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My Straight Shaving Journey

Here's the way to tell if your lather is too dry. When you fill the blade, with lather, after several strokes, put the blade under running water. If the lather doesn't rinse off completely, then the lather is too dry. If that's the case, then just dip the tip of your brush in water and mix the lather again and retest. After a while, you will be able to tell when the lather is wet enough. You can always have the lather a little wet. It doesn't seem to hurt anything, a little dry does though. Usually a little dry will cause razor drag which will cause razor burn.
I think that may be the case. It'll rinse clean, but it takes a bit of very water water to rinse it off. The blade seems a bit sticky on my skin after any pass. Maybe things are just different because I'm shaving in front of my sink instead of the shower, for fear or getting water all over my razors and rusting them to all hell.


When you do the ATG on the side of your face, always start the pass about 1/2 " to the side of your mouth. Never start at your mouth. But then you might have just figured that out.
Haha, definitely. That's how I normally do things with a DE, but I was experimenting last night. That'll teach me to deviate from the game plan.
 
Really good advice here!

I too have a razor on the way back from Ray. Probably in the mailbox now, I won't know until I get home Sunday. One of those razors I'll have to name Lazurus, it was brought back from the dead. Some of the best service I have experienced has been with Ray.

Original Poster, I'm only on my 4th shave, so it's nice to read this and see we are going through some of the same things.

Great tip on the lather, makes a lot of sense. I was wondering about that myself. I guess with taking longer than a DE it dries out a little.
 
Cinco:



Received my Tony Miller strop in the mail, so I took 20 passes on the cotton, and 30 on my leather practice strop as per instructions. Felt really nice, with a smoother draw than I thought it's have. I didn't go fast; there's no need to nick up a perfectly good strop, after all.

Shave was even better this time around. Can't discernibly say if the stropping improved the recently honed edge, but I think I'm taking to it. I've had a had time seeing my sideburns, so I said "To hell with it" and went across the grain for my first pass. Very decent. Then, I decided to shave against the grain. Am I crazy? Obviously so, holding an incredibly sharp blade against my face that had already cut me just the day before. Fairly simple, actually, though my upper lip was troublesome as is my neck (this requires an absolute sideways stroke, and I'm limited in my flexibility). All in all, I found it to be an acceptable shave. Slightly uneven, some thicker patches left around my mouth, while my cheeks are very smooth.

This time I shaved in the shower, and I could tell my lather had much more moisture than previously. However, I had water dripping into every crevice of my straight. ARGH. I dried it neatly with tissue paper, blowing out every droplet I could, and left it on a towel. It's dried in front of an open window currently. I'll give it a light stropping when I'm certain it's dry, before putting it back.
 
Shaved with the Colts/Seahawks game in the background (thank goodness for half time). Blade had about 25 passes on the cotton strop 50 on the leather since last night.

Shave #6 and I think I'm starting to get more comfortable with the blade against my skin. I broke out with the Zach Method for creating lather with my Boreal 976. Love the density of my brush as I brought it to my face and massaged the lather onto my skin. Warm and lovely.

Since everything is still fairly close from yesterday, I went straight to WTG, then ATG. Well, except for my upper lip, which I stuck with a WTG/XTG. It feels like my skill is starting to build, slowly but surely. No trouble at all, and my skin is receiving less irritation, which I think means my pressure is easing up and scraping my skin a little less.

I've noticed a realy lack of moisture in my skin after shaving - my normal glycerine based Nivea Sensitive after shave balm was not hydrating my skin well enough like with my normal DE shaves, and had to break out a full moisturizing cream. Good for my skin, but too greasy IMO for the daytime. It's getting slightly better, but just the regular balm is not cutting it. Skin looks dry and a little flaky. Anyone else have this problem in the beginning, and have it clear up? Or not clear up?
 
I think seven may be my lucky number.

Another half-time shave (go Vikings!). I spent most of the scond quarter of the Packers/Vikings game with a hot towel and some thin sop on my face to soften my hairs as much as possible. Feeling good after a great day, I decided to run my standard shave, the old WTG/XTG/ATG. Excellent, slick lather from an Arko shave stick. Honestly, it felt like everything was falling into place.

