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Journey to a Smoother Face

Hi all,

I recently got back in to DE shaving a few weeks ago and have been lurking this forum for the latest tips. A few years ago, I briefly tried shaving with an old Gillette SuperSpeed, but gave up after awhile. My trigger to get back to a DE came when I sliced off a dime-sized layer of skin close to my hairline with a 3-blade razor (rushing + too much pressure).

I’m a black male in my 30’s and have always struggled with razor bumps after shaving. I started with an electric shaver when I first starting shaving. Out of curiousity I stumbled on DE shaving for the first time and gave up because I felt like my badger brush was irritating my face. After that I went back to electric, this time shaving with just a trimmer and accepted that I’d never be able to shave close.

I was brought back into wet shaving when I started losing my hair, and realized that wet shaving my head was actually more comfortable than the trimmer I had been using. So out of convenience...I started wet shaving my face again. Luckily, by this time, being clean shaven wasn’t a requirement at work. I’ve spent the last 1.5 years shaving only twice a week, with the grain, but using a 3 blade razor.

It wasn’t bad. Luckily, the skin on my head tolerates shaving much better than my face. I still had/have razor bumps on my face and especially my neck, but I’ve been used to them by now. Also a day or so’s worth of stubble seemed to mask the issue well enough. But then, as I said above, I sliced that layer of skin off due to too much pressure. I actually looked for heavy handles for cartridge razors, knowing that the weight would help me NOT put pressure on the blades. But during my research, I came to my senses and decided to back to a DE for shaving both my face and head.

The concluding of this novel-like post is the beginning of me tracking my shaves. As I got back into DE shaving, over the past weeks, I had a brief and intense bout of SAD. That led me to the products and routine I plan on using for the next month as I re-learn to shave.

Prep:
- Cold shower (I do this for other reasons)
- Use Salicylic acid wash on nape of neck and areas of face to be shaved
- Rub a few drops of Shave Secret pre-shave oil on head (repeat later for face)
- Make Proraso White lather in bowl and paint on

Shaves:
- SAD, and this forum, led me to getting splurging on a Rockwell 6s. I’m going to use it on setting 3 for head and face and desperately try to avoid going to different settings for now
- I have 10 Astra premium blades I am going to work through, two shaves per blade

Post shave:
- Wipe Stridex pad (more Salicylic Acid) on shaved face area only
- CeraVe Mousterizer
- Sunscreen (when shaving in morning)

That’s it! Thanks for taking the time to read this long post, and I’m looking forward to documenting my progress! I’m hoping to hold myself accountable to keeping a consistent routine, and stop changing a lot of variables at the same time. Nice to meet you all!

Attached is a picture of what I’m using
B2FDED23-F59B-4B70-A041-6F299E7A89A7.jpeg
 
Good look with it all. :thumbup:

I'm a caucasian shaver, but my somewhat frizzy beard used to give me lots of trouble with ingrowns when I was using cartridges. I moved to DE in my teens (only straying into other traditional shaving methods 25+ years later) and live has been a lot easier in that regard since. I did make the occasional trip back to cartridges when I got bought a new razor for Christmas / birthdays, and the issues would return. I'm sure you'll be much better off if you can persevere through the obligatory learning curve, and I hope you reap those rewards sooner rather than later.

I think there's two different schools of thought with avoiding ingrowns the traditional route. The most common being shave with the grain only, so the tip of the hair is never quite below skin level. For me, multipasses actually give me better results, as the tip of each hair is more bullet tipped from being cut at different angles (think obtusely sharpened pencil), so the hair can find its way out of the folice easier, as it doesn't have a sharp corner at any edge to get snagged on skin. No guarantee that would give better results with your beard, that's just what works best for me.

Sounds like your biggest challenge though, is going to be being heavy handed during the shave, especially if you're already removing chunks of skin with razors that pivot :D Here's a guide I wrote for newcomers to DE. Maybe be some of it will be helpful in shortening your search for the most comfortable shaves.


It's a fairly lengthy thread now, but the guide itself is only the first four posts.

