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Long time periodic lurker new to the forum

Hello all,



Ever since I grew hair on my neck, shaving was pretty much the bane of my existence. Horrible razor burn, ingrown hairs, and just general irritation. Once I was able to grow a semi-respectable beard, this means I pretty much stopped shaving. Right after college I moved to China (supposedly for only one year that eventually became almost 5), I had an housemate and saw him with an odd contraption one day that turned out to be a safety razor. He used it only to shave his body hair- completely dry actually. However, he still used cartridges for his face because the DE was "too dangerous" and "uncomfortable." However, being a lover (and collector) of pretty much all things "antique," I was intrigued.

One day when it was too humid and I was sick of having a beard, but without my typical trimmers, I decided to find myself a safety razor of my own, and ended up purchasing one of the Gillette Super blue three piece razors with the black plastic handle and the single blade.

Amazingly I didn’t absolutely hate it. After tedious process of using it to hack off my bushy beard with it, subsequent shaves were the least irritating I ever had (but still unpleasant). I loved the cost and the fact that using it wouldn’t create additional plastic waste. When trying to figure out how to “properly use it,” I ended up finding this forum on an internet search. At one point, I decided to try and go ATG, which was disastrous.

Especially at that time, it was incredibly inconvenient to get any “specialty” foreign product, and so I would alternate between growing a beard and occasionally shaving using whatever mildly lubricating product that was convenient and not exorbitantly expensive (oil, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, canned goop, etc…), but never tried a brush or any real shaving cream/soap.

Whenever I would see a new razor or blades (always in the back corner of some random tiny convenience store, I would buy and try it. I ended up with a plastic one piece where the top clipped on that broke after a few uses, random metal TTO’s of EXTREMELY varying quality, including one that ended up exposing the blade diagonally and only on one side and one whose doors would pop open during the middle of a shave. I think I finally ended finding a Nanjie TTO in a blue plastic case with a mirror inside that worked the best of all of them.

I would buy new blades whenever I found them, which were often bulk packaged unbranded blades in a simple paper wrapper, Gillette Super Blue, Gillette blue thins (with Vietnamese writing on the tucks), and of course all kinds of Gillette counterfeits, knock offs, and knock offs of knock offs. Many were thrown away almost immediately when it was evident that I would be better off tying to scrape my hair off with a blunt object laying around the house. I would try and stock up on Gillette thins from stores in Thailand whenever I would visit there.



Anyways, after moving back to the states, and a few years later, I have a professional job that strongly encourages being clean shaven, so I decided to explore this whole wet shaving thing again. Being a stubborn and thrifty (ie- incredibly cheap), I foolishly avoided buying a brush and still shaved with whatever random cremes, goop, or facial bar I had around the house, thinking that it "wouldn't make that much of a difference)



A few weeks ago, after getting fairly unsatisfying and irritating shaves on my neck any time I tried a second pass (XTG) or more, I broke down and bought a brush (an omega 49 I believe). After it being such a dramatic improvement, I concluded that people here really do know what they are talking about and decided to stop using my Cetaphil face bar and ordered a few sticks of Arko and a stick of La Toja (still hasn't arrived). What an unbelievable difference using an actual shave soap and a brush makes! I truly enjoy face lathering now.



Although I had previously made a bulk order of Indian Gillette blades(the Black Platinums and Wilkinson sword), I am currently on an extended trip and couldn’t bring any and so I ordered a moderate blade sampler that I am still working my way through. Considering that everything I had read on here but for some reason chose to disregard previously, I am now revisiting each of these blades individually while keeping the same setup with Brush, soap, and razor (Gillette Black tip, steel handle and baseplate, Omega brush and Arko shave stick). That being said, I did just order some modern razors from someone in the forum here, but I’m going to try and resist using them until I feel like I have my technique(s) dialed in better with my current setup and I have a better idea on how the different blades perform, rather than just what I’ve read other people saying about them.



If anyone made it through what I have now realized is probably quite the screed, I have a few questions.



1. I have a few GEM razors (which i think are gorgeous-bought in the same auction as the black tip) that I can’t wait to try once my SE blades come in. Should I resist the urge and wait to use them until I’ve figured out my lathering and DE technique first?



