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Damn Comfortable Shave

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
Good luck getting those comfortable shaves. I can get nice close shaves but it takes awhile to get the very nice ones so I save those for special days
Today has been my lucky day then. Today's shave was definitely close; still is, and it's getting dark before long. I've had very little irritation today, too. The degree of success today surprised me a little, and I'm very pleased.

I think it all worked because of a combination of factors. The right razor. An excellent shaving soap (MWF). Witch hazel. Improved technique.

Maybe most of all: Cold water shaving added to all of the above.

I'm pleased, but I'm not counting any of tomorrow's chickens just yet.

Chicken.jpg

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
This morning's shave was again excellent, so my luck is holding.

100% cold water after my shower. A cold towel application over the 1st application of lather.

This was today's brush...
Monster.jpg
Yes, it's a rather large brush. Earns its name: RazoRock Plissoft Monster Synthetic Shaving Brush. This is the brush's second use, but it seems to be a very nice brush. I think maybe I like the knot better than the RazoRock Silvertip Synthetic, but it's too early to be sure.

Speaking of lather, I tried something new today.

Italian Sheep.jpg

Yes, my lather of the day was Italian Wool Fat. That's Mitchell's Wool Fat with a little bit of Proraso green added to the shaving mug and the lather. Talk about an increase in the amount of lather generated! Probably could have done six or seven passes, and I added very little of the Proraso. The scent was very little changed.

I did a three pass shave again today. Feather AS-D2 (my only DE). Feather blade on its second day.

My shave was, if anything, maybe just a tad better than yesterday's, but still not BBS on my neck. No nicks, cuts, or weepers.

All irritation (not that there was much at all) was gone after an application of the alum block, followed by witch hazel, followed by Cremo moisturizer.

Yesterday I noticed I had missed totally whacking a few whiskers way low on my neck close to the collarbones and they bothered me. Today these whiskers disappeared. Just learning the parameters of my beard.

I'm having a good time with this. Getting great shaves is rather satisfying.

There are a number of things I can improve. Less pressure is #1 although I'm doing pretty fair in that department already I think.

I continue to explore the mapping of my neck. Does everybody have the world's weirdest neck whiskers? Obviously not, but I'm sure there are a great many contestants. Trying to figure out the actually direction of WTG, XTG, and ATG everywhere on my neck is proving quite the challenge.

However, it's just shaving, and it doesn't have to be perfect. Comfortable, yes. Close enough for the wife and office, yes. If my shaves never improve I'll be happy enough, but I know they will get better as I gain experience and technique and learn my neck.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
It's a weird sort of satisfaction once you can consistently give yourself a really good shave. I find myself overly pleased when I have an exceptional shave and find it's a good hallmark as to how the day will go.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
It is also interesting to try the various razor blades available. My Feather AS-D2 came with 5 Feather blades, and, boy, are they sharp. I like them fine, but would I like another blade better?

Towards that end I bought a fairly small sample pack from Amazon with a better than average selection. Having read many posts and reviews (guess where) I didn't want to get stuck with a lot of filler blades. I'm only, at this point, trying to get two shaves out of each blade.

From my reading maybe I've figured out which blades are most favored around here, and why. So, I was about ready to order a selection based on my reading and conclusions.

Then I found this Razor Blade Goldmine Thread, well, actually it's a platinum mine for anyone assembling a sample pack of razor blades. The thread confirmed that I was on the right track in determining what works for most people here, and what doesn't. Plus, I discovered a couple of blades I'd not heard of before which seemed worth a trial.

Next, I went to Try A Blade and ordered for about $20 a selection of the blades I most want to try, and haven't yet tried, and don't have in the sample pack purchased at Amazon (which wasn't a bad selection).

Seems to me this will help a lot, and it allows me to avoid trying blades which are badly reviewed or unpopular amongst DE shavers who have lots of experience.

Neglecting really bad blades, and knowing there's always the YMMV factor, my guess is there's not that much difference between many of the top blades, but that doesn't mean my face won't prefer one blade most of all. I'm not on a mission to find that perfect blade, and am mostly just having fun, and seeing what's out there, but if the perfect blade just happens to jump in my razor, well, that would be pretty cool.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to try for the first time the Astra SP about which I've heard great things.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
Another lucky day.

Same setup as yesterday, but with an Astra SP blade. Nice blade so far.

The only other change was I was a bit more aggressive. I went after some of the little spots on my neck which weren't yet BBS after three passes. Lathering them again, of course.

The shave: Very close. Very comfortable.

Cold water seems to have made a huge difference in the irritation produced on my neck, and that's allowed me to feel confident going after a closer shave.

