It finally happened. I had a decent block of time, no rush, and the tools to do it. So I took a nice shower and had my first straight razor shave. The tools: - Koken “Army and Navy” from Whipped Dog - Omega Pro 10049 The software: - Razorock Santal Royale soap - Razorock The Stallion AS - Generic alum block Why these items? The Koken is to be my main SR during my learning stages. It was a Sight Unseen from Larry at Whipped Dog. He also graciously made sure it had a muted tip. The other items are part of my regular rotation of trustworthy, good performing products, removing any extraneous variables during my shave. The first shave: I prepped as I would have for any DE shave - Hot shower, soaked the Omega, super clean skin, kept face as hydrated as possible. I do not normally apply a preshave, so I did not today either. I loaded my brush from the Santal and built lather directly on my face, trying to keep it as slick and cushiony as possible. I unfolded the Koken and ran the blade under hot tap water to warm it up as I do with my DEs. Then, attempting to recall the techniques from the numerous SR videos I perused, I began my first strokes. I started on my cheeks, lower lip, and back of the jaw, as these are my easiest areas, providing most flat surfaces. I remembered as often as possible to find ways to stretch my skin. Finding the proper angle each stroke was very difficult throughout the shave, but there was some very minor improvement over the shave. Then I moved on to my upper lip, jaw line, and chin, my care areas. These were super difficult given the length of the cutting plane and the many angles to account for on the skin surface. There were many repositionings, hesitations, stretchings, careful scrapings, and aborted strokes. I was not able to “finish” in terms of being on par with my DE shaves and had to clean up with my Piccolo. However, all said and done, I made it through with only a couple nicks in on my upper lip. I washed up with cold water, then light my face on fire with the alum block. Holy guacamole, my face hasn’t burned like that in a while. Between my Stallion AS and some lotion though, I calmed the burn some. Still feeling it though some time later, with mild irritation in areas. Thoughts: Definitely going to keep at it. Honestly though, the SR felt a lot like the time I was first learning DE shaving and was using a bad Derby blade to scrape hair away. I’m going to chalk it down to technique for now though. I think my skin was just getting tired with all the mini passes I was doing and the length of the shave. I had a really hard time making full strokes and I wouldn’t even say I did any passes fully, I was just trying to figure things out without slicing something open. Hope to stick to an every other day schedule like I was on with my DE shaves. This one was fairly rough though, so we’ll see if my skin is ready for the next try in two days.