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Four Years of DE Shaving

I started shaving with a DE razor about 4 years ago and have finally, I think, figured out what works for me. Since I learned a lot from this site, I wanted to share my experience.

My setup is:

Fatip Piccolo Razor (Fatip il Piccolo Originale Gold, Open Comb DE Safety Razor - https://maggardrazors.com/products/fatip-il-piccolo-originale-gold-open-comb-de-safety-razor)

Personna Blue Blades (100 Personna Stainless Steel Double Edge Razor Blades - https://www.fendrihan.com/collections/safety-razor-blade-packs/products/100-personna-stainless-steel-double-edge-razor-blades)

RazoRock Big Bruce Synthetic Brush (https://www.amazon.com/RazoRock-Pli...g+bruce+synthetic+brush&qid=1668864202&sr=8-2)

Proraso Single Blade Shaving Cream (Single Blade Shaving Cream: Cypress & Vetyver - https://proraso-usa.com/collections/shave/products/single-blade-shave-cream-tube-cypress-vetyver)

The Homestead Witch Hazel Distillate (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004TH71W0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

Here’s my shaving journey:

I am 63 years old. My mustache area is very heavy, my chin area is medium heavy, and my cheeks are light. I’ve always been clean shaven and couldn’t grow a full beard to save my life, but I could probably grow a formidable mustache and goatee. It is very uncomfortable to shave my upper lip against the grain, and not much better around my chin, so I have given up on that. I shave almost every day.

For about 20 years I shaved with Schick ST2 disposable razors (https://www.amazon.com/Schick-Dispo...chick+sensitive+skin+disposable,hpc,89&sr=1-6). I found they were very comfortable and gave me a decently close shave – they still give the most comfortable shave I can remember. Until recently, I’ve almost always used Barbasol shaving cream and Skin Bracer aftershave.

I would probably still be following that regimen if I hadn’t wanted to find something that produced less landfill waste. I tried a Harry’s permanent handle/disposable blade system, but I have an angular face and the wide razor head completely missed hairs in certain areas of my face, even if I did multiple passes. I had that experience with another multi-blade razor as well – can’t remember the brand.

My next handle/blade combination was a Dorco two blade system, which worked reasonably well, but then Dorco stopped making two-blade cartridges since I was probably the only one buying them. That’s when I ventured into DE razors and, shortly after, shaving soap.

After a little research, my first DE razor was a Feather butterfly with which I ripped my face apart – I used it only a few times. I did some more research and bought an Edwin Jagger, which, after a while, I found woefully inefficient for me. Even with multiple shims, I couldn’t get a reasonably close shave.

From there, I tried a number of other razors. I spent a good amount of time with a Merkur 34c and a RazoRock 37 Slant, but had trouble getting a consistently close shave with either of them. I tried a Muhle R41, but it was just a little too harsh for me. I also tried a Mr. Fine Marvel razor, but didn’t like the very specific shaving angle it required.

Eventually, I tried the Fatip Piccolo and, after going back and forth between the different razors I had, found it gave me the closest shave of everything I tried and was reasonably comfortable. With the Fatip, I usually do just one pass (as opposed to two or, sometimes, three with my other razors) with some buffing with/across the grain. The Fatip is not as nicely finished as the other razors I’ve tried, and there is a small amount of play in the blade before it is clamped down, but it gives me the best shave, and that is what I am after.

For shaving soaps, first let me say, that, while it is unlikely that I will ever abandon DE shaving, I will never go back to shaving foam. I find that shaving with plain bath soap is more comfortable than shaving foam. It is an evil creation in my mind. I’ve tried a number, but far from exhaustive, list of shaving soaps. The ones I remember are: Tabac, Pre de Provence No. 63, Palmolive stick, Arko stick, Henry Cavendish, Men’s Soap Company, RazoRock XXX, Taylor of Bond Street, Proraso Cream, and Proraso Single Blade.

