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FFFMM (Fixed Four For March Madness) 2020 Edition

Shave 12 (I think?):
Another good shave. I lathered exactly the same as before, but must have wringed out more water or didn't leave as much moisture on my face after my preshave routine because it wasn't near as smooth a shave. Did a couple more passes in difficult spots, which seemed to nearly do the trick. I think, for reasons I cannot figure out, finding the right angle when doing passes that aren't strictly with the grain, seems to elude me, despite never having this issue with my Edwin Jagger. It feels like I sometimes move the razor over areas without the blade actually making contact, which is not something I've ever experienced in the past. I've got one more week to hone this bad boy before I try out the two new vintage razors I acquired this month. I certainly plan to continue to use the Piccolo as my regular razor, but I'm excited to try some oldies.

Razor: Fatip Piccolo SE
Razor: Astra SP
Brush: Stirling Synthetic 2-band
Soap: Declaration Grooming Massacre of the Innocents.
 
So far I am glad I am making my way through this month with this combo. I am not sure I can use it as a daily shaver, however, on 2-5 days worth of growth this thing mows it down with ease. I did 3 (I think) days this morning with one wtg pass and a touch-up and got a pretty darn good shave. I am going to see if I can get the same results tomorrow on one-day growth. Maybe the secret is to just minimize the number of passes. Good times.
 
March 23 - Shave 11

Prewar Fat Handle Tech
GSB (6)
Arko
Yaqi 22mm

This morning I did two N-S passes, then E-W/W-E depending on what side of the face I was working on. I am a lefty and I am noticing that the right side under my jawline still has some rough spots. I'm sure I will get it down. My left side is smoother. I did have a knick but overall no irritation. I'm pretty sure the knick was my technique in that spot and not the blade due to the lack of irritation elsewhere.

I'm glad that AS is not part of the fixed setup because I received my bottle of PAA Atomic Age Bay Rum a couple of days ago. I love that stuff. The Clasico is good too. I've also tried the Boomtown but to my nose, it has a strong tobacco smell that fades into more of a weed smell. The Capt. Smythe's is smokey and leathery. So far I think all of the PAA Bay Rums are nice, some appeal to me more than others.

I haven't taken any new photos of my setup because like everyone else, I am preoccupied with working from home and making sure my family has some things in place if COVID-19 gets even worse.

I hope you all stay healthy.
I'm lefty too, and my biggest problem area is under the left ear. I lot of it depends on how your beard grows, which is why it is important to map your beard. In my case, the neck hairs grow mostly about 45° down and 45° toward the right ear. For whatever reason, I have not found a quick, easy way to deal with them under the left ear, especially around the jaw bone. But hope springs eternal, so maybe someday I'll get it. I think that sort of thing is an important part of why we do the fixed four; at least it is for me. In any case, good luck to you.
 
A couple shaves down since the last check in and everything is still going with my set up. The soap is still working well and this month has given me a bit of a chance to reconsider my personal needs compared to the perception I have seen online. I can say I achieved a "picturesque" lather one time this month, and it was honestly one of the worst shaves this month. By all accounts it matched up with pictures and descriptions of what you want a lather to look like, but it provided a terrible experience. Since then my lathers have not had the airy, fluffy appearance, but they have provided a lot of cushion and sickness and they work well for me.

The Astra SP blade hasn't been giving me any issues recently, but I'm still on my second blade. I'm guessing my previous irritation was either due to a poor lather for me, the initial coating on the blade, or a combination of the two. It's only the first shave or two that gave me issues. I'll see what happens with a new blade when I swap it. Other than that it's a solid blade but I wouldn't put it as my favorite.

Somewhat uneventful update, but at least this experience is giving me some insight into what works for me. The amount of information available sometimes can do more harm than good for me.
 
I am a lefty and I am noticing that the right side under my jawline still has some rough spots. I'm sure I will get it down. My left side is smoother. I did have a knick but overall no irritation. I'm pretty sure the knick was my technique in that spot and not the blade due to the lack of irritation elsewhere.
I've been noticing the same issue under my jawline on the right side (lefty also). I'm about as far from ambidextrous as one gets so I guess I'm not getting the proper angle across my body. Something I'll start to work on more but I'm glad I'm not entirely alone.
 
