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Beginner's Progress Report

As a humble tribute to you, the generous contributors here, and to provide some fodder for novices' considerations, here are my self-assessments after a couple of months (in no particular order). Expectations are high.

PREFACE. I have deep, long experience in entering new hobbies with unrestrained, egregious materials acquisitions under the guise of research, testing and experimentation. Unusually, and with perhaps an above-average sized den for a beginner, I have (?temporarily?) halted buying the next great XYZ product. Now turning my attentions (and fun) to refining, experimenting and enjoying what I have on hand. I must note that I daily enjoy this and other forums and will continue to diligently read and participate.

PRE-SHAVE. Always shave after showers, then hand cupping hot water onto beard for ~ 30 seconds. Finishing a jar of pre-shave cream to avoid waste. I'll then compare absence of pre-shave product with current usage.

BRUSHES. Still testing and trying owned synthetics, boar, badger, mixed (B&B) and horse, two costing $60 and most less than $ 25. If I had to choose today, the choice is synthetic (despite having been originally certain that stiff, scrubby, dense boar would be my choice.). Ease of care, ease of lathering, and adequate backbone to massage into the beard are winning me over. Regardless of type, I highly prefer smaller (20 - 24 mm) sizes, low lofts and bulb or plisson shapes. I'll enjoy further experimentation here, all with brushes I already own.

LATHERING. Good progress here, regardless of soap or cream brand. Using a bowl, my early tendencies produced heavy, but not moist and shiny, peaks. Now adding more water for bubble free, slightly runny consistency (even while razoring). Loving the bowl (Vikings Blade bowl which I reviewed here) so see no need to yet experiment with hand or face lathering. Using a salt spoon to measure, I no longer waste leftover soap adhering to the bottom of the bowl and still get enough lather for two passes and minor touchup. Overall, this is a critical shaving variable I am glad to have accomplished. Heck, it's even fun to produce a bowl of non-edible whipped cream!

SOAPS & CREAMS. Have become an agnostic here; no preferences yet. I have no sense of smell so, ultimately, my choices will be based solely on lubricity/moisture preferences. Odd, though, that I bought some soaps based on olfactory memory. Nose blindness should save me bunches of RAD soap money. Perhaps soap/cream preferences will develop. I do intend to try sticks, particularly Speick.

RAZORS. Some guilt here as I have not ventured beyond The Winning Razor and Karve Overlander. Retired a OneBlade Basic (too similar to the Mach 3 I escaped from) and have yet to open boxes for GC (both plates) and Supply Co. SE (three plates); have a Yates 921 on order. The way I see it now, until I further enhance my techniques, I'm willing to forgo razor swapping. I don't foresee further razor acquisitions. Get ye gone, RAD!

BLADES. With two sampler packs and hundreds of "better" blades, I'm methodically testing two blade brands/types at a time. (Why I bought hundreds of well-regarded, untested blades? See PREAMBLE above.) I am unable to differentiate qualities or lack thereof among blades. Current favorites by a tad are Wizamet, Gillette Platinum and Gillette Silver Blue. Perhaps blade discernment is a refined taste I have yet to acquire. I have learned that my beard will only allow three double pass plus buff shaves per blade.

TECHNIQUE, GLORIOUS TECHNIQUE. Here, I've done the most work and continue to experiment and refine. Best successes have been mapping my face into very small zones, slowing the shave, shortening strokes, lightening the razor pressure and stretching the skin. (That last habit has paid the most dividends.) Good results in almost all zones, even nose and upper lip. Struggling to refine lower lip and chin areas. Still producing weepers at skin creases, but fewer and less severe with most shaves. Results are consistently DFS +. Attempts at three passes approach BBS but cost lingering irritation.

POST-SHAVE. Thorough hot water rinse, then long cold water rinse. Being scentsless, I miss and forego fragrances for witch hazel. Now comes the difficult part, waiting the two days until my next shave.

There you have it, the summation of my wet shaving journey to date. Looking forward, I'll strive to know more about the things I don't know. Read, practice, ask and read some more.

Again, I owe a profound sense of gratitude to the contributors on this and other forums. You've gotten me here and, no doubt, will continue to propel me forward in fine shaves and hobby enthusiasm!
 
As a humble tribute to you, the generous contributors here, and to provide some fodder for novices' considerations, here are my self-assessments after a couple of months (in no particular order). Expectations are high.

PREFACE. I have deep, long experience in entering new hobbies with unrestrained, egregious materials acquisitions under the guise of research, testing and experimentation. Unusually, and with perhaps an above-average sized den for a beginner, I have (?temporarily?) halted buying the next great XYZ product. Now turning my attentions (and fun) to refining, experimenting and enjoying what I have on hand. I must note that I daily enjoy this and other forums and will continue to diligently read and participate.

