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Need soap recommendation: Slick and protective for neck

Background: I am fairly new at DE shaving and enjoying my daily ritual immensely. I have tried two soaps so far: Proraso white and Col Conk almond.

I have a small plastic food container that fits my palm for bowl lathering. I use a potato peeler to peel off some soap and mash about a 2 inch diameter circle of thin soap on the bottom of the container and add about a teaspoon of water on top of the soap. I wet my synthetic brush (RazoRock plissoft "Disruptor"), squeeze it so it's not dripping, and swirl in the container. As far as I can tell, I get a really nice lather from either soap: Not too runny but still seems wet enough. We have hard water.

Even with a mild razor and a not-too-sharp blade (Van Der Hagen short handle TTO with a Dorco ST-300 blade), I get neck irritation. To avoid the irritation, I have found that Shave Secret oil (about 3 drops, massaged into my neck) as well as combining the shave soap with Alba Botanica "very emollient" cream shave provides a slickness and protective layer that prevents neck irritation.

Recommendation request: it would be nice in the long term to be able to shave only with the soap and get the slickness and protection I need. Has anyone else had this problem and solved it with a soap? What are some recommendations for a very slick and protective shave soap?

Thanks!

StewB
 

musicman1951

three-tu-tu, three-tu-tu
I would try altering my technique (lighter pressure, try changing the angle of the handle either/both ways to see if that makes a difference) and razor blade choice. I'd get a sampler of 5-10 different blades.

Soap can make a difference, but you might be asking too much from soap.
 
I would try altering my technique (lighter pressure, try changing the angle of the handle either/both ways to see if that makes a difference) and razor blade choice. I'd get a sampler of 5-10 different blades.

Soap can make a difference, but you might be asking too much from soap.
I have tried a few different blades but it doesn't seem to alter things much. A very light touch is key but I still get that irritation with soap alone.

You may be right; I might be asking too much of soap. I will try a couple of others but I suspect I may have to not use soap but instead use what "just works."

Thanks for the suggestions and recommendations!
 
Lather can definitely help with irritation but in my experience you can't prevent irritation by using a soap X or Y. Neck irritation is a very common problem. The cause is usually genetics and shaving too close over the area especially the Adam's apple section of the neck. The majority of wet shavers will stick their neck out like a turkey when shaving that area and that usually is the culprit of irritation. Stop stretching your skin and take a single gentle pass in the lower neck- that will usually solve irritation.
 
Solid advice. I don't stretch my neck skin when shaving and use an extremely light touch. Even with a mild razor soap just doesn't seem to be protective enough.

I am starting to suspect that shave soap is a product that just doesn't work for me, no matter how good it is. I will keep experimenting, but the results I get from using the cream shave product is like magic: Smooth and irritation-free.
 
Thanks for the recommendations so far: Arko, Mike's Natural Soaps, and Stirling.

Any other soap recommendations from others with sensitive neck skin?
 
+1 on the blade sampler. It sounds like your going over your neck too much to compensate for a dull blade.

Redness in the neck area can also be an allergic reaction to something in the soap.
 
I started with a similar razor, the MicroTouch One, which is (believed to be) a rebadged Weishi. (The Van der Hagen TTO is also (believed to be) a rebadged Weishi.) I could not get an irritation-free shave with my MTO razor. The razor was just too inefficient for me (even though it started me down the DE and wet shaving tracks). After every shave, I wound up red and irritated everywhere I shaved.

I wound up switching razors. I tried some inexpensive Zamak razors and they worked better than the MTO. However, I now get wonderful irritation-free two-pass (with touchup) BBS shaves with a Fatip Grande (also with a Fatip Piccolo). I would highly recommend taking a look at a Fatip Piccolo/Grande; maybe pair it with blade sampler pack to see what works better for you.

As for soaps, if you're interested in artisan soapmakers from the US, I cannot recommend Captain's Choice soaps enough. Heck, I don't stop my recommendation at @Captain Pre-Capsize's soaps; if anything, my favorite Captain's Choice product is my Cobalt Seaworthy lather bowl. But his soaps (and creams) are also darned good! They lather up thick and slick, providing good cushion and protection. (Best of all, Scott not only provides the best customer service, but he is also a forum member who has helped members get better shaves.)
 
I have several razors that have worked well for me:
  • Van Der Hagen (Weishi 9306) short-handle (mild)
  • Baili BR179 (comparable to VDH, maybe slightly more aggressive)
  • Edwin Jagger DE89 (mild-medium)
  • Merkur 34C (mild-medium)
As far as blades, I have tried several brands, but they all seem pretty comparable so far (but this is probably due more to my inexperience).