2. I have noticed my brush, which only now finally stopped smelling like a boar’s hindquarters when wet, constantly smells like Arko, no matter how much I rinse it after use. Is this a problem and is there any way I should/could clean it better? If it makes any difference, the water here is extremely hard, so I wonder if the soap is scumming up and isn’t getting completely cleaned out.



3. I have found that my black tip is getting extremely difficult to open, despite thorough rinsing in hot water after each use. I do notice that the exterior is getting a bit cloudy as well, so I suspect this may be soap scum forming from the hard water? Multiple long soaks in hot water with Dawn doesn’t seem to loosen it up much, if it all.



4. I feel compelled to take out my blade, rinse it off and pat dry each time after shaving (to be sure the razor and blade are thoroughly clean). Is this helpful, or just me being OCD? I feel like this allows me to better clean the razor and blade and have read that it is best to be sure the blades are completely dry after use for longevity.



5. Knowing that I have now been completely bitten buy the “research and buy things for shaving bug,” what is a good way to start trying out various soaps and/or cremes (and possibly aftershaves)? Blades are easy, considering there are so many sample packs available and even a set of 100 is rarely that expensive shipped. I don’t want to buy a bunch, especially considering minimums for free shipping before I know what I’m doing. Is there anywhere that sells sample sized portions of soaps or cremes? I’m trying to avoid developing another acquisition disorder, as I fear it’s probably already too late for razors and blades.



That being said, I was going to try and order some of the Razorock soaps on sale on Italian barber upon recommendations from another member on here this last weekend, but unfortunately by the time I picked things to check out, the sale was over.





Looking forward to hopefully eventually being able to go ATG on my neck without terrible irritation, being able to use the 1920 Gillette Old Type that apparently has been in my family for decades after it was given to my grandfather by the original purchaser but just sitting in a drawer since my father tried to use it a few times in the early 90’s, continuing to explore this hobby, and contributing where I can (hopefully not in novel form like this post).
 
Welcome to B&B.
Plenty of advice in the Shave Wiki; link at top left of the page.
Nothing wrong with trying the single edge razors {check in the SE section} but best to stick to one setup whilst working on technique. You could try a monthly rotation on razors.
Stick to one brush and soap so you get consistent lathers. The Omega Pro is a very good brush but takes about 30 shaves to break in. Always soak your boar brush for ~ 3 minutes before use.
Hard water is a problem for me too. A wash and scrub with an old toothbrush and dish soap every 2 or 3 days will keep the scum at bay on the metal parts. Occasionally you can scrub with a little toothpaste which will remove heavy deposits.
I remove my blade, dry by pinching and drawing through tissue daily {do not damage the cutting edge}, then flip the blade over and reinstall in razor after each shave. It keeps the scum under control and keeps the bevels clean. I use my blades for >7 shaves, some blades > 21 shaves so that regime works for me.
Thoroughly rinse the brush out after every shave to remove residual lather. Deposits of old soap also build up in the brush so a wash in 10% white vinegar solution every 6 months of daily use will usually clean a brush but do not soak for more than half an hour in the vinegar solution. Also ensure you thoroughly rinse the brush after cleaning to get rid of the vinegar solution; it will kill the lather if there is residual vinegar solution left in the brush. Information on that is in the Wiki.
 
Hello all,



Ever since I grew hair on my neck, shaving was pretty much the bane of my existence. Horrible razor burn, ingrown hairs, and just general irritation. Once I was able to grow a semi-respectable beard, this means I pretty much stopped shaving. Right after college I moved to China (supposedly for only one year that eventually became almost 5), I had an housemate and saw him with an odd contraption one day that turned out to be a safety razor. He used it only to shave his body hair- completely dry actually. However, he still used cartridges for his face because the DE was "too dangerous" and "uncomfortable." However, being a lover (and collector) of pretty much all things "antique," I was intrigued.

One day when it was too humid and I was sick of having a beard, but without my typical trimmers, I decided to find myself a safety razor of my own, and ended up purchasing one of the Gillette Super blue three piece razors with the black plastic handle and the single blade.

