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An increasing number of cuts on my face and neck

I'm new to using a straight razor and have shaved with one 5 times in a row. I didn't take it slow and shaved the cheeks and neck each time. I noticed and increasing number of nicks and cuts on my right cheek and a few spots on my neck

What should I focus on to avoid getting cut?

Some data:
  • I normally shave with a DE razor
  • I'm using a Razor Emporium Gold Dollar 208 straight razor
  • I have a mustache
  • I shaved under my mouth and my chin but found it too tricky and cut myself twice
  • I've watched many wet tuber videos and read most of the "The Straight Razor shave" in the wiki
 
There could be a wealth of issues. I assume the blade is sharp.

Hold the blade flat to the face, raising the spine just one spine width off your skin. Don’t force the blade, just lightly scrape the shaving cream off of your face. Light on the pressure and shallow on the angle. Steep angles cut.


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These things helped me:

Take it slow.
Don’t strive for perfection trying to achieve DFS or BBS, or even trying to get those harder to cover areas like crevasses or moles. You can always use your DE to touch up. If the shave is good enough to meet a friend for coffee, stop.
Use a light touch and the principle of hair reduction.

Be patient and you will be rewarded.

On one cheek, try one pass with your SR followed by your DE, and the reverse on your other cheek. The former will tell you how much hair you did not remove with the SR. And the latter will reduce the resistance for the SR.

For light touch, try to only remove the lather and you may be surprised at how much hair you remove.

In general, pressure is the enemy of a fine shave.


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Lefonque

Even more clueless than you
These things helped me:

Take it slow.
Don’t strive for perfection trying to achieve DFS or BBS, or even trying to get those harder to cover areas like crevasses or moles. You can always use your DE to touch up. If the shave is good enough to meet a friend for coffee, stop.
Use a light touch and the principle of hair reduction.

Be patient and you will be rewarded.

On one cheek, try one pass with your SR followed by your DE, and the reverse on your other cheek. The former will tell you how much hair you did not remove with the SR. And the latter will reduce the resistance for the SR.

For light touch, try to only remove the lather and you may be surprised at how much hair you remove.

In general, pressure is the enemy of a fine shave.


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I could not agree more. Especially your point about pressure being your enemy.
 
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Oh, sorry, you said cuts...


😸
 
You are probably trying too hard for a perfectly smooth shave - probably your expectations have increased and you want to keep going until you match your best shave every time. We’ve all done it, I guess.

I know it is tempting to add pressure or do more passes on your bare skin, but this will cause irritation and cuts. Just use no pressure at all - let the blade do the work - and always re-lather at least the area you want to work on before you shave it again. You will get good, comfortable shaves and sometimes really good ones.

Also take more time to build a good lather. That’s a common problem. Keep adding small amounts of water to hydrate the lather until you get the right consistency and slickness. Too dry/thick or too thin a lather will compound problems with any over-shaving, and will increase skin irritation. Once you get a better lather consistently your shaves will improve.
 
Take a Qtip and run the cotton tip along the edge from heel to toe, hold the Qtip from the other cotton tip so that you use the lightest pressure.

The slightest snag is a chip. How you fix it depends on how large the damage and your stropping skills. For new straight shavers, stropping is the issue, a single lap can roll an edge, and it will cut you.

If no chips, use light pressure as instructed. But usually if you are bleeding, it is because the edge is not as keen as it could be.
 
I'm with Brad in that the better the edge is the harder it is to cut yourself.

A good stropping technique is very important to learn. Good thing is once muscle memory kicks in, it becomes like second nature.
 
As someone about 20 shaves in, I truly feel your pain. I still have a 3/4 slice in my cheek that’s healing lol. Here are a few things that work for me now, and I’m not getting any cuts.

1) don’t use your wrists. Keep your wrists locked and use your arm to pull down. It’s the wrists scrapes that change the angle and make the blade dig in

2) stretch your face from behind the blade not in front of it.
3) don’t over stretch. You want flat surfaces that don’t move while your shaving. You don’t want the skin as tight as a balloon or you’re actually creating curves and angles. Strive for firm and flat skin
4) use alum in your fingers frequently to aid in stretching
5) practice using your non dominant hand. This will suck at first. Stick with it. No really. It will suck at first 😃

light light light. It’s better to do several passes over the same spot but so light you get no irritation than one firm stroke that catches the blade
 
UPDATE:

First, everyone's suggestions are very helpful. Thank you!

Second, I'm now combining my DE shaving with the straight razor shaving. I'm focusing on the cheeks with the straight razor. I'm getting a good shave now without injury!

Third, ScottChapin, I noticed I was not keeping the blade parallel to the skin surface and not keeping the angle shallow when shaving my right cheek.

Fourth, H Brad Boonshaft... thank you! I did a q-tip test and inspected the blade under a loop. It had various nicks on the edge! I took it into Vulcan Knives here in Tacoma and had the blade sharpened. Under inspection the edge is now straight and sharp!

I also bought a new strop. The one I was using has a grommet at one end. I think I was hitting that when I was flipping the blade over. My original stop served it's purpose. I cut it up learning how to strop.



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^ +1
You are getting there slowly, but you are getting there.

Learn something new each SR shave that will improve your results. It is also important to SR shave daily. That will more quickly and easily build up your muscle memory so you will not have to worry about so many things when SR shaving.

Many say, myself included, that it takes about 30 SR shaves to get to the point where you start asking yourself "Why didn't I start this in my teens?".

Welcome to the gentlemanly art of SR shaving. If you stick with it, you will love it.
 
UPDATE:

The blade I had been using did have nicks in it. The place I went to to correct this did remove the nicks, but didn't do a very good job sharpening it. it was a starter razor, and I learned enough that I want to continue. So I purchased a 6/8" Ralf Aust Spanish Tip Hollow Ground SR.

I'm not getting cuts or nicks. However, I'm not getting as smooth of a shave yet as I get with my DE razor. I shave daily, and I use the SR each time, so m technique is improving.
 
Just to add never take a straight razor to get it sharpened by a person who sharpens knives, it's not the same only a person who uses a straight will know how to sharpen one ie: barber they are your best bet. Or ask a member on here who hones razors

But do keep at it and it will all fall into place when you get to the 100th shave then look back on this post,
 
I think it's difficult to get a straight razor as sharp as a good (Feather) DE blade. So, until your stropping is well-developed, and you find a good honer to put an initial edge on your SR, you should expect that a SR shave won't be as good as a DE shave.

But each SR shave teaches you something. It's the journey that counts.
 
gregory56 if you would like to try out a natural stone edge I would gladly do it for no charge, just pay for shipping.

I have a wide sellection of naturals and know how to use them. l ike to help members achieve very good shaves.

Just reaching out trying to help out.
UPDATE:

The blade I had been using did have nicks in it. The place I went to to correct this did remove the nicks, but didn't do a very good job sharpening it. it was a starter razor, and I learned enough that I want to continue. So I purchased a 6/8" Ralf Aust Spanish Tip Hollow Ground SR.

I'm not getting cuts or nicks. However, I'm not getting as smooth of a shave yet as I get with my DE razor. I shave daily, and I use the SR each time, so m technique is improving.
 
Just to add never take a straight razor to get it sharpened by a person who sharpens knives, it's not the same only a person who uses a straight will know how to sharpen one ie: barber they are your best bet. Or ask a member on here who hones razors

But do keep at it and it will all fall into place when you get to the 100th shave then look back on this post,

Good advice. I learned that lesson!
 
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