Minor irritation on my upper lip and on my neck just under my jaw. Still pressing a bit hard, and the neck is always a trial no matter what shaving method I use. My cheeks are absolutely smooth and the hair reduction on my chin is almost completely even - just a fine bit of stubble at the corners of my mouth and upper lip. Same with a small patch under the right side of my jaw, by the chin.

I think it's a very acceptable shave, maybe even... respectable? I know that I'm finally happy with the quality of my shave.
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
That's good! Don't give up. The chin and jawline are very difficult to get. It's a matter of pratice at this stage!
 
Thanks!


For my crazy eighth, I experimented with a scything stroke on my neck. Much easier than trying to maneuver my razor's edge sideways on me neck, and it feels a bit safer for my skin. Damn fine shave today, if I do say so myself. Cheeks look horribly, horribly dry after lathering with VDH deluxe and giving it a rinse. I don't know what's going on, since that's never happened before. Had to splash on the witch hazel and full on moisturizer; the glycerin-based shave balm just isn't up to snuff.
 
On the path to BBS, shave #9 took place last night. Easy Cella lather, WTG/XTG/XTG. Both passes across the grain were different. First was from ear to nose, second nose to ear. I believe I'll need to experience all kinds of passes and strokes in order to find out what truly works out best for my skin and facial growth. Small patch of stubble along my jaw, and right under my chin. Very, very decent results, considering it seems to be a manuverability issue.

Shave #10 took place this morning. It feels brutal on my skin, but left very little sting when my alum block hit my face. The shave consisted of an XTG scything stroke (two passes for ym neck), and ATG on the face. Turned out beautifully. BBS on the cheeks, upper lip and chin. DFS (almost BBS) right under my jaw. There's a very fine layer of stubble left that's only felt when going against the grain, so I'm quite proud of my work.

Of course, skin feels really tight, even with a splash of witch hazel, ASB, and then moisturizing cream. I'll be back at it again, though.
 
Used my old razor, just recently come in from being touched up by Ambrose. Shave came very smoothly. He and Ray rally do put wonderful edges on razor, something I'm keeping in mind for my next razor purchases. Two XTG passes - one nose-to-ear, another ear-to-nose - and then a final ATG pass.

DFS only (aside from cheeks/sideburns), but I'll get to a full BBS one of these days in a single session, I know I will. Shaved in the shower live normal, damn the rust. I knew I'd have no issues with dry lather, and didn't experience my normal post-shave dry skin problems. A litle witch hazel and some after shave balm, and I was set. I definitely feel things getting easier. Irritation is way down, just on my upper lip and along my jaw today. Didn't nick myself, or get jabbed with the point of the razor, so i consider today a win.
 
Vaycay in Tahoe this weekend and, knowing I wouldn't be getting much time, so i held off on #12 until I could do it properly. Maybe it was the extra hair growth allowed, the two days to let my skin rest, or a tiny bit of extra beard softening before taking the straight to my face, but you'd think I was born for it. I hit a double ATG on my cheeks, felt like it saved the skin a little extra scraping because no irritation. Everywhere else got a WTG, XTG (ear-to-nose) and ATG. Wouldn't you know, all but right under my right jaw came out smooth as an android's bottom. I'm delightfully happy, since that spot's alway been tough to achieve complete smoothness.

Thanks for all the support from you guys, most especially Ray-Man and Ambrose for creating some fine edges.
 
Ran my standard triple pass. Noticed slight differences between the full hollow Yankee and the Crown and the way my hair follicles react to the ATG pass. Probably just my technique, but the less hollow razor has less... chatter. Maybe I just need more pressure? My touch is extremely light. Right now it seems like I'm never going get that patch under my jawline smooth unless I get a razor with a shortened blade. It's just very hard to reach the area without scratching up the rest of my neck. Very smooth this morning, as good as anything I've gotten with a DE. Now that I have an increased shave quality to accompany my shaving enjoyment, I'm definitely hooked.
 
The less hollow razor has less flex, so it is a little more stable when we are getting our technique down (I am having similar issues.)

For that hard to reach spot, try straightening out the scales, like a Japanese straight. That helps me with a couple hard to hit spots.
 