Amazingly I didn’t absolutely hate it. After tedious process of using it to hack off my bushy beard with it, subsequent shaves were the least irritating I ever had (but still unpleasant). I loved the cost and the fact that using it wouldn’t create additional plastic waste. When trying to figure out how to “properly use it,” I ended up finding this forum on an internet search. At one point, I decided to try and go ATG, which was disastrous.

Especially at that time, it was incredibly inconvenient to get any “specialty” foreign product, and so I would alternate between growing a beard and occasionally shaving using whatever mildly lubricating product that was convenient and not exorbitantly expensive (oil, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, canned goop, etc…), but never tried a brush or any real shaving cream/soap.

Whenever I would see a new razor or blades (always in the back corner of some random tiny convenience store, I would buy and try it. I ended up with a plastic one piece where the top clipped on that broke after a few uses, random metal TTO’s of EXTREMELY varying quality, including one that ended up exposing the blade diagonally and only on one side and one whose doors would pop open during the middle of a shave. I think I finally ended finding a Nanjie TTO in a blue plastic case with a mirror inside that worked the best of all of them.

I would buy new blades whenever I found them, which were often bulk packaged unbranded blades in a simple paper wrapper, Gillette Super Blue, Gillette blue thins (with Vietnamese writing on the tucks), and of course all kinds of Gillette counterfeits, knock offs, and knock offs of knock offs. Many were thrown away almost immediately when it was evident that I would be better off tying to scrape my hair off with a blunt object laying around the house. I would try and stock up on Gillette thins from stores in Thailand whenever I would visit there.



Anyways, after moving back to the states, and a few years later, I have a professional job that strongly encourages being clean shaven, so I decided to explore this whole wet shaving thing again. Being a stubborn and thrifty (ie- incredibly cheap), I foolishly avoided buying a brush and still shaved with whatever random cremes, goop, or facial bar I had around the house, thinking that it "wouldn't make that much of a difference)



A few weeks ago, after getting fairly unsatisfying and irritating shaves on my neck any time I tried a second pass (XTG) or more, I broke down and bought a brush (an omega 49 I believe). After it being such a dramatic improvement, I concluded that people here really do know what they are talking about and decided to stop using my Cetaphil face bar and ordered a few sticks of Arko and a stick of La Toja (still hasn't arrived). What an unbelievable difference using an actual shave soap and a brush makes! I truly enjoy face lathering now.



Although I had previously made a bulk order of Indian Gillette blades(the Black Platinums and Wilkinson sword), I am currently on an extended trip and couldn’t bring any and so I ordered a moderate blade sampler that I am still working my way through. Considering that everything I had read on here but for some reason chose to disregard previously, I am now revisiting each of these blades individually while keeping the same setup with Brush, soap, and razor (Gillette Black tip, steel handle and baseplate, Omega brush and Arko shave stick). That being said, I did just order some modern razors from someone in the forum here, but I’m going to try and resist using them until I feel like I have my technique(s) dialed in better with my current setup and I have a better idea on how the different blades perform, rather than just what I’ve read other people saying about them.



If anyone made it through what I have now realized is probably quite the screed, I have a few questions.



1. I have a few GEM razors (which i think are gorgeous-bought in the same auction as the black tip) that I can’t wait to try once my SE blades come in. Should I resist the urge and wait to use them until I’ve figured out my lathering and DE technique first?



2. I have noticed my brush, which only now finally stopped smelling like a boar’s hindquarters when wet, constantly smells like Arko, no matter how much I rinse it after use. Is this a problem and is there any way I should/could clean it better? If it makes any difference, the water here is extremely hard, so I wonder if the soap is scumming up and isn’t getting completely cleaned out.



3. I have found that my black tip is getting extremely difficult to open, despite thorough rinsing in hot water after each use. I do notice that the exterior is getting a bit cloudy as well, so I suspect this may be soap scum forming from the hard water? Multiple long soaks in hot water with Dawn doesn’t seem to loosen it up much, if it all.



4. I feel compelled to take out my blade, rinse it off and pat dry each time after shaving (to be sure the razor and blade are thoroughly clean). Is this helpful, or just me being OCD? I feel like this allows me to better clean the razor and blade and have read that it is best to be sure the blades are completely dry after use for longevity.



