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Haagiboys straight journal!

Hi there!

Today I had my first straight shave. Did my usual prep, lathered up, stropped my straight (25/60) and lathered up again.
First I did my right cheek. I wasnt afraid or anything, I just jumped right in it.
The first "problem" that occured was that I believe my angle was off. I tried to go in at around 30 degrees, but I felt I had to "pull" the razor down on my cheek quite abit. It wasnt skipping or anything, I just thought that I wouldnt need any sort of pressure at all, just let the weight do it's job.
Anyways, first WTG pass on my right cheek got a bit spotty, so I relathered and went for one more WTG. Looking good so far.

Left cheek.... hmm.. right or left hand? I went with my left hand here, and that made my angle problem even more obvious. Not only the blade angle, but I was shaving only with some part of my razor at a time. This was even more spotty!
Relathered, and tried with my right hand now, did ok. Only one little nick when I was shaving in more of a scythe motion, not on purpose.

Seeing as this went fine, I then went to my neck, for my WTG pass there, which will be a South to North pass. Again, no nicks or cuts, but not a close shave at all. Again, I blame the angle.

I even did my chin! Not under my cheekbones though, that wouldnt have worked out imo. WTG on my chin is a north-south pass. Made it all the way down to the adams apple.

Then I reached for my futur on 1 and cleaned it up with a XTG + ATG shave.

All in all, a good experience for day one! Next time I'll try an XTG and ATG on my cheeks!
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
That's a good start.

If you can shave with both hands, I would recommend doing it. It will feel strange at first but then, it will get better. Don't worry too much on how close the shave is, it's the first one. My shaves became "magically" closer with time.

Try to keep the spine as flat as possible. For the pressure, you need a bit a pressure but very very light. Just enough to touch the skin. If the blade is not skipping, that's good!
 
Well done, get the feel of the razor first, keep using the de for touch ups as this will not force you to try harder for a perfect shave, that will come down the line.
 
Congratulations on your first shave, you seem to have done quite well. From my own experience, I would keep away from ATG in the beginning if I were you because it is very aggressive when using a straight especially when your first passes are not particularly efficient. Stick to WTG and XTG to start with and when you feel more confident you can go ATG. I started ATG early on and had a lot of cuts to show for it. As taffy said, do not worry about closeness in the beginning, that will come with time.
 
Yeah, I feel today was just my "tryout" with the straight. Just getting the feel for it in my hands and trying to figure out the angles.

I'll report back when my next shave is done ^^
 

ouch

Stjynnkii membörd dummpsjterd
Moderator Emeritus
I never thought that in a million years I'd be able to shave with both hands, but it really is the best way to do it. Mastering the myriad angles of attack takes quite a while. If you view it as a long term project, rather than "I need to get a perfect shave today or else it's back to cartridges", you'll do okay.
 
I never thought that in a million years I'd be able to shave with both hands, but it really is the best way to do it. Mastering the myriad angles of attack takes quite a while. If you view it as a long term project, rather than "I need to get a perfect shave today or else it's back to cartridges", you'll do okay.
That's exactly how I think of things. Knowing that have all the time I want to get good at straight shaving. I think it looks so damn manly! :laugh:

So I will just take small steps at a time, knowing that if I cut my face off It will probably be a long time til the next straight shave.
 
So, day 2!

Lathered up, stropped (25/60), relathered and went for it.
Today I managed to go wtg ALL OVER my face! And the only nicks I got was 1 on my upper lipp close to my nose, and 2 little ones under my chin/jawbone.
So, first wtg pass done. Much better then yesterday! Relathered and went for my 2nd wtg pass. There obviously was quite some stubbles left from my first pass, so this 2nd pass took almost as much hair as the first did. No cuts this time (didnt shave my upper lip this pass)

I didn't want to ruin this great feeling, so I stopped there and went ATG with my Futur on 1. DFS!

I think I will be doing this routine for some weeks before I try to go XTG. The XTG will be tricky on my neck, as this will be a west-east pass. Any tips for that? Atleast I can go XTG on my face pretty easy, I believe.
So, a couple of weeks only WTG on my whole face, and then XTG on my face(not neck) ?

