with the videos: one is the KCG review by Geofatboy and the other is How to shave with a safety razor by Brian Mulreany from Executive Shaving. Particularly that last one really got me through my first few shaves.
 
That first shave was ok, but definitely not particularly pleasant. I really needed to convert my cartridge technique to DE technique. Looking back on the experience now - and this is main advice number 1 - I exercised way to much pressure. That and finding the right angle. I knew it was 30 degrees, but that is different for different razors. So no pressure and riding the cap was going to be my mantra for the next couple of weeks.
 
The first two months or so I was getting by quite nicely. I started to learn the razor and getting more and more towards DFS/BBS type of shaves. And I really enjoy(ed) that time in the morning getting prepped and ready. Using preshave is definitely a plus for me. I got the preshave from Proraso (Green) early on - I think after two weeks or so. And that really helped the razor gliding along. Geofatboy was kind enough to provide me some tips over the email and helped in reducing nicks, weepers and cuts to almost zero.

After those two months my itching for other products started to grow...:biggrin1::biggrin1:
 
So I bought the entire line of Proraso Green. Well I started with the cream and balm. Since February my shaving supply is exclusively from Proraso, except for the face wash I got out of the KCG product line. I wanted to reduce my usage of alum to a bear minimum and so I later on bought the Proraso AS too. Really wonderful products with a mellow scent to them - not the overpowerful fragrances (I remember a colleague of mine whose hand you could shake if you forgot to put on your AS and just rub your hand on your face afterwards. I even think he showered with it instead of water - I kid you not. Great colleague by the way).

Meanwhile I got so used to the KCG and KCG blades that I wanted to have the blades available in private stock. I got hold of a double 60-pack on sale here for under €30 per pack. Including delivery cost I calculated that the average blade costs me €0.35 which puts it up with Feather, but I can get 7 very comfortable shaves from them and I can punch it up to 10 (or maybe even higher, but I have never tried). So I now have 3.5 years of blades in stock :blink:.
 
I expected to remain with the KCG the rest of my life, but only after a month or two I learned about the differences between stainless steel metal, zamak, or brass razors. That and I found that maybe I needed to have a bit more aggressive razor, because my trouble spots remained my trouble spots - no matter what I did.

That is when I came across this forum and the wonderful post by @guenron called the Four Pass Shave. That changed my technique for the better. I had previously learned the Gillette Slide and was happily surprised to see that it was part of this Four Pass Shave - which I do not find a particularly difficult technique as long as you are careful, but YMMV as they say.

After figuring out what I need to do for the Four Pass Shave I got my first best BBS ever. That was about two-three weeks ago. I joined B&B just to be able to post my appreciation and experience with the technique (By Popular Demand-The Four Pass shave - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/by-popular-demand-the-four-pass-shave.297709/post-11682663)
 
Dear @Esox - thanks. I was oblivious as to where to put my thread.

A one pass ATG…not sure if my skin would agree, but it is worth checking it out. I am always looking for more efficiency.

One follow up is at least that I did purchase a second and third razor even though I consider myself at the very early stages of my DE career. I have been shaving now with a Fatip Special Edition now for a week. That is a three pass shave max and if I was not so OCD about getting a BBS I could do it in two passes.

Still learning
 

Esox

I didnt know
Dear @Esox - thanks. I was oblivious as to where to put my thread.

A one pass ATG…not sure if my skin would agree, but it is worth checking it out. I am always looking for more efficiency.

One follow up is at least that I did purchase a second and third razor even though I consider myself at the very early stages of my DE career. I have been shaving now with a Fatip Special Edition now for a week. That is a three pass shave max and if I was not so OCD about getting a BBS I could do it in two passes.

No worries Guido, my own Journal needed to be moved when I started it haha.

Efficiency was the monster I chased. Starting on page 5 of my journal here. Shave #7 with a new to me Fatip and a fresh Feather blade. My entire journal was dedicated to the search for a nice, quick and easy single pass ATG shave. It can be done but its a long road. That road ended with a GEM MMOC and PTFE blades.

I didnt record my last shave here, but it was Monday evening or night. I dont remember.