Briefly, Henry Cavendish, Men’s Soap Company, and Taylor of Bond Street all get used up too quickly for my taste. I did not like the shave I got with the RazoRock XXX. Up until about a year ago, Tabac was my favorite, followed by Pre de Provence No. 63. The others were all okay.

I now use Proraso Single Blade shaving cream because it seems to give me the closest shave of all the products I’ve tried – yes, I think it’s noticeably closer than regular Proraso cream. I also like that I don’t have to spend any time loading up my brush and that it is easy to take with me and use without a brush when I travel (either with a Schick ST or, with a little care, my Fatip).

I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but I prefer to start off my shave by rubbing a little Proraso cream straight from the tube into my skin with my hand as a preshave. The Big Bruce brush I use does not require soaking (it’s the only brush I’ve ever used). I just dunk it in hot water, squeeze it out and start creating foam. After creating a foam, I dip the tip of the brush back into the water once more before going back to the bowl to create what I find to be the best foam consistency. I use only a large pea-sized amount of Proraso and it provides enough thick foam for three passes (even though I usually do just one). By chance, I started using a very large, cheap, ceramic cereal bowl I picked up at the supermarket for a couple of dollars (7” diameter, 4” high – yeah, it's really big) as my shave bowl and I prefer it to anything else I’ve used. It’s less messy and maximizes foam creation.

I think, because I have a coarse mustache area, I prefer Personna Blue blades which I think are among the sharpest I've tried. I’ve tried a number of other blades, but most felt too dull for me.

My skin has always been somewhat splotchy, especially after using alcohol aftershave, but I think it’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. And with Zoom calls becoming popular at work, I’ve also become more conscious of it. I’ve tried a bunch of aftershaves and a couple of balms, but about four months ago I started using 100% Witch Hazel and I find that tones my skin down. The Homestead brand I use has a shaker top, so I don’t end up using too much. The smell of 100% Witch Hazel takes some getting used to, and I do miss the menthol of my favorite aftershaves, but I’m getting over it.

As far as shaving technique, the one thing that so many DE shavers say that took me so long to really understand was to use a light touch. That has made the biggest difference for me in terms of irritation and also not cutting myself.

As for the Fatip, I agree with many shavers who say that it is a pretty smooth shave and not scary, even though it is an open comb razor. I’ve read on this forum about some people who say they ride the cap when shaving with a Fatip. I didn’t find that worked for me and use what I think of as a standard angle.

One last thing. What’s up with this guy:
? How can someone with a mustache and goatee think he is able to give valid reviews of shaving products? That’s like someone who rides bicycles with training wheels giving cyclists advice on what bike to buy.
 
Nice, glad you found a regimen that works for you! I haven't tried a Fatip razor. Maybe one day. The one that interests me the most is the Il Grosso. I only see it for sale in the U.S. from one vendor.
 
Excellent write up and how wonderful you landed on a Piccolo - I love mine. And there is not much difference between the OC and the Gentile version. Frankly I believe the OC is smoother.

I imagine you expediting peace and tranquillityFrom knowing that this is your best working setup.

Enjoy!

Guido
 
One last thing. What’s up with this guy: ? How can someone with a mustache and goatee think he is able to give valid reviews of shaving products? That’s like someone who rides bicycles with training wheels giving cyclists advice on what bike to buy.

That's a valid point, sort of?

For close to four decades, I wore a full beard. Usually it was trimmed very short. Think #1 on a electric trimmer. My primary reason for this was so I did not have to shave.

Still did shave but just below my cheekbones and the inch or two at the base of my neck. I used mostly two blade Track II razors. They came out at the time I was starting to shave and transitioned from a Norelco electric. I switched over to the Mach 3, when the Track II was not available. I also used similar 2-blade disposable razors and the single blade disposable BIC.

Here and there along the way, I did use DE razors. I used a DE before I bought my first Mach II.

Not that long after my return to DE shaving, I did decide to shave off my beard, which I did. But I did leave my mustache and a small separate goatee, kept trimmed real short.

I did decide to trim back my mustache from directly below my nose and to trim it back above my lip. Now it is the pencil thin style.