None of this is to say that my shaves won't be even better as I continue practicing and learning. There is so much great information here at B&B; stumbling upon this online conversation was a lucky day for me.

I am blessed.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I started out just like you, only doing one pass due to my wanting comfort (and safety) above all. I too thought I was doing pretty good, in relation to my former disposables.

But after a few weeks I started doing not just one pass and cleanup, but multiple passes in different directions. That's when I discovered what a "close shave" really meant! And now I can't go back, and my comfort is absolutely fine. All I use after shaving is first a warm water rinse, then a cold water rinse.

But my shaves are now so close, I can skip a day and still look pretty damn good. I find this amazing. It also indicates how unknowingly poor my former disposables and one pass technique were.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
I started out just like you, only doing one pass due to my wanting comfort (and safety) above all...
My posts must be even more unclear than I thought.

Not that I've been shaving with a DE long at all, being a rank newbie, but...

My shaves are multiple passes in multiple directions. Usually three passes - WTG, XTG, ATG. Sometimes, four passes - WTG, XTG (in two directions), and ATG. Sometimes, adding touch ups.

On one occasion, a Saturday, I did a one pass shave. It turned out to be a shave which certainly was not bad, but it was not very close at all. It was comfortable which was the objective that day.

I have noticed, using different blades, that some shaves are very smooth (as in BBS on my face), and very comfortable (no irritation persisting beyond an application of witch hazel followed by a moisturizer), but they don't turn out to be all that close. The true test of how close they were appears later in the day. Truly close shaves don't grow back as fast.

I am beginning to realize that I have to rate my shaves in terms of their comfort, and for how smooth the result appears to me, and for how close the shave turns out to be having looked at it towards evening.

I think the very sharp blades such as the Feather shave closer, but I'm trying different blades to see how I like them. So far, the Feather is the gold standard against which I'm comparing the others, but there may be a blade which shaves as close as the Feather and is also a bit more smooth in its feeling on my skin during the shave.

There are several more blades which I've ordered and am eager to try out to see if they can surpass and unseat the Feather.

I hope I'm being clear here.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
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Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
Another day, another great shave.

100% cold again. Cold lather. Cool towel soak. Cold steel. Cold rinses.

It was my second and last day with this Astra SP. It seemed to me to be a better blade on the second go 'round. It definitely makes the cut.

The Semoque SOC boar seemed finally broken in enough to try again. It wasn't bad out of the box, but I decided to break it in a lot more before using it more than a few times. I followed a boar break in method I came across somewhere. After about a week or so using the protocol I've declared my SOC sufficiently soft for regular use. I may or may not, as the mood strikes up, continue the break in method on days when I don't use the brush.

Wow, that's a soft brush. A great brush in all respects according to how I see things.

My lather was Italian Wool Fat (see above). I decided to up my game in terms of the vehicle I used to lather. That means I used a much bigger container. Instead of using my usual rubber mug, which I don't like all that much and plan to replace with a Turkish copper vessel as soon as it arrives from over the pond, I decided to use a metal bowl from the kitchen.

This bowl is maybe eight inches in diameter and maybe three inches deep. I'm just guessing on the size, but it is way big.

Anyway, the big bowl made a huge difference when it came time to produce lather. The large bowl allowed me to whip up the lather in a way impossible in the smaller mug (or face lathering for that matter). There were gobs and gobs or beautiful thick lather. True lather porn should I have taken a picture, but I didn't so you'll have to use your imagination.

I did three passes + a number of touch ups of areas where my finger found something to go after. I'm thinking I might have slightly overdone it, but I got a great shave, and the tiny bit of irritation, while not desirable to me, not in the least desirable, isn't bad at all for how many passes over certain areas I made.

I am in search of a blade which will give me a really close, BSS shave, and also provide incredible comfort. Probably that's a holy grain quest, but I have many blades to try before I settle on one.

What's tomorrow's blade? That is the big question. And, since tomorrow isn't Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, which soap will I use. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are settled, but there's room for variety on other days.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
I'm making a note for myself here concerning the Astra SP. You may be interested, too, but maybe not.

I liked the Astra SP shave the second day into its use. The shave was very close, and initially comfortable.

However, later on in the day I noticed a bit of razor burn. I know I was a bit aggressive with the number of passes, but only on a few spots on my neck. What I'm noticing later in the day is a tad of razor burn in areas where I did not do extra passes.

It is always possible I was handling the razor incorrectly or something like that, but I very much think not. Too, it's possible the difference could be in the brush, as I used the SOC boar today instead of a synthetic, but, again, I think not.

