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Lesson learned: Alum burns like satan? I was doing it wrong!

(Think this post needs a soundtrack, if i may... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aczrDOa5Asc)

So Gents,
Guess most of you will get a good laugh at this one but it's more for any of the noobs having the same issue I was; alum burn. Anybody that read my check-in will know alum and I have had a rocky start, I left a thick wipe of alum on my face after my 1st shave and was wondering why my face felt like it was going to crack with every grin for hours after.

So I'm about a month into straight shaving and up until now I've been having noticeable reduction in razor burn after each shave; moving in the right direction. They've actually gotten very comfortable with a mix of less pressure and wetter lather. BUT, I've always gotten a considerable sting off my alum... until just now! I've seen a lot of members talk about feedback off the alum, and thought I was doing good, some days were less stingy than others, success? No. Breakthrough tonight. Had a damn fine shave by my standards, ran my face over with the alum, and nothing. No sting. Now I'm not proclaiming I had the perfect shave, jawline and chin are good but not perfect. But still, just given myself a new bar to aim for. Good clean shave, good clean sweep of the alum.

If there are any noobs reading this, maybe not loving the alum, I'd say stick with with unless you have a better alternative at hand (I dont at the moment). It's been keeping my skin in great condition, and now I'll have a great marker at the end of a shave of how much control I had. Great feeling to have a tangible sign of progress.

Hope this helps one or two fellow noobs, if not hope it at least gives one or two more experienced members a smile.
Congratulations, Dave! You could just try Thayers witch hazel and a good balm and leave the alum out of it. It may be less painful. Good luck.
Congrats to you! For me, nothing removed any irritation like an alum bar. Witch Hazel didn't work as well for me. Worth trying though.
I use alum strictly for weepers these days. For some reason it doesnt work as an AS for me. What happens is that there is a reaction between it and the AS I use afterwards which results in irritation. I dont want to force myself to use it. If it aint broke dont fix it. But I find it the best for weepers though.
Congratulations, Dave! You could just try Thayers witch hazel and a good balm and leave the alum out of it. It may be less painful. Good luck.

Or, you can just use this:

1. It's a roll-on (very easy to apply. No mess, no fuss.)
2. It has Potash Alum (the good alum for shaving)
3. It has chamomile, lavender and other skin soothing ingredients
4. Has no burn whatsoever, regardless how bad the shave was. (Yet it does the exact same thing an alum block will do.)
5. It's mucho cheaper than most alum blocks. (3 bucks and some change)
6. Readily available. (Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, GNC, Whole Foods.)

I rub an alum block over my face post-shave and find that it does two things:
1 - gives me instant feedback on my technique, and any stinging points out my problem areas that I need to focus on.
2 - leaves my face feeling smooth and clean.

I'm a beginner to DE shaving, and recommend other beginners to use alum to start with purely in helping improve technique from the feedback you get.
I didn't read that you rinse it off after a minute or two. I always do because it's very itchy for me if I leave it on. I use the alum block after shaving, clean up the razor/brush, rinse my face off and then use witch hazel. It's a great combination.
Thanks for the encouragement lads,
From what I'm hearing I really shout give some witch hazel a shot, think that'll probably be the next purchase. And Rob, that deodorant you have there looks intriguing, but I've never seen the stuff in my life before and none of those chains exist over here. I can see myself sticking with the alum for a while now anyway now that I know I can get a good result with it. The alum then witch hazel though, could see myself giving that a shot alright.

Quick question, I find that unless I use an aftershave balm (using nivea at the moment) I can end up getting some dry patches on skin. I know that 'the real' witch hazel is alcohol based, so do you think it's likely to make matters worse there?
When you get a smooth shave and pass the alum bar over your face and all you feel is the cool wet stone, you'll know that you've arrived.

-- John Gehman
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