This morning, my prep was Shave Secret followed by Proraso white soap combined with Hempz shave gel. I used the 34C with a Shark Super Stainless blade (3rd use of this blade). The result was, to me, a very high-quality, irritation free and very close and comfortable shave.

My current theory is that my technique just isn't good enough yet to use shave soap alone and get an irritation-free shave. As I get better, I'm sure I will notice more variability in blades and be able to get irritation-free shaves using decent quality soap and not have to rely on as many products.
 
One cause of irritation can be too many passes. This can be remedied by using a more efficient razor/sharper blade, which would result in reducing the number of passes you need to make to achieve the same result. When I used the MTO, I did three passes and many many touchup passes to get a BBS. With my The Art of Shaving R89 razor, I was able to reduce the number of touchup passes, but still had to do three pass shaves. With my Fatip OC razors, I'm down to two pass shaves with some minor touchup. This has led to irritation free BBS shaves.

Obviously, another solution could be not to chase a BBS. A DFS, CCS, and SAS can all be just as good (or better than) a BBS in most instances. By chasing a BBS, you could be inclined to make more touchup passes, each of which would increase the risk of irritation.

Another thing to consider could be blade chatter. If the blade vibrates as it scrapes along your skin and beard, it could cause irritation. Using a razor that clamps the blade tightly in place could help minimize blade chatter. This, in turn, could also reduce the risk of irritation. (Incidentally, changing one's shave angle may also reduce/increase blade chatter.)

As touched upon by other members above, pressing down on the razor can also cause irritation. While most new shavers think they're not pressing down on the razor, they actually are doing just that. Most new shavers are transitioning from plastic cartridge razors, where using lots of force/pressure was not only common but necessary. As these new shavers are using less force/pressure with a DE, they think they're not using any force/pressure; in reality, however, they're still applying way too much force/pressure on the razor.

IME, the brand of my shave soap had little to no bearing on my shaving irritation. So long as I made a good lather with my soap, I got irritation free shaves. But if I made a poor lather, this could also lead to irritation as the razor (and thus, the blade) would not glide smoothly across my face and beard (see my above remarks on blade chatter).

Basically, one of the last things I would point to for your irritation would be your soap brand. Instead, I'd look first at (1) how much pressure you're applying to your razor as you shave, (2) how many passes (include each touchup pass as a pass) you're making, and (3) whether you're (needlessly) chasing a BBS.

Also, look into mapping your beard. Do a search of the forum for threads on beard mapping. That can help you figure out how to get a better shave by knowing in what direction you should shave to avoid cutting against the grain.
 
Regarding BBS: I'm not chasing one; I am mainly aiming for a clean look and a close, comfortable, smooth, irritation-free shave.

Regarding passes on my neck: I start with one gentle pass WTG (I'm pretty familiar with my neck hair "mapping"). If see noticeably stubble after rinsing, I reapply lather/gel and do another WTG gentle pass (usually not more than 2 passes on my neck as this is sufficient to get a "clean" look).

Regarding blade chatter: I think all of my razors do a solid job of clamping the blade. I will definitely check my angle.

Regarding irritation: I am very wary of pressure but you are probably correct that I still might be using too much pressure on my neck. I am definitely working on this since I started (only a couple of months).

I'm glad that you say in your experience it's not the soap but most likely the technique. If I can get good enough to use soap alone, I might be able to eliminate the need for multiple products. I'll keep practicing!

Thanks for the tips!
 
Mostly what @hairless wonder said.

1) Use minimal pressure.
2) Map your beard growth. The hair on my own neck is difficult, I do not chase a BBS for that reason. I have found that when I do my second XTG pass I have to use a particular angle to both cut the whiskers and prevent irritation.
3) Do not go over an area unless there is a covering of soap.
4) Try 1 or 2 passes first and do not try an ATG pass until you get good results from those.
5) Regarding soap for me SV, Stirling, Zingari Man are slicker than most, I did my 36th shave with a KCG blade and Cella my 37th shave was an improvement using SV so soap does make a difference.
6) Some blades do not work for me (no matter how much I want Feather blades to work for me they don't
7) A blade sampler is a good idea as some blades just do not work with certain razors (doing the FFFMM Challenge last month the Voskhod blade just gave rubbish shaves all month with the Muhle Rocca but there was an improvement when I tried it in the R41.
8) Use 1 setup for a few weeks, same soap, razor and blade and concentrate on your technique. Add extra passes as it gets better.
 
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