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How did you get started wet shaving? My story.

It started innocently enough. I was tired. Tired of the shaving bumps, irritation and high prices that came with cartridge razors. A razor with five blades should last me more then a week, but my thick coarse beard would leave the razor begging for relief after just a handful of shaves. I read about other guys getting months of use out of one blade. How did they do it? Were they crazy? Was their beard that much easier to shave then mine?

I just couldn’t bear the thought of dragging five expensive blades across my skin anymore, while shaving cream that started off as blue goo provided little protection. Afterwards, my face would be sore, and soon the razor bumps would appear. How I hated those bumps. They plagued my neck. Every day I would shave for work, over those bumps some of them bleeding they were so pronounced, my neck looked and felt like driving over an old dirt road full of potholes and bumps. There had to be a better way.

I decided to consult my friend google. I asked my old buddy what I could do to make it better. He told me the same thing my dermatologist had, don’t shave against the grain on your face. Seriously? If I don’t shave against the grain, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I had shaved at all. That wasn’t the kind of shave that would make my face presentable to the world. I dug some more and eventually I found these odd videos on youtube. Some guy named Mantic59, was showing people how to shave. He used something called a safety or DE razor, he made his shaving cream by swirling a brush in a large Texas A&M coffee mug. He made 3 passes. It looked tedious and boring and time consuming. I wasn’t sold. However, I upgraded from the blue goo to Pacific Shaving Cream and shave oil. I started using Nivea Sensitive Shave Balm after my shave. It was a step in the right direction. I would go on to watch every shaving video Mantic59 had made, dozens of times over. I watched his videos so many times, I would see his face staring back at me when I shaved sometimes, telling me to treat my face like a diamond. I would go on to be introduced to Geofatboy and learn a lot from him, this guy really loves shaving I thought to myself. I couldn’t understand how someone could love shaving… Nickshaves would be someone I watched shave more times then I care to admit. PaulH would become a celebrity in my world. In my mind, I have visited him a dozen times, as he takes me about the countryside and tells me stories of Great Britian, in return I would buy him a decent lather bowl. If it had not been for those wet shavers and their videos, I may not have soldiered on.

One Thanksgiving while home from grad school, I realized that I was out of shaving cream. I raided my father’s bathroom. For years he had used a Van Der Hagen shave brush and Nivea Shave Cream from a tube. It was a hold over from being a generation older and being born overseas. Where he came from everyone used a shaving brush. The Nivea Shave Cream he would buy every time he went to Windsor, Canada which bordered Detroit where we lived, you couldn’t find it at the local CVS. I tried to remember everything I had learned watching Mantic and using my father’s cream and brush and his 2 blade disposable Gillette Good News Razor, I had as good a shave as I had ever experienced. My skin felt refreshed not irritated after I was done. It was a totally new and different experience. I kept rubbing my face not believing it.

The next day I went to Crabtree and Evelyn and purchased my first badger brush. It was small and expensive, but that night I had looked into shaving forums, I found this one called Badger and Blade, I was assured from the reviews that C&E made a great brush for those new to wet shaving. I purchased some TOBS shave cream a Merkur HD razor, and a set of sample blades from Amazon, I had my first shaving gear. With great trepidation, I went about my first shave. It took a long time, an excruciating amount of time. It must have taken 30 minutes. My face was raw afterwards. I couldn’t always find the angle, sometimes it was too shallow, sometimes too deep. Even after a half hour I had stray hairs that hadn’t been shaved off. I wondered if it was worth it, I wondered if I had made a mistake. The initial investment of somewhere around $100 seemed like a lot now. I went back to the forums. I didn’t make up an account, that would be years later. But I lurked, I read about guys who were having the same problems I was and read the advice they got back from the more experienced shavers. Everyone was so optimistic, so upbeat. No one yelled at the new guys for doing it wrong. People had patience and gave suggestions.

