What's new

Another noob, but with a question that I can't find an answer for.

Hi everyone. I just started wet shaving 2 weeks ago. For the past 20+ years I've been shaving with a mix of cartridge and electric razors. I've tried all the Edge gels for sensitive skin and still ended up with horrible irritation and shaving bumps. There is no way I could shave every day with a cartridge razor. For most of my Navy career I relied on various electric razors. The irritation was still there but was bearable for the daily shave. I retired from the Navy in 2011 and scaled back to shaving every few days :biggrin1: using electric razors. While on a cruise in April I splurged for a professional shave. The guy used medical grade shave oil and shave gel with a cartridge razor. The lack of irritation was impressive so I purchased the oil and gel. Since April I've been using the oil and gel with a Fusion ProGlide, still shaving every few days because I can :001_tt2:.

My main reason for switching over to wet shaving was due to the price of the cartridges. I don't want to have to take out a loan every time I need new cartridges. The other benefits such as a much smoother shave and an enjoyable shaving experience were icing on the cake. I bought a Edwin Jagger DE89 razor and a blade sample pack. I started with the Derby blade but my first two shaves looked like I was shaving with a dull chainsaw while wearing a blindfold and riding a roller coaster.

I've been reading a lot on Shaving101.com and found blade comparisons. The Derby's are rated as one of the dullest brands. I have a fairly rough beard. My next 2 shaves were using Gillette Silver Blues which received good reviews but I couldn't find a "sharpness comparison" to other brands anywhere. I still had a number of nicks and cuts, but not nearly as bad as the Derby. The irritation was much less as well, but still there.

Here's my question that I can't find an answer for; I'm already using medical grade oil and shave gel, should I switch over to a cream or soap designed for wet shaving? I'm sure my technique (or lack there of) has a lot to do with the nicks and cuts. Will using a cream or soap make a difference with nicks/cuts and irritation? Is anyone using "cartridge shaving cream" with any success?

I would greatly appreciate and suggestions, tips, tricks, and/or advise!

Thank you,
Hi Shawn, and welcome to B&B!

I'm not sure what constitutes medical grade cream..do you have a brand name? To answer your question though, yes, you should absolutely switch to a good soap or cream. And use a brush to apply it! There really is nothing better for prepping your face. The brush helps lift your whiskers and exfoliate your skin, and proper soap hydrates your beard and provides a slickness and cushion that canned gels can't touch. Plus it feels great! I read about a decent amount of guys here that may use a cartridge occasionally for travel or something, but "gel" is almost a four letter word.

There's a whole world of fantastic smelling soaps and creams out there, and many are very reasonably priced. You can get a tub of Proraso for $10, and that will last you months and months. That's not even the cheapest!

Check out Garry's sample shop if you'd like to try some things before committing.


Welcome again!
Yes you need to switch to soaps and creams "designed for wet shaving." And you need to use a shaving brush. From your post I don't know whether you use one.

But even as you chuck the goo and start using great soaps and creams, you really need to focus first on good technique. You seem to be overlooking or downgrading that aspect in your post.

The learning curve is not steep or daunting, but it is real.

Technique, we know on this site, is quite different if one is using a Fusion ProGuide. The Fusion method with a double edge razor is pretty much guaranteed to wreck your face.
Hi Shawn, welcome to B&B! Please head over to our Hall of Fame and post an introduction there when you get a chance--it's quick and easy! :thumbup1:

To answer your question, there is no doubt that your shaves will improve when you get a brush and proper cream or soap--after all, it's called WET-shaving, right?! A brush serves to exfoliate your skin as well as hydrate, lift and soften your beard, so shaving becomes much more comfortable. Check your gel and I'm betting that if you read the ingredients you won't find much water in there (and what you do find will probably scare you!)

Have fun, happy shaves, and again--WELCOME!
OOPS, I missed your veteran status when I read your post, Shawn. Apologies and thanks for your service!

You're eligible for a "Veteran" badge which appears under your user name here. It's free and just B&B's way of thanking all those who chose to serve their country. Just head over here and follow the directions, and one of our Moderators will square you away in no time: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/54960-Veteran-roll-call.
I would try the Proraso as previously posted. It was my first soap and I still use it 4-5 times a week after 6 months of wet shaving. You can get the tub of proraso soft soap or tube of cream on sale for 6.99 from Italian Barber now. I think its the best bang for your buck as still have hardly put a dent in my 3 tubs. Give it a try, if you dont like it its one of the cheapest of all shaving products.

