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"I have coarse hair and sensitive skin"

Wet shavers, what's your take on your hair / skin compared to other folks?

  • I think my hair is coarser than average

    Votes: 18 22.8%
  • I think my skin is more sensitive than average

    Votes: 13 16.5%
  • I think my hair / skin is more or less "normal"

    Votes: 37 46.8%
  • I don't really know how I compare to others

    Votes: 15 19.0%
  • Other...

    Votes: 8 10.1%

  • Total voters
    79
I probably have normal old man coarse whiskers. I haven't done any testing. I could go around, asking to feel old men's faces, I suppose.... Somehow, I don't think this would be well received. <eg>

We can laugh, but it's true!

I think sometimes it's obvious that someone's hair is unusually coarse / fine. For example, I had a friend (sadly passed) who kept a long beard, but his pure white hair was surprisingly soft and supple and you could tell just by the appearance. Conversely, sometimes you see guys of Mediterranean extraction whose hair looks particularly wiry.

But aside from these extreme cases it is very hard to tell.

Approaching a stranger with, "Excuse me, can I stroke your beard?" is likely to get you either punched or propositioned, depending on who you ask!
 
I guess a proxy for beard coarseness would be how long a blade lasts you.

I do (sort of) miss the guy who used to start almost every post, regardless of the topic, with "I have a coarse beard and sensitive skin. Thus, let me tell you about the 5,786 different soaps I have tried and meticulously rated."
That's a good point on blade longevity. Even my 'worst' blades often give me a week, and some of my favorites have gotten me to 20+ shaves with minimal drop-off. I usually change blades because I'm bored instead of using them until they won't finish a shave.
 
I do think there is a similar thing going on with 90% of drivers thinking they're better than average. But if that study was worth anything, it used a randomized sample.

If a person actually does have coarse hair and sensitive skin, and he searches for how to deal with that, where do you think Google is going to send him? I don't think we're getting a random sample here. Most people with fine hair and fireproof skin aren't spending a lot of time worried about their shave quality.

That said, most people are going to be in the fat part of the bell curve for both coarseness and sensitivity, and almost all of them can greatly improve their shaving problems with experimentation, practice, and the right products for their skin.
 
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Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
I'm an excellent driver!!!! <eg>

I can get AC blades to last for 6 shaves if I push them but lately, I've been binning them after 3 shaves.. and with my DE blades? I'm one and done. I can get a second shave sometimes... but never a third. I do get great shaves the first time around and DE blades are relatively inexpensive so I joined the "One and Done" crowd here.
 
I made the mistake of venturing back on to social media.

demotivational-posters-well-theres-your-problem6~2.jpg
 
I am also on around 6 shaves from an AC and borderline one-and-done for DE blades, but I think that's more down to being fussy than anything else.

It's not that I can't squeeze another shave or two out of a blade, I just want my shave to be as easy as possible, with minimal chance of irritation, and for me that seems to entail having a nice, fresh, sharp blade.

That said, I am astonished by guys who can push blades for 10, 20, 30 shaves. I feel like they must know something I don't!
 
This is my average beard hair versus my average (head?) hair. I am in my mid 20's and my beard is getting darker and thicker every year. I just grew a beard after a year of 3-4 weekly shaves. I sincerily noticed a difference and confirmed with photos. Beard hair is usually, if not always thicker than scalp hair, according to a quick google search. On my first WTG pass, I always notice the amount of resistance my beard gives to the razor, after a 10 minute steamy or cold shower, pre-shave cream and face lathered soap until shiny. Second pass glides unbelievably smoother, with 1 or 10 days worth of growth. No matter if I use a black beauty on 1 with a Derby blade, or R41 with Feather or KAI, shavette or straight. There is always noticable resistance with the first pass. And my skin gets irritated after tiniest mistakes in my technique. I need some confidence behind every stroke, to be able to cut the hair, as it lays very flat. I do my best to have the lightest touch possible. I can use Philips OneBlade, dry, ATG, pretty roughly without any issues. It's just the sharp blade that always upsets my neck.

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There's no such thing as "average". But if you want to do a mathematical evaluation , you need to ask some questions, perhaps ponder the meanings of words such as coarse, sensitive and shaving.

So, here are the questions that I'd most likely to know the answer to.

What percentage of the male population "wet shave" (defined as removing facial hair with a non-motorized device utilizing one or more sharp edge along with water and, perhaps, some form of lubricating medium), as opposed to any other form of facial hair management (including none at all)?

What percentage of THAT population participate in what we would consider "traditional wet shaving", i e. using a form of razor that was available before the advent of the modern disposable and cartridge razor?

What percentage of THAT population decided to attempt "traditional wet shaving" because, at least in part, they had been told that such equipment provided better results for those with coarse facial hair and/or sensitive skin?

What percentage of THAT population came to the shaving message boards/forums, at least in part, to seek assistance with those issues?

Factoring in those variables, I'd say that the number of people who say they have coarse facial hair/sensitive skin who actually DO have coarse facial hair/sensitive skin is probably higher than "average".

And since we don't have a definition for "sensitive skin" or "coarse facial hair"...or an objective way to measure them...who are we to say that they don't. In fact, if they're having problems, they're clearly "sensitive" to some part of their shave routine. The best that any of us can do is to talk them through the experimentation that may help them eliminate their problems.
 
I know from experience that products with lanolin aren't a good idea, nor are products with a lot of fragrance; I can't wear cologne or after shave without triggering a migraine (my mom was the same way with perfume). I wouldn't say I have sensitive skin, though, nor is my facial hair dense or particularly coarse.
 
Forgive my cynicism, but whenever I hear "I have coarse hair and sensitive skin" I wonder how the poster’s pre-shave routine might look like.

