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My Wet-Shaving Diary

I thought it'd be fun to keep a diary. Maybe other newbies can read this and not feel so bad about their own first experiences. :)

2006
A barber in Cartagena, Colombia shaves me with a straight-edge razor. My face is baby-butt soft. A girl touches my face and is instantly turned on.

2006-2008
Back in the USA, I shave with a Mach 3 in the shower (no shaving cream). Crappy shave, but it's quick.

Day 001: October 10, 2008
I decide I want a baby-butt-soft face. I buy a Merkur Heavy-Duty double-edge safety razor, some Merkur blades, a pure badger hair brush, and Proraso Pre & Post Shaving Cream. My first shave is a disaster. I can't build up a lather with the Proraso at all. My face feels no better than a Mach 3 shave, burns more than usual, and I cut myself three times.

Day 002
I am lazy and don't shave.

Day 003
Somebody points out that the Proraso is not shaving cream. I buy C.O. Bigelow Premium Shaving Cream, which is made by Proraso. I start soaking my brush, put on the Proraso pre-shave and shower with it. I towel off and whip up the lather, which is not thick. I do one pass with the grain, reapply lather, one pass across the grain, reapply lather, and one pass against the grain. Then I rinse with cold water and apply Proraso aftershave. My shave is decent on the cheeks, side burns, and neck, but still scratchy everywhere else when sliding against the grain. I cut myself twice.

Day 004
I do the same thing as yesterday and - surprise! - get the same results. Still scratchy and I cut myself thrice.

I shave again, in the evening. This time I lather in my hand, so I can feel its texture. I make it wetter than usual. But it seems no amount of pre-shave and lather can make my mustache and chin hairs soft and ready for cutting.

Day 005
I make the lather on my face. I like it. I hope the extra time spent lathering it into my face helps soften the hairs. Four passes today: two down, one across, one against. The blades still tugs at the hairs in my mustache, on my chin, and along my jawbone. Those areas do not shave well. The rest are decent, but still not quite baby-butt soft.

Day 006
I jump between shaving my face and the area between my belly button and ****, three passes each. This gives the lather more time to moisturize each location. I build the lather on my skin and use more water than usual. My shave is a bit better than Mach 3 but not much. The biggest contribution wet-shaving has made so far is that I am excited to get up in the morning. How good will my shave be today? What can I do a bit different? It's an adventure.

Day 007
In my pursuit of baby-butt smooth face, I do four passes: one with, one across, two against grain. Then I hold the brush in one hand, razor in the other, and make an additional 20-or-so passes against grain on my mustache, reapplying lather after every single pass. In all this, I take extra care not to put any pressure on the razor, and I don't cut myself even once. It takes a long time and afterward my mustache is much smoother than before, but still not as smooth as the barber in Cartagena made it. I consider waxing my face.
 
I thought it'd be fun to keep a diary. Maybe other newbies can read this and not feel so bad about their own first experiences. :)

2006
A barber in Cartagena, Colombia shaves me with a straight-edge razor. My face is baby-butt soft. A girl touches my face and is instantly turned on.

2006-2008
Back in the USA, I shave with a Mach 3 in the shower (no shaving cream). Crappy shave, but it's quick.

Day 001: October 10, 2008
I decide I want a baby-butt-soft face. I buy a Merkur Heavy-Duty double-edge safety razor, some Merkur blades, a pure badger hair brush, and Proraso Pre & Post Shaving Cream. My first shave is a disaster. I can't build up a lather with the Proraso at all. My face feels no better than a Mach 3 shave, burns more than usual, and I cut myself three times.

Day 002
I am lazy and don't shave.

Day 003
Somebody points out that the Proraso is not shaving cream. I buy C.O. Bigelow Premium Shaving Cream, which is made by Proraso. I start soaking my brush, put on the Proraso pre-shave and shower with it. I towel off and whip up the lather, which is not thick. I do one pass with the grain, reapply lather, one pass across the grain, reapply lather, and one pass against the grain. Then I rinse with cold water and apply Proraso aftershave. My shave is decent on the cheeks, side burns, and neck, but still scratchy everywhere else when sliding against the grain. I cut myself twice.
Day 004
I watch the Mantic shaving videos which he has posted on the net at YouTube. I pay attention to the videos that show how to make a good shaving lather. I also read a stickied thread that has links to a number of instructional postings and tutorials. They answer most of my questions, and I am attentive. I am a now a happy shaver.