PRE-SHAVE. Always shave after showers, then hand cupping hot water onto beard for ~ 30 seconds. Finishing a jar of pre-shave cream to avoid waste. I'll then compare absence of pre-shave product with current usage.

BRUSHES. Still testing and trying owned synthetics, boar, badger, mixed (B&B) and horse, two costing $60 and most less than $ 25. If I had to choose today, the choice is synthetic (despite having been originally certain that stiff, scrubby, dense boar would be my choice.). Ease of care, ease of lathering, and adequate backbone to massage into the beard are winning me over. Regardless of type, I highly prefer smaller (20 - 24 mm) sizes, low lofts and bulb or plisson shapes. I'll enjoy further experimentation here, all with brushes I already own.

LATHERING. Good progress here, regardless of soap or cream brand. Using a bowl, my early tendencies produced heavy, but not moist and shiny, peaks. Now adding more water for bubble free, slightly runny consistency (even while razoring). Loving the bowl (Vikings Blade bowl which I reviewed here) so see no need to yet experiment with hand or face lathering. Using a salt spoon to measure, I no longer waste leftover soap adhering to the bottom of the bowl and still get enough lather for two passes and minor touchup. Overall, this is a critical shaving variable I am glad to have accomplished. Heck, it's even fun to produce a bowl of non-edible whipped cream!

SOAPS & CREAMS. Have become an agnostic here; no preferences yet. I have no sense of smell so, ultimately, my choices will be based solely on lubricity/moisture preferences. Odd, though, that I bought some soaps based on olfactory memory. Nose blindness should save me bunches of RAD soap money. Perhaps soap/cream preferences will develop. I do intend to try sticks, particularly Speick.

RAZORS. Some guilt here as I have not ventured beyond The Winning Razor and Karve Overlander. Retired a OneBlade Basic (too similar to the Mach 3 I escaped from) and have yet to open boxes for GC (both plates) and Supply Co. SE (three plates); have a Yates 921 on order. The way I see it now, until I further enhance my techniques, I'm willing to forgo razor swapping. I don't foresee further razor acquisitions. Get ye gone, RAD!

BLADES. With two sampler packs and hundreds of "better" blades, I'm methodically testing two blade brands/types at a time. (Why I bought hundreds of well-regarded, untested blades? See PREAMBLE above.) I am unable to differentiate qualities or lack thereof among blades. Current favorites by a tad are Wizamet, Gillette Platinum and Gillette Silver Blue. Perhaps blade discernment is a refined taste I have yet to acquire. I have learned that my beard will only allow three double pass plus buff shaves per blade.

TECHNIQUE, GLORIOUS TECHNIQUE. Here, I've done the most work and continue to experiment and refine. Best successes have been mapping my face into very small zones, slowing the shave, shortening strokes, lightening the razor pressure and stretching the skin. (That last habit has paid the most dividends.) Good results in almost all zones, even nose and upper lip. Struggling to refine lower lip and chin areas. Still producing weepers at skin creases, but fewer and less severe with most shaves. Results are consistently DFS +. Attempts at three passes approach BBS but cost lingering irritation.

POST-SHAVE. Thorough hot water rinse, then long cold water rinse. Being scentsless, I miss and forego fragrances for witch hazel. Now comes the difficult part, waiting the two days until my next shave.

There you have it, the summation of my wet shaving journey to date. Looking forward, I'll strive to know more about the things I don't know. Read, practice, ask and read some more.

Again, I owe a profound sense of gratitude to the contributors on this and other forums. You've gotten me here and, no doubt, will continue to propel me forward in fine shaves and hobby enthusiasm!
I'm almost there... I have some boar brushes on the way... the first one showed up today... $12.... and two mixed hair brushes. They should all be here by the end of the week.... and my spending days are over for a while.

So I congratulate you on the end of the beginning of your journey.... You are now ready to start the second leg of your journey. In some ways, you've already begun, it seems.
 
Once you are old hat at wet shaving, your RAD will return with fury lol. I kept it at bay for years, but now I must own one of every type of vintage straight razor! You can run, you can hide, but you can't stay away from RAD if you continue to wet shave. Well, I guess if vintage is never your thing maybe, MAYBE.
 
Once you are old hat at wet shaving, your RAD will return with fury lol. I kept it at bay for years, but now I must own one of every type of vintage straight razor! You can run, you can hide, but you can't stay away from RAD if you continue to wet shave. Well, I guess if vintage is never your thing maybe, MAYBE.
Judging from my past hobbies, most of what I acquired was seldom fully used and has now (like me) become "vintage."
 
Congratulations on your progress!!

IMO, the best way to determine your preferences is to just try things yourself!