I'm a lefty also. Same issues for the most part.
My twenty third FFFFMM shave 3/23/2020. Two passes north to south and one pass east to west.
Razor: Gillette NLC with custom handle.
Brush: Made Rite #44 24mm Silvertip (restored)
Blade: Astra SP (4)
Cream: Proraso White

IMG_0480.JPG
 
...I can say I achieved a "picturesque" lather one time this month, and it was honestly one of the worst shaves this month. By all accounts it matched up with pictures and descriptions of what you want a lather to look like, but it provided a terrible experience. Since then my lathers have not had the airy, fluffy appearance, but they have provided a lot of cushion and sickness and they work well for me....
As you have found, you can't really go by looks. It is the feel of the lather that matters. Thick clouds of Cool Whip don't necessarily make for a good result.

I am wondering if your picturesque lather had a lot of air bubbles in it? That is not what you want. You want the right mixture of soap and water to get slick, protective lather that does not dry out on you. Some soaps provide more residual slickness which makes for less irritation if you go over a spot several times.
 
I'm lefty too, and my biggest problem area is under the left ear. I lot of it depends on how your beard grows, which is why it is important to map your beard. In my case, the neck hairs grow mostly about 45° down and 45° toward the right ear. For whatever reason, I have not found a quick, easy way to deal with them under the left ear, especially around the jaw bone. But hope springs eternal, so maybe someday I'll get it. I think that sort of thing is an important part of why we do the fixed four; at least it is for me. In any case, good luck to you.
I am not a southpaw, but my trouble areas these days are right under the jawbone/below the ear as well. Maybe it's because I am trying to maintain a beard line, but those two spots are the ones I find having make the most passes on and still don't get a completely smooth result like I do in other spots. As far as I can tell it seems to grow left to right, laterally, on the left side and right to left on the right side, but it might be at a bit of an angle and I am just too unskilled to adequately gauge it.
 
I am not a southpaw, but my trouble areas these days are right under the jawbone/below the ear as well. Maybe it's because I am trying to maintain a beard line, but those two spots are the ones I find having make the most passes on and still don't get a completely smooth result like I do in other spots. As far as I can tell it seems to grow left to right, laterally, on the left side and right to left on the right side, but it might be at a bit of an angle and I am just too unskilled to adequately gauge it.
There are a couple of things that may help you gauge your beard map better. First, if your circumstances permit, allow your beard to grow for a few days. It is easier to gauge growth direction when the whiskers are longer, and with the Corona virus and more folks working from home now, this might be a good opportunity to let your beard grow a few days. Second, you may save some treadwear if you can have someone else take pictures of your beard from a few angles.

There is no guarantee of regularity in your growth patterns. Your whiskers may grow in different directions in different places - sometimes even in the same place - and they might not be uniform. For example, my beard map reminds me of a Jackson Pollock painting. Most of my whiskers are white and coarse but helpfully elevated off the skin, whereas some are fine, black, and may lay troublesomely flat. The whiskers do not always grow in the same direction, especially white vs black. I attached a photo to show what I mean.

Jackson Pollock Beard.jpeg
 
Shave 23

Prep: Hot shower, Kiehl's Facial Fuel, Proraso Red Pre-shave cream
Razor: Rex Supply Envoy
Blade: Gillette Silver Blue (2)
Brush: Parker Long Loft Badger
Soap: Mitchell's Wool Fat
Post-shave: Osma Tradition Alum Block, cold water rinse
Aftershave: English Leather AS

I probably should've taken today off. My neck underneath my chin was a little sore. I don't know why. Still got a near BBS. I'll call it a DFS+.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 
Day #24
FIXED FOUR FOR MARCH MADNESS
Razor:
Viking Captain
Brush:
Omega 11126
Blade:
Astra SP (2nd shave on 5th blade)
Soap:
Van der Hagen (using rain water)
Prep:
Results:
Liquid AntiBacterial face and hand soap.
Rating 10.0 Again, no nicks or cuts.
 
Fatip Piccolo Mk2
Personna Med Prep (2)
Omega 49 Pro boar brush, face lathering
Cella red tub
Speick Splash

Clean, close shave; DFS

Carrying on the FFFMM - one week to go!

I fully expected to be sick of using the same thing over and over again by this point. Surprisingly, that hasn't happened. The Fatip OC is fine for every day shaving, giving a very smooth and close result. The Personna Med Preps are working very well with good longevity. The Omega 49 is a lathering machine. I've found Cella to be great as an everyday soap, leaving the skin very soft and smooth. A good alcohol-based aftershave finishes everything off nicely.
 
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