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DE leaving stubble and shadow - fault of razor, blades, or beard?

It's not the fault of anything you listed.

It's technique, experience and user error.

Stock with 1-2 strokes WTG (with your bears growth direction). Do not attempt going ATG (against the grain) until you have WTG mastered.

You'll get there. Even a semi decent shave that is irritation free is a good start. Despite many doing 4-5 passes, you don't need it. I'm 10y in and have tried 1-2-3-4 passes going every direction possible. My go to for the past few years has been one pass, with the grain and done. On special occasions and for my own satisfaction, I'll do a 2nd pass ATG on my neck.
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Maybe this will help hydrate your skin for a pre shave!
Well you are on the right path for proper shaving procedure according to a article Gillette put out many years ago about pre shave importance.
Gillette claims you should defoliate your face prior to shaving of facial oils + dead skin and to hydrate your whiskers for easier slicing.
My routine I started over 2 years ago is get the warm water started into a small plastic tub in the sink and then I quickly splash some warm water on the face and then I take my Dedicated Yaqi Cashmere 24mm synthetic brush(very soft brush and dry's quickly) and I heat it with some hot water and then load the brush with some CeraVe hand bar cleanser.
Then I proceed to brush lather my whole face with this state of the art CeraVe soap and I find it better than the hot water towel method and more enjoyable.
A bar of CeraVe soap is a lot more $$ than the mass produced soap most folks use but it lasts about 10> months (10 second load is all that is needed, the lather this produces is out standing with a brush), It is gentler on the eyes if you do get some soap in them, it is one of the better soaps out there IMO.
CeraVe hand bar soap has ran through the women's gantlet test for cleaning the make up off their faces for decades and they are a vocal bunch to say the least if something is not right :laugh: .
Then I rinse with some warm water to remove the bulk of the suds off and then a cold rinse pat dry eye areas with a towel and then I apply a dollop Aloe clear Vera gel to cleaned moist beard area only.
Next I mix my lather in my lather bowl and by then the Aloe has soaked into the whiskers enough and start applying shave soap lather.
Great results I believe and my simple procedure takes about 1 1/2 minutes and does not gum up my shave gear with oils and films and most people wash their faces anyways so it might take a minute longer if that.
Pre shave gear...................................CeraVe soap..........................................CeraVe ingredients.
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CeraVe 2 (2).jpg

CeraVe 1 (2).jpg

CeraVe claims all this interesting information through their testing.
CeraVe 3 (2).jpg

I even did a shave with this soap once and it has reasonably good protection, very impressive.


I Waxed The Badger.
I think it's mostly just you needing to improve your technique since you are so new. One thing you can try is making your lather a little wetter by mixing wetting your hands a bit and rub it around. Thinner lather can make a mild razor a little more efficient, but too much water with the canned foam and you may lose slickness, but you should be able to thin it down a ways before that is a problem.
As others have indicated, experience and technique play a big part in getting a good shave. In all probability, you should ditch the canned cream and do a proper wet shave routine. Shaving right after a shower will help in that respect. Saturating your beard with water will cause to elongate it slightly so that it will protrude more. When you shave, you'll get more of the beard hair. When your beard hair dries out, you should see less of a shadow.
The King C Gillette blades are supposed to be pretty good. As most have Said if you only just started give it a couple of weeks to get your technique right.

Someone already Said you need to soften up that stubble. I do this by:
1) Hot water face rinse
2) lather up
3) Apply Hot Hot towel over face and neck for about a minute
4) relather and shave

You might want to try this first before spending money on pre-shave products. I haven't tried any because the above technique works very well on me.

Trust me, I'm a sheep.
So, here's the question. Should I try sharper blades, a new more aggressive razor, or am I just doomed because of my beard genes?
I find the King C / Muhle R89 / EJ DE89 head (they're all identical) to be rather ineffective, and not particularly smooth either. People recommend mild razors to beginners, but they don't always work well for coarse stubble. I wouldn't persevere with a razor that doesn't work for you. Also shaving cream is easier to master than soap, though both are better than foam from a can.
If you have coarse dark hair and a fair skin tone, you will not achieve getting rid of all hair without going against the grain.
Maybe a 5 o clock look is your look to be. The blade you are using is OK, maybe a Kai that is wider will get closer
1. buy mach3
2. be happy with that, its cheap and perfected. if you do 3 pass shave, you will get hundreds of shaves with on cart!
3. leave this foorum, soon you will see that salesmans has sold gears for you with over 1000000 dollars.
I will echo what some of the the others have said:
Perfect your technique; adjust blade angle, try sort strokes.
A lot of the other suggestions already made will help with the comfort of the shave once you get your razor dialed in.

I suggest that you try get a decent shave with what you have before changing anything else and blade angle is the first thing that I would experiment with.

Most of us have pretty average skin and beards and the popular razors are popular because they work well. Milder razors may just take a bit more care and effort to get a close shave with some people, but it can be done.

It is possible to scrape off the lather and cut the tops of the beard hairs without getting near the skin and this sounds like what you might be experiencing.
If you find that you get close shaves but have razor burn afterwards, then try use less pressure.

Sharper blades can cut you more easily than milder ones, so I would only experiment with those once you have developed your technique a bit more.

Later on you can try other razors to suit your personal preferences, but that is an expensive exercise.
As others have said, it's likely your technique needs to be honed. The goal of a DE shaving pass is beard reduction, which is done in stages. Making a couple of cross grain passes will make up for a lack of again-the-grain pass. Make sure that you maintain blade contact with your skin as you shave, which means having a proper razor blade angle. A mild razor can more lose contact or closeness more easily, when compared to a more aggressive razor, as the blade is less exposed.
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