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Beginner tips & guidance… From a beginner!

Never move the razors head side to side

Good call. That may well be what happened. Not intentionally, of course. I'll have to be more careful. It was the worst thing so far in about 6 weeks of DE shaving. Maybe not so bad, in the grand scheme, I guess.
 
And now it’s time for the new guy tip of the day…

-Shave cream to start with: Go for Biotique Palmyra. Earlier I recommended Proraso white, which has been fine and is a well established standard. I have been trying out a few different shave creams and soaps. This Biotique stuff is more lubricating, easier to get a close shave with, and generally more forgiving for a new guy like me.

Cheap, too, in the $7-9 range at Amazon. It looks like you can get it at around $9 from Amazon. There was also an option to get it at something like $6.70, so I went that way. It took about 3 weeks to arrive from India. AOK if you’re not in a hurry, which I was not. But note that it did require a signature to get it from the US Mail, so I ended up having to stop by the Post Office. There is a big thread on it here:
http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/332691-Biotique-Bio-Palmyra-amazing.

So far, I have tried soaps and creams from Biotique, Castle Forbes, Klar, and Proraso. More to be tried in the coming weeks. I would rank them in just that order in terms of a smooth, irritation free shave. Biotique is the best I have found so far. Castle Forbes is pretty much as good as the Biotique in terms of the shave quality, but significantly more expensive, dries out more easily, and clogs the razor a little bit more. The Klar soap is good, but not as good as Biotique and Castle Forbes creams. Proraso cream seemed to be pretty good… until I tried the Biotique.
 
Revelation of the day:

I was just starting to think that my lathers have been a bit dry. Perhaps not enough water. But I don't want them to be too watery or that won't be a good thing, I'd imagine. While still on the face, the last parts to be shaved would waft into the air and it looked like it was snowing in the bathroom. Lather in the bowl was thick, creamy, and, as I’ve read, yogurt like. My shaves have been OK, but still irritating.

In another thread, musicman1951 suggested making a test lather. Keep adding water into some shaving cream and see how far it can be pushed. Then keep going to see what happens when there is too much water there. Tried it last night. I was pretty amazed at how much water went in. Much more than I have been using, at least by double. Perhaps a wetter lather- but not too wet- might be more lubricating.

This morning I had a shave and made a wetter than usual lather. Things were a bit better. Not a night and day difference. But a notable improvement. Also, the razor did not clog up as much. Rinsing out the lather between passes was a lot easier.

So today’s tip is to make a test lather, see how much water can really go in there. And maybe shave with a different water content than you were using before.

The learning continues… :001_smile
 
Revelation of the day:

I was just starting to think that my lathers have been a bit dry. Perhaps not enough water. But I don't want them to be too watery or that won't be a good thing, I'd imagine. While still on the face, the last parts to be shaved would waft into the air and it looked like it was snowing in the bathroom. Lather in the bowl was thick, creamy, and, as I’ve read, yogurt like. My shaves have been OK, but still irritating.

In another thread, musicman1951 suggested making a test lather. Keep adding water into some shaving cream and see how far it can be pushed. Then keep going to see what happens when there is too much water there. Tried it last night. I was pretty amazed at how much water went in. Much more than I have been using, at least by double. Perhaps a wetter lather- but not too wet- might be more lubricating.

This morning I had a shave and made a wetter than usual lather. Things were a bit better. Not a night and day difference. But a notable improvement. Also, the razor did not clog up as much. Rinsing out the lather between passes was a lot easier.

So today’s tip is to make a test lather, see how much water can really go in there. And maybe shave with a different water content than you were using before.

The learning continues… :001_smile

The other thing you can try is after you have the lather on your face and it feels to thick and pastie you can just dip the tips of your brush in water and work it in until it feels nice and slick. just add a little at a time
 
Wow what a write up for a first post well done and thanks.

In contrast my first DE shave was a cheap TTO Comoy that my eldest son brought for me to try....
I watched a few videos and I ignored most (all) and shaved in the shower...

It's only very recently I thought I would start doing it properly and I haven't looked back... I really look forward to shaving now and enjoy pampering myself and developing my own shaving ritual.

Now I am on the hunt for a better razor etc. Then come the hurdle of getting the wife to approve the expenditure and release the funds.. probably after the "business case" has been submitted, considered, rejected, rewritten and resubmitted several times. :wink2:

Thanks again
 
The other thing you can try is after you have the lather on your face and it feels to thick and pastie you can just dip the tips of your brush in water and work it in until it feels nice and slick. just add a little at a time


Thanks for the tip. I have not tried that yet. Still experimenting with water content in the bowl. Making progress, albeit slowly.






Wow what a write up for a first post well done and thanks.


In contrast my first DE shave was a cheap TTO Comoy that my eldest son brought for me to try....
I watched a few videos and I ignored most (all) and shaved in the shower...


