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My Search For Smooth

I started a thread in the brush section to help with a problematic Omega boar. In the process, I somehow started making a journal and found that recording my shaves helped me solve some of the other technical issues I was having. Since my brush problem has largely been solved I'll continue documenting my shaves here instead.

I also discovered something important in that brush thread.

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That the quality I value above all others when it comes to shaving is smoothness. This covers every aspect of the process for me, including the final desired result, which is still some way off. I want a smooth, slick lather applied with a brush that has a smooth face feel. I want the razor and blade combination to provide me with smoothnes during the shave, and ultimately I'm striving for a perfectly smooth BBS finish, all with the least amount of effort. This may not be possible, but the most important part for me, which is a perfectly smooth in-shave experience, should be achievable.

Yesterday I had my first shave with a made in England Gillettte Tech and it was a major step towards achieving my goal. For the first time since I began DE shaving I managed to get a closer and more comfortable shave than I could get with a Bic orange handled disposable. This wasn't something I could get near to with my Merkur 34C. It was better in every single way, and I did it more quickly and with less effort. By comparison it was easy, and I ended up with a CCS, almost a DFS and with only 2 wtg passes. I may not yet be able to describe the shave as perfectly smooth, but it was definitely in the same ballpark.

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The Tech was loaded with a Gillette 7.00 green, a blade I know to be smooth and I used my Semogue 1438 which I really like. It's soft on the face and effective at building lather to the right consistency. I suspect that more Semogues will follow. I've been using mostly Proraso white but soaps are something I have yet to really explore. I will get to it.

I also have a question regarding blades that I have briefly discussed elsewhere. Is smoother sharper? I really can't understand how a blade that is less smooth is anything other than less sharp, but conventional shaving wisdom says otherwise, so for now I must accept it. But the scale used still bothers me, with smooth at one end of the spectrum and sharp at the other. This is just not logical. The opposite to smooth isn't sharp; it's rough. And the opposite to sharp isn't smooth; it's dull. By this logic, if a blade feels rough, as some people describe Feathers, how can that be because it's too sharp? Also, everyone says Feathers are the sharpest blades, but how do we know? I hope to find some answers to these questions as they seem crucial to my quest for a smooth shave. I have a few blades to try out.

As I stated in another post, I know that I like the Tech much more than the 34C, I now need to understand why. I believe it has something to do with rigidity.
 
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A discussion in another thread has prompted a few more thoughts on terminology.

The description of a razor as either mild or aggresive worries me. When a razor is described as mild, does that mean smooth, or, does it mean inefficient? If it's the former than that to me would be good, the latter not so much. If, as other shavers have suggested, we replace the term 'aggressive' for efficient, it changes the way we describe razors quite dramatically.

The spectrum would then be from 'inefficient to efficient' on the one hand and, on the other, 'mild' to 'harsh'. My preferance would then be for a razor that is both mild and efficient. Reverting back to the old/normal terminololgy for a moment this would mean that what I am looking for is a razor that is both mild and aggresive, which would not be possible, since they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

But, by changing the original scale (mild to aggresive) to 2 scales, one being from 'inefficient to efficient', and another from 'mild' to 'harsh' we have the following variables with which to describe razors:

Inefficient and Mild
Inefficient and Harsh
Efficient and Mild
Efficient and Harsh

For me the optimum would be the mildest, most efficient razor possible, with the least desirable being the harshest, most inefficient razor possible. If we can accept that there may have to be a trade off between absolute mildness (which would presumably be a razor without a blade) and absolute efficiency, I think we end up with a more accurate, useful way of describing a razors performance.

Part of the problem is that this is complicated by two other factors: 1. Subjectivity; and 2. Technique. I do have a difficult time understanding why anyone would want an inefficient, harsh razor but this is where YMMV really comes into play. I find the Merkur 34C to be fairly inefficient and slightly harsh, especially on the first pass but others love it. Similarly, I found the Tech to be not only milder, but much more efficient than the 34C. Again, I'm sure others would disagree.

Considering all of the above, and taking into account YMMV I still think that it would be useful to think of razors as ranging from 'efficient to inefficient' and from 'mild to harsh', rather than the usual 'mild to aggresive'.
 
