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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
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.
Yes, you get the same as me. Bics are wonderful blades until the ATG pass, then they get really rough for me. It isn’t due to the razor as I experience the same even with a razor like my Athena which clamps the blade right at the edge. It has to be the blade bevel itself that is chattering.

I don’t have any manufacturer information on this, but it has come up a few times in Bic threads here that the bevel is ground thinner than most blades. Maybe someone checked under a microscope before but I haven’t seen it. I’m only going on what people have told me, and I can’t think of another explanation for what you and I experience. It’s consistently reported to be one of the sharpest blades available and if it was only the sharpness there should be no issue ATG - in fact it should be smoother than other blades. It’s the only hypothesis I have for this harsh ATG behaviour from such a sharp, comfortable blade.

FWIW, I am very happy with Kai, Personna Lab Blues, and Perma-Sharps. They all work very well for my hair and skin. But I’m not someone who has tried and rated every blade - when I find a good one I tend to stick with it.
 
I guess that for a new DE shaver the technique is the biggest problem. Also, when the skin is not used to DE shaving, it's sensitive. If you also have the misfortune of using a razor/blade combination that is tuggy, it creates problems. So I do understand why people say they have coarse hair and sensitive skin when they first start out.

As for me, my whiskers don't bend, they grow straight up, like porcupine needles. The individual hairs are extremely thick, a blade that is not sharp will tug and scrape. My skin is sensitive, I have atopic dermatitis problem on the part of my neck, my skin in general is very dry and prone to cracking. My problem is that I really do need 3 passes because if I don't, my whiskers can still be felt and my wife complains. Even with a BBS she starts complaining after a day and a half.

So I kinda settled on sharp blades and mild razors (vintage post war Superspeeds and Techs), not over tightening my skin and not mashing my brush against my skin too much. Also, don't overwetting the lather, I like to keep it on the drier side so it provides a cushion and residual slickness.

IMO, having a King C. Gillette razor and a Gillette Platinum or a German Wilkie you can buy at the supermarket is enough for comfortable shaving.
 
Great topic!

I have very thick facial hair. My brother’s is much finer. Mine is black and his is red. He shaves with disposables and water. No lather, and it takes him less than 5 minutes.

I clipped my facial hair with hair clippers for over 20 years because of the ingrown hairs. I also have frequent compound hairs (pili multigemini) so I’m comfortable stating that my hair falls in the “above average” category for coarseness.

For years I believed I had sensitive skin, but I think, as you stated, the issues I had were largely due to poor technique.
 
Sorry, James! I refuse to vote in this poll.

But I will tell you this. My hair is black (not dark brown) and very thick. Imagine an Indian guy. Something like that.
Had serious problems in the army as after a two pass shave in the morning the 5 o'clock shadow appears around 1 PM.
In the last 5-7 years the grey hair started showing. More and more, and it doesn't get any better.
My skin is very sensitive. Many of the creams, blades, aftershaves will give me serious irritation.

Anyway, after decades of trying hundreds of razors I can now shave without problems. No problem even using a Feather. I just need a proper cream and everything is fine. It's about skills. And you are right, most of those guys on the social media just can't shave and will say they have tough whiskers and sensitive skin. It is as simple as that.
 
It's about skills. And you are right, most of those guys on the social media just can't shave and will say they have tough whiskers and sensitive skin. It is as simple as that.
Yeah. I think shaving is one of those things that is close to a man’s ego. Men don’t like to admit they are bad at shaving, so they have to say their skin or hair is specially difficult. Just like nobody wants to accept they’re a bad driver, can’t hold their drink, or have no sense of humour.
 
Yeah. I think shaving is one of those things that is close to a man’s ego. Men don’t like to admit they are bad at shaving, so they have to say their skin or hair is specially difficult. Just like nobody wants to accept they’re a bad driver, can’t hold their drink, or have no sense of humour.
True. I have seen hundreds of videos in the recent years on Youtube. The guy's lather is ridiculous, and he claims the razor or the blade or the cream is bad. Nonsense!
 