5. Knowing that I have now been completely bitten buy the “research and buy things for shaving bug,” what is a good way to start trying out various soaps and/or cremes (and possibly aftershaves)? Blades are easy, considering there are so many sample packs available and even a set of 100 is rarely that expensive shipped. I don’t want to buy a bunch, especially considering minimums for free shipping before I know what I’m doing. Is there anywhere that sells sample sized portions of soaps or cremes? I’m trying to avoid developing another acquisition disorder, as I fear it’s probably already too late for razors and blades.



That being said, I was going to try and order some of the Razorock soaps on sale on Italian barber upon recommendations from another member on here this last weekend, but unfortunately by the time I picked things to check out, the sale was over.





Looking forward to hopefully eventually being able to go ATG on my neck without terrible irritation, being able to use the 1920 Gillette Old Type that apparently has been in my family for decades after it was given to my grandfather by the original purchaser but just sitting in a drawer since my father tried to use it a few times in the early 90’s, continuing to explore this hobby, and contributing where I can (hopefully not in novel form like this post).
2. I have noticed my brush, which only now finally stopped smelling like a boar’s hindquarters when wet, constantly smells like Arko, no matter how much I rinse it after use. Is this a problem and is there any way I should/could clean it better? If it makes any difference, the water here is extremely hard, so I wonder if the soap is scumming up and isn’t getting completely cleaned out.
Any good clarifying shampoo there are many on Amazon. Will shampoo out your brush nicely. A good time to shampoo your brush would be right after a shave. The brush hair is fully hydrated.
4. I feel compelled to take out my blade, rinse it off and pat dry each time after shaving (to be sure the razor and blade are thoroughly clean). Is this helpful, or just me being OCD? I feel like this allows me to better clean the razor and blade and have read that it is best to be sure the blades are completely dry after use for longevity.
It is Your Shave you should do whatever adds to the comfort and enjoyment of your shaves. I take my razor apart and wash it with Tea Tree soap. Buff the razor dry. Spray the blade with ISP, blow dry, lubricate the blade edge with shave oil. Reinsert flipped blade. Ready for the next shave. I’m retired I have plenty of time. I also consider my shave time relaxing and meditative.
5. Knowing that I have now been completely bitten buy the “research and buy things for shaving bug,” what is a good way to start trying out various soaps and/or cremes (and possibly aftershaves)? Blades are easy, considering there are so many sample packs available and even a set of 100 is rarely that expensive shipped. I don’t want to buy a bunch, especially considering minimums for free shipping before I know what I’m doing. Is there anywhere that sells sample sized portions of soaps or cremes? I’m trying to avoid developing another acquisition disorder, as I fear it’s probably already too late for razors and blades.
You should try as many soaps as you can. The easiest and most economical is samples. I use a slow feed dog bowl for my samples. It works brilliantly.
Looking forward to hopefully eventually being able to go ATG on my neck without terrible irritation, being able to use the 1920 Gillette Old Type that apparently has been in my family for decades after it was given to my grandfather by the original purchaser but just sitting in a drawer since my father tried to use it a few times in the early 90’s, continuing to explore this hobby, and contributing where I can (hopefully not in novel form like this post).
[/QUOTE
I am just completing my first year DE. My shave has morphed into. An open comb ATG Single Pass face and head shaver. I have sensitive skin areas on my neck and around my moustache area. With good products. Good pre shave and post shave routines. Learned good proper shave techniques to suit my shave style. I get consistent, comfortable DFS+ shaves.

I only answered the questions I have experience with. The Gillette page is from the B&B Wiki. A good place to study up on shaves. It has helped me in many areas.
 