Shave 1: Tech Two 51KHJvH7hdL._SX425_.jpg

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Prep: None
Razor: Made in England Gillette Tech
Blade: Gillette 7.00 Green
Brush: Semogue 1438
Soap: Proraso White
Post Shave: Cold Water Splash

Tonight was my second shave with the Tech. (the first can be found here How do you soak your boar brush? - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/how-do-you-soak-your-boar-brush.575524/page-13 )

I began with my normal routine; soaking my brush in a small bowl of cold water while I filled the sink, cold water once more. I splashed my face till my hands hurt (I get very cold tap water), loaded from the tub for about 20 seconds and got the lather started in the small bowl. I dipped once and after around 1 minute I moved the brush onto my face to finish off. I really like this brush and I now take my time here, slowly but firmly swirling, painting and adding water until I have a lather that I like. Slick, not too thick and fairly wet.

Right ear, WTG and part of me was still wondering if Mondays shave might have been a fluke. It wasn't. With long, smooth, confident strokes I worked my way inwards. I find this razor much easier to maneuver than the Merkur and I'm able to follow my growth pattern along the tricky jawline comfortably. I notice that my breathing is steady, calm and I feel very relaxed as I quickly take care of the left side of my face. Shaving my left side neck, I remind myself not to be complacent, the whole process appearing almost too easy.

As I rinsed off for the second pass it occured to me that if I was in a hurry (I shave in the evenings so I never am) one pass would suffice. This would have been near impossible with a Bic disposable. As for the 34C, forget about it.

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Second pass, right ear WTG once more and there was very little audio feedback or cutting feel. The first pass was clearly as efficient as I'd judged earlier. The rest of the shave went completely without incident, and I some how ended up buffing on my chin with the lather gathered from the slots in the razor. Everything was entirely intuitive, that state of mind where you find yourself thinking without thinking, muscle memory assisiting every movement.

I rinsed off, dabbed my face with a towel and emptied the sink. After splashing my face with fresh cold water I patted my face dry, eager to check the result in the mirror. No redness, no irritation, no nicks, no weepers. I have a smidgen of winter dry skin in some areas and the left side of my face is not quite right. There's no soreness but it definitely feels like I've shaved. I'm nitpicking though. I suspect that my over confidence led to me applying a bit too much pressure in places so I'll be sure to watch out for that next time. With the Merkur 34C not only was it slightly harsh, but it's inefficiency forced me to bear down to get a half decent shave, and even then it was a hit and miss affair, with stray hairs managing to escape the blade and even some entire patches poorly shaved.

I have a genuine DFS most everywhere above the jawline barring the moustache and it's not far off below, pretty good for 2 wtg passes. The tiny area below my nostril was missed where I was not precise enough. Otherwise, I'm fairly pleased with the general evenness of finish.
 
When I went for a walk this afternoon I idly stroked my face and noticed that my post shave-day growth was softer, smoother and more even than it is after shaving with the Merkur 34C. The closeness appears to be longer lasting as well.

I've been looking at the differences between the head design of the Merkur and the Tech and they are significant, particularly the base plates.

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Merkur 34C on the left, Tech on the right.

These are not the clearest photos. I'm still getting to grips with taking pictures on my ancient Fuji camera. However, it's obvious to see how much slimmer the head of the Tech is and, more importantly, how much more blade support it provides, especially the nearer to the safety bar the blade gets. This could be why I get significant blade chatter, pulling and tugginess when using anything other than the shallowest angle on the first pass with the Merkur. A more tightly gripped blade should allow for less movement and hopefully, a smoother stroke. That would perhaps explain the more comfortable face feel I noticed during the 2 shaves with the Tech.

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The base plates, Merkur on the left again.

There is a steeper drop off from the central support on the Merkur and a larger lather slot, where as the central portion of the Tech slopes away towards the slots before the support of the blade is removed. The slots are narrower but work very effectively during a shave.

As I keep saying, the most striking thing for me when using the Tech is that not only is it much smoother than the Merkur, but far more efficient, especially on the first pass. I'm still not sure why that it is.

I will use these observations to assess any further razors before purchasing. While I don't expect or want every other razor I use to be the same as the Tech, I definitely want adequate blade support. It appears to be related to smoothness.
 
I'm still amazed by how much more I like the Tech than the Merkur.