True. I have seen hundreds of videos in the recent years on Youtube. The guy's lather is ridiculous, and he claims the razor or the blade or the cream is bad. Nonsense!
I guarantee he is a bad driver too. He’s useless at sex as well. Worse than useless, probably.

There are things in life you only get good at with some humility - ask questions, admit your failings, listen, don’t make YouTube videos pretending to be an expert.
 
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Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
I gave up on the YouTube guys early on... I did watch a few guys who seemed to know what they were doing.... but so many seemed to be shaving with razors with no blades in them and no facial hair to speak of. I liked Brian Mulreany's stuff. He was the owner of Executive Shaving Company. You knew where he was coming from. I talked to him quite a bit on their website's chat feature and through email. He helped me so much. I got my Claymore Evolution AC razor, based on his experience using it... even though it was something he helped develop. He had been using it for a few months when I got in contact with him.

I had skin not used to being shaved over because I had just cut off my Covid beard. I had weepers, cut moles, etc., until I learned my face... Then B&B taught me how to map my whiskers. That helped quite a bit. I didn't know it at the time, but shaving with the same razor for 5+ months helped me develop a technique that has been a good foundation when I branched out into DEs and a couple other AC razors.
 

mcee_sharp

MCEAPWINMOLQOVTIAAWHAMARTHAEHOAIDIAMRHDAE
I kind of wish I knew how I "stacked up" against other beards. I know I do have a spot on my face, ~10% of my facial area, where not only are the whiskers coarser, but also more tightly spaced. As far as skin goes, I seldom get any irritation, whether that's technique, or genetics, or a combo, I'm not sure.

I have a very, apparently, "Scottish" beard, although I have dark brown hair, my beard is...trending toward was, peppered with red and blonde whiskers as well. These are the ones that are now greying, and also despite being thinner than other whiskers, are more stubborn to cut/wiry.

Now thinking of that Scottish beard, I wonder if I can thank the Norwegian part of my DNA for that? Thanks Viking raiders!
 

Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
I'm a mutt.. as far as I know, I'm part Scot, Brit, Irish, French and German.... I've never sent off my DNA for testing but I know my mother's side of the family had those DNAs. I don't know much about my bio dad.... but evidently, he had similar ancestry.
 

mcee_sharp

MCEAPWINMOLQOVTIAAWHAMARTHAEHOAIDIAMRHDAE
I'm a mutt.. as far as I know, I'm part Scot, Brit, Irish, French and German.... I've never sent off my DNA for testing but I know my mother's side of the family had those DNAs. I don't know much about my bio dad.... but evidently, he had similar ancestry.
It's interesting to check in on mine every so often, it does change slightly from time to time since a larger population of people tested = more "reliable" results.

Like you, I'm also a mutt with a focus on the same areas.
 
Yes, you get the same as me. Bics are wonderful blades until the ATG pass, then they get really rough for me. It isn’t due to the razor as I experience the same even with a razor like my Athena which clamps the blade right at the edge. It has to be the blade bevel itself that is chattering.

I don’t have any manufacturer information on this, but it has come up a few times in Bic threads here that the bevel is ground thinner than most blades. Maybe someone checked under a microscope before but I haven’t seen it. I’m only going on what people have told me, and I can’t think of another explanation for what you and I experience. It’s consistently reported to be one of the sharpest blades available and if it was only the sharpness there should be no issue ATG - in fact it should be smoother than other blades. It’s the only hypothesis I have for this harsh ATG behaviour from such a sharp, comfortable blade.

FWIW, I am very happy with Kai, Personna Lab Blues, and Perma-Sharps. They all work very well for my hair and skin. But I’m not someone who has tried and rated every blade - when I find a good one I tend to stick with it.
It’s really weird indeed as it’s my number one blade for smoothness. But with some razors, not all, it’s really harsh on the ATG pass.

I’ll start rotating more blades to see if I find a difference in those specific razors.

Thank you for the feedback Sir.
 
I definitely have coarse whiskers, even though they aren't very dense. Also, my skin isn't particularly sensitive.