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Welcome to B&B.
Plenty of advice in the Shave Wiki; link at top left of the page.
Nothing wrong with trying the single edge razors {check in the SE section} but best to stick to one setup whilst working on technique. You could try a monthly rotation on razors.
Stick to one brush and soap so you get consistent lathers. The Omega Pro is a very good brush but takes about 30 shaves to break in. Always soak your boar brush for ~ 3 minutes before use.
Hard water is a problem for me too. A wash and scrub with an old toothbrush and dish soap every 2 or 3 days will keep the scum at bay on the metal parts. Occasionally you can scrub with a little toothpaste which will remove heavy deposits.
I remove my blade, dry by pinching and drawing through tissue daily {do not damage the cutting edge}, then flip the blade over and reinstall in razor after each shave. It keeps the scum under control and keeps the bevels clean. I use my blades for >7 shaves, some blades > 21 shaves so that regime works for me.
Thoroughly rinse the brush out after every shave to remove residual lather. Deposits of old soap also build up in the brush so a wash in 10% white vinegar solution every 6 months of daily use will usually clean a brush but do not soak for more than half an hour in the vinegar solution. Also ensure you thoroughly rinse the brush after cleaning to get rid of the vinegar solution; it will kill the lather if there is residual vinegar solution left in the brush. Information on that is in the Wiki.

Thanks for the hard water related advice- I checked the wiki as well.
 
Any good clarifying shampoo there are many on Amazon. Will shampoo out your brush nicely. A good time to shampoo your brush would be right after a shave. The brush hair is fully hydrated.

It is Your Shave you should do whatever adds to the comfort and enjoyment of your shaves. I take my razor apart and wash it with Tea Tree soap. Buff the razor dry. Spray the blade with ISP, blow dry, lubricate the blade edge with shave oil. Reinsert flipped blade. Ready for the next shave. I’m retired I have plenty of time. I also consider my shave time relaxing and meditative.

You should try as many soaps as you can. The easiest and most economical is samples. I use a slow feed dog bowl for my samples. It works brilliantly.

Clarifying shampoo sounds like a great idea. I was concerned that something like that would strip the bristles and damage them. Is that not true?

All the other information was helpful as well, thanks!
 
Clarifying shampoo sounds like a great idea. I was concerned that something like that would strip the bristles and damage them. Is that not true?

All the other information was helpful as well, thanks!
Clarifying shampoo sounds like a great idea. I was concerned that something like that would strip the bristles and damage them. Is that not true?
Shampoo has to be gentle enough not to damage human hair and skin. I would use these shampoos on any other critter as well. Badger, boar, dog.....
 
Shampoo has to be gentle enough not to damage human hair and skin. I would use these shampoos on any other critter as well. Badger, boar, dog.....

That totally makes sense. Not sure why I was concerned, especially considering that we have used them on living animals as well. Thanks.
 
Welcome to B&B.
Plenty of advice in the Shave Wiki; link at top left of the page.
Nothing wrong with trying the single edge razors {check in the SE section} but best to stick to one setup whilst working on technique. You could try a monthly rotation on razors.
Stick to one brush and soap so you get consistent lathers. The Omega Pro is a very good brush but takes about 30 shaves to break in. Always soak your boar brush for ~ 3 minutes before use.
Hard water is a problem for me too. A wash and scrub with an old toothbrush and dish soap every 2 or 3 days will keep the scum at bay on the metal parts. Occasionally you can scrub with a little toothpaste which will remove heavy deposits.
I remove my blade, dry by pinching and drawing through tissue daily {do not damage the cutting edge}, then flip the blade over and reinstall in razor after each shave. It keeps the scum under control and keeps the bevels clean. I use my blades for >7 shaves, some blades > 21 shaves so that regime works for me.
Thoroughly rinse the brush out after every shave to remove residual lather. Deposits of old soap also build up in the brush so a wash in 10% white vinegar solution every 6 months of daily use will usually clean a brush but do not soak for more than half an hour in the vinegar solution. Also ensure you thoroughly rinse the brush after cleaning to get rid of the vinegar solution; it will kill the lather if there is residual vinegar solution left in the brush. Information on that is in the Wiki.
The advice from Invicta is spot on. Keep reading, & above all else, keep shaving. This is a pastime that we get better at only with practice. And that's good news!!!
 

ajkel64

The Aussie Basshole
Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing your experience with us. You have received some fantastic advice from our esteemed members so I will not give you anymore other than keep shaving and enjoy the experience. It is a wonderful feeling when it all falls into place.
 
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