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First time with DE

So I decided to take the plunge into safety razors after toying around with the idea for a year or so. Being that I have to shave every day (Marine Corps) I got tired of the irritation caused by my trusty old mach 3. I opted for lee's starter set with a Merkur 34C, Vulfix 660 super, Trumper Lime soap, and Derbys. After that purchase I went ahead and got a sampler pack off amazon of blades and some Tabac cream and AOS sandlewood cream. Once I received my items today I went with the ease (from what I understand) of a cream and used the AOS along with a gillete 7 o'clock blue as I had read they were quite smooth and that's what I was looking for my first shave. A decent lather (according to mantic59's videos), three passes (with,across, and against), and a few nicks and weepers later I was done. The irritation I got from this shave was more than I've ever experienced with my mach 3, but I understand it was my first time and just like my first time shaving it takes time to build technique. I'm thinking the 7 o'clock might have been a little too aggressive for my first shave and might ditch it for the merkur blade that came with the razor. Anyways, thought I would just check in on the board and do some more reading. Thanks guys
 
Welcome to B&B!
I'm actually running a pretty similar setup with a Merkur 34 and Derby blades. Remember to take it slow and you might want to start out with just 3 WTG passes if you are having trouble in the XTG and ATG. Also remember that blade angle is very important if you want a smooth shave. The sharper the angle, the better it cuts. If the blade angle is too big it is going to be more of s scraping motion and that is going to irritate your skin.
 
First, welcome to B&B! I can't say much for that Merkur (don't have one), but you are going to LOVE that brush. That is the first brush I bought when I started wet shaving three years ago, and it is the only one I have ever owned. It is a great little performer.

Anyway, your irritation likely came from your technique rather than the agressiveness of the razor. With Mach 75's (or however many blades they have now), you have to push the razor into your skin to get it to cut close. With DE's and straight razors, you should only be using the weight of the razor to keep it against your face. If you are doing that right, you could still get some irritation from doing too many passes. It may take a little while for your face to get used to being relathered and scraped over three times. Pay close attention to all of that and your blade angle next time your shave. Remember to go slow (I understand that this is counter intuitive to Marine thought process, and I TOTALLY respect that but it will help) until you get a good feel for things.

Let us know how it goes the next couple of rounds. There are some guys here who can offer some excellent suggestions if you need them. Enjoy!
 
Skip the Merkur blade. I've never seen a single person say they were worth using. Most people, myself included, rate them as the worst blade ever. Some people have said they are OK, but everyone has a blade they like better that costs less, so why bother?

You'll also want to skip the against the grain (ATG) pass for now. A WTG and XTG ought to give you a passable Marine Corps shave. Hey, if people get away with using electrics, then 2 passes of real shave should count, right? Worst case you could make a WTG and 2 XTG passes.
 
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Welcome to B&B. You have already received a lot of good tips from previous posters. When I started DE shaving I put a lot of focus on Lather only to find out that I had the wrong blade angle. For me lather, angle and prep are all of equal importance. Try watching mantic59 and geofatboy on YouTube if you have got the time. I learned a lot from their videos.
/thorsten
 
Welcome to B&B. Oh yeah, you won't find much love for the Merkur blades around here, but you could be one that likes them, and they work fine for. Soo, give them a fair shot and see.
 
A little advice from a fellow newbie and from a former Ranger to a current Marine:

slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

In addition I would add to skip the ATG for now, and do WTG and XTG only. Maybe two WTG. I am focusing on blade angle and pressure before I make any regular ATG passes. I found that those were the cause of most of my irritation, so I dumped them from the routine until I get the rest up to snuff. Best of luck, and at least you found this while you're still in. I can't even tell you what I would have given to make this discovery while I was still in...... Truly it's a world of difference.
 
Thanks for all the kind replies guys. I'm not sure how I missed the collective dislike of merkur razors, I always saw other people talking about restoring old super speeds and stuff though. Either way, razors are relatively cheap anyways and maybe I'll pick up another for a birthday present in a couple months. In the mean time I'll be working on my technique for the whole shave and trying to find what works for me and which blades work for me (I got about... 10+ different kinds to try). Thanks again for the help.

Edit: switched blade to the merkur that came with the razor and tried again today. Using the trumper soap I had a little trouble getting lather, something I'll have to work on, but otherwise the shave went a lot better with no nicks or cuts and no irritation.
 
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Welcome to B&B.

Always keep in mind that technique comes before equipment. Work on your technique first and when you get it right then you can start changing your equipment. The fewer variables you change the easier it will be for you.

As others have said the no pressure rule and blade angle rule are critical. This wiki may help you on how to shave with no pressure. And here is a good post that will help you on blade angle. Finally, if you haven't done so, take a look at the wiki on lather.
 
Welcome to B&B.

Always keep in mind that technique comes before equipment. Work on your technique first and when you get it right then you can start changing your equipment. The fewer variables you change the easier it will be for you.

As others have said the no pressure rule and blade angle rule are critical. This wiki may help you on how to shave with no pressure. And here is a good post that will help you on blade angle. Finally, if you haven't done so, take a look at the wiki on lather.
+++1
 
Thanks for all the kind replies guys. I'm not sure how I missed the collective dislike of merkur razors
wait, what?
People are disliking the Merkur blades! Not the DE razors themselves, they are excellent!
But yea, the blades that come with the razors are kind of crap. The Merkur 34C however is a great razor that a lot of people at B&B use as their daily shave!
 
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