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Lordalexander74's shaving journal

it's about time I started one of these topics, now that I've been shaving for around a year. I've gotten to the point where I can get near DFS results with minimal irritation, which is a definite improvement from when I've started.

Today's shave (3/25/23):

For a while, I had to wait a day in between shaves, because every time I shaved daily, there was too much irritation. I had to trim down the stubble with an electric razor, I kept on snagging hair despite a fresh blade and decent lather. Todays shave I went right into it with my DE safety razor, with pretty good results.
For my pre-shave routine, about an hour before I shaved, I washed my face with Stirling's Pink Clay soap (I've got seven bars of Dove Sensitive Skin I'm going to work on when that runs out) and applied some CeraVe cream afterwards.
And when it comes time for the shave, a thin layer of Proraso Green. I did try some of Stirling's Body Butter as a pre-shave treatment, and that produced similar results as with Proraso's cream.

The shave itself:

For those of you just getting here, I posted this in error, a bit too soon. Misclicked when tinkering with formatting.
Continuing in another post due to the time limit to edit messages.

I've gotten much better with lathering. I've had significantly better results when using Stirling's silicon bowl, compared to a Captain's Choice copper bowl. Loading the brush for around 30 seconds, just lightly grazing the soap puck, before swirling it around the bowl. Adding drops of water at a time until I get a nice sheen and a consistency between meringue and yogurt.

I'll be using Stirling soaps for a while, I've got six bowls and two sample pucks to work on before I try branching out.

After trying assorted blades, I've narrowed my choices down to Nacets and Astra SP's (I used an Astra blade today). Both produced good results.

I started shaving with a Merkur 34g, before grabbing that Baili adjustable from Stirling. I definitely needed a more aggressive razor, that Baili and an Astra blade mowed down my mustache easily. It feels cheap though, a bit hard to hold on, so I've been wetting my fingers on an alum block for extra gripping.

I'm leaning toward a Merkur Progress for my next razor, or a PAA Ascension.

I finally mapped out my beard growth, it's got a fairly even flow with the exception of a handful of hairs on my lower neck that grow however they want.

With that much lather I can do two passes and some touch ups. Right about then I feel a bit of irritation set in, so I clean up and move on. My problem areas are the corner of my throat and chin, and a thin line along my jawline. Both of which feel near BBS smooth WTG after shaving, though when I run my fingers ATF after shaving they feel like a cheese grater. I've been slowly tweaking my technique to try and combat this, turning my head, stretching skin, a more aggressive blade setting.
My upper chin (Wherever a soul patch would grow) is also troublesome. It's bumpy and uneven and I have to take short, light strokes as to avoid damage. That half inch or so under my lips is especially bumpy, I've yet to smooth it out.

I usually shave before showering, I'm a bit messy and it's easier rinsing off leftover lather when showering. I use Stirling's bath soaps mainly now, they smell great and produce a nice slick lather. My skin feels really smooth once dry.

Stirling products yet again, their balms make my face and neck buttery smooth. Though Nivea's sensitive cooling balm is a close contender.

Other notes:
I've gotten two nasty cuts so far, one on an earlobe when my razor slipped and I clipped a spot on my chin a few days ago. The alum stick I have is useless in stopping this kind of damage, I'm grabbing a styptic pencil on my next shopping trip, hopefully that'll work better.

Feel free to leave comments/helpful tips. I'll try to post updates with every shave.
Regarding yesterday's shave, I used the same setup as before, with the exception of a fresh Merkur blade. I switch blades every three shaves, my coarse hair tends to dull them after a few uses.
The shave itself went well enough, still some rough spots by the edges of my lips and along my jaw. Not quite DFS, at least until the post-shave balm kicked in. I give Stirling a lot of credit, their balms keep my face buttery smooth well into the next day after usage.
I skipped a shave yesterday, had some appointments after work and got home later.
Compared to Sunday's shave, I had a used Merkur blade, and I managed three passes and some touch ups with little to no irritation and one tiny weeper. A few stray hairs especially at the end of my jawline, and my upper chin is still bumpy when stretched. Smooth otherwise.
Overall a DFS shave, I tend to get better results waiting a day before using a DE razor.
Todays shave went well. I tried out a Gillette 7'o clock SP blade, it worked out well enough, though I think I got similar results with Astras and Nacets. A few weepers going down my neck, that area's quite lumpy no matter if I stretch or relax skin. I've taken to letting the weight of the razor do most of the work.
I used a bit of Nivea's sensitive cooling post-shave (And one too many menthol drops, made my eyes water a bit), which helped smooth out my skin after shaving.
Been having some trouble lately. My shaves lately have been feeling "grainy", more irritation than I'd like. Not very smooth.
Some problems:
1- I'm having trouble getting my hair to stay up. Smooth WTG, rough ATG. Proraso pre-shave, Stirling soaps, decent lathering technique. Whenever I'm making passes, I can't hear/feel hair getting cut. And I can't do too many passes, that just leads to more irritation.