However, I am pleased that I started my DE journey the way I did. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have joined B&B to say thanks for the help in solving a few of my problems and I would have missed out on an awful lot. Just from a technical standpoint that would include things such as understanding the difference between shallow and steep angles, how to hold and balance a razor, how to prepare a better lather, I could go on and on.

Second, because of the particular difficulties that the 34C caused me, it's forced me to develop a pretty solid technique. The effect has been a bit like running in sand or boxing with weights on the wrist, then when you remove the hindrance everything seems easier.

It may well be that the Tech turns out to be my ideal razor and that would be fine but how will I know unless I keep searching? I'm having too much fun to stop just yet.
 
Shave 2: Sandalwood

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Made in England Gillette Tech
Gillette 7.00 Green (3)
Semogue 1438
Proraso Red

This is the first time I've used a sandalwood scented anything. The soap arrived a few days ago and my first impressions were that I didn't like it very much. I mostly got a strong incense smell and even though there was something faintly nostalgic about it, I was still not sold on it. Everytime I've been in the bathroom since then I've had a little smell of it and before today I could have said that it's maybe not so bad after all.

As I loaded from the tub for this evenings shave it was far less offensive than I was expecting and when I moved onto the bowl stage I was much more optimistic. At least I knew that I'd be able to rely on the Proraso performance.

Onto the face and as I was adding the last bit of water to my lather I seemed to detect a mild prickling sensation, just like I do with Cella. It's very mild, but defintely there (at least I think so; maybe it's psychosomatic?).

First pass, WTG and from the first stroke which was not quite as smooth as the last shave, it all kind of went downhill. I was becoming a more irritable all the time, this was not my most enjoyable shave. Everything just seemed to take a bit more effort. There was no tugging or pulling, it just didn't feel as smooth and I was convinced that I would be feeling more irritation for the next pass.

I rinsed off and it could have been closer, especially along the jawline. I should have been paying more attention but I was distracted by the soap.

As I lathered up for the second pass there was maybe a mild tingle but not too much really. I shaved quite hurriedly, wtg again, I just wanted to get it over with and the scent of the soap was getting on my nerves as well. I had to re-apply lather to my neck, which annoyed me futher and I finished up and rinsed off quickly so I could check the damage in the mirror.

Nothing. No redness at all. There was a slight tingling feeling to my skin, possibly no more than I get from the menthol in Proraso white but it was bothering me more. I'm not sure why. After I'd finished clearing up I had another look in the mirror. No nicks or weepers, no visible sign of irritation at all. Maybe it was in my head all along?

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The tingling feeling had gone altogether by the time I left the bathroom.

My skin was slightly drier than last shave, but that could well be down to the weather. I wonder if the slight tingling could be down to a slight error in my technique. I have gotten in to the habit of using pressure, caused by the inefficiency of the Merkur, so it could be that. It could also be brush burn. This Semogue brush, while much softer than the Omega I was using previously, is still not fully broken in. I think it's been used for less than a dozen shaves. I also wonder if the menthol in Proraso white helps cover up any small technical weaknesses.

What I can say about the sandalwood fragrance of the Proraso red, now that it has settled down, is this. The memory that it faintly stirred after my first sniff from the tub is that of my Grandad. It has a kind of talcum powder and wood odour and it's far from unpleasant.
 
I could smell the scent from the Proraso Red that I used yesterday for the six hours between shaving and going to bed. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. I say surprisingly because I'm generally not a fan of fragrances. I have a very strong sense of smell, I'm very fussy about what I do like and I'm not that keen on changes. I always find the shift between using a different deodorant or even a shower gel uncomfortable for a few days until I get I used to it. Now that I like the sandalwood scent, I really hope that the slight discomfort I noticed yesterday was just temporary. I tend to find that, like my olfactory senses, my skin adapts to new products, but can take a little while. I think my face may have just gotten to the stage where it really likes Proraso White and any change causes a mild, temporary shock.

Changing the subject, I read an intersting article by Michael "Leisureguy" in the famous Manitc59's Sharpologist website on the topic of categorizing razors from mild to aggresive. I've selected a couple of passages from it:

"Double-edge safety razors once were described as ranging from “mild” to “aggressive,” as though razors could be ordered in a row, with the mildest at one end and the most aggressive at the other and the others falling in between, each one milder than the razor on one side and more aggressive than its neighbor on the other, with perhaps some ties."

