Coarse beard?

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by Godawgs, May 17, 2019.

    Dumb question 1.
    I see references to using a more aggressive razor if you have a coarse hair/beard. Ie a red tip or an adjustable wound right up.

    When they talk about coarse is it meaning long stubble?

    How do you know if you have a coarse beard?

    Still working out where I fit. Also struggling to separate the influence of blade, age of blade, razor and skill level when determining what works. Ie Aristocrat Junior with an Astra one day was perfect then another terrible.

    Thanks, Olly
  1. I guess coarse can vary. Long stubble, thick beard or hard beard hair.
  2. Coarseness refers to the density and/or diameter of the hair itself. I read somewhere that beard hair can actually have the density of copper wire if it could be reduced to the size of a hair. That's pretty dense! Every man's beard becomes more coarse with age. A lot of men's hair even starts out that way.

    The reasoning goes, if you have a coarse beard, you need to boost the cutting power of your equipment. This can be blade gap, angle, and sharpness of the blade. A coarse beard will dull the razor blade more quickly. I have a coarse beard and I get about 3 shaves out of a blade. Otherwise, it starts to produce more friction and I get razor burn. Very short stubble is also more difficult to cut rather than when the hair is longer. I think longer hair catches on the blade more easily. I'm not sure the reason. But when my stubble is short and I still need to shave, I have to use a Feather blade to take it down. I have noticed that this dulls the blade much more quickly too.

    Also, the coarseness of your beard can vary between shaves. Low humidity will dry it out, making it tougher. Stress and poor diet can change it. Also the variation of length can make it more difficult to cut. This is why you shaving experience varies day to day.

    I suggest you get a couple of different blade types. I use Feathers for days when I known it's tough and Rubies for days when I may be prone to irritation. The Rubie is relatively dull but it is coated in Teflon, so it reduces friction. This combo is great for coarse beards with sensitive skin. And don't be afraid to chuck a blade after 2 uses. Dudes on here will talk about getting 100 shaves out of a blade. I could never make that happen. My beard is like wire and has been for as long as I can remember.

    Don't be shy about blowing some money on a variety of blades. That's what I had to do until I figured out the right combo. I also own a variety of different razors and I know when to use what. And don't forget about the role of soap! Proper lubrication is extremely important in taking down a troublesome beard, especially when you had a bad shave a day or two before and your skin is healing. Tabac is one of the best IMO.
  3. Thanks for your reply. Particularly interesting about the number of shaves per blade. Possibly been pushing it. Have to work on my lathering as well and also not having to do three passes every time. Hear a lot about feathers so will get some.

    Cheers Olly
  4. ajkel64

    ajkel64 Ambassador

    I find that with my facial hair, it feels relatively soft when it is very short but if I grow a beard it feels just like wire. I get two different feelings depending on the length. I don’t like overly aggressive razors but I do like a Red Tip. With an adjustable, I can’t shave past setting 3 on most. I have tried 4 but it feels harsh.
  5. Tons of variables here!

    There is not much that you can do to change your beard. But you can change your prep, your lather, your blade and your razor. So I suggest you work on those options in that order.

    Stick with this and you will get the results you want! :a14::a14:
  6. Once you learn the directions your hair grows, you can exploit that to reduce the number of passes. I actually change direction in mid-pass, going diagonal when I started out going across, for example. In other parts of my face, i skip the XTG pass, doing only WTG and ATG. You'll figure out what you can get away with.

    As for the number of shaves per blade, you might wanna only do 2 for a while and see if that helps. I know people get a kick out of seeing how many shaves they can push onto a blade, but I have never understood it. They must have very fine hair, because to me, that would be torture! I tried it for a while, even brought it up on B&B, trying to figure out if I was wasting my blades. The conclusion I came to is that blades are cheap, much cheaper than cartridges. Most of us are still learning. There's no prize for getting 50 shaves on a Wilkinson Sword or whatever. They're tools and you use them to accomplish a task. And IMO, that task is done when the hair is gone and your skin isn't red and burning!
  7. A coarse beard in my definition is a beard that has very hard and thick stubble, and maybe is also more dense than avarage.

    That said, I never understood, why a more agressive razor has something to do with coarsness of the stubble. It has IMHO something to do with the closeness you can get, because of the directness the blade touches the skin in sense of cutting the hair as close to skin level as possible (or even beyond e.g. if a safety bar pulls out the stubble a bit before cutting).

    With a coarse beard IMHO the blade (as well as preparation of course) is key. To get through harder and thicker stubble, you need an appropriately sharp blade to get a clean cut without pulling and dragging.
  8. Most of the time when I read "coarse beard and sensitive skin" I interpret that as "I can't shave properly yet". But I'm aware that some gents have that. Thick and hard stubble, that's difficult to cut with a standard DE razor, clogging more than typical hair.
  9. I shave daily and by the time I shave each day, my face feels like it has a million 22 gauge wire strands stuck in it.

    After I got my technique down, my prep down and my lather building down, I found a more “aggressive” razor worked best. I started getting my best shaved ever, that is until I got my first slant and then shaving nirvana was achieved.

    If you have what you feel is a coarse, tough beard/stubble, you may want to look at a slant.

    As has already been said, you want to get everything else down pat first and then your results can be achieved. Shaving is a total process that is the sum of its parts.

    As always, YMMV and happy shaves.

    AoM; B.O.S.S.;Knight of the Veg Table;MFR2019
  10. That is often wrongly quoted; the hair can have the same tensile strength as copper wire of equivalent diameter. The density of hair is also not defined in the same terms as the density of copper (mass/volume).

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