Probably many members here who DE shave have some facial hair and comment on shave quality. That is perfectly OK. Though I do understand that shaving the lip and chin area is one of the more challenging parts of any razor shave. It is still challenging to shave above and below my mustache. I would say, that there is still the need to avoid irritation and there is still effort required to shave the area cleanly and precisely.

Above the upper lip is my most sensitive area. Enough so that when using the R41 head, which I typically use daily, I change the blade to a Wilkinson TTO razor to do this last part of the shave.
It us being able to chop through the bottom of the mustache hair and cleanly shave this area, is whatcI use to decide when a bade is finished or not.

Having and maintaining this type of mustache trim is a key component to my DE shaving routine. Not having a mustache at all would be significantly easier and take less time overall.

Since the challenging part is above and below the mustache, if it was not present at all, it would make the shave easier, just slashing through this area.

I will comment that I have never at any time shaved upward against the grain at times when I had removed my mustache. I'm not seeing any necessity for it and I question if many others shave that way either?

I do grant you that the chin area is a difficult area to shave and the area that did give me my most post shave irritation before I decided to grow a beard.

Having this facial hair does shortcut the shave in some aspects. Still, shaving is part of overall grooming and maintaining your individual choice of style.

So having a neat trimmed mustache and goatee is very much a valid part of shaving and maintaining the precise cuts necessary to preserve one's style.

I have seen other people make shave videos who have full beards and a mustache. I thought the video was about them shaving it off and they only shaved around it.

I would think "are you kidding me?" and they would be seriously considering this daily shave important enough to make and post a video of it.
 
That's a valid point, sort of?

For close to four decades, I wore a full beard. Usually it was trimmed very short. Think #1 on a electric trimmer. My primary reason for this was so I did not have to shave.

Still did shave but just below my cheekbones and the inch or two at the base of my neck. I used mostly two blade Track II razors. They came out at the time I was starting to shave and transitioned from a Norelco electric. I switched over to the Mach 3, when the Track II was not available. I also used similar 2-blade disposable razors and the single blade disposable BIC.

Here and there along the way, I did use DE razors. I used a DE before I bought my first Mach II.

Not that long after my return to DE shaving, I did decide to shave off my beard, which I did. But I did leave my mustache and a small separate goatee, kept trimmed real short.

I did decide to trim back my mustache from directly below my nose and to trim it back above my lip. Now it is the pencil thin style.

Probably many members here who DE shave have some facial hair and comment on shave quality. That is perfectly OK. Though I do understand that shaving the lip and chin area is one of the more challenging parts of any razor shave. It is still challenging to shave above and below my mustache. I would say, that there is still the need to avoid irritation and there is still effort required to shave the area cleanly and precisely.

Above the upper lip is my most sensitive area. Enough so that when using the R41 head, which I typically use daily, I change the blade to a Wilkinson TTO razor to do this last part of the shave.
It us being able to chop through the bottom of the mustache hair and cleanly shave this area, is whatcI use to decide when a bade is finished or not.

Having and maintaining this type of mustache trim is a key component to my DE shaving routine. Not having a mustache at all would be significantly easier and take less time overall.

Since the challenging part is above and below the mustache, if it was not present at all, it would make the shave easier, just slashing through this area.

I will comment that I have never at any time shaved upward against the grain at times when I had removed my mustache. I'm not seeing any necessity for it and I question if many others shave that way either?

I do grant you that the chin area is a difficult area to shave and the area that did give me my most post shave irritation before I decided to grow a beard.

Having this facial hair does shortcut the shave in some aspects. Still, shaving is part of overall grooming and maintaining your individual choice of style.

So having a neat trimmed mustache and goatee is very much a valid part of shaving and maintaining the precise cuts necessary to preserve one's style.

I have seen other people make shave videos who have full beards and a mustache. I thought the video was about them shaving it off and they only shaved around it.