"But as I considered my own experience with safety razors, I realized that in fact razors don’t line up in a row but rather must be arranged on a plane with two independent axes: “comfort,” with razors going from extremely uncomfortable to extremely comfortable, and “efficiency,” with razors ranging from extremely inefficient to extremely efficient. "

I didn't expect that my thoughts on this were anything new, but the similarity reassured me that my thinking is going in the right direction. One final passage made me raise an eyebrow:

"Uncomfortable and inefficient: This quadrant is generally uninhabited, since a razor that is both uncomfortable and inefficient doesn’t last long in the market. These razors are “aggressive” in terms of comfort but “mild” in terms of efficiency. "

This is precisely the quadrant that I would place the Merkur 34C in. Many would disagree with me, I'm certain of that, because the Merkur/DE89 style razors have many fans. I'm just calling it as I see it.

In another thread I mentioned the impact the subject of rigidity, and specifically blade support, has had on my thinking, citing this in particular: OK, I'm on a "rigid blade" hunt. - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/ok-im-on-a-rigid-blade-hunt.521389/

This is one example of the many things I've read, but in just 5 pages it covers much of what is important.

Combined with my experience of the difference between shaving with the 34C and the Tech, it's been nothing short of revelatory. The logic of the argument is so rational and persuasive that had it turned out that I loved the Merkur but didn't like the Tech I think I'd be at a loss as to explain why, other than to just say YMMV. That probably wouldn't bother most. It would drive me nuts.
 
I now understand a bit more about why I prefer the Tech to the Merkur. As far as comfort goes it has to do with blade support. The efficiency is another matter and something that I still need to figure out through experience. It should be due to the Tech having either greater blade exposure or greater gap. That still leaves negative blade exposure which I still don't quite understand.

Another thing I prefer about the Tech are it's physical dimensions. I find it much more comfortable to hold and maneuver.

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Merkur left, Tech right.

The handel on the Tech is both shorther and slimmer. When it's wet and slippery with soap I can carry on shaving without having to dry it on a towel mid-shave, something that always annoyed me with the 34C.

It's considerably lighter than the Merkur too.

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I found the weight of the Merkur listed as 81g on one sellers website. My kitchen scales say roughly the same.

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The Tech looks to be somewhere around 30g. It feels about half the weight in my hand.

The lighter weight and slimmer, shorter handle might be why I find it easier to shave with it at the more difficult angles. I'm assuming that the handle is made from aluminium, so the material is another factor I'll have to be aware of when looking at other razors.
 
Shave 3: 73 Hours.

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Made in England Gillette Tech
Astra SP (1)
Semogue 1438
Proraso White

I'd planned for an AM shave Sunday. It never happened. I changed my mind that morning, deciding to wait until the following evening to see how the Tech coped with a 3 day beard.

Through out the day my face has been feeling ever so slightly itchy and even a little sore by the corner of my left lip. I now remember why I started shaving again in the first place. My skin suffers if I don't. It becomes dry, itchy and a little flaky. I suspect that several years of washing my beard/stubble with shampoo hasn't helped. I've since ditched shampoo altogether. I was desperate for a shave by the time this evening came around.

I went back to Proraso White, my baseline soap for shaving experiments and used the Semogue brush, now my firm favourite. I took the time to get a really good lather.

First pass, WTG and a new Astra. The first stroke, right ear, was as smooth as it is with a 48hr stubble. It took a little more effort as I worked my way inwards, and I tried to keep a light touch. This razor is so easy to shave with that I find I'm always tempted to use more pressure than is needed. It was harder going at the right corner of my mouth and below my lower lip. Never tuggy, put it was not the smoothest. I could feel a little bit of soreness at my right chin corner as I was shaving my neck. That went smoothly enough, but I noticed a couple of red marks to the right of my adams apple. Not shave related, but rather, 'from not having shaved' related. Same thing at the left corner of my mouth. That red mark was there before I even started shaving. It'll be a while before I try the 72hr or longer lay off again.

I rinsed off and have to say that the razor had coped admirably. There was a rough patch at the front of my chin, right side and also by the far left corner jaw, below the ear. All the other issues (and there were a few; Red marks, dry skin patches and a bit of soreness) had not been caused by this shave. I lathered up for pass 2.