Cost, other folks opinions, etc. don’t count. The key is to figure out what makes you happy!! :thumbup1::thumbup1::thumbup1:
 

FarmerTan

"Self appointed king of Arkoland"
As a humble tribute to you, the generous contributors here, and to provide some fodder for novices' considerations, here are my self-assessments after a couple of months (in no particular order). Expectations are high.

PREFACE. I have deep, long experience in entering new hobbies with unrestrained, egregious materials acquisitions under the guise of research, testing and experimentation. Unusually, and with perhaps an above-average sized den for a beginner, I have (?temporarily?) halted buying the next great XYZ product. Now turning my attentions (and fun) to refining, experimenting and enjoying what I have on hand. I must note that I daily enjoy this and other forums and will continue to diligently read and participate.

PRE-SHAVE. Always shave after showers, then hand cupping hot water onto beard for ~ 30 seconds. Finishing a jar of pre-shave cream to avoid waste. I'll then compare absence of pre-shave product with current usage.

BRUSHES. Still testing and trying owned synthetics, boar, badger, mixed (B&B) and horse, two costing $60 and most less than $ 25. If I had to choose today, the choice is synthetic (despite having been originally certain that stiff, scrubby, dense boar would be my choice.). Ease of care, ease of lathering, and adequate backbone to massage into the beard are winning me over. Regardless of type, I highly prefer smaller (20 - 24 mm) sizes, low lofts and bulb or plisson shapes. I'll enjoy further experimentation here, all with brushes I already own.

LATHERING. Good progress here, regardless of soap or cream brand. Using a bowl, my early tendencies produced heavy, but not moist and shiny, peaks. Now adding more water for bubble free, slightly runny consistency (even while razoring). Loving the bowl (Vikings Blade bowl which I reviewed here) so see no need to yet experiment with hand or face lathering. Using a salt spoon to measure, I no longer waste leftover soap adhering to the bottom of the bowl and still get enough lather for two passes and minor touchup. Overall, this is a critical shaving variable I am glad to have accomplished. Heck, it's even fun to produce a bowl of non-edible whipped cream!

SOAPS & CREAMS. Have become an agnostic here; no preferences yet. I have no sense of smell so, ultimately, my choices will be based solely on lubricity/moisture preferences. Odd, though, that I bought some soaps based on olfactory memory. Nose blindness should save me bunches of RAD soap money. Perhaps soap/cream preferences will develop. I do intend to try sticks, particularly Speick.

RAZORS. Some guilt here as I have not ventured beyond The Winning Razor and Karve Overlander. Retired a OneBlade Basic (too similar to the Mach 3 I escaped from) and have yet to open boxes for GC (both plates) and Supply Co. SE (three plates); have a Yates 921 on order. The way I see it now, until I further enhance my techniques, I'm willing to forgo razor swapping. I don't foresee further razor acquisitions. Get ye gone, RAD!

BLADES. With two sampler packs and hundreds of "better" blades, I'm methodically testing two blade brands/types at a time. (Why I bought hundreds of well-regarded, untested blades? See PREAMBLE above.) I am unable to differentiate qualities or lack thereof among blades. Current favorites by a tad are Wizamet, Gillette Platinum and Gillette Silver Blue. Perhaps blade discernment is a refined taste I have yet to acquire. I have learned that my beard will only allow three double pass plus buff shaves per blade.

TECHNIQUE, GLORIOUS TECHNIQUE. Here, I've done the most work and continue to experiment and refine. Best successes have been mapping my face into very small zones, slowing the shave, shortening strokes, lightening the razor pressure and stretching the skin. (That last habit has paid the most dividends.) Good results in almost all zones, even nose and upper lip. Struggling to refine lower lip and chin areas. Still producing weepers at skin creases, but fewer and less severe with most shaves. Results are consistently DFS +. Attempts at three passes approach BBS but cost lingering irritation.

POST-SHAVE. Thorough hot water rinse, then long cold water rinse. Being scentsless, I miss and forego fragrances for witch hazel. Now comes the difficult part, waiting the two days until my next shave.

There you have it, the summation of my wet shaving journey to date. Looking forward, I'll strive to know more about the things I don't know. Read, practice, ask and read some more.

Again, I owe a profound sense of gratitude to the contributors on this and other forums. You've gotten me here and, no doubt, will continue to propel me forward in fine shaves and hobby enthusiasm!
One of the best posts I've ever read from a newish member! Well done. You've reminded me that I'm glad I'm "senseless" instead of "scentless" my friend, seriously! I honestly believe my favorite part of shaving is the smells. To be unable to smell, for me, would be as bad as my good friend @rbscebu being unable to use a straight razor doggone!

I'll be interested in seeing what you think of the mixed bristle brush. I've not yet been bitten by THAT bug!
 
Great job on the progress!