-- John Gehman
 

TimmyBoston

Moderator Emeritus
Journaling your shaving experience is a great way to hone your technique as a newbie. I kept one for my first few months as a member of B&B.
 
Can I only edit my post so many times? I can't seem to edit it anymore.

Day 008
I put in a new blade and do one pass with the grain, one across, two against, and the brush-in-one-hand-blade-in-the-other technique on my mustache. I cut myself a few times and I'm still not baby soft.

Day 009
I skip shaving. Maybe letting the hairs grow a bit longer will allow them to get softer and more shave-able?

Day 010
Nope, that didn't work. I do my usual routine and get the usual results. Proraso, shower, lather on face, one pass with grain, one pass across, one pass against, one extra pass on mustache and chin.

Day 011
Instead of showering first, I Proraso my face and then hold a washcloth soaked with hot water to my face for 3 minutes at 30-second intervals. Then I lather up and do my usual passes. My trouble areas are noticeably smoother than before, but far from perfect. Progress!

Day 012
Towel prep again, same results. I'm gettin' there.

Day 013
I make my lather in a large cereal bowl, which is much faster and easier than in a coffee mug, on my hand, or on my face. I still don't think I'm quite getting the best lather. Towel prep works better than shower prep for me. Now I need to try different blades and different creams/soaps. I should also try a few cut sheets, and try attacking peskier hairs with different angles and strokes instead of simply repeating the same stroke over and over. Finally, I will try applying a full lather before my towel prep.
 
I've been prepping with Proraso and a shower. I'll have to try Kyle's towel method. And I did order a blade sampler pack; I hope it arrives soon.
 
Day 014
I towel prep for 1 minute, then apply my lather and towel prep another minute. Then I do three passes. I'm not happy with my lathers no matter what I do. A few small places of my faces are baby-butt smooth.
 
It sounds like you're making good progress. the lather can be tricky at first but with time you'll start getting better and better.

The best way to learn how to make great lather is to experiment with. Use more cream, start with a dry brush and add a little bit of water at a time. Keep adding water even when you think you've added enough. It helps to see lather that is is too wet and then start over with a new batch stopping just short of that point.
 
BLADE SAMPLER PACK! Obviously, the merkurs are not working for your face.


marty
I agree. I used Merkurs as my first blade for five weeks. They tugged and were uncomfortable to shave with. I don't know how I stuck to DE shaving! I've since found much better blades to use. I've popped a Merkur blade in my razor here and there since then and I find the same experience so it was not a matter of technique.

Give Derbys or Crystal(IPs) a try.
 
Had my third DE shave today with Crystals. At first I wasn't sure how many shaves the blade was good for so I through the blade away when I was done. After reading on the forum that people typically use blades for 2-3 shaves I tried to use a Crystal blade a second time. Result: noticeably duller and lots of tugging on my mustache and goatee area. No cuts, but I did get razor burn on my chin.

If you have tough whiskers, and are doing a multiple pass shave you might want to pitch these Crystal blades after the first use. I will certainly never attempt to use one of them more than onceagain . No idea if other blades will fare better on a second shave for me. I have Derbys and Swede Gillettes to try next but I'm holding off. Maybe I will try one of them on the next shave? I also have about 8 different types of blades on the way from two different vendors.

As for Proraso, as a fellow newby I find it a bit harder to lather than Taylor's Avocado. Also, it has a large amount of Coconut Oil in it which reportedly can clog pores and lead to acne. I ended up washing my face with face wash after the shave because I didn't want the cream to clog my pores.
 
I log my SOTD every day. Even though I don't post it here very often.

It's interesting to be able to see that, for example, I've only used my T&H Trafalgar edt sample 4 times in the past year. I could swear it was more than that. I like that stuff.
 
Get away from the Merkur blades, as has been said a bunch of times.