WTG once more, and just as I started I saw a red spot of blood seeping through the lather under my chin, right side. I made a mental note to take care in that area and to watch the pressure. The second pass went smoothly enough, but the right side of my chin was stinging a bit. It felt a little tender as I shaved over it, but the lather was nice and slick and I blade buffed the front of my chin as I normally do. The lather on my neck was dry so whipped the brush across it a few times and finished off. The cold water felt nice and soothing on my slightly tender skin as I rinsed off and patted dry.

I splashed my face with fresh cold water for a little longer than normal, then dried off. I felt really refreshed but this was not an irritation free shave and my skin was showing the visible signs. It was a bit stingy too. Now, about 45 minutes later it's already much better and when I checked in the bathroom mirror about half an hour ago the redness was already considerably reduced. I've just had another look now as I went to get another glass of water and it's much better, I expect it to be fine by tomorrow morning.

I now know that I don't necessarily need an OC to take care of 3 days of stubble. I also know that more than 48hrs between shaves has a huge effect on my skin.
 
My skin was back to normal by this morning. I put a small dab of this on the odd red area before I went to bed.

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A tip I picked up from watching boxing matches. It's really good for any small blemishes on the skin. It creates a protective layer to let the skin heal and has no ingredients other then the pure petroleum jelly it's made of.
 
Shave 4: A Late One

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Made in England Tech
Astra SP (2)
Semogue 1438
Proraso Red

Tonights shave was a late one, about Midnight UK time so this will be a brief report.

2 passes, WTG and in all honesty I rushed. I splashed my face with cold water, loaded the brush and lathered, all in under 5 minutes easy. The sandalwood scent of the Proraso Red has subsided a bit since first use and I have to say I now like it very much. There was slight tugging lower lip, I think I was a little tentative with strokes that were too slow. I don't quite have the confidence with this blade that I do the 7.00 green. I noticed a little bit of irritation, lower lip as I was shaving my neck. Prickly and a little itchy, mild but there.

2nd pass, relathered in about 30 seconds, WTG again, no tugging at all, very smooth everywhere. I had to relather my neck again, the mild prickly feeling was on my lower lip, a bit above the lip as well. I finished my neck, a bit of tugging on the ATG north meets south area. I rinsed thoroughly, re-rinsed with fresh cold water and dried off.

The entire process was done in less than 20 minutes. No post shave irritation, no redness, nicks or weepers. I have a DFS above the jawline, not bad everywhere else. Pretty good for a rush job.

As I'm typing I can smell the sandalwood, it really is very nice and as I was writing the 2nd paragraph I felt a hint of the prickly itchy feeling return but it went away after a few seconds. My lower lip is my most sensitive area and I wonder if the fact that I get the irritation only there (at least for todays shave) is an indication that it's my technique rather than the soap. I hope so, because even though it's bearable, I'm looking for more than that from my shaves. In the event that it is the soap, I'll keep trying others until I find those that work perfectly for me.
 
Shave 4: A Late One

View attachment 1040794

Made in England Tech
Astra SP (2)
Semogue 1438
Proraso Red

Tonights shave was a late one, about Midnight UK time so this will be a brief report.

2 passes, WTG and in all honesty I rushed. I splashed my face with cold water, loaded the brush and lathered, all in under 5 minutes easy. The sandalwood scent of the Proraso Red has subsided a bit since first use and I have to say I now like it very much. There was slight tugging lower lip, I think I was a little tentative with strokes that were too slow. I don't quite have the confidence with this blade that I do the 7.00 green. I noticed a little bit of irritation, lower lip as I was shaving my neck. Prickly and a little itchy, mild but there.

2nd pass, relathered in about 30 seconds, WTG again, no tugging at all, very smooth everywhere. I had to relather my neck again, the mild prickly feeling was on my lower lip, a bit above the lip as well. I finished my neck, a bit of tugging on the ATG north meets south area. I rinsed thoroughly, re-rinsed with fresh cold water and dried off.

The entire process was done in less than 20 minutes. No post shave irritation, no redness, nicks or weepers. I have a DFS above the jawline, not bad everywhere else. Pretty good for a rush job.