MMOC/PTFE for its 4th shave.

WK.

Maggard Synthetic.

~100 hours since last shave. I dont think it would matter if it was around 200 hours.

Single buffing pass ATG. One clean up. The MMOC is all business and this was business as usual.

Nice comfy BBS. What more could be asked for.
 
Yes! I remember now! Your thread was what lead me to buy the Fatip, @Esox - it is an excellent recollection for us newbies in searching for razor and blade combinations.

And I thought it would require much more time and experience to shave with an OC, but the fact of the matter is that I have gotten my smoothest BBS ever with the OC baseplate last week. I shave daily by the way, and find the Fatip smooth enough as a daily driver.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Yes! I remember now! Your thread was what lead me to buy the Fatip, @Esox - it is an excellent recollection for us newbies in searching for razor and blade combinations.

And I thought it would require much more time and experience to shave with an OC, but the fact of the matter is that I have gotten my smoothest BBS ever with the OC baseplate last week. I shave daily by the way, and find the Fatip smooth enough as a daily driver.

Wow, people actually read it? LOL

I'm happy to hear I could help. Things arent nearly as intimidating as some may believe. Its mostly just becoming familiar with them. The more you use a Fatip, the more comfortable you become with it. They are truly astonishing razors. So smooth and so efficient. As your technique progresses, you'll become faster but remember, become good at it before trying to become fast with it. The speed and efficiency will come on their own.

With any of my better blades, and there are several now but I do have my favorites, my limit with my Grande is a 12 hour BBS. Thats as good as it gets. The weakness however isnt in the razor, its in the DE blades themselves. A GEM SE blade is .009" thick, more than twice as thick as most DE blades. That makes them inherently more rigid and more stable during the shave. That translates to better control, which in turn translates to a closer shave. With a fresh PTFE in my MMOC I've had a BBS shave for nearly 19 hours. Thats a true BBS finish too.

The MMOC has more blade exposure than the Fatip so, assuming the right soap that makes my skin soft and supple enough, I can shave closer.

There are so many things that play a part in the final outcome it can be overwhelming but, as it was put to me by @Raven Koenes, just shave. All the rest will come in their own time.
 
Wow, people actually read it? LOL

I'm happy to hear I could help. Things arent nearly as intimidating as some may believe. Its mostly just becoming familiar with them. The more you use a Fatip, the more comfortable you become with it. They are truly astonishing razors. So smooth and so efficient. As your technique progresses, you'll become faster but remember, become good at it before trying to become fast with it. The speed and efficiency will come on their own.

With any of my better blades, and there are several now but I do have my favorites, my limit with my Grande is a 12 hour BBS. Thats as good as it gets. The weakness however isnt in the razor, its in the DE blades themselves. A GEM SE blade is .009" thick, more than twice as thick as most DE blades. That makes them inherently more rigid and more stable during the shave. That translates to better control, which in turn translates to a closer shave. With a fresh PTFE in my MMOC I've had a BBS shave for nearly 19 hours. Thats a true BBS finish too.

The MMOC has more blade exposure than the Fatip so, assuming the right soap that makes my skin soft and supple enough, I can shave closer.

There are so many things that play a part in the final outcome it can be overwhelming but, as it was put to me by @Raven Koenes, just shave. All the rest will come in their own time.
You would be surprised how many of us get value out of these posts.

And yes that is definitely my mantra for now: get better which in turn will improve my efficiency, but first get better. And with the Fatip getting better is also an enjoyable experience. Fantastic razor especially at that price point. It teamed up very well with the KCG blade too.
 

Esox

I didnt know
You would be surprised how many of us get value out of these posts.

I did, even before I was a member and looking things up in Google searches. I joined here when I did so I could see the pictures posted by another member to help me understand the concept of "rigidity".

I read your journal and re-read it at times.

I'd still post to it, and even might in fact. Assuming anyone cares just how long you can use a disposable Mach 3, in complete comfort and with a very nearly BBS finish too... Maybe when that razor is finally finished, I'll post a pic of it and we can all guess how long its been used hahaha.

They arent the same razor I remember from years ago. They changed the angle of the blades. Its a simple test understanding that too.
 
