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First DE Shave ever and no Blood no irritation this rocks goodbye Mach 3!

First off I would like to say, "Hello!" This is my first post on this forum. I ran across it about two weeks ago. Like most folks on here I was sick and tired of my shaving routine. I would avoid it at all ends. I would try to shave every other day sometimes every third day if I knew I could get away with it. The reason I hated shaving was not just because it was such a chore, but every shave I would get bumps on my neck, plus irritation, nicks and bleeding it was horrible. The only way to get a decent no pain shave was with a three to four day beard growth and a brand new Mach3 cartridge. Well this wasn't always possible In fact with the price of Mach3's and the fact I have to be clean shaven for work, it was darn near impossible. So most of the week my neck was bright red and full of bumps, and as I've grown older the problem has gotten worse.

So I knew I had to make a change. I have always wanted to learn to use a straight Razor but just couldn't bring myself to do it. Plus I thought this would only make my situation worse. How could old tech give me a better shave then new tech? I thought no way my super expensive multi-blade razor that's been engineered to be the best thing on the market must be better. That's why it cost so much, Right? Well like we all know I was wrong and with age come wisdom. So after many long years of suffering under the knife (So to speak) I finally decided to do some research into getting a better shave, and well that brings us back to two weeks ago.

Like I said before I have always been a fan of the Straight Razor and all things old-timey in general. So I won't boar you with the details but after much searching the net and watching every YouTube video I could find, I finally decided to skip the straight edge for now and give the DE a try. I decided to start out cheap just in case DE shaving it wasn't for me. despite the fact that I was really excited about the whole thing and wanted to droop lots of money on a really nice DE shave kit, I decided to keep it simple (Not easy for me I’m one of those guys that likes to jump head first into whatever hobby I get into and normally end up blowing lots on money. But I guess that's why we work so hard, so we can enjoy the little things in life.

After checking out a few retailers and EBay I decided to jump on Amazon and pick up a few Items (they had the best prices plus I'm a Prime member).
For my first DE I got a Feather DE razor that's made by Jatai and it came with two of the feather Hi-Stainless Blades ($17.95).
I found this combo and decided to give it a try Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set (Soap, Bowl, Brush) it came with a boar hair brush, ceramic bowl and glycerin soap ($13.95).
I also picked this up Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades - 25 Ct ($3.99). So for about $36.00 bucks I had what I thought was a pretty good starting point. I had a Razor, Blades brush, bowl and soap. I was ready for that first shave, or so I thought.

While I waited for my items to come in the mail I did a bit more reading watched some more videos and decide I need to get a few more items in order to get a decent shave. I jumped back on Amazon and picked up Proraso Shaving Cream, Sandalwood, 150 ml, New Formulation, and Taconic Shave Unscented Organic Pre-Shave Oil (2 oz.). I decided I need a brush stand as well to dry my brush so picked up this one Colonel Conk No.176 Acrylic Brush Stand (Total for all three $31.49). So now I was down about $67.00 I thought not bad still in the reasonable range for something I might hate after my first try. My items came in the mail and I was finally ready for that first shave. However I figured I was not ready I jumped back on this site and read some more. I went through the shave wiki a second time and reread all the info. Let me say I love this site I have learned so much on it.

Finally after much anticipation and procrastination I decided to take the plunge. I took a nice warm shower as recommended for the pre-shave. I soaked my brush in the shave cup with warm water while I was in the shower. Then the moment came I got out of the shower ran to the mirror grabbed my razor and dropped in the feather blade as I turned the knob to close the butterfly doors I can swear it was in slow motion. The tension was high my blood raced with excitement and fear. I dumped the water out of the cup, garbed the brush and shook it off a few times to get off the excess water. I garbed the soap swirled the brush over it a few times till it started to bubble up. I put the brush in the cup and went to work. Like an Amish making butter I was beating the heck out of that thing. My cup was clanking louder than a race car on pump gas. After a good two minutes or so my arm was about to fall off. I looked at my bowl and was very disappointed, I must have done something wrong. I thought after all that work I hardly had any lather at all. What now, I grabbed the Proraso shaving cream and squeezed in about a toothpaste size amount (The amount of toothpaste you would use on a tooth brush) along with a few more drops of water and again went to work. This worked a bit better I had what I thought was a usable amount for a first pass.

Next I garbed my per-shave oil pumped a few drops into my hand and greased up my face. It was nice and smooth and had a bit of citrus scent very nice so far. Now I was ready for the lather. I started swirling it around on my face it was still warm and very soothing. This is the moment I was waiting for. The feel of the warm brush and lather messaging my skin was just amazing. That alone was worth all the time money and effort so far. So after enjoying a few circular passes around the face I pinched the brush hairs together and made a few passes under my nose (My studying was paying off I felt like a pro, yet far from it LOL). I used the some long strokes to smooth it all out and to make sure everything was covered.

I rinsed off my hands dried them well and grabbed my razor. The handle sat lightly in between my thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. I ran the head of the razor under warm water for a few seconds. Then I knew it was time to move up to the major leagues. With a very steady hand I brought the razor slowly up to my right cheek. All the information I had read over the last few weeks began to echo in my head. I thought make sure you have a good 30 degree angle, don't use any pressure, let the weight of the razor do the work, keep your arm straight, don't use your wrist, remember most cuts happen on first contact with the skin, make sure to touch the guide to your face first then turn the head to get the right angle, keep the skin tight, and so on. As the blade got closer my heart pumped faster. The fear and excitement had reached its peak. The unknown was about to discovered like an explorer finding new land, after that moment I would never be the same.