As I'm typing I can smell the sandalwood, it really is very nice and as I was writing the 2nd paragraph I felt a hint of the prickly itchy feeling return but it went away after a few seconds. My lower lip is my most sensitive area and I wonder if the fact that I get the irritation only there (at least for todays shave) is an indication that it's my technique rather than the soap. I hope so, because even though it's bearable, I'm looking for more than that from my shaves. In the event that it is the soap, I'll keep trying others until I find those that work perfectly for me.
It might be the soap. I know that I get a little what I call heat on initial application of the Proraso Red Pre-shave Cream, and a bit from the After-shave Lotion (I don't own the Shave Cream or Soap in the Red Line). I know for me it is the Pre-shave and the After-shave that causes my slight warmth/heat on my skin. I kind of like it during the winter, so I just use it. No redness and no irritation after, just a little on initial application of the products.
 
It might be the soap. I know that I get a little what I call heat on initial application of the Proraso Red Pre-shave Cream, and a bit from the After-shave Lotion (I don't own the Shave Cream or Soap in the Red Line). I know for me it is the Pre-shave and the After-shave that causes my slight warmth/heat on my skin. I kind of like it during the winter, so I just use it. No redness and no irritation after, just a little on initial application of the products.
That was my first thought. It's the fact that the irritation occures in a localised area, just around my lips, beneath my lower lip mostly, that gives cause for doubt. I get something similar with Cella, but again, my first 2 shaves with that were using a Bic disposable and shaving XTG with a lot of pressure. I'd even get some irritation using Proraso white shaving like that.

Now, having experienced quite a few zero irritation shaves, even with my out of favour Merkur, has me expecting more. I'll probably give Proraso red an extended run and see if things get better, worse or stay about the same. The smell has really grown on me, I have to say, so I'll most likely end up being a sandalwood fan whatever the outcome.
 
Shave 5

Made in England Tech
Astra SP (3)
Semogue 1438
Proraso Red

For tonights shave I aimed for something consistent with the previous one. I want to evaluate the Proraso Red as fairly as possible so as before I aimed to be swift, without rushing.

I'm able to replicate my lathers without much thought now. First pass, wtg, and I aimed for a shallow angle, but with the Tech it's tricky to judge. With as much of the cap on my face as I could get and minimal pressure the smoothness was respectable. A little tuggy, lower lip but comfortable enough. I managed to get through the entire first pass without enough irritation from the soap to distract me. I rinsed off.

Second pass, and before long the irritation around my mouth was a distraction. That is the level. Very mild, but enough to distract, mostly above my upper lip tonight. The shave was smooth and easy this pass, with a nice thin, wet, lather. No issues anywhere and my mind wandered as I shaved. I normally end up with lather on my lips, despite tucking them in, that I wipe with a thumb. No irritation on the actual lips themselves, during or after shaving. Hmmm. Before I knew it I was done. I rinsed off and was pleased to find no post shave irritation, nicks, weepers or anything else. My face felt shaved, however.

The whole thing took half an hour tonight. I didn't rush, nor did I linger either.

I suspect that the menthol and maybe some of the other ingredients in Proraso white have a skin calming quality. To that extent, what feels like a completely irritation free shave might not really be so, without the help of the soap. Still, if a menthol soap, or a soap with other skin calming ingredients, or even a soap with no scent at all is what it takes to get an irritation free shave from start to finish and everwhere inbetween, so be it. I would like to know for sure that every aspect of my technique is up to scratch though. It's feasible that menthol covers up the smaller errors.
 
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That was my first thought. It's the fact that the irritation occures in a localised area, just around my lips, beneath my lower lip mostly, that gives cause for doubt. I get something similar with Cella, but again, my first 2 shaves with that were using a Bic disposable and shaving XTG with a lot of pressure. I'd even get some irritation using Proraso white shaving like that.

Now, having experienced quite a few zero irritation shaves, even with my out of favour Merkur, has me expecting more. I'll probably give Proraso red an extended run and see if things get better, worse or stay about the same. The smell has really grown on me, I have to say, so I'll most likely end up being a sandalwood fan whatever the outcome.
So, with my Proraso red I get the irritation on the part below my lower lip and above the chin, and toward the corners of the mouth, about as wide as my mustache. Now the problem is right now I am growing a goatee and mustache as requested by my girlfriend, so I don't know if I am still getting that irritation with Proraso Red. I found using Proraso Green Pre-shave on the areas immediately after the shave got rid of the irritation though.
 
