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My First Wetshave

Hey, my name’s Alec, and as the post count indicates, I’m new to B&B, as well as to wetshaving. So far I’m thinking I might be the youngest member here at a measly 16 years old, can anyone beat that?

How exactly did a 16 year old these days manage to stumble onto wetshaving you ask? Well, let me give you my shaving history. My father’s Armenian and my mother’s Italian: the perfect hybrid of hairiness (it’s bad when at 14 you can relate to Robin Williams bits about how hairy he is). I’ve been shaving for about 2 years now; I started with a Mach 3, then upgraded to a Mach 3 power when my baseball coach told me he had a friend who worked at Gilette, and he heard the power would bring some incredible changes. Gilette got me one more time when I bought a fusion this January, and I’ve been using that ever since (It seems I’ve had RAD even before wetshaving, god help me now).

I was pretty happy with my Fusion, but I was getting really bad irritation on my neck and my shaves were never that close. It seemed like fate when, as I was stroking my neck noticing that it both hurt and had stubble just hours after shaving, I stumbled across Corey Greenberg’s article which had been put up on Digg.com. I was about to leave on a 3-week vacation, but I vowed to take his advice when I got home.

When I returned, the first thing I did was start researching razors. I decided on the Merkur 1904 Classic with Taylor’s Lavender cream to go with it. Since I already had a shaving brush, I figured I was set. After a few days of waiting, eagerly reading these forums and any other source of shaving information I could find, my new razor arrived. Excitedly I tore open the packaging to find… that I hadn’t gotten any blades. It was late at night so I couldn’t get any yet, but I looked online and found I could get some cheap blades at my local drugstore. I ordered some nice blades online and decided to by an interim pack at the store the next morning.

I woke up early and set off walking down the street to the drugstore not far from my house, only to find they didn’t have any DE blades. Not to be defeated, I decided to go to the next closest drugstore. After almost two hours of walking (what seemed to be somehow uphill both directions) in 100 degree heat, I returned with my blades. Eagerly I chugged some Gatorade to rehydrate, started soaking my brush in hot water like I had read, and hopped in the shower. When I got out I popped open my razor, stuck one of my new blades inside, and put the top back on. I got out my brush and spent a few minutes working up a nice lather, spread the cream over my face, grabbed my razor, and slowly, timidly, began to slide it down my cheek. I felt my cheek with my finger, expecting it to be smooth as a pool ball. Instead I found it just as rough as it was before I began shaving. Looking at my razor, I realized the blade wasn’t exposed at all. Clearly the blades I bought didn’t fit properly. Demoralized, I grabbed my Fusion out of my medicine cabinet and finished the shave with that.

Later that afternoon, when I was looking at the pictures of razors on Classicshaving.com, I noticed they looked slightly different from how mine had looked. I ran up to my room and grabbed my razor, bringing it down to my computer I held it up next to the picture. Apparently, I had the bottom clamp of my razor upside down, concealing the blade. Feeling like a stupid kid, I unscrewed the razor, flipped the bottom, and put it back together. Just to test it, I tried to shave a small patch of hair on the side of my hand (remember how I said I have hair everywhere?) Sure enough, it was as sharp as, well, a razor blade.

The next morning I didn’t really have time to do the whole shaving ritual I had planned out, so I decided to skip shaving, but this morning I had my first DE Shave. Once again I was very careful, and did everything just as I had read. The first pass (with the grain) went very well. It didn’t seem to get rid of very much hair, but there were no nicks or cuts, and I felt pretty good. The second pass (across the grain) was hell. I cut myself about 7 or 8 times. I’ve never done an across the grain shave before, so it was probably stupid to do it my first time shaving with a DE. Oh well. The third pass (against the grain) went pretty well too, probably because I was so scared after my problems in the previous pass. Overall I think it went decently. I need to learn the typical stuff that comes with experience (blade angle, pressure, skin tightening), and despite this being no question the worst shave of my life, I’m gonna keep on trying. I must admit this might be the closest shave I’ve ever gotten already, but there’s still room for improvement.