I tried to shave with my left hand, and I think it actually was easier to hold it stable when shaving my left cheek. But when I went to my neck, for my south-north pass, I used my right hand, and pulled my straight all the way out, so that handle + blade was aligned. Is this a nono?
 
Hi Haagi,

Everyone shaves differently, but I do something similar to what you describe regarding shaving your neck/undercheeks. I shave right-to-left, starting under my right jawbone, moving right across, and slightly up at the same time, probably the opposite of what you do, but it gets unexpectedly great results. I look right up at the ceiling when I do that stroke, to get my neck and throat area as flat as possible.
 
Shave #3.

Today I did as usual, showered, lathered up, stropped (30/60), washed face and relathered. WTG on face, no problem. Although I did not dare to go on my upper lip again today. And I'm still struggliong with the angles and how to hold the razor when I go WTG on my neck. As said earlier, wtg on my neck is a south to north pass. And today I felt abit tugging on my neck. It could just be that I waited 2 days for my shave, instead of my normal every day shave. Oh, and today I just couldn't find out the angle for how to shave my jawline, so I skipped it completely. Except for my left side, which I did ok.

Then I relathered and went for a second wtg pass. Still alot of stubble to go through, and I just can't get it to shave close enough. And btw, I don't stretch my skin, I should give it a try the next time.

Seeing as there was still lots of stubbles left, I relathered and went for an XTG today on my face. It went allright. No problems, and it made my shave alot closer. Actually, it was so close that I didn't have to go for a last pass with a DE.
I think I made the angle abit shallower when I went for the XTG compared to the WTG. Is this normal? Or should I try to keep the steeper WTG angle for my XTG?

On my neck on the other hand.... completely different story. If I where to go an XTG there, I think I would tear up my neck. An XTG is east-west or vice versa for me.

All in all, I believe these are the things to work with:
- Skin Stretching
- Looking up when shaving neck
- ANGLE!
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
Try to keep the blade as flat as possible while shaving, a bigger angle can cause nicks and cuts.
 
Shave #4

Today I did my usual prep, and went into battle again bearing in mind what I had to do. Stretch the skin, look up when shaving neck and watch your angle!
Started off with stretching my sideburn area and shaved a couple of strokes, before moving my hand even lower and stretched more and more as I went down. Do you guys stretch your skin under your eye aswell? I tried, but it just felt awkard and poked my eye...
So, WTG with stretch on my face, again, no problem. WTG on my neck: left side was fine, using my right hand on my razor (which I pulled all the way out, aligned with the scales) and shaved south to north.

Right side: Here started my problem... what hand? how to hold? what to do? This area is always a hassle for me regarding the angle and how to hold the razor... But I somehow managed to do it ok.

And today I didn't want to settle with the WTG (north to south) on my face, so I pulled out the big guns and went all in with a ATG.
Ok, I moved on abit too fast here... because I thought I could just go ahead in my normal tempo. Big mistake. 2 cm long cut near my ear along the sideburn. Yikes!
Guess the really dangerous part is when your razor first makes contact with the skin, in a way to steep angle.

Nonetheless, I felt no fear, so I ventured forth into the yet undiscovered land of ATG straight shaving. Again, I rushed it way too fast, and got some minor nicks all around on my face. (4-5 nicks)

I even tried ATG on my neck, but my razor just dragged my skin for about 0,5cm before it cut some hairs and skipped. So I dropped the ATG on my neck.

But listen up! My face was actually presentable today!! And ONLY STRAIGHT RAZOR! :D
I'm proud!
Ofcourse there was alot of stubbles in the atg dirction, but I wanted to say to myself "this was the work of your straight razor on your 4th attempt!"

Pulled up my trusty futur on 1 again and went atg on my neck only. Way to go!

2 lessons learned:
- Skin stretching helps alot!
- If you cut yourself, just let it bleed. Applying alum block just makes your next pass impossible by drying your lather out, and not letting it sit where it should.
 
Yes, blood is more of a lubricant than hot soap and water ever will be. I would've created a blood-soap lather, but I reckon it'd be pretty expensive.