Everything's still good, as far as shave #14. Had a pimple poking up a little bit, so I shorn right through that one. Superficial bleeding from the nick, stopped after holding a block of alum to it. Everything's pretty darn smooth, which I'm happy with.

The only problem now is wanting more razors.
 
15 and 16 came out fine. All the same. No cuts, no nicks. Still kind of irritating - maybe I should just down on the triple pass shaves for closeness until I've refined my technique enough. It's certainly all coming from my problematic areas (mustache, chin and right under the jaw). I dunno.
 
Shave #17 had a little change, in the form of a full wedge razor, coming from the hands of gugi. Pretty good looking, here's the pics Ivan posted:






That's bone. I think the lettering is something called Cillian Rail. Look at that subtle off white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my god, it even has a water mark......... whoops. Got carried away there.


In all the excitement, I let my face run fallow and allowed the growth from Sunday and Monday to accumulate. A hot towel and some Cella lather, and I was set. This puppy shaved like my face were made of glass. BBS on my entire face, with a standard triple pass approach. My problematic jaw line? So nearly there. The shave was quick and quiet, just what I was searching for.

I did, however, receive 3 weepers on my chin and mustache are. ***? I felt no sting on my face like when they're usually created, and I thought I had been more careful than ever. Ah well. After I rinsed with some cold water and hit everything up with my alum block, everything was just fine. Minor irritation issues, which are lessening every day.
 
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So, this morning's shave was #26, and my oh my, it was beautiful.

This was my first fully BBS shave, and I'm damn proud. My cheeks received two ATG passes, careful to keep my sideburns even, which had gotten lopsided during my first attempts. Around my mouth was very simple, two ear-to-nose XTG passes, and then the ATG fool's pass. Moving on to my throat, my bane. My solution was found in three passes using scything motions. First from the collar to jaw, then jaw to collar, and collar towards my jaw yet again.

Turns out I needed a bit more confidence and to stretch my skin more taut, because I only ended up with the tiniest amount of irritation on my upper lip. My goto razor has been a Drew & sons branded Sheffield wedge, which feels as smooth as can be when it glides on my fac.e And boy, does that Cella lather leave my face feeling soft.
 
So, today's shave was #32, and it was... okay. Everything's getting pretty consistent, at least a DFS every time, but I'm feeling somewhat disappointed. Why would I, when everything is starting to fall into place?

I attended a wedding this weekend, and brought an old DE razor just to save on hassle, while retaining my brush/soap. The combo was a Gillette Red Tip and a Treet Black Beauty, with Cella lather, right after showering. I did my normal passes, but incorporated skin stretching, like I would with my straight. Now, maybe I was overestimating my skill wiht the straight, mis-remembered the shaves I had with a DE, but it was amazing in comparison to what i've been getting lately. Complete BBS in well under 10 minutes and absolutely no irritation, along with no effort in the shave.

ARGH. Kind of disappointing really, when I thought I've made so much progress. Definitely feels like my touch with the straight needs to be lighter, though. Mich lighter.
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
So, today's shave was #32, and it was... okay. Everything's getting pretty consistent, at least a DFS every time, but I'm feeling somewhat disappointed. Why would I, when everything is starting to fall into place?

I attended a wedding this weekend, and brought an old DE razor just to save on hassle, while retaining my brush/soap. The combo was a Gillette Red Tip and a Treet Black Beauty, with Cella lather, right after showering. I did my normal passes, but incorporated skin stretching, like I would with my straight. Now, maybe I was overestimating my skill wiht the straight, mis-remembered the shaves I had with a DE, but it was amazing in comparison to what i've been getting lately. Complete BBS in well under 10 minutes and absolutely no irritation, along with no effort in the shave.

ARGH. Kind of disappointing really, when I thought I've made so much progress. Definitely feels like my touch with the straight needs to be lighter, though. Mich lighter.
I did/do the exact same thing with my DE now. I stretch the skin a bit here and there. Much closer, less efforts... I still love the straight because I'm getting closer and closer to what I get with a DE.

Don't give up! I think you did the right move to switch to something you know (DE) if you were not going to have enough time to enjoy the shave!
 
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