I'll look forward to hearing how you get on :)
 
Thanks, Wanderer! Great guide. Luckily (so far) the weight of the Timeless has been a good reminder to use no pressure. The hardest thing for me, right now is finding the angle sweet spot, and maintaining it around the contours of my head and face.

BTW, today’s shave:
- New Astra Premium
- 2 WTG passes on both head and face
- Took blade out of razor and sprayed with alcohol

It felt pretty good overall, just need to get more consistent blade angle. 1 weeper that stopped with cold water. Next shave will be Thursday or Friday
 
Proraso white
Yaqi brush
Rockwell 6s (3)
Astra Premium (2nd)

Face shave was ok, 2 WTG passes after all the effort described below on my head.

1 WTG, 1 XTG for my head except the back I was struggling. I did maybe 4 WTG passes with the Rockwell on setting 3, gave up and tried to clean things up using WTG passes of my old 3 blade cart. It’s still not really acceptable but I didn’t want to cause irritation. Thoughts are:
- Inconsistent blade angle
- Need strategy for the curves and craters on my head
- Lather too thick/ too much cushion?

I was VERY tempted to switch to a more aggressive setting on the Rockwell, or put in a new Feather but managed to resist. Going back to the Cart was a little variation, but it is what I was using until last week anyway.

Here is the back of my head, somewhat embarrassing....but again I don’t want to make things worse but introducing nicks or irritation

F8D71504-82F6-48E8-8C0B-B346BE19C71B.jpeg
 
Shaved back on Saturday. I‘ve decided that I’m going to use my old Dorco Pace 3 Carts on my head for now, and learn DE proficiency on my face.

Saturday was first shave with my Timeless lather bowl. Works great! I kept everything else the same (cream, blade, razor setting).

Did 3 passes, including one ATG on my neck. Had a few weepers, but not too bad.

I recently received Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort, but hid it from myself to reduce variables. Also was able to resist the urge to switch the Astra out for a Feather
 
Shaved yesterday.

Both
- Cold shower
- Pre-shave oil
- Proraso white
- Yaqi brush
- Timeless bowl
- Stridex post shave
- CeraVe moisturizer

Head
- Dorco Pace 3
- 1 pass WTG, 1 pass XTG, some cleanup
- This felt great. Focused on light pressure

Face
- Rockwell 6s (setting 3)
- Astra SP (2nd)
- 1 pass WTG, 2 pass XTG (upwards on neck), some cleanup
- This felt decent. Only one weeper and no irritation. Still working on getting a clean shave on my chin, and a patch of skin close to my chin that’s also prone to irritation
 
Have you ever tried an SE razor on your face? Of course YMMV but I find I they are very efficient and I get less irritation with them...but technique is very important with them. You can find a vintage Gem for $5 on the bay if your patient enough. It may be worth giving it a shot.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 
Have you ever tried an SE razor on your face? Of course YMMV but I find I they are very efficient and I get less irritation with them...but technique is very important with them. You can find a vintage Gem for $5 on the bay if your patient enough. It may be worth giving it a shot.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
I see quite a few out here on eBay. what makes you recommend them over something like the Rockwell on a low setting? Is it the angle of the head? Also do these need special blades, or they just expose one side of a regular DE blade. I searched the forum and saw these have specific blades.

Thanks for the suggestion! I am going to pick one to try out - it will probably be a 1912 or a clog pruf
 
Last edited:
I missed documenting a shave from last Friday:

Both
- Cold shower
- Salicylic acid face wash
- Tea Tree oil as pre-shave oil
- Proraso white
- Yaqi brush
- Timeless bowl
- CeraVe hydrating cleanser post shave
- Stridex post shave
- CeraVe moisturizer

Head
- Dorco Pace 3
- 1 pass WTG, 1 pass XTG, some cleanup
- This felt fine, as usual

Face
- Rockwell 6s (setting 3)
- Feather!
- 1 pass WTG, 2 pass XTG (upwards on neck), some cleanup

I broke down and went with a Feather blade for my face shave. I was very careful and did not have any nicks or irritation. The blade didn’t ‘feel’ as sharp as I thought it would, though I don’t think I’m close to maintaining a consistent blade angle.