However, the whiskers on either side of my Adam's apple are coarse and lay flat against the skin. Due to that, I've never been able to use a cart razor more than once every 3 days at most. If I do, it's a bloody mess around my Adam's apple and I'm guaranteed to get many ingrowns that will need to be left alone for at least 4-5 days before my next shave.

So, while I don't have sensitive skin overall, I do have a trouble spot that mean I can't use modern razors on a regular basis. That led me to DE razors and I can use those daily or every other day depending on the model.
 
I realise that I probably messed up the response options a little by not including a choice for both coarse hair and sensitive skin, although it is possible to select both together. However, based on the number of responses, only a handful of people could have done that. The majority are still either "normal", "don't know" or "other".

As others have pointed out, if a seasoned wet shaver tells me they have problem skin or tough hair, I am inclined to believe them based on their experience and the fact that they have clearly put the time in to develop their routine and shaving technique. If it's a newbie claiming to have both coarse hair and sensitive skin, I tend to question it and assume that very possibly their routine is producing sub-optimal shaving conditions and maybe their actual razor technique is also not yet developed, leading them to think their hair / skin is unusual when in fact it's normal.

I wonder if the growth of aggressive razors is partly driven by lots of folks being told that they need an aggressive razor to cope with the coarse hair that they think they have, and also by the fact that nowadays more shavers are going several days between shaves, as it's now socially acceptable to have a bit of stubble. As @Eclipse Red Ring astutely observed in one of the first responses to this thread, if so many guys have incredibly coarse hair that requires an aggressive razor, how come the Tech was such a successful design used by millions of men for so long?

Related to this, I actually question that coarse hair needs an aggressive razor at all. LONG hair benefits from an aggressive razor, from higher gap / exposure safety bar razors through to OC razors. But I theorise that if you are daily shaving then something milder with a lower gap (but still greater than the length of a bristle) should still be fine, as long as you pair it with a nice sharp blade. When mild razors struggle is if you are trying to take down several days growth and the bristles start to become too long to comfortably fit within the blade gap. Presumably this wasn't a problem for the daily shavers of the last century. They needed to be clean shaven every morning, so a mild razor like the Tech was perfectly up to the task, as it never had to take down more than 24hrs of growth. Just a theory and a bit of a digression, but it's interesting to think about.
 
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lasta

Blade Biter
I realise that I probably messed up the response options a little by not including a choice for both coarse hair and sensitive skin, although it is possible to select both together. However, based on the number of responses, only a handful of people could have done that. The majority are still either "normal", "don't know" or "other".

As others have pointed out, if a seasoned wet shaver tells me they have problem skin or tough hair, I am inclined to believe them based on their experience and the fact that they have clearly put the time in to develop their routine and shaving technique. If it's a newbie, I tend to question it and assume that their routine is producing sub-optimal shaving conditions and maybe their actual razor technique is also not yet developed.

I wonder if the growth of aggressive razors is partly driven by lots of folks being told that they need an aggressive razor to cope with the coarse hair that they think they have, and also by the fact that nowadays more shavers are going several days between shaves, as it's now socially acceptable to have a bit of stubble. As @Eclipse Red Ring astutely observed in one of the first responses to this thread, if so many guys have incredibly coarse hair that requires an aggressive razor, how come the Tech was such a successful design used by millions of men for so long?

Related to this, I actually question that coarse hair needs an aggressive razor at all. LONG hair benefits from an aggressive razor, from higher gap / exposure safety bar razors through to OC razors. But I theorise that if you are daily shaving then something milder with a lower gap (but still greater than the length of a bristle) should still be fine, as long as you pair it with a nice sharp blade. When mild razors struggle is if you are trying to take down several days growth and the bristles start to become too long to comfortably fit within the blade gap. Presumably this wasn't a problem for the daily shavers of the last century. They needed to be clean shaven every morning, so a mild razor like the Tech was perfectly up to the task, as it never had to take down more than 24hrs of growth. Just a theory and a bit of a digression, but it's interesting to think about.
I think something happened in the past 7 years...

Up of 2015, reviews for the Red Tip Super Speed indicate it to be an aggressive razor.

I can't find the particular post, but it went something like this: "Can you imagine putting a Feather in a Red Tip then splashing on some bay rum?".
 
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