Skin-stretching is essential for straight-shaving. Your fingers stretching your skin while straight-shaving are doing what those fancy-schmancy gel-pads and bars and combs are doing when you shave with a cartridge or DE razor - stretching the skin and smoothing it out as you go across with the blade.

Regarding hands and angles, some people recommend shaving with both hands (by that I mean, shave half your face with your right hand and shave the other half with your left hand).

I reckon this isn't always possible. If you can't do it or if you're not comfortable doing it - then don't do it. There's plenty of people who shave with just their right or just their left hand.

I *could* shave with both hands, but my shave would be terrible. As a result, I only ever straight shave with my right hand. It's just...safer...that way!
 
hehe, I am shaving with both hands on my face with no problems. It's just the neck that is proving to be a real hassle.

Maybe you know of any good videos where they are shaving south to north on the neck?
 
I shave very differently from how it's shown in the manuals and most videos, but my results have always been excellent. I don't know why this is. Maybe it's the way my hair grows?

My dominant stroke has always been South to North on my undercheek and around my jawline. To get closer, I go East to West across my throat (VERTICALLY! Not horizontally) and that really whisks off the leftover stubble.

I don't know of any videos that show how to shave like this...I guess it's my own little system.

Everyone's hair-growth is different. I don't think there's a universally accepted way to shave with a straight razor.
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
Shave #4

Today I did my usual prep, and went into battle again bearing in mind what I had to do. Stretch the skin, look up when shaving neck and watch your angle!
Started off with stretching my sideburn area and shaved a couple of strokes, before moving my hand even lower and stretched more and more as I went down. Do you guys stretch your skin under your eye aswell? I tried, but it just felt awkard and poked my eye...
So, WTG with stretch on my face, again, no problem. WTG on my neck: left side was fine, using my right hand on my razor (which I pulled all the way out, aligned with the scales) and shaved south to north.

Right side: Here started my problem... what hand? how to hold? what to do? This area is always a hassle for me regarding the angle and how to hold the razor... But I somehow managed to do it ok.

And today I didn't want to settle with the WTG (north to south) on my face, so I pulled out the big guns and went all in with a ATG.
Ok, I moved on abit too fast here... because I thought I could just go ahead in my normal tempo. Big mistake. 2 cm long cut near my ear along the sideburn. Yikes!
Guess the really dangerous part is when your razor first makes contact with the skin, in a way to steep angle.

Nonetheless, I felt no fear, so I ventured forth into the yet undiscovered land of ATG straight shaving. Again, I rushed it way too fast, and got some minor nicks all around on my face. (4-5 nicks)

I even tried ATG on my neck, but my razor just dragged my skin for about 0,5cm before it cut some hairs and skipped. So I dropped the ATG on my neck.

But listen up! My face was actually presentable today!! And ONLY STRAIGHT RAZOR! :D
I'm proud!
Ofcourse there was alot of stubbles in the atg dirction, but I wanted to say to myself "this was the work of your straight razor on your 4th attempt!"

Pulled up my trusty futur on 1 again and went atg on my neck only. Way to go!

2 lessons learned:
- Skin stretching helps alot!
- If you cut yourself, just let it bleed. Applying alum block just makes your next pass impossible by drying your lather out, and not letting it sit where it should.
You should use the hand that works best for you while you shave. If it's your right hand for the entire shave, that's all right. In my case, I quickly realised that I was not nearly achieving the same quality shave on the left side compared to my right side... I decided to use my left on the left and right on the right. It's very strange at first but after ~5 shaves, it becomes more natural. Now I use both hands on both sides. I normally use the left on the left side and right on the right side but when I go ATG, it's easier for me to use my left hand on the right side and pull the razor instead of pushing the razor ATG with my right hand/side.

Good work on the presentable shave!! :thumbup1:
 

rockviper

Moderator Emeritus
As I'm starting out on my first straight as well, I have to say this is a great read for me. Thanks! :thumbup1:
 
Thanks to the huge cut I got right under my sideburn, I decided to use my DE for a couple of days. More entries will come eventually!
 
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