It's only very recently I thought I would start doing it properly and I haven't looked back... I really look forward to shaving now and enjoy pampering myself and developing my own shaving ritual.


Now I am on the hunt for a better razor etc. Then come the hurdle of getting the wife to approve the expenditure and release the funds.. probably after the "business case" has been submitted, considered, rejected, rewritten and resubmitted several times.


Thanks again


Thanks! Yeah, it’s pretty crazy in that I also actually look forward to shaving now. Before, I dreaded it. And it’s fun reading here at B&B plus thinking about all of the cool different aspects and products to try. As I change things that I use and also my technique, it’s a consistent challenge to achieve a nice shave. And very satisfying when it hits. Conversely, it’s frustrating when it’s not a great shave. Like this morning. Trying Haslinger Schafmilch soap. Much loved as the slickest thing ever. But it’s not working for me. So far, at least. Still lots to learn.


Fortunately, I do not require pre-purchase approval from my wife, like you do. :001_smile I have been considering trying out a new razor. For fun more than for need. I saw the Standard Razor sleek aluminum model and thought that it looked cool. The Black Friday sales brought the price down to $52 and I thought maybe I’ll give it a try… I showed the pictures to my wife, for fun and to see what she thought. Rather than the “Ooooh, that looks pretty cool” that I expected, she said “Why would I care about looking at a razor? How would you respond if I showed you pictures of a new vacuum cleaner?” It was pretty funny. :biggrin1::lol:
 
Great article. I too started out with good quality gear and it has made it all so much more enjoyable. Rockwell S6, Sompsons Colonel and Jack Black Save cream. You did, however, tarnish BBS for my wife :)
 
Well I was allowed to order some interesting stuff off West Coast Shaving, one of their black razors for me and one for my son who is just started shaving and some interesting looking soaps etc you can't get here is Aussie . $150ish all up. I have never spent that on the multi blade monstrosities in my life. Guess I'm hooked.

I now just have to wait till Christmas
 
Liking this thread, so, very, much!


Excellent! I’m glad that it’s a good read for someone. That makes it all worthwile.


Great article. I too started out with good quality gear and it has made it all so much more enjoyable. Rockwell S6, Sompsons Colonel and Jack Black Save cream. You did, however, tarnish BBS for my wife :)


Super. I agree that using nice gear from the start is a big help in terms of having a good go at things. I still really like the Simpson Colonel brush. It’s excellent. That Rockwell razor is one that I have been looking at, too.


Sorry about the BBS analogy. :tongue_sm So maybe you should stop asking your wife to run her fingers across your freshly shaved face to admire how close of a shave you got? :001_smileOr maybe we can think of other baby parts that are equally smooth, yet not covered with poop. Like the tummy, the belly. “Baby belly smooth” still works out to be “BBS.” :001_smile


Well I was allowed to order some interesting stuff off West Coast Shaving, one of their black razors for me and one for my son who is just started shaving and some interesting looking soaps etc you can't get here is Aussie . $150ish all up. I have never spent that on the multi blade monstrosities in my life. Guess I'm hooked.


I now just have to wait till Christmas


Sounds great! Well, you have to order enough to make it worth shipping over there, you know. Despite the initial expense, it may still be cheaper in the long-run versus cartridges. At least you can run the numbers and try to convince yourself of that. Although I keep buying new soaps, creams, and aftershaves. So I’m not really ahead, financially. But the switch from cartridges does make up for some of the expense. And what is left over works out to be the cheapest hobby I have ever had. :001_smile
 
For today’s thought… As they say, your mileage really does vary. A lot.


Haslinger Schafmilch (sheep’s milk) shave soap is much loved around here. Supposedly gives one of the slickest, smoothest, least irritating shaves on the planet. It’s magic, as though a sharp blade never comes anywhere near your face. But by the time you wash up, it’s like you are still a toddler, never having even thought about a whisker. Cheap, too, at $9 for a small puck. So I got some, gave it a shot, and… had a pretty poor shave. Not too close (by my new DE standards) and irritated skin afterwards. Put it away and came back to it a couple weeks later, which was earlier this week. Tried again and it was not great. And then again with the same result. Seems like a worse result than my benchmark of fine, but nothing special Proraso. This morning I went back to Proraso to have a more direct comparison and, sure enough, got a better shave. Harumph. Tomorrow I will try my favorite-so-far Biotique Palmyra.

Using a shave soap that is the favorite of many gives a worse-than-average result for me. Mostly likely, we’re looking at my poor and developing technique with regard to both making lather and using the razor. Still, I mention this as a little perspective on how much experiences here can differ.

Have fun and no running with those sharp objects. :001_smile
 
Cheers to a great informative post, quite thorough and great historical documentation of your first month and half with DE Razor experience! Thank you for your time and effort here!
 