The really smart choice in brushes might be to stick with my favorite synthetic for a while, but, hey, this is fun, and not science. Don't want it to be too much like work (well, unless you'll pay me). Still, I do understand the science of determining my 2nd hardware choice (blades).

I'm not dumping my samples of the Astra SP blades, and will try them again, but next time with a synthetic brush.

Tomorrow I'm trying the Kai for the first time. Already loaded the razor. I'm also sticking with Italian Wool Fat tomorrow. Maybe I'll try a new soap sometime soon, but not just yet. What's the hurry? Plus, I don't want to change too many variables and confuse myself.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I'm going to re-open the can o' worms here and suggest that the Feather AS-D2 is not the best razor for producing a close, smooth and comfortable shave. At least, not for everyone. Quite a few of the factors which have lead me to the most comfortable shaves of my life have changed since I last used mine, but I'm still not inclined to go back to it.

If you are interested in the other possibilities... ?
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
I'm going to re-open the can o' worms here and suggest that the Feather AS-D2 is not the best razor for producing a close, smooth and comfortable shave. At least, not for everyone. Quite a few of the factors which have lead me to the most comfortable shaves of my life have changed since I last used mine, but I'm still not inclined to go back to it.

If you are interested in the other possibilities... ?
Well, I really like my Feather AS-D2. Mostly, I'm just figuring out the best blade for it. I already - just a week or so into using it - have had several close, comfortable, smooth shaves.

Still, I'm interested in learning about razors, blades, and everything shaving related. Why not?

Certainly the Feather isn't the best razor for 100% of the world's shavers.

What are the factors which have lead you to the most comfortable shaves of your life and have changed since you last used your Feather AS-D2? None of these were the Feather, right, since the factors have changed since you last used the razor?

Sure, why not pursue everything of interest to us.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Well, I really like my Feather AS-D2. Mostly, I'm just figuring out the best blade for it. I already - just a week or so into using it - have had several close, comfortable, smooth shaves.

Still, I'm interested in learning about razors, blades, and everything shaving related. Why not?

Certainly the Feather isn't the best razor for 100% of the world's shavers.

What are the factors which have lead you to the most comfortable shaves of your life and have changed since you last used your Feather AS-D2? None of these were the Feather, right, since the factors have changed since you last used the razor?

Sure, why not pursue everything of interest to us.

Happy shaves,

Jim
I would have gone with SuperSpeed instaed...
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
Well, we try things out for a reason.

Case in point, Kai blades. Today was my first trial of a brand new Kai blade. I did not like it. It seemed to pull a bit compared to other blades I've tried. Not that it wasn't also sharp, but I do not think Feather blade sharp.

Worse, I got a weeper-nick on my neck. The alum block wouldn't fix it, so I had to get out the Styptic pencil. Ugh.

I used the Monster synthetic, Italian Wool Fat, and did my usual cold shave.

The shave seems close enough and all that, but it wasn't as comfortable during the shave as most of my shaves have been. We'll see how the razor burn (which seemed gone by this morning) is as the day goes on.

So, not comfortable, not smooth + a nick.

Maybe the Kai will be a lot better on its second day, but I wasn't impressed with it today, and I had expected to be very impressed. I'm not sure the blade's second day will be tomorrow either.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
The razor burn I felt yesterday, which seemed gone this morning, has not returned in force. The Kai blade didn't shave me in a comfortable manner, and I nicked myself, but the shave was certainly close, and I have no razor burn worth mentioning.

I have to shave tomorrow for work, but I'm thinking of maybe skipping a shave on Saturday to let my skin heal "completely." I'll see how it feels between now and then, and decide based on that.

Even with a bit of razor burn (and, really, it wasn't very bad; I've had much worse back - decades ago - when I was a regular user of DEs, and the nick this morning, I'm enjoying my shaves, and getting better at the process. I'm enjoying figuring out what hardware and software to use, and learning more every day.

I wish back in the day (1960 and thereabouts) I had tried the Tech razors, but I used the TTO Gillettes because they were modern and the shiny object, and because that was what everybody used. I wonder whether I could use a Slim or a FB now; then I couldn't, none of the TTO razors I tried did anything but give me razor rash, razor burn, and a lot of nicks and cuts.

Of course, B&B wasn't around back then to provide information and instructions.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
... Still, I'm interested in learning about razors, blades, and everything shaving related. Why not?
... What are the factors which have lead you to the most comfortable shaves of your life and have changed since you last used your Feather AS-D2?
I'll start with the second question, which I think you're probably already quite familiar with the answer to if you've ready my thread about protective soaps. Since giving up on the AS-D2 and lending it out I changed my prep routine to eliminate hot water in favour of warm/tepid, discovered the joys of Mitchel's Wool Fat and Santa Maria Novella, pin-pointed a skin reaction with a Nivea Men Creme and found that leaving the Alum on my skin rather than washing it off improves healing.