Actually, after I discovered the Four Pass Shave I did try to see if I could get it to be more efficient - I mean shaving is a very pleasant activity, but there were times my shave took me 30 minutes (did I already mentioned that I get up earlier for shaving? I know...I know...). So I tried reducing the number of passes by using different strokes.

My most efficient stroke is the Gillette Slide or Oblique Stroke and that helps to get back to at least a three pass shave, but still my neck was giving me challenges. But already caving in to RAD and acquire more aggressive razors was a bit too much for me. I do have researched more than I bargained for since then, but ok. It is just fun.

This is where this forum really shines, because I simply asked my fellow shavers. And one of the tricks to get a more aggressive razor is shimming. I posted my experiences here: Shim on KCG with KCG blades - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/shim-on-kcg-with-kcg-blades.622074/post-11695492

Great little experiment, but with mixed results and so I have retired the shim for now. As @Esox mentioned earlier, the best you can do in the beginning is simply get better at what you are doing. Sticking to your razor and blade helps too in my view, unless it is absolutely obvious that there is no match between your beard and the razor or the blade or both.
 
And this is where I am into my fourth month of DE shaving: I still like the KCG as I also keep reminder myself: if Geofatboy can get an excellent shave with it, it is down to your technique my boy. And that said, I have my case of RAD even in these very few months. I looked at vintage Gillettes (that is a household name here in the Netherlands - there is not much else available at brick and mortar stores. You really have to look), looked at adjustables, looked at the Mühle Rocca.

Did some more research to see what I could achieve without breaking the bank and finally settled for a Fatip Special Edition. I got two razors for the price of one and it is all brass. I know it is a love or hate relationship with the Fatip, but mine is beautiful and balanced and blade alignment is managable within acceptable fiddling times. And the shave I got was again a learning curve. Especially with the Gentile baseplate. But I dared to use the Open Comb last week and that was an insane smooth experience: What did you use today? +Rate the shave 1-10 (10 best) - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/what-did-you-use-today-rate-the-shave-1-10-10-best.568241/post-11712373

And we move on into April to see what it has in store for me.
 
Shimming can help but it was a bandaid solution for me. It did teach me about rigidity however.

Gillette NEW LC Not Cutting It - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/gillette-new-lc-not-cutting-it.520246/
Indeed. And that is exactly where (at least for me and for now) the Fatip outperforms the KCG. I did not even know I had less blade rigidity until I saw the Fatip. I had a similar problem as the one you mentioned in your other post: no matter how hard I would buff, puff and snuff at my trouble spots the more they appreared to stay in place, or - and that was more likely - leave me with razor burn because I went over the same spot too many times.

With the Fatip, however, although my stubbles still make me work for it, it is much easier to get it down and achieve BBS level. With KCG I can as well, but only if I do that Four Pass Shave and then still touch ups!
 

Esox

I didnt know
What I found key to efficiency is blade exposure combined with a rigid design. Some say the R41 is efficient. Even with a fresh Feather blade it takes me 3 very slow and careful passes and 1-2 cleanups in a shave that lasts 10-15 minutes. If I can have the same shave, with the same BBS finish, in a single ATG pass in 3 minutes, which is the more efficient razor? Pretty easy to figure that out.

I dont find the R41 efficient at all. It is however, close shaving. Thats blade exposure at work. Add an equal amount of rigidity to the blade and it would match the Fatip because the blade angle is close enough and the blade exposure is virtually identical.

R41-FATIP2.jpg


R41-FATIPAngle-Exposure.jpg
 
And what I like about the Fatip in addition is that its combs are more rounded than the R41’s. For me at least that is a more comfortable shave. Not that I would know how a R41 feels like - because from a newbie’s point of view on the aggressiveness scale the range goes from mild to very aggressive and beyond that is the R41 😉.

I am not ready for head on ATG just yet, but I do want to get to at least a two pass shave with BBS-/DFS+ results in 10-15 minutes (including or excluding prep - have not made up my mind yet).

And I must be honest: the clean up afterwards takes me a couple of minutes too but I like my razor to be clean for the next day, so I not only rinse I also dry with my towel.
 
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