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blade hopping/skipping.

Howdy gents,

This was my fifth shave with a DE; I'm using a Merkur 34C and a fresh Merkur blade. I just received my Tabac soap, for which I was very excited, and easily produced vastly superior lather to what I was generating with the Classic brand puck.

The smoothness of the shave was improved, but on the second WTG pass the blade was hopping and skipping around. On the first pass I was not getting so much hopping, but my hairs are very thick and I am definitely not getting the effortless gliding action I've read about. The blade sticks on each hair and I can feel as I pull through to cut them. I'm not applying pressure against my face so this is probably what I've heard called 'pulling'.

I'm not cutting myself anymore, but I am still getting irritation due to the roughness of the shave.

I prepped with a few minutes of applying a hot, moist towel on my beard and then lathering up with Tabac's.

I intend to get a sample pack of blades with my next purchase, but I am also very curious to try a shaving oil as well. Do you fellows with thicker beards find this step helps with the glide of the blade and reduce skipping?

Thanks for the advice,
Just a guess, but did you add a few extra drops of water to your brush before lathering up for the second pass? I find if I didn't work in enough water in the beginning (or I take a long time with the first pass), as the lather begins to dry out the mix becomes too thick, causing the blade to stick (and skip if you try to power through it).

Maybe adding a warm water rinse between passes would help rehydrate your face, and keep the lather moist.

As for shaving with oil, while I appreciate it on it's own (without soap) for a quick shave, or an oil pass as the final touch-up step, I haven't been wowed by adding it with my regular routine. Since I face lather though, I suspect I've simply removing it with the soap. Perhaps if I painted on bowl mixed lather on top of the oil I might experience something different.

Best of luck!
Hmm, in fact I did not add water to my bowl again for the second pass. I'll give that a go next time. I did rinse with warm water between passes so there was a fair amount of moisture on my face.

thanks for sharing your experience with shaving oil as well.

Perhaps a sharper blade will eventually help a bit with the glide as well, but my technique is not quite up to snuff yet.

congratulations on your progress!

The M blades are not well received and you may want a sampler.

Just make sure your lather is really all it can be. Skipping/dragging can be lather related. The fact that you are considering shave oil makes me think you can get more out of your Tabac. Have you read the lather making stickies?

If you cannot bear not to try shave oil, you can use any vegetable oil from the kitchen. No need to buy anything packaged for shaving.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
Tabac is a very good soap, one of the least likely to induce skipping. Make sure you've loaded enough up on the brush and work it up well. It's actually a really easy soap to get right, consistently.

If you've even got a half decent lather with Tabac, I'm pointing my finger at the blade. No one loves Merkur blades much.

The fact that you are considering shave oil makes me think you can get more out of your Tabac. Have you read the lather making stickies?

If you cannot bear not to try shave oil, you can use any vegetable oil from the kitchen. No need to buy anything packaged for shaving.

I did read the lather guide for soaps. It was very informative and certainly helped me see what the Classic brand could do and what Tabac could do better. I'll keep working on it and see what left I can wring out of that.

Vegetable oil huh? I'll try that before sinking money into a fancy designer shave oil. I won't have to worry about clogging my pores with veggie oil?

Merkur blades are decent, but probably not very good. They have their supporters like Joel and Kyle to whose opinions I afford great reverence. I prefer the Israeli red pack Personna personally as a good sharp, smooth blade.
I have issues with the M blade and now I'm working my way through a sampler pack with other blades giving a much better result.
I enjoy an oil. I just get a bottle of Jojoba oil though. I also got Lavender oil for scent. The store where I got the oils also had the little bottle so I just fill it most of the way and add 4-5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil. The Jojoba was about $10 and has about 6 times as much as the preshave oil, the Lavender was about $6-7. As I said I like it and this is much cheaper.
As to the skipping, I found it hard to get the angle right on the ATG passes for the first 2-3 weeks, along with the pressure since you now go against the weight of the razor. Go slower, add a couple drops of water to the lather, and watch that angle.

stubble trouble

+1 on preshave oil. I use a dab of baby oil and gently work it in to my wet face and neck. As a beginner, it gives me a mental image of growth direction while softening stubble and adding a layer of lubrication. It may be superfluous, but again, as a beginner, it' an added measure of protection from beginner's technique.

Welcome to wet shaving. You might try an oil, I have a very course beard and the oil does help reduce friction for me.

You could also try rinsing your face with hot water between passes and latherings.
I think an oil will only mask the symptoms, not fix the underlying reason for it happening. Often when learning, skipping and tugging is down to quality of lather or blade technique. Oil can only make the learning process take longer.

Having a preference for it after becoming competent is just that.
+3 on the Merkur blade being the prime suspect. As others have suggested, get a blade sampler pack and try out different ones and see what works best for you.
I've only once tried a merkur blade and I thought it was a decent shaver, but a sample pack is a great idea. I found that the Dorco st-301's are probably the best blade I've tried and I have a fairly coarse beard.

Also, feather's.:thumbup:
On oils for shaving in general. If applied before your prep, you are doing prep right? The oil can waterproof the hair and make it stronger-the opposite of what prep is supposed to do. Hot water and lather damage the cuticle layer of the hair and make it much easier to cut.
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