Still, after all of these changes I'm not able to ignore that fact that every proper BBS shave I've ever had with the Feather (and I'll also be to the first to confess that this notion has been evolving over the last several months since taking up a DE razor) has resulted in irritation proportional to results. Blade choice and pressure changed the parameters slightly, but in essence, better shave equals more irritation... equals worse outcome for my skin.

After acquiring the Rockwell 6S the equation changed substantially and I found that pressure with this razor had little - if anything at all - to do with skin irritation. Instead, blade choice and the number of passes I made seemed to be the only factors. In the thread below you'll find a diagram comparing the Feather to the Rockwell and an explanation of why I believe there is such a great difference.

Why do Timeless and Rockwell Razors shave so well?

Since writing that I've also come to believe that the geometry of the 6S will tend to force skin into the post-edge relief when the blade is dragging a little rather than cutting. In doing so this razor will decrease the cutting angle and more effectively cut bristles. By contrast I can easily imagine the Feather forcing skin into the pre-edge relief with a less than sharp blade, resulting in a more obtuse cutting angle and possible laceration. This seems to lend some credence to the notion that the AS-D2 will always work better with a Feather blade... Sharper blade equals less drag, equals less irritation.

My own observation with the AS-D2 was that a Feather blade and very low pressure produced the least irritation, but didn't produce the best shave. The 6S and Timeless 0.68 SB on the other hand can remove the pressure element from the shave and allow me to focus on blade choice. This change has allowed me to find the right blades and then focus on the prep/software/healing elements. If I'd stuck with the AS-D2 I may never have found the right elements at all.

So, of course you need to apply your own particular characteristics to everything I'm saying. However, I do believe that fragile skin can benefit from this knowledge.

Dave.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
Dave, that's interesting stuff. I'll consider it further if I have no luck finding "my perfect blade," or, at least, the blade *perfect enough.

That would certainly be one razor I'd strongly consider were I thinking of changing razors.

I love MWF, but haven't tried the combo you're using. I also love doing a cold (out of the tap) towel soak over my first lather.

Do you apply anything after the alum block? I wash it off after it drys, with cold water, and then apply a moisturizer, and then, maybe, an AS.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I tried the cold shave, can't say it was an improvement over warm and didn't feel natural. It's winter here too so I may try again in summer.

After alum I clean up which usually allows enough time for it to dry, otherwise I pat off the last bits of water with a dry towel before moisturiser. Presently I'm using a mix of QV Skin Repair and Witch Hazel just to keep the viscosity down so I don't need to rub it in.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
Interesting thread you have going.

You're going about this in a methodical way, which is best in my opinion.

I personally feel you have one of the best razors available today. As I understand it, its a virtual clone of the Gillette post war Tech which I use and enjoy but it is a very mild razor and as you're discovering, works best with the sharpest blades.

You mentioned the Kai blade. It's slightly wider than other blades and thus, will offer a bit more blade exposure than you may be use too. In saying that I still havent tried the one I have.

You seek a comfortable shave over an effective shave as many of us do. I can suggest a few blades that I've found very smooth and comfortable.

The Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Stainless (Green) is by far the smoothest blade of the maybe 30 types I've tried so far. A close second would be the GSB/Platinum and as smooth but sharper, the Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Platinum (Black).

Perma-Sharp Super is an especially smooth blade and so is the Voskhod.

Of the blades I mention, in order of smoothness: Gillette Green, Perma-Sharp Super, GSB/Platinum, Gillette Black and Voskhod bringing up the rear only because of one thing you've discovered already. The harshness after the first shave that may last 2-3 more shaves. The Voskhod for me felt very harsh the second and third shaves but then smoothed out very nicely. I think this is from the coating on the blade wearing, but I could be wrong.

In mentioning those blades, other than the Gillette Black and maybe the Perma-Sharp, none would be my first choice in my Tech. Finding the balance of sharpness and smoothness is the challenge and this is one area where we all differ.

As an alternative to the Feather blade, you might try a Gillette 7 O'Clock Sharp Edge (Yellow). I find them as sharp as a Feather but I find Feather blades can be a little harsh if my lather isnt perfect. I have 200 Feather blades and use them often. I actually just finished a shave with the only Yellow I've used so far. Shave #9 in my Gillette SS for a 3 pass+ BBS shave, again.