I would get better at shaving this old fashioned way. It would take months but eventually I settled into my routine. A 2 pass shave, one straight down, one straight up. It wasn’t a perfect bbs shave, but all I needed was a DFS that would get me by at work and school and that wouldn’t take too much time. Lather was an issue for months. Sometimes it would be perfect, sometimes a mess. I would get discouraged and backslide. By this time I knew not to purchase blue goo or a 5 blade razor, but often it was easier to take a solid shave cream like Pacific or Nancy Boy and just apply it by hand and shave with a Gillette Sensor. I hadn’t yet mastered the art and craft of shaving.

Eventually though, the bug would come back. I would bring out the old set with the stand I eventually purchased and set it up. I had to admit, it looked good sitting on my sink counter. Then it began. The disease hit me. One day, I thought to myself…so many guys swear by soaps and not creams, I should try them. I read all the reviews on this site, in order to figure out what to buy and what to avoid. I bought some Tabac. The smell was that of an old German lady who lived deep in the forest and hadn’t showered that day. How could anyone use this, I wondered. But then I shaved with it. The performance. Oh the performance. My blade practically glided across my face. My obsession with tallow had begun. If you are reading this and have never used a tallow based soap, I beg you, don’t ever do it. Tallow is a gateway drug. All of a sudden I had been bitten with the Acquisition Disorder that so many of the old timers on the forums had talked about.

Quickly I went through one shaving company after another, Italian, British and other European soap makers were all tried. I had to know who was the best. What about the American company Art of Shaving were they as good? Then came the tipping point. The smaller vendors. The Artisans. There were so many, with so many different smells and creams and soaps and even razors and brushes. I had to try them all. I subscribed to newsletters, I hunted down obscure razors or Ebay. I added pre shaves and post shave balms to my cart to avoid shipping costs, knowing I had more then I could use already. I tried everything. Soon there were boxes and boxes with creams and razors and brushes that I had tried only a few times. I had once balked at spending $30 for a Merkur razor, now every month a box full of gear showed up at my house. I had literally a couple thousand bucks of shaving stuff packed away in boxes. I began to ask other friends, have you heard of wetshaving? If they hadn’t I would PIF them some gear whether they wanted it or not. I decided to tone it down before I went broke. Today I limit myself to no more then one purchase a month, and no more equipment then can fit in one large box under my sink. I turned the same guys I play fantasy football with into wet shavers. I am not above adding in a razor or tub of soap, to acquire a player I like via trade. My trades always go through, there are advantages to being a commissioner.

Eventually, almost 3 years after I first began visiting the boards, I joined. Oddly enough, I spend less time here then I did before. I still watch Youtube videos, but I spend most of my time trying to find out what the newest Artisan has for sale so I can gobble it up before the shavepocalypse. A few months ago, while visiting Chicago I walked into Q brothers, a shop dedicated to wet shaving. I walked around smelling everything, giggling to myself like a kid in a candy shop, I was hoping no one noticed, but I didn’t really care. This was nirvana.

As of this minute my new obsession is my Oneblade razor and synthetic shave brushes. I soak the synthetic brush in hot water while I shower, even though you don’t need to, old habits are hard to break. I pair it with a nice tallow soap (the only part of my routine that rotates anymore) and some Baxter of California Balm. I have cut down my shaving time, and prefer to face lather. It comes easy now, as long as I don’t get sloppy with my technique.

The biggest lie in wet shaving is that you can save money. Anyone with any experience can tell you shaving will soon go from a necessity, to a hobby to an obsession, to an addiction. The Artisans feed our addiction. I have gone from watching videos about the guys who shave to watching interviews about the guys who make the shave gear we use.

So that is how I got started and where I am at now. I am not sure why I wrote this, or if anyone will read it. I just felt that I had to share. Confessions of a Serial WetShaver you may say.
My wife bought a razor and cream for my birthday a couple years ago. After ignoring it for a while because of all the horrible years of cartridge use I tried it out and actually got a decent shave without the irritation and kept it going.
I was thrilled throughout this riveting testimony - this is the stuff movies are made of - the quest for The Perfect Shave! Congrats on having found something better and something you now enjoy so much more.

