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It shouldn't happen, but I had the best shave. Could someone explain?

So, my *AD kicked in at the departmend store, where I saw a bottle of Pitralon pre shave for sale. I decided to pick it up immediately. When I got home, I read more carefully, and saw it's an ELECTRIC shaving pre shave. Looking it up, it's supposed to do the opposite of wet shaving - it's supposed to stiffen your hair/beard to stand up, and not be greasy, so it's basically NOT a preshave oil, but it felt like I used a much much stronger alcohol based AS. It's supposed to be all wrong, closing up the pores and stiffening the hair. At that point, I was thinking of throwing it away.

I decided to give it a try, since I won't be shaving tomorrow, and don't have to work today, so what the heck, right?

I put a hot towel on for 40ish seconds after washing up my face, and then applied the preshave I mentioned. After that, I applied the Proraso shaving cream from the scuttle. And shaved. And oh. my. god. My face, chin and mustache are never a problem, but the neck. I have quite sensitive skin and stronger beard that grows near parralel to my skin. It, no matter the razor, blade or soap always produces at least a little irritation on ATG, and it's usually really uncomfortable to shave ATG on that part of my neck. This time, the razor slid through like hot knife through butter. I couldn't believe it. Then, It was time to rinse, hot water, cold water, and to apply Pitralon. Now, it feels really bbs, so I was expecting a hard sting on the sensitive area, but barely any sting. Usually, even when I'm extra careful, when I'm using an alcoholic AS, skin gets purplish on the problem parts of my neck, and it goes away after 10 minutes or so, exposing a nice shave and very very little irritation. This time, it was with no sting, nothing purple, skin looked irritation free immediately.

Now help a brother out. I'll make bullet points so I don't miss anything out.

- I've been wet shaving for a couple of years now, daily. I always tried to perfect lather and technique, but always used hot/warm water and a towel as prep.
- I always had problems with my neck
- I have to shave in the morning, when my skin is 'puffy', in the afternoon/evening, even though I take a shower, I end up with a massacre.
- I always thought you need to soften hair and open up pores, not stiffen and close pores.

Now, obviously, I'll use up the pre-shave, but since I prefer alcohol based AS, I don't like the idea of putting alcohol on my skin before AND after shave. In these years, what could substitute the same effect? Maybe using cold water instead of warm for prep?

Does this actually work, or I somehow lucked out?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
First, congratulations!

Now the hard part is to determine whether this was chance or the preshave product. Perhaps you could rotate days with the preshave or not, keeping everything else the same.
Using an alcohol based aftershave as a pre shave was common. Robeson use to include it with their flyers in every straight they sold. Some call it the Bay Rum method because that was the AS that was commonly referred to.

Basically the alcohol helps strip the layer of sebum and oils on your face and whiskers. The astringent effect tightens the skin and helps the hairs stand proud.

Welcome to the 1920’s. What’s old is new.

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Maybe next Saturday, try a cold water shave after a shower without the pre-oil whatever. Experiment with your variables.

I don’t have a sensitive face, but a pre-shower is essential for a comfortable shave.

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Very interesting.

From the company's website:


If I understand this correctly, any alcohol based splash would do the same thing (raise the hairs) when used as a pre-shave followed by shaving soap (to moisturize, smooth the skin, and ensure glide).

Very interesting and easy enough to test, right?

Happy shaves and thanks,

Older shaving manuals would agree with your experience.
The hairs should not be softened before a shave...

Shaving made easy; what the man who shaves ought to know ..

This was an absolutely fascinating read! Published in 1905 and they definitely weren’t too keen on safety razors.

I found page 54 of particular interest: lather with a brush, massage into skin with finger tips, then lather again wth brush on the first pass. Second pass using the brush only was ok.
All I know if I neglect to take the time to wet the beard first with warm water, the razor pulls the hairs and make an uncomfortable shave. Some older beliefs are not always correct.
The book was written in 1904 I believe. Who knows how accurate any of it is really... A lot of the "Science" from that time has been proven wrong.
It's probably true for some people, false for others.
Personally I learned early on that shaving after shower is really bad and irritating.
I tried aftershave as a preshave but didn't notice any difference.
Well, 4-5 shaves in, and I must say that for me, it currently works. I first do the normal warm water prep, then splash cold water and add the alcoholic Pitralon pre shave, and then lather. There's definitely more feedback due to whiskers being stiffer, but the shave is with far less irritation overall and much more efficient. Seems the problem with using only warm water prep for me is not for the whiskers per se, as much as it oversoftens my skin it seems. Will keep it up for a week or so, and if it works, I'll add it to my routine permanently.
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