With the blade to my face on what I hoped was a 30 degree angle I slowly and very gently pulled my arm down towards the floor. As soon as I felt the blade cut into that first hair something happened. It was like an immediate Zen experience. All my fear was instantly gone and I knew I could never go back to shaving any other way. The next few strokes continued just as smooth. With short and gentle passes I made sure to keep that sweet spot (30 degree angle). I had read that once you started shaving you would know what that 30 degree angle was just by touch and I have to say this is completely true. As the blade glides along your skin you can just feel that perfect angle and it’s a pretty awesome experience. Before I knew it all the lather was off of my face and I had what most would consider a pretty good shave. Not BBS but pretty good for a first time DE shave. Best part off all no nicks, at all, no cuts, no blood at all. I was in shock I thought for sure I would be rushing off to the ER after my first shave. At minimum I would have to break out the styptic. I had it ready to go and everything, but no need for it.
Now the question do I quite while I am ahead or do I go for broke and do a few more passes. I know most recommend to just go for a beard reduction on the first few shaves not BBS, but I have never really been one to follow best judgment. So I rinsed of my face with warm water and went for round two. This time I tried the face lather technique. I rinsed of the brush in warm water and grabbed the soap swirled it around on the soap then went straight to the face. This work a lot better for me and made a lot more lather faster than the first method I tried.
After I was done with the second pass I was really close to BBS and still no cuts, so I went for a third. With the same face lather technique I did my third and final pass AXG. Once I was done I rinsed off really well with some warm water then splashed on some cold water to close the pores. After that I damped on some witch-hazel. I learned that helps sterilize the skin and soothe it as well. Helps for razor bump prone chaps like myself. Once that dried I splashed on some clubmen aftershave and my skin was BBS. I was shocked typically after shaving this close my neck would be bleeding, red, and irritated. I had none of that. I wanted to run out and tell the world about this great shave I just had. Then I thought well I have to start with the place that helped me. I have to jump on B & B and let them all know how wonderful this my first experience was, but I guess you already know that’s why you are members of this site.
I can’t believe I used to hate shaving and now I can’t wait for the next one. For anyone on the fence about trying a DE razor set me say go for it. It is worth the work. Just make sure to take the time a read the boards go to the shave wiki and read all the info. Watch the YouTube videos as well. One that really helped me was Geofatboys video on DE shaving, and lather.
Anyway sorry for the super long post I guess I am just really excited about my first shave. I can’t wait for the next one. I’m really looking forward to building my technic and mastering this art someday. Also I just jumped on Amazon during this post and ordered a Parker Badger hair brush. Then went to eBay a bought a vintage Gillette Black Handle Super Speed 1968 N4 Double Edge Safety Razor. I guess it begins but at least this hobby I know I will use at least once a day.
Hi negligentpro, welcome to B&B and CONGRATS on your great first shave!!


Boy, I can see that you're a bit excited about it!:lol:

If you haven't already done so, please head over to the Hall of Fame and tell us a bit more about yourself.

Enjoy your time here, happy shaving, and once again--WELCOME!
I love that enthusiasm! I hope every shave is like that one, or even better. If you are like me, though, here's what will happen: at some point soon, maybe the next shave, after doing all the pre-shave stuff and preparation exactly the same, you will have a less-than stellar shave. Same routine, same equipment, same cream/soap, same positive attitude, and, boom!, crummy shave. Nicks, weepers, burn, you name it.

I don't know exactly what causes this. Could be any number of things--lack of concentration, cockiness, phases of the moon, who knows, but it will happen. When it does, learn from the experience and move on to the next shave. You'll have peaks and valleys along the way, but over time the valleys will be shallower and the peaks will be higher.

I have only been doing the traditional DE shaving thing for a little over four months, but I am amazed every day how much I learn each time I shave. Just when I think I have it mastered, I'll get nicks and weepers and a so-so shave. The next day I might get an almost effortless near-BBS.

Traditional wet-shaving really is like learning a craft. It takes a relatively short time (three months, six months, a year?) to become competent, but multiple years to master the skill. And that's what makes it fun. Plus, shaving is one of those things you have to do anyway. Might as well have fun and learn a craft while you're doing it.
Thank you all for the great comments. Just got all my stuff set up for shave number two tomorrow. Hopefully it goes just as smooth.
Awesome post! and welcome to B&B! I will echo what hillcpa stated, that you will experience at some stage the inevitable crumby shave, but don't let it put you off, I find it's often a change in razor, or trying a new blade.....but this is what makes shaving so much fun (now) the endless permutations of soap, blades, brushes and razors.

Anyhow sounds like you are off to a flying start (I learnt a LOT from geofatboy's videos myself, some of the best on youtube IMO)
Second shave went even better then the first just as smooth but felt more relaxed so it was more enjoyable. The third shave not bad but not my best i got a few minor nicks and my skin felt a little dry after i was done. I think my blade might need changing and my lather was to watered down. Plus I was doing multiple passes. However i feel part of the fun is try new things and seeing what works and what doesn't. On to shave number four can't wait.
It sounds like you're really getting the hang of it!:thumbup1: I'd agree with a blade change--most shavers find somewhere around 2-4 shaves is about it for them.
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