I too hated shaving for the first 35 years, but now I look forward to it every day thanks to the members here at B&B and our famous YouTube shaving heroes.
Nice story
I never actually had a bad shave from my Gillette M3 Power, mainly due to lathering with a brush and an ancient Crabtree & Evelyn Sandalwood Soap Bowl when I wanted a proper shave, or just splashing bathwater on my face, pulling the plug out and having a quick 1 pass shave blind and rinsing the razor in the bathwater. In hindsight, my face was probably so hydrated after a long soak in the bath that the lubrastrips provided adequate glide and cushion.

Then disaster struck in November 2014 - my stash of M3 Power blades that I brought over when I moved from England to Mallorca, Spain in 2006 deteriorated from storage in a room that was cold and damp in winter, hot and dry in summer and even hotter and humid in the August heatwaves.
The lubrastrips had disintegrated and were rendered useless - at best I was only getting 2 or 3 uncomfortable shaves from a blade that normally lasted 2 or 3 weeks.
I looked on eBay, decided on a Weishi 9306 and some Shark SS blades
The Weishi finally arrived after 3 long weeks

And the rest is history
This is my story. It was a dark and stormy night about half a century ago. I had reached puberty and began sprouting whiskers.

Truthfully, it wasn't really a dark and stormy night. It might have been the monsoon season on Okinawa, though, which is where I lived then. But I digress.

"When are you gonna shave that stuff off?" my old man asked.

So I walked down the hill from my home to the Army PX at Fort Buckner. I bought a Gillette DE adjustable (I think you guys call it a slim these days), a tuck of blades and a can of Noxema shaving cream (because that's what my old man used).

The end.
Similar story here. When I came of age DEs were state of the art. My dad handed down a slim to me. I seemed to resist the advent of plastic carts and disposables which I viewed as cheap and cheesy compared to the old slim and it's ilk and persevered using it.

I'm still doing it "the old fashioned way" and it is with great satisfaction that I now watch the pendulum swinging back with all you younger fellows discovering that the old ways are sometimes the best ways.
I got back into DE's about 10 years ago, when I realized that I could get acceptable blades once again from the internet (they had disappeared from stores about 1990). I had managed to keep my first "proper" razor, a 1980s Super Speed, and Dad's Schick Krona, so it wasn't hard to get back into things. This was after many years of indifferent Atra system use.
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Wow. That is quite the story. Mine is way more boring:

When I was 15, Dad said 'here' and handed me one of his old razors: a pre-war Tech. That was 40 years ago.....

I don't remember my story too clearly. Somehow, I found information online about DE razors, I got a job that required a clean shave, and I immediately ordered a Merkur 23C with Personna Lab Blues. Eventually, I was discouraged to find out that the Merkur razors are chrome plated pot metal, and pot metal is not a durable metal, so I looked into other razors, got myself a brush and inexpensive aftershaves, and the rest is history.
1. Got tired of fussing over cartridge refills - forgetting to buy them, stretching the old ones, paying the high price, etc.
2. Heard of the shave clubs like DSC but found their way of doing things was not for me.
3. Went online and stocked up on house brand twin-pivots - at least they were cheaper than the store and I would not run out.
4. While I had been shopping for the twin pivots, encountered DE, but really wanted to touch and sample the merchandise before buying.
5. Trip to AoS. Expensive, but a suitable start.
6. Got the smoothest shave of my life.
Nice story. I need to visit Q Brothers next time I'm in Chicago. Since you're in Detroit, I assume you visited the super nice shave shop over in Adrian, Michigan. I can't seem to get out of there for less than a C-note.
Actually there are a few of us that saved money on wet shaving. for 55 years I used 1 razor 1 blade 1 brush and soap etc. EXCEPT for the past 2 years I went on a collection spree, thanks to the guys at B&B, but now that I've lost the buying bug (except when I see $3 razor at a lawn sale) after 30+ razors, I can safely say that I will be saving money in the future.
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