Great thread!


Thanks!


Cheers to a great informative post, quite thorough and great historical documentation of your first month and half with DE Razor experience! Thank you for your time and effort here!


Glad you are appreciating it! Looks like your first post, so a big welcome to B&B! It’s a fun place and the most supportive online community I’ve ever seen.
 
Dispatch from the SeaMonkey household…


MrSeaMonkey: “A box of new shaving supplies just arrived. I’m excited. Let’s open it up and have a look!”

MrsSeaMonkey: Smirking and waiting for fresh ammunition with which to make fun of MrSeaMonkey. In a good natured way, of course.

MrSeaMonkey: “Oh, look at this new brush I got. It’s a Semogue 1438. I’ve been really wanting to try a boar hair brush because they are supposed to be stiffer. So you can really work the lather into the whiskers.”

MrsSeaMonkey: “It looks like a paint brush to me.”

MrSeaMonkey: “Oh, no. Shaving brushes are very different from paint brushes. You can vary the type of hair- badger, boar, or synthetic. How big the knot is and how deeply the knot is set into the handle can vary. And you can even cut the hairs into various shapes- rounded, fanned, or flat.”

MrsSeaMonkey: “Paint brushes come in thin and thick ones, too.”

MrSeaMonkey: “Oh come on. Look at how nice this one is. With a wood handle painted red and black at the bottom of the handle. This has a really classic look.”

MrsSeaMonkey: “Paint brushes have wooden handles, too.”

MrSeaMonkey: “Very funny. But this is a specialized tool, you see.”

MrsSeaMonkey: “When you’re not looking, I’m going to steal your new brush and use it to paint some shelves.”
:biggrin1::lol:
 
A little update here. Almost 2.5 months in and I am still struggling with this DE shaving thing a little bit. I can get a very, very close shave. Or ones without irritation. Getting both remains tricky. Some days I think that I am making progress and others not. I’ll keep at it.

I cannot get anything even remotely close going only with and across the grain. Against the grain is needed for a close shave, for sure. And it is the against the grain passes that give rise to a good chunk of the irritation. Still trying to be more subtle and gentle here.

I definitely get my closest and non-irritated shaves when I have 2 days of growth. (This morning’s shave was a top shelf result!) That was true with cartridges, too. I am starting to think that my whiskers may be on the wire side of toughness and maybe that is a little bit of the challenge here. Not sure.

A while back I asked some questions and got great tips for how to get close and less irritation. Here is a short thread that might contain useful info for you:
http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showth...a-close-shave-Would-be-great-to-get-some-tips

I still look forward to every morning's shave. It's a lot of fun. :001_smile
 
Well, I’m happy to report that I think that I am seeing some progress here. It sure does come in baby steps, though.

My typical week’s schedule is to not shave Sunday, for letting my face recover from 6 days of shaving. Monday is always a very good shave. There is something about 2 days of growth that makes for my best (and most satisfying shaves). Very close and comfortable. (That was true with cartridges, too, although less of a difference than with this DE shaving.) Tuesday the irritation starts. By Saturday’s shave it is not too fun. There is some general skin irritation and also the alcohol burn of the aftershave. That burn (or a lack of it) is the measure of success, I guess.

It’s only Thursday today, but this week’s shaving has been better. Close shaves as usual, but the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday shaves all went well. No major irritation. The alcohol of the aftershave still burned a little bit But less than before. And when it is time to shave each morning, I am ready to go. There is no irritation persisting from the last shave. All good things.

Here are a few things that I have been doing differently of late:
-I start by wetting my face with hot water and then putting on some Proraso pre shave cream (white). Lately, I have also been rubbing the pre shave cream around a bit with a wet finger. Working it in some, rather than just putting it on.

-Keeping with the Biotique Palmyra shave cream. I think it’s better (for me) than the other creams and soaps that I have tried- Proraso, Klar, Haslinger, Cella, and Castle Forbes, some of which are samples and some are whole products.

-Using a stiff boar brush, a Semogue 1438, which I really like. Now I do not just paint on the lather. Rather, I use the stiffness of the boar brush to work the lather into the whiskers. It’s easier with this brush than the more expensive and softer Simpson Colonel badger brush.

-Improved technique with the razor. I have been trying various ways to do it, watching videos and such. A 3 pass WTG, XTG, ATG is not optimal for me, it seems. Finding my own way, I guess. Regardless, it’s 2.5 months in and my technique is likely getting better.

Put together, I think that these things may have helped. So maybe these tips could be helpful to others out there. I’m not yet to where I want to be- perfectly close shaves with zero irritation as measured by a lack of alcohol burn. But I think that I have gotten a little bit closer. It’s nice to see some progress.
 
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