2- I've had to do a series of short strokes rather than one steady pass, especially along my jawline and moustache. I've always had problems snagging hair, having to back off and try again.

I've been using the same loadout for a while, Stirling Soaps, a Baili adjustable razor on it's highest setting. I've settled on Astra SP's as my go to blade, I'm currently using up my current supply of Merkur & Gilette blades.

My smoothest shave so far involved that Baili razor, Stirling's Strawberry Lemonade soap, and a BIC CP blade. I've yet to replicate anything close to that shave.

I've been considering a Razorock Gamechanger OC, think a higher quality razor will help?

Admittedly I've been trying daily shaves for the most part, that may be part of my issues with irritation. I'll go back to waiting a day between shaves, giving my skin time to recover. Once I get back to smoother results I'll experiment with daily shaves again.

Another thing regarding me, not just my shaving technique, I have trouble describing myself and how I do things sometimes. If y'all need clarification, let me know and I'll do my best.
Had a decent shave today. Skipped a few days due to chores/work and to give my skin a chance to recover after a sub-par shave.

Mowed down my stubble with an electric razor, then slathered on a layer of CeraVe cream and let it sit while working up a lather. Todays soap/balm is Stirling's Lemon Chill.
I felt better about today's shave, I think what helped was waiting a day or two between wet shaves. And not getting greedy with a safety razor, I only did two passes and some touch ups around my chin. One minor cut under my nose and I caught a glimpse of a weeper.

Though after the balm kicked in and I ran my fingers along my face/neck it was mostly smooth in all directions with a light touch. When I put more pressure on those movements, there's a few rough patches that I know I went over when shaving. Something to work on for my next shave.
I'm gonna keep skipping a day or two between shaves for now, until I break down and get a new razor.
Hey howdy! Don't mind if I reply to a few of your recent thoughts about your shaves. I resonate with what you're writing about.

I can't hear/feel hair getting cut.
I have had this problem sometimes with my vintage Gillettes particularly, in certain WTG/XTG passes. I think several factors have contributed in my case... and perhaps they will be helpful to consider for yours. @thombrogan postulated with me that perhaps my lathers could use more hydration, tending toward "drippy" rather than "creamy." Leaning more toward lubrication, rather than cushioning. When using a lather like that, it's essential that the lightest possible touch is used with the razor, because it's much less forgiving--but there's a dramatic increase in feedback. I think I also sometimes struggle to get the correct angle, and subconsciously apply pressure until I can hear shaving... better to keep the touch delicate, and readjust the stroke direction and razor angle until you can hear that keratin being sliced.

short strokes
I make strokes no longer than 1 inch, even on my WTG pass. We're trying to maintain our angle while navigating all kinds of curves and corners... I could try to move my wrist/arm to change angles throughout a long stroke, but I find it's easier to tackle the problem in smaller pieces. Then I can focus on staying delicate, after I "set up" the angle.

I've yet to replicate anything close to that shave
Sometimes the stars align. It's good to take note of what worked... and sometimes those good shaves just happen. I think it's why it's an addictive hobby... intermittent reinforcement and all. May all your coming shaves be even better!
Thanks for the tips, desertcat.

I just got a Simpson Wee Scot, it's tiny and adorable. I'm sold on badger brushes now, I barely loaded up the Wee one and it produced an impressive amount of lather on my hand.

Also bought a RazoRock Gamechanger 64 normal plate and OC plate, can't wait to try those out.


Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
It takes very careful planning to go wrong with a Wee Scot. Mine gets better every time it’s used. If you have hard water, do make sure to periodically clean soap scum from the bristles every few dozen shaves or so. I use a pinch of citric acid, dishwashing liquid, and water to soak the brush for at least 15 minutes and then rinse, rinse, rinse, and rinse some more and then feel surprised when the first use after that still has a tiniest amount of dishwashing liquid left behind.
Also bought a RazoRock Gamechanger 64 normal plate and OC plate, can't wait to try those out.

Congratulations on the new razor!! I just spent all of March getting to know the .68P and it's a fantastic razor. It took me maybe two weeks to dial in the angle - I needed it a little more shallow than with my Tech - and then I was getting two pass DFS shaves without much effort.

I think you'll like it a lot. And getting the OC plate is smart too, sounds like you'll go a while sometimes between shaves and the OC will make quick work of thicker growth I bet.

@thombrogan told me something like "Don't use any pressure. Then try to use less pressure than that. And that's still probably too much pressure" once and that made a big difference for me. Along with using slow, short strokes.

With coarse hair like yours, perhaps leave your preshave in for a bit, 4-5 min, to soften it up and try to get rid of that grainy feel?
I used the Wee Scot for yesterdays shave and was impressed by it's performance. Admittedly it took several minutes to work up enough lather, I loaded the brush for 30-40 secs using paintbrush strokes. The instructions that came with the brush said to not swirl it. Followed by drops of water at a time until I got enough lather in the bowl to nearly cover those nubs.