Go to westcoastshaving.com and order a sampler. You'll find pretty quickly that there are much better blades out there. :)
 
Day 015
For comparison's sake, I try my old shave: a dull Mach 3 in the shower. My shave is worse than my best DE shaves in the easy spots, and better in the hard spots (chin and moustache). And it took 5 minutes instead of 35.

Day 016
I get my best shave ever (excepting Colombia) with 45 minutes, 6 passes, slick lather, and my new Derby blade. I also cut myself 4 times.

Day 017
About 10 passes and 55 minutes (including a quick shower at the end) and my shave isn't quite as good as yesterday's. My chin, my moustache, and the stretches under my jawbone cannot be made smooth. Methinks I shall have to wax them.

Day 018
No shave today.

Day 019
Following the principle of reduction, I do one pass with the grain, two across it, then one against. Then I feel my face to find out where the trouble spots are. I pull my skin up so I can put the skin under my jawbone on a flat surface (my jawbone), and shave that way. I make an extra 5 passes on the trouble spots: my moustache, my chin, and just under my chin. The result is my best shave yet, but boy! that was a lot of work, and I cut myself 4 times.

Day 020
I do the exact same pre-shave and shave, but with my Mach 3. My shave is just as good, though with more irritation. And of course, DE blades are way cheaper than cartridges.
 
Back to basics, if you keep cutting yourself you are either applying too much presure, or have the wrong blade angle.
Try holding the razor very, very lightly. Check Mantic for blade angle.
PS: blade angle is difficult since the surface angle changes all over your face.
 
Day 021
Same shave as Day 019, but I cut myself a dozen times. Close shave, though!

Day 022
I take it easy on my face today; only 6 passes after my hot towel prep. The result is a shave not really any better than two passes in the shower with a Mach 3.

Day 023
No time; did a quickie in the shower with my Mach 3.

Day 024
90 seconds hot towel, pass with grain, 20 seconds hot towel, pass across grain, 20 secs, across grain, 20 secs, against grain, 20 secs, against grain, 20 secs, against grain 4 times on trouble spots, Proraso pre/post, shower, Proraso pre/post. Good shave, certainly not perfect. Should it really take this many passes?

Day 025
In-shower Mach 3 quick-shave, 60 seconds hot towel, pass across grain, 6 passes against, Proraso. Still rough when gliding my hand against the grain in 4 spots, which is my average.

Day 026
No time. In-shower Mach 3 quick-shave.

Day 027
Shower, hot towel, one pass with grain, two passes across, 5 passes against. Only two rough spots today. (None are rough when moving my hand with the grain, of course.) Cut myself twice.

Day 028
No shave. Too lazy.

Day 029
New Derby blade. Shower, Proraso, hot towel, one pass with grain, two passes across, 3 passes against, 6 extra passes on rough spots. Perhaps my best shave yet.
 
BLADE SAMPLER PACK! Obviously, the merkurs are not working for your face. - marty
Ding ding ding. Merkur's are not for everyone. Actually, I think Merkurs are only for like 5 or 6 people .... tops.

Somebody points out that the Proraso is not shaving cream.
:w00t::blushing:

Did the same thing recently with a sample. Thought it was shaving cream, tried to face lather .... nothing. Read little sticker on sample jar .... BALM ... ah-so ...
 
Day 030
Same shave as last time, but tried to use an extra light touch. Cut myself 6 times.

Day 031
Try making the lather on my face. Don't like it. Poor shave.

Several weeks pass...
No improvement

Day 60ish
I get tired of Proraso aftershave leaving whiteness on my face, so instead I spray my face with some Cool Mint Listerine PocketMist. Stings like a **** even after I wash it off.
 

jakespoppy

Moderator Emeritus
Interesting journal. I don't record nearly as much detail, but do write down the day of the week, the shaving cream, shaving soap, or combination if I superlather, whether or not I use Proraso pre-shave, and the result (BBS, DFS, and a 1-10 rating). Oh yeah, and how many days I've used the razor cartridge (I'm still using my M3 :redface: ). I like seeing what changes the performance over time.
 
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