So, with my Proraso red I get the irritation on the part below my lower lip and above the chin, and toward the corners of the mouth, about as wide as my mustache. Now the problem is right now I am growing a goatee and mustache as requested by my girlfriend, so I don't know if I am still getting that irritation with Proraso Red. I found using Proraso Green Pre-shave on the areas immediately after the shave got rid of the irritation though.
The Green Pre-Shave is very good stuff, I don't know why I don't use it more often. I used it as a Pre-Shave the first time I tried Cella with a Bic disposable. The minty marzipan combo was a bit strange but far from unpleasant and if memory serves me correctly I had no irritation either during or post shave.
 
Delivery

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Parcels like this fill me with joy.

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A freebie. I have yet to use an aftershave. I'll pop it in my box of tricks for now. Somethings hiding in the top left corner.

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Hello.

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Let's open it up.

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Yet more layers...

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Aaahhh, there it is.

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Even if I was a better photographer the pictures still wouldn't do it justice. The build quality is fantastic.

The head design is similar to a Tech so I would hope it will shave similar, at least regarding blade support, which should equate to smoothness.

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I don't plan on using it just yet, I still haven't finished learning the Tech. But as soon as I saw it in the gold colour I knew I needed it. Also, the vendor I bought it from, who was fantastic about a cracked brush, said in a later conversation that he makes no money on the Proraso range but can't afford not to sell them. I then bough a tub for around £2 using my loyalty points and in all honesty I felt a little bad about it. Small businesses that look after their customers also need to be looked after by us a bit. It's only fair.

I've already popped a blade in it, just to make sure everything is fine. The blade is held very well and at first glance appears to have less curvature than the tech, equal blade support, possibly more gap and maybe more exposure. I haven't examined it too closely at this stage as I don't want to pre-judge it. I'll shave with it first, than try to understand why it is that I do, or do not like it.
 
Shave 6

Made in England Tech
Astra SP (4)
Semogue 1438
Proraso Red

Saturdays shave follows Fridays, the only time I normally shave 2 days in a row. The Proraso bothered me a little bit more tonight, all around the lower lip and moustache area. The first WTG pass was smooth though, I think the angle was a bit steeper but I can't be sure, the razor was kind of flying across my face tonight.

I toyed with the idea of leaving it at one pass but decided on my usual second wtg pass in the end. The lather was really thin for this. I'd dipped my brush once more and I could easily see the pink of my skin through the layer of soap. It was slick though. The pass was smooth and easy and the soap irritated me less. As I was rinsing off I knew that the soap is the problem, not my technique. The irony is, after drying off and checking in the mirror my post shave skin looks great. No visible signs of irritation at all. I have yet to get any post shave irritation with this soap yet too, so I should be able to keep using it but I'll see how things go.

No nicks, weepers or redness, a little bit of dryness, but I had a couple of beers last night so I'm likely a bit dehydrated. A fairly smooth shave all in all.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
Welcome to the journal section. I'll be following along.

Your mention of Gillette Green. I think they're the smoothest blades I've used but they dont cut well for me. My skin likes them, my hair composition does not. They dont tug but I cant get a really close shave with them. With very nearly the same smoothness level is Gillette Yellow which cut much better for me and Perma-Sharp Super that cut very well for me. Gillette Blacks are right there in regards to smoothness too.

Feather blades are starting to fall into a category of their own for me. I struggled with them for over a year with several different soaps, Stirling, Proraso, Tabac etc. and in every razor I used them in, even a Tech. The harshness was less in a Tech than any other razor but still present. Then I ordered Pre de Provence No.63 and my eyes opened. On my first shave with PdP the harshness I always felt was gone. Gone.

This blade I havent really liked, until tonight.
...

I dont know whether it was this razor that took the harshness out of these blades for me or the soap, but I felt none at all.
R41 - Fresh Feather.

PdP 63.

Maggard synthetic.

47 1/2 hours since last shave.

Standard three pass N-S, S-N, ATG. One clean up ATG.

The lil monster Maggard loaded up quickly. Like 15 seconds quickly.

Lather up and start N-S. Lots of blade feel, but no surprise there. Just slightly shallower than neutral, no issues, easy peasy. No harshness either.

Lather up again and S-N with some light buffing ATG under my jaw and sides of my mouth. No issues again. The one thing I did different was shave the face of my chin L-R XTG. Its easier with this razor lacking support. Directly ATG there I'm pushing my luck on the second pass. I still felt no harshness.