Despite all the water I slowly added, the lather kept a thick yet slightly droopy consistency. Better results in this department than months of lathering with that synthetic from APShaveCo, where it seemed easier to end up with a runnier lather.

Is it normal for badger brushes to shed? I've lost a dozen or so hairs out of my Wee Scot so far.


Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
Mine shed a few when brand new. If it sheds a single hair now, it means it’s time for a deep cleaning and that easy to do with such a small knot. If yours still sheds like this after a week or two, please reach out to Simpson’s
pathetic lather.jpg

My latest lathering. I loaded up the Wee one as much as I could and swished it around the bowl, adding drops of water until I had enough lather to cover those nubs in the bowl. Kinda soupy though, and this process took 10mins or so.

I've been talking with Rudy Vey and he's going to make me a Shavemac badger brush/handle. I'm hoping a larger brush will help with lather generation and ease the strain on my hand/wrist.

Least there was enough lather there for two passes and some touch ups. Missed a few spots like usual, barely any irritation. I'm thinking if I had more lather to work with I could handle more passes.

That Gamechanger razor just felt nice to use, it's a winner for sure.
I felt better about today's lather. I soaked the brush in warm water, and a bit of water on the soap puck. Tossed in some water into the bowl, loaded up the Wee Scot and whipped it up. Didn't take as long to get a decent amount of lather as my last batch.
I've fairly hard water as well.

The shave itself I have mixed feelings on. I could've gone over the same area multiple times and still not smooth it out. My jawline is bad in this department, and I don't think I can ever go ATG on my neck (Hair growth direction here seems all over the place) without snagging something.

Keeping a decent angle when shaving is something I need to work on. That and avoiding daily shaves, every time I shave daily it just doesn't feel good afterwards. I've had more DFS shaves skipping a day or two.
bit of water on the soap puck
I always have better success when I bloom soaps, even the softer kind like Stirling seem to load easily and build more rapidly with that earlier introduction of water.

avoiding daily shaves
This stands out to me, because I used to experience similar problems. For years, I was basically certain that daily shaving was an impossibility for my skin. However, it turned out the barrier was my technique in a few areas.

First was preparation. I wasn't thoroughly preparing my whiskers. For me, this means showering, using a hot towel, and a glycerin-based preshave soap which remains on my face while I build lather. Too much abrasion (agitation/scrubbing with the hot towel) or contact with soaps ("cleansing" face wash, or washing my face before applying preshave soap) has the potential to increase my irritation. Depending on your skin's needs, you may want to try cold-water shaving or other changes to your pre-shave routine.

I used to face lather, with a lot of vigor. When I started daily shaving I switched to bowl lathering, and applying the lather with a very gentle hand. I immediately stopped feeling brush burn, which I thought was simply inevitable/unavoidable.

The most critical (and difficult) change was using the lightest possible pressure against the skin when shaving. My first razor (Merkur 34C) was so mild, I had to un-learn some bad habits. Many adjustments helped in this regard--shorter strokes, a change in how I held the razor. The GameChanger has slightly negative blade exposure, the closed comb version especially will tempt you to use pressure (or not as obviously punish you). Don't fear the OC head, it might help increase your awareness of the blade and your handling.

Finally I changed the cutting pattern, reducing my shaves from a 3-pass with touchup to a 2-pass with touchup. Less time with the blade on my skin, even in more aggressive/ATG directions worked better for me overall.

I hope these suggestions are helpful! Continue to enjoy the Wee Scot!
Yesterday's shave went well. I trimmed down the coarsest parts of my hair with an electric razor, currently using an older Norelco rotary. I tend to get better results starting with an electric razor, whenever I try and go without it, there's always patches of hair left behind after a few passes with a DE razor. Probably something I could correct, but I'm shooting for more satisfying shaves before tweaking my routine.

I then washed my face with a sliver of Stirling's bath soap (I've got some Dove bars to use eventually for facial washing) and applied some CeraVe moisturizing cream. Waited an hour or so before shaving with the GameChanger 68 SB. I had a used Astra SP, and enough lather (this batch ended up a bit too soupy, but it worked out regardless) for two passes and some touch ups.

I usually shave before showering, painting lather on my face tends to get messy and it's easier to rinse off leftovers when showering. I use warm water to soak the brush and bloom soap, and cooler water when rinsing lather off.

I think what made this shave better, was me not getting too greedy. Listening to my skin, I've gotten better at stopping when I feel my skin's had enough. Slowly getting a proper blade angle, and tackling one problem area at a time.

Rudy Vey just shipped out the Shavemac brush/handle he made for me, I can't wait to play with it.
Todays shave wasn't too bad. I had two-day stubble I mowed down with an electric razor. My lather this time around was too foamy, either I soaked the brush/soap too long or a bad soap to water ratio. I could've smoothed the lather out some, but my wrist wasn't up to the task today.
So I ended up doing one pass and some touch up. I had a bit of an off day and tapped out of shaving early. Had a few stray hairs left over, but other than that it was a decent shave.
I've noticed my skin is still quite rough in the period between showering and when the balm kicks in.
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