“I can’t bothered with much of a pre-shave routine” may often be the true reason that someone believes his beard is like copper wire and his skin has the sensitivity of Snow White’s.


B.
 
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Whenever I hear "I have coarse hair and sensitive skin" I wonder how the poster’s pre-shave routine might look like.

“I can’t bothered with much of a pre-shave routine” may often be the true reason that someone believes his beard is like copper wire and his skin has the sensitivity of Snow White’s.


B.

I have coarse skin and sensitive hair. What kind of pre-shave routine do you recommend for that?
 
I have coarse skin and sensitive hair. What kind of pre-shave routine do you recommend for that?

Warm water, wet sponge or bath cloth (either one possibly with some [glycerine] soap), let the moisture do its magic for about three minutes. Slapping a wet hot towel on the face for three minutes or shaving after the shower will help.

It does not have to be complicated and I don’t believe in pre-shave creams or other concoctions, but the skin needs to absorb some moisture to soften the stubble.


B.
 

Chandu

I Waxed The Badger.
I would put it this way. I know my skin won't tolerate some of the razors that some peoples skin will, but I know my facial hair is hard to cut. I much prefer sharper blades. The supposed smooth but less sharp blades are tuggy for me. I'm mid fifties with probably a medium density beard. I need to shave daily. If I use a mild razor like the DE89, I DEFINITELY need a shave after 24 hours and if I use the R41 I definitely CAN shave after 24 hours, but the whiskers are probably 2/3 as long as if I used the DE89.

I probably have average skin and a wirey old man beard. One of the tuggiest blades in existance for me is the FHS-10 single edge. I really like the Genesis Hybrid Razor I own but the blades are not up to the task for me.

I will say this. These days I'm tending toward milder razors, sharper blades and soaps that are less industrial or even <gasp> brushless creams.
 
Warm water, wet sponge or bath cloth (either one possibly with some [glycerine] soap), let the moisture do its magic for about three minutes. Slapping a wet hot towel on the face for three minutes or shaving after the shower will help.

It does not have to be complicated and I don’t believe in pre-shave creams or other concoctions, but the skin needs to absorb some moisture to soften the stubble.


B.

Thanks. I tried your advice, but my skin still feels like 60-grit sandpaper and my hair is even more emotional than before.
 
Factoring in those variables, I'd say that the number of people who say they have coarse facial hair/sensitive skin who actually DO have coarse facial hair/sensitive skin is probably higher than "average".

This is entirely possible. That's one reason I thought it might be interesting to ask the knowledgable folks here at B&B. It strikes me that the proportion of experienced shavers is probably higher here, and I wondered whether the "I have coarse hair and sensitive skin" trope is as common among veteran wet shavers as it seems to be among newbies.

At the moment only 25% of votes are for sensitive skin or coarse hair (I should have included an option for both) with most people considering themselves either "normal" or "don't knows". Hardly scientific, I know. But it does make me wonder if there's some truth to the idea that, the better your technique gets, the less you consider yourself to have unusually coarse hair or sensitive skin.

Forgive my cynicism, but whenever I hear "I have coarse hair and sensitive skin" I wonder how the poster’s pre-shave routine might look like.

“I can’t bothered with much of a pre-shave routine” may often be the true reason that someone believes his beard is like copper wire and his skin has the sensitivity of Snow White’s.

This certainly applies in some cases. I have personally had exchanges with youngsters complaining of the usual problems (irritation, tugging, etc.) and it turns out they do basically no prep at all. It's quite common, but when you are young you can often get away with less prep due to having relatively light growth (I did myself). When you start to need a more extensive prep-routine, either due to your beard hardening or because you want to try a new way of shaving, it feels like an imposition. I have seen folks appear to get quite sulky about the idea that they might need to make time for prep and complain, "I thought this way of shaving was supposed to be better, but it sounds like I have wasted my money!" Not kidding.
 
I am sure my skin is more sensitive and softer than most. I am of Celtic (Scottish) descent and I have the classic very pale, almost blueish skin tone and my skin is thin enough to show blue veins quite clearly. I consider all this to be a sign of good breeding and noble heritage, and I wear my clan tartan with pride 😉. I have to be extremely careful in the sun and I always wear wide brimmed hats if I’m out and the sun is strong. When shaving I can get redness and irritation very easily, but I’ve developed my technique so that most times I completely avoid this.

I’m not sure my stubble is stiffer than average but when it is short I find it makes a big difference for me to use razors with rigidly clamped blades and certain blades like the Bic Chrome Platinum will chatter badly against the grain - I believe the bevel is ground very acutely on these so the metal near the razor edge is thin. I think not everyone has this issue with Bics and they are otherwise extremely sharp and comfortable shaving with the grain. I presume that my hair is broadly average, though.
 
I’m not sure my stubble is stiffer than average but when it is short I find it makes a big difference for me to use razors with rigidly clamped blades and certain blades like the Bic Chrome Platinum will chatter badly against the grain - I believe the bevel is ground very acutely on these so the metal near the razor edge is thin. I think not everyone has this issue with Bics and they are otherwise extremely sharp and comfortable shaving with the grain. I presume that my hair is broadly average, though.
Interesting hypotheses about BICs. Do you have any more info on this?

I love BICs but depending on the razor I feel them a little harsh only on the ATG pass. Since you feel the same, what blades do you prefer for the ATG pass?

I actually had a harsh shave today with the Merkur progress and a BIC. WTG/XTG were smooth as butter, but the ATG was not so comfortable and left me with some burning on the neck.

I know the progress can be a little aggressive for me because of the positive blade exposure even on lower settings but I don’t know if that could be also because of the blade.
 
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