I’m also wondering if my facial hair is on the coarse side. There were part’s of my shave where I really felt like the blade was tugging. Is this expected after a few days growth?
 
Shaved today. Normal routine except for new razor and settings on the 6s:

On a whim I picked up a Gillette Skinguard and used it on my head. The shave was just as good as my 3 blade shave. I’m interested to see how many head shaves I can get out of the blade. I’m also considering the Skinguard as a travel solution for both my head and face.

For my face, I went back to Astra SP on the Rockwell 6s but jumped up to setting 5. I felt the blade significantly more at this setting. No nicks or weepers. I did notice some mild irritation when putting on face moisterizer.

I also have a Gem Clog Pruf and Personna PTFE blades on the way. I am thinking about my order of experimentation (face only). Here’s what I might do next in order:
1. Rockwell 6s, Astra SP, setting 4
2. Gem Clog Pruf wth PTFE (1 or 2 shaves)
3. Gilette Skinguard (1 or 2 shaves)

I wanted to stay consistently on the same thing for awhile, but the RAD came back. We’ll see how it all goes!
 
I have RAD!

Below are all the razors I currently own. One key thing to keep in mind is that I’m still trying to figure out how to get a decent shave without irritation (as opposed to wanting to collect DE/SE razors):

From left to right:
- An old Gillette SuperSpeed from my first try at DE shaving
- Dorco Pace 3 cart that I recently had been using to shave my head and face
- Rockwell 6s that I only recently got as I got back into DE
- Broke down and tried the Gillette SkinGuard on my head
- Bump Fighter razor that I bought and tried on my face (didn’t like)
- New (to me) Gem Clog Pruf that I plan on trying

2CAAD25B-21DB-4C7D-921F-256DC662FB34.jpeg

It needs to stop here! The Rockwell has been the best, recent, face shave...but I have yet to try the SkinGuard or the Gem on my face. Either way figured I’d post this as a way to come clean
 
Ok, wow.

Based on @brandaves suggestion, I got that Gem Clog Pruf pictured above and tried it with a PTFE blade for the first time today.

The bad - I had the most nicks/ weepers and post shave alum sting I've had in awhile

The good - I never say this, but that was literally most exciting face shave I've ever had. I guess it was the thicker blade? Today was the first time I really felt like the blade really stood up to my facial hair. No tugging! I am also the cleanest shaven I've been in awhile, and this is with a WTG and XTG pass.

I need to peruse the SE forum for tips. I'm hoping getting a few extra weepers + post shave sting is normal for first time SE shaves and it's just a matter of technique.

Will also be watching for any razor rash/ extra irritation over the next couple days. I'm really hoping I found the way to move forward, but we'll see!
 
Ok, wow.

Based on @brandaves suggestion, I got that Gem Clog Pruf pictured above and tried it with a PTFE blade for the first time today.

The bad - I had the most nicks/ weepers and post shave alum sting I've had in awhile

The good - I never say this, but that was literally most exciting face shave I've ever had. I guess it was the thicker blade? Today was the first time I really felt like the blade really stood up to my facial hair. No tugging! I am also the cleanest shaven I've been in awhile, and this is with a WTG and XTG pass.

I need to peruse the SE forum for tips. I'm hoping getting a few extra weepers + post shave sting is normal for first time SE shaves and it's just a matter of technique.

Will also be watching for any razor rash/ extra irritation over the next couple days. I'm really hoping I found the way to move forward, but we'll see!
Congrats on the shave! SE razors definitely tend to be more efficient and the clog pruf is no exception. You really need to manage your blade angle and technique or your face will pay the price. Keep with it, you won't be disappointed! That Micromatic you just got is another excellent razor and may actually be better to learn on.

The guys in the SE forum are a great resource. I'm still learning SE shaving myself but they have helped immeasurably.
 
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