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Comfort vs Efficiency?

Out of abject curiosity, I tried skipping the usual first WTG pass. Starting with the XTG pass was not a fun experience for me. There was a fair amount of discomfort, but I did manage to hang in and get it done.

The second ATG pass was closer to normal, and certainly not the grind that starting with the XTG presented. No weepers and very mild irritation that disappeared with the Thayer's WH.

My expectations were low, but it turns out the result was a very respectable DFS (which I prefer to call a PNTB shave - pretty not too bad). A 2 pass BBS is not available to my beard.

But if you're usually doing a 2 pass shave you might want to give this a try. I will never do it again, but I suspect that with a slightly lighter beard this could be a winner.
How many passes and in what sequence and direction comes down to personal preference, and personal preference comes down largely to the toughness or the softness of one's whiskers.

So simple. Let's not make it needlessly complicated. The perfect shave comes down to a combination of comfort and efficiency.

YMMV reigns supreme!
The one thing I've learned about my beard and its growth is there is a pattern that works and never change it up at all... If I don't follow the correct pattern it is most certain there will be some slight discomfort and if I stay with the pattern I am rewarded with BBS every shave out!! This is what has worked best for me in the last 3+yrs...

1st pass - WTG/XTG face is combo N-S & ear to goatee depending on the side E-W/W-E and neck is N-S only and rinse
2nd pass - ATG face is goatee to ear and neck is my R-L and rinse
*3rd pass - XTG / neck only S-N

* Sometimes I can get away with incorporating the 3rd pass into the 2nd pass if I just re-lather my neck only without rinsing

Owen Bawn

Garden party cupcake scented
I do 2 passes most days- the first is mostly with the grain, but across the grain in some areas depending on the pattern of growth, and the second is ATG/XTG, again depending on growth pattern. I want to be mostly smooth but don't care about BBS- I don't want irritation, and I want there to be enough growth for a shave tomorrow but without irritation caused by chasing a BBS today.
Great thread!

For me 3-passes is optimal: comfort is key. Going ATG or XTG is simply not as comfortable as my WTG pass. When really pressed for time I do the ATG pass, then stop.
I've always been an either 1 (WTG) or 2 (WTG/XTG) pass shaver. I was taught, sometime when I started shaving, that ATG was how you ended up with cuts and burn, so I never bothered. Now, 40-odd years later, I'm too old to change :p

2 passes gives me a DFS that I find perfectly acceptable. Sure I could spend a little more time in the bathroom with an additional pass, but law of diminishing returns and all that.

Now I have discovered this place, though, I suspect I might experiment with a 3rd pass just to see how close to a BBS I can actually get...
I lean towards comfort. I do a WTG to knock off the majority, then two XTG passes. Rarely do I go ATG with risk of irritation. I don't think I could start with a XTG pass either.

Comfort is key here, and can buff in areas as needed.
For some reason, if I stop after WTG and XTG, the whiskers along my jawbone, especially towards my ears, are at a length where they immediately itch like crazy. So I do a 3rd pass usually. If I plan on only 2 passes I'll do WTG/ATG.
I have experimented with different passes in the past and all I do is 1st pass WTG and 2nd pass ATG & pick ups and it does not seem to matter what razor I use and just receive stellar results.
I do stop myself from doing to much in pickups because that will get yourself in trouble usually. Another product that helps in comfort shaving is just use a great moisturizer balm like CeraVe moisturizing lotion(balm). You do not need much to make the skin feel great.
I shaved many years ATG first pass, WTG second pass. In the shower, couple minutes a pass, 5 minutes max start to finish.

By the time I start however, the stubble is very well saturated believe me.
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