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Confessions of a stubborn newbie. . .

So I started with this wetshaving thing about a month ago, and after 1 or 2 "getting to know you" attempts, quickly hit my stride. My shaves were leagues above what I'd been used to with the disposable and can routine, and I found myself, as I've read others have, secretly--almost furtively--stroking my baby soft cheeks at times throughout the day.

Then, I hit my first learning curve/bump, and my shaves stopped getting better each day. Mostly they stayed about the same--lots better than the old days--and once in a while they actually were worse. My Vision would produce the odd nick--which I NEVER got with the old drugstore razors--and I also developed some razor rash. Thankfully, the rash was quickly stared down with the help of my ever-growing legion of lotions, potions and elixirs, but the cuts were more problematic. One--under my nose--was pretty bad, and looked like I'd been bit in a strange place by a very tiny dog. Embarrassing. . .

Well, here's the confession. Though I've been getting better with the Vision, its probably too much razor for me at this point in my learning process--although I'm determined to hang in there and master this machine, because I can tell that it is a great razor and shows glimpses of what's possible. I'd also stubbornly put away the M3, reasoning that I needed to use the Vision everyday if I hoped to improve my technique.

This morning, in a last-ditch attempt to get a really close shave, and after reading dozens of posts on technique, here's what I did:
•lathered up with Coates Tea Tree cream
•using a 2 day old blade, slowly and carefully used very short strokes with the Vision, first pass N-S, relathered, 2nd pass E-W/W-E
•relathered, did a run around the upper/lower lip and chin with my old M3, and then a M3 touch up pass in any areas that still felt stubbly
•warm water rinse in the shower
•cold water rinse in the sink
•Thayers Witch Hazel toner in lavender
•Prorasso pre-post as an A/S

Well. . .it worked. Simply, almost magically, all of my "problem" spots were much smoother. I did feel a touch of razor rash from so many passes, but the Thayers/Prorasso took most of the sting away immediately, leaving just a touch of minty freshness.

So here's my question--why do I feel a tad of Catholic guilt for needing to use the M3 to get a better shave than I could get with the Vision alone? Isn't it about getting a great shave, not the equipment? I know I couldn't get this close a shave with the M3 alone, but it seems to have a place as a safe tool for a fast, aggressive touch up pass to clean up any loose ends.

But I still feel like I'm cheating. . .yikes.

Mitch :confused:
 
Mitch, don't feel guilty. If it works for you than you must doing it right. Our faces have different angles and beard growth patterns so we all have different things that work for us.

One thing that did strike me was that you are experiencing razor rash. This tells me that you have your razor set too high. I suggest that you adjust it down and leave it there for a week or two. See if this helps with your razor rash. Good luck and let us know how things go for you.
 
Hey Mitch,

Very well written post.

I completely understand where you're coming from with the "guilt" thing. Here you have spent the last several weeks of your life reading about how bad cartridge razors are. You've broken away from the shackles that Gillette had managed to keep you in for so many years, and you've finally claimed your freedom/independence. Now you've returned to that vile mistress of old and are again seeking her favors.

You have no reason to feel guilty! You simply need to change your viewpoint on what is actually happening here. Think of it like this...

For many years you were a Gillette/Heroin addict. When you were finally able to get help and change your ways, it was a little too much strain on your body to go cold turkey. You chose, instead, to use Methadone to get you through the rough times while you work to kick old habit.:lol:
 
I think you should get a different DE to use for your 3rd pass.

I think that using a couple different razors for your shave can be a great way to use diff. razors/blades that you have and get a more custom shave. I just started doing it and like the results.

If you find out that finishing is a bit rough with the vision, get a razor and put a very smooth blade in it and use it for your final pass. a gillette SS or tech with a derby blade would be great. you could even get a good parker to use for this. that way you can keep using DE razors and try a couple different styles of DE at the same time.
 
Mitch,
"That guilt you are carrying is like a load of bricks. All you have to do is put it down." (Bonus points if you can name the movie)

There is nothing wrong with using a cartridge razor for clean-up or even the final pass. I still do it ocassionally if I'm pressed for time or on the road. We are wet shavers and normally that means a single blade, but cartridge razors do have their place and use.

There are no wet shaving police that are going to bust down your bathroom door. Use whatever works and be proud.
 
obsessis said:
I think you should get a different DE to use for your 3rd pass.

I think that using a couple different razors for your shave can be a great way to use diff. razors/blades that you have and get a more custom shave. I just started doing it and like the results.

If you find out that finishing is a bit rough with the vision, get a razor and put a very smooth blade in it and use it for your final pass. a gillette SS or tech with a derby blade would be great. you could even get a good parker to use for this. that way you can keep using DE razors and try a couple different styles of DE at the same time.

A very valid point. I recently started using a slant bar razor, but my technique with it is not far enough advanced that I can use it for t/c. For right now, I'm resorting to a Derby loaded HD for the finishing touches.
 
Mitch, welcome to my world. Good to meet a fellow perfectionist. :cool:

I think you're exactly right: more than any equipment or product issue (though you're certainly discovering that good products can cover a number of ills), you're still working on your blade technique.

Less blade exposure or occasionally resorting to the M3 may help with the "technique tax," but what I found was the best thing for me was exactly what you're thinking of: keep it simple, and brutally consistent. Settle on a fairly nonaggressive, tolerant "rig," (for me it was Merkur HD, Merkur blade, Musgo Real and Dickinson's Witch Hazel, but YMMV) and use it day after day so that your fingers and wrist have a chance to learn the muscle-memory component of the equation, and the only thing changing each day is the refinements you try to your technique. I found that I tended to cycle through cream after cream, razor after razor, and in the process postpone that self-training, and so remaining irritated and frustrated.

Some shaves will be great, others will stink on ice, but after a while you'll discover that certain blade patterns trip off your Vision more often than others, a new way of holding your wrist will occur to you, and a score of other tiny improvements will take hold, and you'll be able to switch out almost any product in your rig and get a banner shave.

-Rich
 
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