I would think "are you kidding me?" and they would be seriously considering this daily shave important enough to make and post a video of it.
I think you bring up a valid point.
In my recent research into DE Safety Razor Shaving, I've watched approximately 3,498,662 videos and read about 5,774,129 reviews on Amazon.
The videos often feature guys with full beards practically down to their navels commenting on what blades or shavers they like best. To which I respond, "Wut???" and roll my eyes.
In the interest of full disclosure, I do have a mustache and goatee myself but shave everything else. Nonetheless, I cannot comment on how a particular razor fits beneath my nose or around my chin. And won't.
 
In my recent research into DE Safety Razor Shaving, I've watched approximately 3,498,662 videos

Taking the shaving video one step further...

Say, you do a YouTube search and find a few videos that review a specific razor blade. I would expect someone reviewing a razor blade would talk about it for five or six minutes.

What I found was videos of people shaving. Doing three-pass shaves that lasted twenty minutes and longer.

About the last thing I have any interest in, is watching someone else shave. And each video takes the shave completely from beginning to end. These videos last longer than I take to shave, myself.

So, not having any content in the middle that I have any interest in, I would fast forward to the final two minutes or after the preview shows the shaver wiping the rinse water off his face with a towel.

The kicker is, that more often than not, there is very little comment on the blade being reviewed. Sometimes it is limited to "that was a good shave".

Having watched these 3,498,662 shaving videos, you know what I mean. This would be like watching a food critic eating his entire meal and then commenting that the steak was tender, properly cooked and had a nice flavor.
 
How can someone with a mustache and goatee think he is able to give valid reviews of shaving products? That’s like someone who rides bicycles with training wheels giving cyclists advice on what bike to buy.
That's one of the more ridiculous views I've heard. The man has designed several razors and made his own shaving soaps.

Should I never buy a Gillette razor because King Camp Gillette never shaved his mustache? Or a Blackbird because Shane always wears a mustache and goatee?

Shane did shave it off on my recommendation that as a first time razor designer, people on Kickstarter would be more likely to back it if the creator was clean shaven. He also promptly grew it back.

I normally wear a full, but neatly trimmed beard, because my wife prefers it. It doesn't change the fact that for nearly 20 years I was clean shaven. I've been wet shaving for 14 years. I can tell the difference between razors and how they shave without shaving my chin. Matt has been wet shaving longer than I have, and already had an impressive razor collection when I met him back in 2012.

After you install plumbing in your work office, just so you can shave when the mood strikes you, like Matt did (long before he ever did YouTube videos), we'll talk about people being qualified to make valid shaving product reviews.
That's my opinion.

I do think that people who just shave on YouTube for a living really ought to be fully clean shaven, but a beard or lack thereof shouldn't render their observations invalid.

The most absurd thing about shaving on YouTube to me, is listening to someone describing how a soap smells, usually very poorly.
 
Nice, glad you found a regimen that works for you! I haven't tried a Fatip razor. Maybe one day. The one that interests me the most is the Il Grosso. I only see it for sale in the U.S. from one vendor.
HEad-wise they are the same of course. My first Fatip was a Picollo (handle too thin), then a Grande (thickness was OK but I hate the hole in the handle), then a Wood (too long) and finally the Il Grosso. Perfect handle, perfect weight and despite the super smooth finish without even a trace of knurling I never felt it was going to slip from my hands! Try one!
 
I got the FOCS in chrome with the grande handle because I was able to get a small discount on it. I like the grande handle just fine. It is my first slant razor. It performs well and is fun to use!
 
Timbuktu Traveler - you and I are the same age. I have been wet shaving since 2013 - so 10 years for me.

I enjoyed reading your story and we share a lot of the same insights in our journey. Unlike you, I haven't settled on one, or even a handful of razors, although I think I could go with just Nacets and Perma-Sharp blades. Same with the soap - I've already given away the products I didn't like and am still left with too many!

As to Matt, I think he has gravitas given that he owns a company that repairs/refurbishes vintage razors, has designed and manufactured their own line of razors, and is now branching into software (soaps and pre-shave).
 
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