Third pass buffing ATG along my jawline and lower. Up the face of my chin, sides of my mouth and along my upper lip. Easy, no issues, no harshness...

The clean up was done with simple strokes overlapping at 45° downwards towards my opposite chest. I had very slight redness after that but it was gone after I toweled off.

I'm left with a very nice BBS shave and no redness or warmth to my skin.

At no time during the shave did I feel the usual harshness I have with these blades over the last year. This was my third shave with this soap and Feather blades. I assumed if I'd feel any harshness I'd feel it using the R41, but the Feather felt more like a Nacet or Astra SP. Lots of blade feel, not as smooth as a Gillette 7 O'Clock blade but plenty smooth enough.
That opened my eyes to trying other soaps. With my top soaps/creams now PdP, Wickham 1912, CRS, and WK along with the use of Feathers in my Grande it's gotten to the point lately where I've been thinking of buying them in bulk and only using Feather blades in my DE's and no others. The downside is, I only get two shaves per blade in my Grande and the first shave is clearly the better of the two.

The bottom line for me in all of that is, my top soaps are all great for my skin. They make my skin very supple as I'm shaving and that suppleness is what tamed the harshness I felt Feather blades.


Combined with my experience of the difference between shaving with the 34C and the Tech, it's been nothing short of revelatory. The logic of the argument is so rational and persuasive that had it turned out that I loved the Merkur but didn't like the Tech I think I'd be at a loss as to explain why, other than to just say YMMV. That probably wouldn't bother most. It would drive me nuts.
Its physics. Newtons Third Law states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Apply that to how a DE blade behaves as it's cutting. A more rigidly held blade is a more stable blade. A more stable blade is a smoother blade. Its also much more complex than that when you factor in design geometries of various different designs.

A more rigidly held blade can also be more unforgiving. "The Planer Effect" as I call it. Just like a wood plane, a rigid razor can plane off any high spots.

An example of that is below;

You might try stretching your skin a bit tighter. Razors blades are linear and flat. They like to shave a flat linear surface. Assuming you're using a rigid design and a sharp blade think of the razor as a wood plane and your skin the surface the plane is sliding over. One high spot and off it comes, a weeper.

The other thing I've learned is that no matter how little pressure you apply to your skin, there will be a 'wave' of skin ahead of the blade. It may be very small and quite likely is judging from the size of weepers that are occurring, but they can happen because that 'wave' has no distance to propagate into. The more pressure used, the taller that wave ahead of the blade becomes and the larger, and deeper, that weeper could be.

Think about the below pic and how waves propagate. The razor starting to move top left instigating that movement. The blue and/or red waves would be your skin surface ahead of the razor from the pressure applied. When those waves can no longer travel, they bunch up, you shave into and over them and plane off the tops creating a weeper.

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This is why I was always getting a weeper right side of my mouth. The same spot every time. I'd be stroking from my ear towards the corner of my mouth. A wave of skin ahead of the razor and blade, and when I'd get to the corner of my mouth, that wave had no where to go, bunched up and I'd plane the top of that wave off just a tiny bit and get a weeper.

To overcome that I stretch my skin tighter and shave in a slightly different direction. Either slightly up or slightly down when I get to the same spot, but never straight into the corner of my mouth anymore. That wave needs a direction to travel in, so I gave it one. No more weeper there.

I can get weepers over my swirls as well with too steep an angle using my Grande. The stubble there can be difficult to cut and its quite dense. The Grande has generous blade exposure and when using a steep angle over those two areas I can actually feel the blade edge flexing against the resistance. The solution to that for me was a shallower angle so the blade edge would meet that resistance more squarely forcing the blade into the stubble instead of imparting flex to the edge. In essence, using a shallower angle to make the blade edge more rigid.

Shaving shallow over those two areas now with the same blade that would give me a weeper with a steep angle, wipes that stubble off like it was never there with a shallower angle.

Hydrodynamics and wave propagation in relation to shaving, who'd a thunk it! lol
Using a razor that has gap will warn you before planing off any high spots. You can feel the tension of your skin in the gap increase and you'll naturally slow down or stop your stroke. A less rigidly held blade will do the same. With a rigidly held blade and very little to no gap, there is no warning.

This is another good thread if you havent seen it yet.

The Great Rigid Blade Experiment - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/the-great-rigid-blade-experiment.530031/
 
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