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Neck-shaving tips

Afternoon all, new boy here.

Made the big switch a few months ago and have no regrets. After lots of experimentation, I've settled on Derby blades with my Merkur 34C: Derbys just suit me the best for some reason (which is nice, as they're also cheap).

Now, on my face, I can get really close with a couple of passes; my difficulty—and I suspect it's an old chestnut—is with my neck. I've no idea how common this is, but all the hairs on my neck grow horizontally, from left to right. Try as I might, I just can shave horizontally across my neck (should I even be attempting this?).

What I'm doing at the moment is making two passes, at opposite oblique angles, but the results are inconsistent.

Any tips?
I'm hoping you get some good tips too. I'd say the shave on my neck is typically passable, but not overly great. It's certainly not as consistently good as it was with disposables. I think a sharper blade might help me, as trying to go ATG with a Derby blade on my neck does not work well. I literally cannot do it.
Everybody has different hair growth patterns. This is why face mapping is important. Brookster, you said that your neck hair grows left to right, while my hair grows N to S for about 90% of my neck, the other 10% grows S to N at the bottom of my neck. What this means is that a one size fits all approach will not work when shaving. Therefore, you have to shave in a manner that is most comfortable to you. For instance, I never shave against the grain, I always end up with razor burn. Experiment and you will find your own path to shave nirvana. Shave in peace.
I have to J-hook and blade buff on my neck to get a really close shave because my neck hair grows in all directions. Watch Mantic59's Advanced Shaving Techniques video on YouTube.
I use a straight razor so side to side shaving is very trickyand I won't be much help there. I've been able to get closer shaves since using a "face scrub" before shaving. My shaves are always after showering so I use it in the shower. I am very gentle with it as I get some irritation when I scrub too hard or too long. Makes a much bigger difference on my neck than on my face. I use Nivea or neutrogena currently. I've used Clinique in the past with similar results. I also had a sample of billy jealousy "liquid sand" that also worked fine. The first two are much cheaper and easier to find. The Nivea tube actually says to only use it 3 times a week. Since noticing this I've skipped days here and there with no ill effects.
For as much as there is a meaningful grain pattern (lots of random distribution) mine grows that way too, facing back from the center on each side.

Why are you unable to shave horizontally with your Merkur 34C? Anatomical/flexibility issue with arms/wrists/etc?

Perhaps a more aggressive razor with a sharper blade for your final neck pass?
This can be a case of mind over matter: If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. That is, if you really don't mind.

If you want to get as close as you can possibly get, you will need to do an ATG pass. I can't add to what the others have said on that.

For what it's worth, the whiskers on my neck go mostly sideways, but also a little upward by a few degrees. Plus, a straight on ATG pass hurts like the dickens on most of my neck. I just do two passes, the first upward from bottom of neck to jaw, and the second downward from jaw to bottom of neck. It is close enough, and not complicated, and it doesn't hurt.
I also have to j-hook and use a few different angles to get a really effective shave on my neck. I hate to say it, but I get the best shave on my neck from my old Gillette Fusion.
I have the same problem with my neck area. I have just come to accept that the majority of the time I can't do much better than a SAS. Looks good, just not real smooth. It's life.
Common problem. My neck whiskers also grow left to right (right to left is ATG for me). My usual neck routine is North-South on the first pass, and diagonal strokes (upper right to lower left) on the second pass. On the third pass I do South-North under the chin, and either a repeat of the second pass on the rest of the neck or -- if I'm feeling confident -- ATG (horizontal right-to-left strokes). I was wet-shaving for over two years before I attempted ATG on the neck, and then only with a razor that I knew very well (the Fatip, which I use 95% of the time). I use J-hooking under my right jaw line, which is a particularly difficult area. Needless to say, "no pressure" applies in spades when it comes to the neck.

I never expect to get BBS on my neck, but with the above routine I often do. My best advice is to ramp down expectations and err on the side of caution. DFS or SAS is plenty good for the neck, especially since no one except you will ever notice the difference. And it's much better than going through the day with a raw, irritated neck! :scared:
What works for me is stretching the skin. I shave my face first and then pull the skin up (north) on the cheek. This stretches the neck skin and flattens out the contours making for a flatter, smother surface, especially on the XG pass. Additionally, I turn my head to flatten it out more. Give it a try ymmv.
Don't cheat the first pass, meaning that the hairs on the lower neck often grow in a different direction so be sure to change direction so that your first pass is WTG. And I also appreciate a j-hook.
I have to J-hook and blade buff on my neck to get a really close shave because my neck hair grows in all directions. Watch Mantic59's Advanced Shaving Techniques video on YouTube.

This +2

I frequently use the J-hook to get my neck smooth
OP: As you can see, the only way to get there is to keep trying different approaches. You'll get it. Just persevere and try the different methods described above.
I did a ton of blade buffing this morning and had pretty decent results.

Question about blade buffing: How is it superior to additional normal passes over the same area? Seems like the same thing just faster and in smaller doses, without the opportunity to re-lather.
My neck is also a trouble spot for me among some others on my face. I have patches of hair on my neck that grow very close along my skin (flat hair). A regular WTG pass misses a lot of these flat growing hairs and performing a regular linear ATG stroke cause major irritation. However, when I do my ATG pass with very short strokes using the Gillette Slide technique I can cut a lot of these flat hairs without causing irritation. I have to be very careful though. Too long of a stroke and my skin is not going to be happy. The Gillette Slide hasn't caused any cuts, though. It really doesn't take that much of a slide to get the benefit of this technique.
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