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BassPlayerBoz's Shave Journal

OK... I found this section of B&B a the day after my first DE shave & thought the post I made in the Gen Discussion section might go better over here. So... cutting & pasting my entries on that thread over here....

29 May 16

OK... my right biceps tendon tear surgery has healed enough such that I felt I had enough range of motion to attempt my first DE shave tonight... (in case anyone is at all interested.) Anyway...

Bottom line: Though it wasn't the closest/best shave ever... the results are better than the best shave with the electric razor over the past few weeks.

I used TOOBS sandalwood soap, a semogue 630 brush, EJ De89, and a Shark super chrome blade from my initial sampler kit. Didn't go for the BBS first time out per advice I've seen on this forum, but rather started out intending to do 2 passes WTG & stopping. When I was done, however, there was still quite a bit of stubble (prob. about the same as a decent electric razor shave. I was actively thinking about just keeping contact with my skin, applying no extra pressure, and letting the razor's weight do the work. Considering that, I'm guessing I didn't have the razor at the proper angle.) I still had some lather left & no irritation, so I opted for a cautious XTG pass. That cleaned up things nicely, but with some slight irritation in a few places (nothing major; possibly due to the little/thin lather I had left.) A few spots remained for clean up.

Thought I had plenty of lather at first, but was running thin on my XTG/spot clean up passes. Not certain if I didn't load up enough (1 min), or whip it up enough (2-3 min.), didn't add enough water, etc.

Felt some tugging, but hesitate to blame the blades as it could very well have been my novice technique. Planning to use the same blade for at least 3 shaves and am hoping my technique improves quickly enough so I can tell if the blade is wearing.

Alum stick yielded no burning ==> I probably did something right as I got a decent shave (CCS) without any nicks/cuts the first time out.

Took a while - prob 20-30 minutes. Hoping that time decreases as my skill/ comfort w/ a DE razor improves.

Boz ... \m/(>.<)\m/

and in response to a comment from burg1198 about the Shark blades reputation for being one of the less sharp ones out there....
I'd read that. And thought it might be advisable to start off with a relatively mild blade. From what I'd read, the dull-er (is that a word?) blades tend to be smoother & more forgiving ==> better for the novice. (I still can't help but think that any razor blade is still pretty darned sharp!) Anyway, I'm hoping they're a bit forgiving while I learn. Other blade types I have in my sample kit are Astra SS & SP, Sharp Durablade (In Chromium), Crystal, 7AM Hi Platinum, and Treet Platinum SS (see attachment). Any recommendations on an order that a new DE shaver should use them when learning/evaluating?​
Attached Images

OK... journal entries to continue here as the need arises...
2nd DE shave was better than yesterday... loaded more soap ==> better/ more lather (probably made at least past of the difference from yesterday.) Still some tugging with the Shark blades, but mostly in areas where it's tough to maintain a consistent angle of attack (i.e. chin/ jaw line, XTG on the upper lip, etc.) But it was better today, so I'm attributing it to skill improvement (shave techniques & lather building.) Still a ways to go to decide what the blade's limitations are. My plan is to stick with the Shark blades through a whole box (5 blades ==> 15 - 25 shaves?? maybe?) before changing to keep things as consistent as possible while I learn... but still allow for some change to evaluate various blades.

Overall, got a pretty darned good shave today. Even BBS in some places (at least, by my new-bie standard), but needed some clean up to get there in others & I didn't want to push my luck. Had a bit of neck irritation that was highlighted with the alum block, but it subsided quickly. Hoping tomorrow's better/smoother still (don't need BBS, just a CCS is still the goal with less tugging & good/smooth technique.)
3rd DE Shave tonight; 3rd on my first Shark SC blade. About the same result as yesterday, but with a little less irritation (better technique?) and a little more pulling. I think there was less irritation in spite of more pulling because I'm still taking my time & being careful. I think the pulling was not due to the blade/technique, but rather due to me not lathering with enough water. (ON the first pass, the lather on my neck was drying out & flaking off by the time I got there with the razor & I needed to refresh the lather on my neck & add some water to the brush/cup & re-lather that.)
Welcome to the DE! I've been at it for a few months now, it gets better and better! TOBS was my second "real" cream. That stuff can handle a ton of water, so don't be shy! If you get it too wet, it's a pretty easy fix. I had the same issue with my early shaves, my neck started to dry out. I read a post somewhere where one guy used his first lather as a preshave, let it sit as he brewed his morning coffee, then washed it off and lathered up again for his shave. (I'm not that hardcore) I figure if he can pull that off, my shaves were too dry! Also, technique is gonna be huge. I started with Derby's (a very mild blade as well) and figured out how to get a good shave from them. I've gotten much better shaves with better blades, but technique matters more (as long as the blade is serviceable). That being said, I am a huge Astra SP fan, those ones will treat you well (very little tugging, if any).