Sacrificing a little smoothness from the above blades come the sharper ones. Of all the blades I've used I prefer Polsilver SI and/or Super Max Blue Diamond Titanium. I've been trying to tell them apart for quite some time now and other than the price and packaging, I cant. They both balance the fine line of sharp/smooth very well. Both are especially sharp, but it doesnt feel as though you're shaving with a very sharp blade because they are so smooth. Both will also give you a shave that lasts. For me thats nearly 10 hours BBS from my Gillette SS or my Gillette NEW SC and I would expect similar performance from my Tech. After my very first shave with a Polsilver SI, I ordered 200 before my razor was dry.

Seeing as the only DE razor you use is the AS-D2, much like the Tech, options of steeper or shallower angles are harder to find and maintain. That can be compensated for slightly by adjusting pressure, but only very slightly. I've found both shallow and steep angles work for me and I'm still chasing the right angle, but I seem to favor a steeper angle for closeness of shave and a shallower angle for comfort of shave. If you maintain an angle favoring the cap and the safety bar 50/50, you may find a difference adjusting that slightly. With my NEW SC and a Derby Extra blade, which is a very mild blade that some even call "dull" or "blunt", using a very steep angle riding only the comb of the razor I had a BBS shave that lasted 10 hours and was a very smooth comfortable shave too, with no tugging whatsoever. I also have 200 Derby Extra blades. As it stands right now, I seem to prefer an 80/20 percentage favouring the safety bar or OC and I've found that blade choice becomes more critical at a steeper angle, for a comparably comfortable shave.

I'll be interested to learn of your blade choices as you progress.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
Interesting thread you have going.

You're going about this in a methodical way, which is best in my opinion.

I personally feel you have one of the best razors available today. As I understand it, its a virtual clone of the Gillette post war Tech which I use and enjoy but it is a very mild razor and as you're discovering, works best with the sharpest blades.

You mentioned the Kai blade. It's slightly wider than other blades and thus, will offer a bit more blade exposure than you may be use too. In saying that I still haven't tried the one I have.

You seek a comfortable shave over an effective shave as many of us do. I can suggest a few blades that I've found very smooth and comfortable.

The Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Stainless (Green) is by far the smoothest blade of the maybe 30 types I've tried so far...

I'll be interested to learn of your blade choices as you progress.
Thanks so much for your help.

I had already decided to put the Kai blade away for a while before its second shave. Its first shave was close, but just too rough for me to give it another chance right away. I appreciate that its second, or third, or fourth shave might be better, but, frankly, I'm not up to it right now.

Instead, my plan was to use tomorrow morning a Gillette Green, the 7 O'Clock Super Stainless from Russia, of which I have five from my first sample pack. From what I've read elsewhere, and from what you added, it may be a nice blade in general, and particularly a nice blade tomorrow when I really need a smooth and comfortable shave.

I have ordered from Try A Blade a pretty good selection of what seem to me to be the upper end, sharp, well-reviewed blades (on B&B). Many that I ordered are the same as the ones you mentioned. I will probably order the others you talked about if I place another order. Of course, I may decide that one of the blades I test will suffice for long enough to temporarily abandon my quest, order a hundred of one blade, and stick with just one for a few months. That is, actually, my goal. I believe I'm beginning to get a handle on what might go into the "best" blade for me.

I'd read before that the Kai was wider, but had forgotten that little, important fact. Maybe that's why my shave this morning was so rough?

Thus far, I think the blade I most like is the Feather, but it really doesn't seem smooth exactly, or at least it isn't quite what my idea of smooth is, but I've very little experience with it or any other blades, having been at the DE shaving less than two weeks. I'm not counting my decade or so of experience with the DE decades ago.

One thing about the Feather blade in the AS-D2 is it works best with an extremely light touch. It really takes just tickling your skin with the Feather (at least that's how I think of trying to do it). I'm sure everyone who uses the Feather razor and the Feather blade come to much the same conclusion.

In the same vein, I do not think any blade which requires or encourages pressure a good choice in my razor.

None of that is to say that I have much idea of what I'm doing yet. Mostly, I'm going by experience, and trying to incorporate the suggestions which seem best to me as delivered by more experienced DE shavers.

This whole razor choice question is obviously very difficult and highly subjective with a huge amount of YMMV thrown into the mix. It helps me enormously to read a post like yours because you're both experienced with the blades, and looking at them, I think, like I do, and - this is hugely important when considering the right blade - you're using the blades in a razor rather similar to mine.

Thanks so much for helping me, and for contributing to my fund of knowledge, and this thread.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
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