I tried an experimental two-pass WTG shave today. Normally I can't shave daily without risking irritation, my intent with this shave was to try and avoid using an electric razor to mow down my very coarse stubble before using a safety razor. Which is a big source of post-shave irritation in itself, going all over my face with those rotary blades.
My pre-shave prep involved washing my face with Dove Sensitive Skin soap, with a layer of Proraso Green. Which I'm not sure actually helps or hinders, once it runs out I'm gonna try Stirling's body butter as a pre-shave treatment. Other people here use glycerin soap in their pre-shave routine, and Stirling's butter has glycerin in it. Figure it's worth a shot.
I have been trying out Razorocks' GC-68 plate, a touch more aggressive than the safety bar plate. I'm enjoying it's performance so far, I'll continue to work with it.
I hope I'm not speaking too soon, but I think I figured out a proper water to soap ratio when lathering with Stirling soaps. These past two lathers have been thick and goopy, I need to be careful and not add too much water. There seems to be a fine line between a thick creamy lather and borderline soup.
This shave doesn't qualify as DFS, but I accomplished what I wanted to do with it. No noticeable irritation as of this post. Next time I'll work in a WTG pass and see what happens.
Had a DFS shave today. One-day stubble, I went right into it with a used Astra SP blade, GC OC-68 razor, no messing around with an electric razor. Whipped up a thick, goopy lather with Stirling's Glacial Strawberry Lemonade, then performed a three-pass shave. WTG, XTG, ATG and some touch ups at the end. Very little snagging, a couple nicks here and there.
Ended up mostly smooth all around, especially once the aftershave balm kicked in. Stirling's Strawberry Lemonade balm, so delightfully fruity.
On a side note, I used Stirling's Glacial Strawberry Lemonade bath soap and didn't think much of the menthol cooling effect when showering. But once I stepped out and the cooler air hit me, good gravy I started shivering immediately. Menthol soap's a great way to cool off after working in 80+ degree weather all day.
A few weeks later, I've been having great success with this setup. GC OC-68 razor, that Rudy Vey shavemac brush/handle (I'm impressed every time I look at it, that brush is a work of art), various Stirling soaps, Astra blades.
Though I've noticed Astra SP blades get better as I use them. The first shave with one feels rough, but the next two or three shaves give better results. I replace the blades after the fourth shave, they start snagging around that time.
Rather than soak the brush and soap in warm water, I've taking to running cool water on the brush and loading it with soap afterwards. I still get a satisfactory lather while using less time and resources. Adding a few drops at a time until I get a nice thick lather with slightly droopy peaks.
I'm past the experimentation phase of my shaving career. Well mostly, when my supply of Stirling soaps runs out years down the line (I've got six near-full jars to work on) I'll try other soaps. I've only got one brush, one razor, one kind of blade, and don't feel the need to branch out. I'm getting great results with what I have now.
I've encountered an issue these past few shaves I'd like some advice on. I'm getting lots of snagging on my lower neck, on any direction other than WTG. And WTG in this case is roughly straight up from chest to jawline. I've tried different directions, let the weight of the razor do the work, and if I feel it catch/snag, do some adjusting and try again. Last night's shave with this issue was with a fresh Astra SP blade and decent lather/preshave. I'm going try tweaking the blade angle next shave, and maybe a horizontal pass.
I made a couple changes to my routine this time. I changed out my Gamechanger's open comb plate for a safety bar variation, and used a thin layer of Stirling's body butter as a pre-shave treatment.
I've been considering buying a jar of Proraso Red pre-shave, since that's supposed to help with coarse hair. I'll see how well Stirling's body butter works after a week or two of use.
Two WTG passes, the second was at a slight angle, I'm trying to avoid snags. I also had the blade barely touching my skin, or whatever it's called where you put the cap on your face and tilt the razor until you feel the blade start cutting.
One horizontal/XTG pass and a brief ATG touch up. I have to be careful with these ATG passes, I can't seem to get close to DFS results without one or two ATG passes.
I may have solved the problem with snagging on my lower neck, though I still have to work on irritation free ATG passes.
Not a bad shave today, mostly smooth when running my fingers north-south down my face. A patch of sandpaper though, going ATG on my neck, and some roughage at the end of my jaw.
I had a much better shave today. Four assorted passes and some touch up afterwards. I could've shaved longer but I was about out of soap and I didn't want to get too greedy.
Surprisingly little irritation this time around, and just one nick on my left jawline. What helped compared to previous shaves was a better razor angle and taking slow, steady strokes, letting the razor do most of the work.
I tried shaving without a pre-shave cream, just a thin layer of shaving soap while I worked up a proper lather. Something was off, it definitely wasn't a good shave. I'm leaning toward Stirling's body butter as my go-to preshave treatment. I was working on a jar of Proraso green pre-shave, and while it works, Stirling's body butter just feels nicer. A thin layer of that body butter lasts through several passes.
I'm intending on 3017ing that jar of Proraso along with my other minty scented shaving products once I'm through with Strawberry Lemonade. Which won't be too long now, I'm unearthing more of the bottom every shave.
I might have a dud Astra blade. The past two shaves have been more bitey than usual. I've noticed that Astra SP's tend to get better with continued use, though todays shave was still rough. And I was letting the razor's weight do most of the work, not going over unlathered skin, etc.
I took a day off due to the rough shave on Monday. I'm getting into the habit of applying some moisturizer in the morning, CeraVe cream in this case. Trying to keep my face moist throughout the day, I'm still wearing a mask at work. This morning treatment seems to help, I did have a decent shave today, though I did use the same possibly dud blade.
The usual three passes and some touch up. I rode the cap as much as possible, and took more care than usual on my moustache area. Especially on the sides of my lips, ATG in this case is slightly perpendicular to my lips. Fairly smooth in other directions, rough and jagged ATG. I can't do a single pass here, I have to clip off a hair or two at a time, it snags very easily. I'm working on trimming those patches down before going ATG, I've had good results today.
I try not go get too greedy and not do one pass too many. On days when I skip wet shaving, I trim my facial hair with an electric razor, which I could skip but I'm a bit paranoid about my sandpaper stubble shredding my tencel pillow covers. They're already showing some wear despite being several months old.
Been a few days since a proper wet shave. I was pretty busy this week, only had time for a brief trim with an electric razor.
Today though, I had a three pass + touch up shave. DFS for sure, no irritation whatsoever. Skipping a day or two between shaves seems to help, that and my lather seemed thicker than usual. I did mash the last bits of my puck of Stirling's Strawberry Lemonade down into the bottom of the bowl, so it wasn't exactly a smooth surface. It felt like i was able to load more soap than usual into my brush, even though I stuff it full whenever I shave. Once I get to a smoother puck, I'm going to try blooming the soap and see if that helps work up a thicker lather.