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Annie's journal

Evening all,

I hope it's all right to start this here. I've been wetshaving for about three weeks; I'm learning a lot, and having some very disparate experiences. I figured chronicling my learning processes might help! Plus it'll keep all my questions and musings to one thread.

So far:
I started with a Parker 29l, KMF, and a blade sampler, then found a pristine travel tech and ordered some additional blades to try from West Coast Shaving, as well as a couple of soaps and a cheap boar brush from Amazon. Now I've got a rough-looking prewar tech en route, mostly so I'll have a longer handle to try on my baby tech.

I've learned that a TTO probably isn't for me, given how I hold my razor. My Parker comes open more often than not, it feels like. Once I get that longer handle for my tech, I think that'll become my primary razor.

Blade-wise, so far Shark Super Chrome, PoliSilver, and Feather have been the best and Derby, Astra stainless, and Personna lab blue the worst. (And yes, I'm trying each under the same conditions: Parker and KMF.) Derby and Astra both ate up my legs something awful! I've got a lot more types to try.

My biggest problems so far: the fact that I pretty much shave blind, and trying to get a darn lather with my soaps. The first issue isn't going away, but I'm sure my lather will improve!
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This evening's shave:

Prep: Just a shower. Since I'm working with such fine hair, I haven't felt like I need anything more than that.

Props: Parker with a Personna lab blue, and a mix of KMF and soap.

Results: One of my worst shaves yet. I actually went over my lower legs again with my tech and a Shark, because my legs felt just as rough after the first pass as before. Silky smooth after the second pass.

Even mixing in the KMF, I'm having real problems producing the quantity and quality of lather that I'd like. Thinking about abandoning the soaps and sticking with creams for the time being.

And one issue I'm assuming most of the gents here don't encounter: somewhere during the process, I absolutely ruined my Halloween manicure! :p
Hey, I've kinda turned my fiancé on to wet shaving! Recently I helped her make a lather using kmf lavender and a few drops of glycerin. A few drops and a 2 pumps of kmf and it's lather galore! Are you using a bowl? She used a cheap salsa bowl from aldis since it floats in the tub, it keeps the lather nice and warm. Just make sure there's little water in the brush and don't be afraid to add water (a few drops at a time at first, until you get a feel for it). Also, she's been using a gillette guard, since it has a pivot, it's easier for her to get a good angle of attack. 3 shaves in and all her ingrown hairs and bumps have all but disappeared. Are you using a bowl or "leg-lathering" (lady version of face lathering)?
Btw, her Halloween manicure is kinda ruined too but since she's being a zombie it kinda works.
APBT, I'm using the bowl that came with my VDH soap and brush. I'm getting some lather with soap alone, but it's thin, doesn't last long enough, and I can only make enough for one leg at a time. Leg-lathering is even less successful.
The razor will start giving more audible feedback when the angle is correct, which is a major source of feedback for those who can see where they're shaving. I am in a sense, shaving blind if I cannot hear what's going on.

I found that after a few weeks my reduction was getting better with fewer passes, which is attributable to maintaining a better angle.

The dangling carrot is of course that once you get better technique, the shaves will be unsurpassed!

Thanks for the journal, Annie. You'll look back on your entries (and others too) and be amazed at how quickly things come together!

Best of luck!
Welcome to Badger and Blade Annie. I've been trying to get my girlfriend turned on to shaving her legs with a DE I will be sure to reference your diary as proof that women can appreciate wet shaving as well!
I wonder how a brushless cream would work (Cremo or similar). Or simply mixing up a ton of lather with a big bowl and shaving your leg in stages. I found Mike's to lather very easily, and Stirling also works well but is a bit of more lathering for me.
Sounds like a combination of a few factors. First, you're gonna need a bigger bowl. Go ahead and leave the VDH soap in the bowl it's in now. Second, it sounds like you're using way too much water and not enough soap.
Try this when you're not shaving:
Wet brush with warm (not hot) water for a few minutes (let it soak)
Then wring out the brush.
Next, start swirling the brush in the VDH for 1 minute (time it if you have to)
Then go to a larger bowl with a dollop of KMF in the bottom (little larger than an almond)
Swirl for at least 30 seconds then add some water (a few drops at a time, no rush)
Keep adding water and stirring for 30 seconds at least until it becomes too thin. That way you'll know what it looks and feels like when it's too dry, too thin and Goldilocks perfect.
Personally, I found that the best time to learn lathering is when you're not going to shave. Sounds weird but you can only shave once a day at best but you can lather all day until you get it perfect.

Hope this helps,
Welcome to Badger and Blade Annie. I've been trying to get my girlfriend turned on to shaving her legs with a DE I will be sure to reference your diary as proof that women can appreciate wet shaving as well!

I'll never go back to carts, I know that for sure. I bet your lady'll be a convert if she tries it!

APBT, I've read pretty much every lathering guide out there, I'm sure it's equal parts equipment, hard water, and awful technique. I know I'll get better at it!

Thanks for all the kind words, folks!
This evening's shave:

Props: Parker with a Gillette 7 o'clock black, KMF leg-lathered.

Results: Average? I'm definitely going to try the blade in my tech; I think the 7 o'clock black is going to be in my top contenders. The Parker was being particularly uncooperative this evening, unscrewing a LOT. As a result I was being particularly ginger and needed a second pass in a couple spots. The more I use the Parker, the more I'm convinced that I'm going to PIF or sell it. The experience is nowhere near as pleasant when I'm constantly making sure my blade's not about to fall out. If I wasn't using it as a baseline for my blade comparisons, it'd be collecting dust already.

Another lathering discovery: leg-lathering with a brush uses a lot more cream, but yields the best lather yet. Now to try and get as nice a lather with my soap!
I'm sure it's equal parts equipment, hard water, and awful technique. I know I'll get better at it!

Thanks for all the kind words, folks!

I use warmed reverse osmosis water for lather. What you spend on water you will more than save on soap. Plus you get way better lather if your water is like mine.
Honestly, using special water sounds like too much bother for this lazy gal. Maybe if I fail to improve with practice, I'll give it a try.

This evening's shave:

Props: travel tech with a longer handle, Gillette 7 o'clock black (2nd day), KMF bowl-lathered

Results: Yeah, I think I may be shelving my Parker, skewed blade trial results be damned. The experience using the tech is just so much more pleasant. The 7 o'clock black is definitely at the top of my blade list, too. So far blades haven't fared too well for me on the second use, and this was definitely a successful second use.
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