Keep it up! And as always - no pressure and take your time!
Thanks for the words, Brent. Regarding the lather, I've had the opposite experience a few times as well while I was attempting to build lather for a wet shave w/ an electric razor over the past few weeks (too thin.) Since it's easier to add water, I've been adding slowly until it looks good in the bowl, then applying it too my face. But in my effort not to make it to thin, I sometimes make it too thick & it dries out too much. Fortunately, that's the easier problem to fix mid-shave (add a few more drops to the brush & re-lather on my face.)

I've got 3 pks of Astra SPs to work in eventually as well. Looking forward to trying them out. But I'm also aware the Sharks are also very cheap - 8 or 9 cents/blade. For that cheap, perhaps they might make it into my "preferred" list - especially if I can get a reasonable number of shaves out of them. I have a feeling, though, that I'm eventually going to wind up with more blades in my inventory than I can ever actually use like many folks on this forum. I'm also aware that as my skill develops, I might eventually like the blades I think are a problem early in that process - if I come back to them for another trial. And that I'll have start this process again should I get another razor (like a more aggressive slant-style.) But that's a long way off, I think.

I read one of these threads that had what I thought was good advice for a new-bie - pick a decent razor, soap, brush, and blades... & stick with them for a month to limit the variations day-to-day in order to practice technique. After that's down good and consistent enough, you can then effectively evaluate different blades, soaps, etc. That's my intended tactic.
I read one of these threads that had what I thought was good advice for a new-bie - pick a decent razor, soap, brush, and blades... & stick with them for a month to limit the variations day-to-day in order to practice technique. After that's down good and consistent enough, you can then effectively evaluate different blades, soaps, etc. That's my intended tactic.
Good advice! You're a more disciplined man than I! I went a couple weeks before changing everything! Also, adding water is pretty easy mid-shave, I've also found rinsing my face just before lathering has helped keep the lather wet enough. You'll get what works for you pretty quick, especially since you're paying attention to it!