I only have two questions so far. First: Does anyone have any tips for getting the right blade angle besides the "start with the handle parallel to the floor and tilt down" method? that didn't seem to work too well for me. Second: how important is an aftershave? I've been using a moisturizer that I really like, but I'm wondering if something specially designed for use after shaving might have any added benefits.

Sorry if this was too long of a post, but all my friends think this wetshaving business is stupid, and I needed to tell my story to someone. I’m looking forward to really perfecting the art, and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of great help from you guys.

Thanks for reading,
Hitmeandilltellu said:
Sorry if this was too long of a post, but all my friends think this wetshaving business is stupid, and I needed to tell my story to someone. I’m looking forward to really perfecting the art, and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of great help from you guys.

Thanks for reading,


I'm dealing with the same strange looks when I go into any kind of details about wetshaving with friends, family, or just about anyone else not familiar with it. I'm new to it also, but I think my current high on my shaving cream keeps me saying "Forget the naysayers; this is the greatest thing since sliced bread." Just remember to go SLOW; closeness will come in time, following right behind technique. As far as blade angle goes, using short shorts gives you plenty of chances to find the correct angle in a relatively short time. As I'm sure you've heard, pull your skin taut in the opposite direction of hair growth, and use ZERO pressure. If you follow those rules not only will you get a closer, more comfortable shave; you'll also feel calmer about experimenting with blade angles. Good luck!

All razor blades are not created equal! Feather's are, in my opinion, the sharpest and smoothest blade going. That said, you may want to try a Derby however until you become a little more comfortable in your technique. I don't believe you mentioned what kind of blades you're using but they're not likely to be some of the best if you purchased them in a local drug store.
I too am just starting wet shaving with a DE and the feather blades are the only ones I have tried but they are very good. If you use short strokes then it helps better with the blade angle since you can effectively change the angle of the razor. When you use long strokes and the blade isn't at the proper angle you might try and go over the area multiple times to get a better cut but that gives you a little razor burn since you go over your skin more than needed. Use short strokes untill you're better at getting the right angle for long stroke.
Sometimes I think us "oldtimers" forget about the "youth" that can find our forum. I was able to work with my son (now 18 and growing a beard) with products and information. But for many, there is no help at home. Alec and bigDee, I'm glad you found us. Knowing your age helps us a lot in passing on information. Things we may take for granted are totally new to the two of you. Please, don't be embarassed to ask questions. I know that bigDee has already been a target of Corey, but if he knew your age and that you were working on your very first shave, he might have viewed things differently. I congratulate the two of you for being "heads up" in looking for a proper way to shave vs. dragging a plastic handle with a cartridge attached as all that is available.

Walking in 100 degree heat, uphill both ways- you might only be 16 in age, but in wisdom you are much older, young skywalker.

welcome to the site- no question u have is a 'stupid' one, so feel free to ask.

You will be assimilated!

Welcome, I've found wetshaving through digg as well. I would suggest that in the first week you stick to with the grain pass, then next week add accross the grain and the following week add against the grain. That's what I've done and this way I've minimised the amount of times I've cut myself. Take it slow and you'll pick it up in no time. Also which blades did you order online?
Wow, first let me say that of all the forums I've joined, never have I found such a welcoming group of people.

Second, I wanted to thank kyle and bigDee for the short strokes suggestion, so far that has been the most helpful suggestion, as well as not listening to music, which I read somewhere else.

As for the blades I'm using/ordered, I'm currently using CVS Brand Stainless steel blades, and I ordered Merkur SS Platinums. I don't really have any basis for comparison with the CVS blades, but I think they're working fine.

I would also like to announce that today I have no nicks OR irritation from my shave. Although it's not the closest shave I've ever had, it's certainly one of the most comfortable.

Finally, I would just like to say in my father's defense that he has a beard, and has had one for over 20 years, so he just doesn't know that much about shaving outside of his beard trimmer.

Once again thanks for all your help
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