I also dive into hobbies head first and go all out! What can I say, I really enjoy trying new things and gaining new experience regardless of the activity.

The razor blades that are working for you are some of my favorites. Keep enjoying the shaves, trying new things, and seriously enjoyed reading your post.
 
Great write up. Sounds like a man confident and insightful enough to know what he wants, yet humble enough to know that there is a lot to learn and that so.e twists are yet to come. I will say that my own acquisition disorders greatly declined after about a year, thank heavens. I really could just replace blades and Lucky Tiger Tonic for the next few years. Keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to reading more!
 
Great write up. Welcome, this is the place to be, ask questions as hurdles and different expectations come up.

You have some nice razors and a nice assortment of blades and brushes.

Don’t be surprised if a boar brush (through use) breaks in and all of a sudden becomes one of your favorites.

Looking forward to reading about your journey.
 

FarmerTan

"Self appointed king of Arkoland"
Great write up. Sounds like a man confident and insightful enough to know what he wants, yet humble enough to know that there is a lot to learn and that so.e twists are yet to come. I will say that my own acquisition disorders greatly declined after about a year, thank heavens. I really could just replace blades and Lucky Tiger Tonic for the next few years. Keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to reading more!
Lol, I just yesterday got shut down by my lovely bride on my attempt to purchase some Gillette cucumber scented soap/cream in a tin I found at "Ollie's", a discount chain store. $1.99..... I just was not ready with a solid answer to her question" "what do you need THAT for?!?"...... I had nuttin' to say!

I figger that wasn't a Hill werthy of wasting a lot of ammunition on....so I lived to fight another day... maybe over some old Avon that I ain't already tried?
 
Lol, I just yesterday got shut down by my lovely bride on my attempt to purchase some Gillette cucumber scented soap/cream in a tin I found at "Ollie's", a discount chain store. $1.99..... I just was not ready with a solid answer to her question" "what do you need THAT for?!?"...... I had nuttin' to say!

I figger that wasn't a Hill werthy of wasting a lot of ammunition on....so I lived to fight another day... maybe over some old Avon that I ain't already tried?
Good thinking…..”Pick your battles wisely”.

From a man with 46 years of marriage experience. 😊😉
 

FarmerTan

"Self appointed king of Arkoland"
Good thinking…..”Pick your battles wisely”.

From a man with 46 years of marriage experience. 😊😉
I love her and fear her equally; it werks very well for us. She DEFINITELY got the short end of the stick, despite my incredibly handsome face, which @dmshaver can attest to.

You have us beat, we are about a month shy of 34 years of marriage. What a lucky girl she is!
 
I love her and fear her equally; it werks very well for us. She DEFINITELY got the short end of the stick, despite my incredibly handsome face, which @dmshaver can attest to.

You have us beat, we are about a month shy of 34 years of marriage. What a lucky girl she is!
Sounds like we both married above our head Farmer Tan….But they are lucky for it.
 
Butch Wax is a very nice guy, just like you FarmerTan! I gotta be honest, when I first joined B&B, I thought I was gonna be treated as an outsider, being the newbie I was. Imagine my surprise when you folks accepted me with welcome arms. I've made some good friends here, FarmerTan, Butchwax, I count you guys among my friends.

I never did get married, no knot tying here. Even before the pandemic it was already really hard to meet people that are good in my local life. Since the pandemic, its completely impossible, especially with all the crazies running around. But, one can have hobbies just as easily, I count shaving among them. Get enough hobbies, keeps ya busy lol.
 

FarmerTan

"Self appointed king of Arkoland"
We'll be married for 48 years this June and I have learned one thing, at least: I'm not qualified to give marital advice. <eg>
Amen bro. I ALWAYS tell the young folks at church marital advice is werth what you pay for it, like most advice.

I've never slept on the couch in my married years. We honestly don't really fight, my bride and I. And we have always been smart enough to not go to bed angry. With each other or anyone else for that matter. I don't hardly ever get mad, and I rarely get even. I'm too old to fight and to slow to run, but I'm usually packing a revolver, so the real mean people better hope I never get a terminal illness, LOL!
 
Amen bro. I ALWAYS tell the young folks at church marital advice is werth what you pay for it, like most advice.

I've never slept on the couch in my married years. We honestly don't really fight, my bride and I. And we have always been smart enough to not go to bed angry. With each other or anyone else for that matter. I don't hardly ever get mad, and I rarely get even. I'm too old to fight and to slow to run, but I'm usually packing a revolver, so the real mean people better hope I never get a terminal illness, LOL!

You have become wise through your years, no longer a grasshopper, no longer waxing on and waxing off, you now spend your days meditating, with images of Arko and razors that popup in your mind. Then when you return back to reality, you go have a shave with some Arko and a Merkur 34C. Gotta love wet shaving.
 
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