Hi Shawn, welcome to B&B, and thanks for your service to our country!

A quality soap or cream and a good brush will improve your shaving experience beyond your wildest dreams. The slickness, glide, protection, and the way it makes your face feel afterwards just can't be described. Depending on where you are, you may be able to find a tube of Real Shaving Cream in a store. I believe some Targets carry it: http://www.realshaving.com/ If you read the list of ingredients on a can of shaving foam or gel, it looks like a science experiment. Nothing in there is good for your face. Most people who use quality creams or soaps don't even use a shave oil at all.

In short, yes, you should absolutely switch over to a quality soap or cream, and a brush.
Thank you all for your responses and advice. I didn't touch on my technique too much because I'm still developing it. I'm concentrating on letting the weight of the razor do the cutting, the angle of the blade to my face, and cutting with the grain. I am trying to break the bad habits of cartridge razors and do find myself putting pressure where I shouldn't! The cream and oil I'm using is by Elemis. Here's the oil. Here is the cream. Not that it matters, as I'm going to try the Proraso.

I've been looking at brushes. As I said, I have a fairly rough beard. I have no idea which brush would feel the most comfortable so I don't yet have a preference of large or small knot, large or small handle, bulb or fan cut, etc. I need to jump in somewhere so I would think a brush that lies in the middle of these characteristics would be a good starting point. I also don't want to break the bank. I'm thinking Best Badger. I found this EJ brush on Amazon. What do you guys think?
Thanks for the links to the cream and oil, I was curious! Elemis huh? I'm not sure what "marine extracts" are; but you'll be happy to know that many of the ingredients they advertise, such as jojoba oil, aloe vera, witch hazel, and menthol, are commonly used in traditional wet-shaving products. You'll be much happier with the price of traditional soaps though- that Elemis is expensive!!

There really are a lot of variables when it comes to brushes, aren't there? It's up to you which brush you want. Any brush made by a reputable company will lather and prep your beard well, and it's hard to really tell the differences until you've used more than one anyway. That EJ would be a great brush, but if you're trying to save money, you could get an Omega boar brush or something for around $15.
Welcome and thanks for your service first of all.

The EJ BBB is a great brush - it was my first "real" brush and allowed me to dial in my lather technique.

I second the comments above about getting a dedicated soap for wet shaving. Let us know what you settle on.
Thanks again. I ordered on the EJ brush and the Proraso soap. The brush seemed like a well-rounded brush made by a reputable manufacturer and it's not crazy expensive. Looking forward to my next shave with the proper materials!
Not sure if it was mentioned, as I just skimmed everything, but I reccommend just sticking to one blade for a little while. I jumped from blade to blade every single shave and due to my lack of experience, I couldn't even tell a difference. I knew that some were sharper than others, but because my technique was so poor it didn't even matter. Once you use one blade for about a month or so, you should then start switching it up and seeing what works best. I've only been wet shaving for about two weeks now, so I'm in the same boat. Once I know that my technique is not to blame I plan on trying different blades out. I would switch every single thing possible between shaves and it was doing more harm than good. Keeping things constant allows you to focus on improving your skills.
I switched from the Derby to the Silver Blue because they were both in my sampler pack. I started with the Derby because it was one of the least sharp blades out there and I wasn't sure of my beard consistency. After shaving with it twice with horrible results both times and comparing my results with recommendations at shaving101 I figured I needed a sharper blade (even though I was not using proper soap/cream or doing a proper pre-shave. LOL!). I now have my soap and brush on the way.
Now that I have the proper materials I intend on sticking with the Silver Blue for an extended period of time until my technique develops. If, in fact, I find that I need a less aggressive blade then I'll be back to the Derby! Thank you for the suggestion!
EJ brushes are pretty darn nice. That BBB will chew through your Proraso, enjoy it!

Here's what I've found from reading about different blades: the best blade for you is the sharpest one that won't destroy your face, in a comfortable razor. A sharper blade will cut through your beard faster and easier than a dull one, obviously. What should mitigate it is the razor.
Use extremely light pressure, in fact no pressure is best...in this case less is more! Grab a quality soap/creme and a nice brush and you're bound to see a night and day difference from the canned cream you are using now.