I too started with the EJ DE89, still a great razor (although my collection is so big it doesn't get much love anymore). I also think it's pretty tolerant to any blade you stick in it. If you do experiment with different razors, you'll find some blades work better for you in certain razors (ie: Gillette 7 o'clock black are great in my 40's Super speed, but I don't really like them in my adjustables). The Astra's are pretty affordable, which makes them all that much better. the Gillette blades are a bit pricier, but great as well. Anyway, keep it up!
4th DE shave...
Same gear; 4th shave on the Shark SC blade; Even smoother results today, but quite a bit more irritation on my neck today and a bit more in other places (didn't realize it, but it was highlighted by the alum block.) Had great lather with the TOBS Sandalwood soap (and even added 10 drops of glycerin to the water) ==> good density/slickness ==> don't think that was the issue. Perhaps it was me being overzealous with the razor (causing my technique to suffer) since the first three shaves were good and improving without much irritation. Or maybe it was the Shark blade's edge wearing out (noticeably more difficulty sliding through the stubble today.) Or perhaps a combination of both. Will toss the blade & use a fresh one tomorrow. And I'll be back to taking my sweet time & concentrating on good passes and a CCS.
Good stuff! I rushed it last night as well, not smart (weeper city under my chin). Some blades fall off over time really slowly, others just change overnight (or so it feels).
5th DE shave - roughly the same as yesterday (4th DE shave - good shave w/ a bit of irritation), but with a new Shark SC blade ==> It wasn't the 4 shaves-old blade that was my problem yesterday; it was my technique that casued the irritation. So... I guess I need to go back to the beginning and concentrate on patience & a CCS in two passes - two GOOD passes - with no irritation. Then work up to the 3-pass DFS.
6th DE shave... (Took yesterday off due to a hectic schedule.) Today was the 2nd shave on my 2nd Shark SC blade. DFS with a little less irritation than last time. Not certain my technique was better, but I did take my time & only did two passes (concentrating on making each as good as possible) plus a clean-up pass. The irritation is mostly on my neck - likely due to the ATG pass there. WTG dictates up-strokes on my neck. Running the razor down my neck ==> ATG. I get close shaves that way, but the price is irritation (generally mild, but varying in the degree) until my technique improves. (Shaving XTG on my neck feels awkward & seems like I'm asking for trouble.)
Nice! I agree, I kinda go WTG two directions then ATG on my neck, xtg feels like it's going to slice my jaw and miss my neck... Keep it up!
7th DE shave; 3rd shave on my second Shark SC blade... Took my time again - especially ATG on my neck. Less irritation there this time, but compensated for that trying to get even closer on my chin & moustache areas. Result - neck irritation less, but overall irritation about the same. (Though it's still not any worse than shaving with my Sensor XL IIs.) Tomorrow is the 4th shave on this blade... hopefully, my technique has improved at least a bit such that the 4th shave on this blade will be better than the 4th on the last one. I'm hoping to eventually be able to get a week's worth of shaves out of a blade (6 days w/ a day off.) I've read on here that some folks can get that on the Sharks - even some guys w/ heavy beards. My facial hair growth/thickness is fairly light so I'm hopeful about getting that many shaves/blade with the Shark SCs eventually.
8th DE shave; 4th shave on the second Shark SC blade... Tried to take my time & discipline myself to 2 passes & call it quits to see how close a shave that would get me. But I did some extra clean up ATG as I didn't feel to much irritation. My efforts at clean up are the cause of the minor irritation I have. Good shave overall. Much better "4th shave" than the first blade. (Was my technique better? Or was I just lucky given that I'm making this judgement based on a baseline & a sample of one?) Anyway... feel good enough to try to get a 5th shave out of this blade tomorrow & see how it goes. (Will still take my sweet time, though.)
9th DE shave... Got a decent 5th shave out of a Shark SC. Not the closest, but certainly not my worst so far. Still some irritation, but not long lasting & more mild today (possibly because I wasn't as aggressive with the clean-up passes.) One small nick/weeper near my Adam's apple (didn't even know it until I saw it in the mirror.) Should I test myself by attempting a 6th shave on the blade?... I have a day to contemplate....
Do it! Or dont... I don't think I've taken a blade that far yet... (for no reason other than I've been hopping between blades and I get impatient after 4 shaves...)
10th DE shave... 6th on my second Shark SC; Not too bad; Took my time again; mild irritation, but not as close a shave this time ==> not pushing my luck with another shave on this blade ==> tossed it. But 6 shaves on a Shark is decent from what I read on the forums here. New blade tomorrow (another Shark SC). Will work my way through my first tuck of 5 Shark SCs & then I'll try another type of blade. Hopefully with 15-25 shaves, I'll have enough skill to make a meaningful comparison with whatever other blade I try. Any suggestions as to which to try next? Others I got in my initial sample pkg include Astra SS & SP, Treet Platinum, 7AM Plus Hi Platinum, Crystal, & Sharp Hi Chromium. And I also have a tuck of Feather Hi Stainless that came with my razor.
Hmmm... depends, do you want to be spoiled or not? I haven't tried all of those, but I really like the Astra SP. Not a fan of the Crystals, but they're okay. I'd say go with the Astra SS or SP next. Hopefully the comparison will be meaningful. I think that they're relatively forgiving as well, may give you good shaves and keep you improving so that when you go to the others you'll be a bit more skilled. (My first 5 were Derby's, I feel like I knew enough by the end of that to tell if it was my prep, lather, technique or blade that was the problem spot in my shaves. It made trying blades pretty fun)
15th DE shave... 5th on my third Shark SC... decided to toss this one after just 5 shaves rather than try to stretch to 6 like the last one. There's still a bit if irritation and tugging & I was taking my time/being careful. So I'm starting to think 4 shaves is about right for me on the Sharks (at least, until my technique improves & I can get that perfect angle that will keep me from having to do too much clean-up.) I've also been using Nivea Sensitive Post-Shave Balm the last few days. (It's more soothing than the Afta Fresh scent I've used for literally decades.) And my spousal unit likes it as well... so... that's another plus.

I've got 2 more Shark SCs in this tuck & then I'll try another for a few weeks. Hoping my technique is practiced enough to meaningfully compare blades. Thinking of trying the Astra SS or Sharp Hi Chromium I got in my sampler pack. Or possibly the Voskhod or Rapira blades I got in the PIF from DangerousDon.
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Which Rapiras? The Swedish Supersteel or Platinum Lux? I like the Lux a lot. And the Voskhods are really nice as well... Great blade selection!