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[Need your help] How to have better shaving experience?

Lots of helpful advice here! Here is something that made a big difference for me. I paid close attention to the stubble growth pattern below my jawline where I was getting the most irritation. I would change direction as often as needed to ensure my first pass was always WTG. Eventually I could feel where the growth pattern changed and I would make adjustments immediately. Above the jaw is pretty straight forward but below is a swirling mess. Eventually I became satisfied with an efficient 2 pass WTG below the jaw for maximum comfort. Good luck on your journey.


I didnt know
You might try this.

Shimming a Merkur 34c Razor - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/shimming-a-merkur-34c-razor.547476/

There are razors that support the blade fully making it very rigid, the 34C is not one of those razors. When you add a shim or more, you are stiffening up the cutting blade, especially if the shims are wide.

Prewar Tech + one Shim =...

If you cut one shim narrow and place it between the cap and blade, you will increase the blade gap making the razor more efficient.

If you try that and find a shim helps, you might want to look at a more rigid design. Theres much to read around the forum on rigidity.

With that out of the way...

You're new to using a DE. You might be expecting results that take time to accomplish. I think we've all done the same, I sure did haha. The longer you use a DE the easier it becomes. Dont chase a BBS finish. It will come on its own in its own time. Chasing it will only lead to frustration and poor shaves. Keep comfort your #1 priority.

When you start changing things, blades and soaps, try to only change one thing at a time so you understand the difference that change has made. If you change to many aspects at once things get muddled.

You mention wanting a nice cream available in the UK. I'll suggest my top performing cream. Cyril R Salter or CRS as its known.

Cyril R Salter Shaving Cream Bowls - https://www.connaughtshaving.com/cyrilsc.html

My first use of it below, Dec. 2018.

CRS Wild Rose.

To keep a baseline I'm familiar with I used my Brit clone and a fresh Feather to see if any harshness would surface. None did...

A full three pass shave and two shrinking clean ups. No issues at any point in the shave.

This cream... This cream, is very good. Its sure not afraid of water either. Like Rave said it doesnt take much so I used easily half as much as I do my CC creams. This is an older picture of how much CC cream I use, but you get the point.


That much cream generated this much lather.


Half that much CRS cream gave me twice the lather I get from my CC creams.

The performance is impressive. Its every bit as good as my WK and better. The lather from the CRS cream is smoother, creamier and more consistent and it gets to that state quicker.

The protection from WK is very good and its the most protective soap I'd used, until this morning. CRS has the same amount, and quality, of cushion as my WK with far less product used. This cream really reminded me of my WK soap, but its a smoother lather. I dont really know how to explain it. Creamier and richer but lighter with the same protection and the same protective feel.

Slickness is right there with PdP, even with a thick lather. Its -9C this morning and the furnace is blowing hot. Between passes I usually wipe my face after shaking the water off my hand. I didnt shake my hand this shave so I was using a lot more water. The lather didnt diminish, even for my second clean up. What it did do, much the same as PdP, was build. The more water I gave it, the more lather it made. I rinsed more lather out of my brush when I had finished shaving than it held after my first face lather.

In a battle of thin and slick with PdP, CRS wins. In a battle of protection with WK DM, CRS wins. Simply because it reaches the same level with less product, not to mention it was ~$14CAD shipped and my WK was $39.99CAD shipped. That, is a considerable difference. Add in performance to match with less product used, its a no brainer.

The scent. This wonderful scent. They really nailed it.

This is the scent in the tub.


This is the scent as I was lathering.


The more its lathered the more it opens up, but its more than that. Lathering for my third pass it hit me. Its more than just a simple rose. Its a rose garden.


I had to concentrate a bit and think about it, but I could detect that rich deep moisture, the green of the leaves and even the fresh clean dirt. Its incredible. The only downside is, and this may only be a downside for me, it doesnt linger much at all.

I'm honestly not trying to sell any CRS creams. My description of the scent is exactly what I smelled, all of it. It blew me away.

It also kicked what remains of my Proraso soaps off my shelf because I'm running out of room. If Wickhams can hold a candle to CRS, my Stirling's and CC creams are following my Proraso. I wont be buying Wholly Kaw again.

My next order will be the CRS Sandalwood, and another tub of Wild Rose.

In the end a really, really nice shave.

Canned goo and a cartridge? Why?

I have both their Wild Rose and Sandalwood. The scents are spectacular while being true, accurate scents. I can easily put my CRS creams against any of my top soaps. Wickham 1912, also available at Connaught, is an Artisan soap made in England and is my #1 soap, tied with SV.

SV is a hard Italian triple milled soap that will last a very long time. I've been using my tub of CRS Rose for almost two years and its still 1/3 full. They're big tubs at 5.8oz's and you dont need very much for a rich creamy lather.

They also carry Vito's Extra Super Coco, which is another really excellent soap with performance that far surpasses its price.

Give it time, in a few months you'll be wondering why it was so much trouble.
As the techniques are mostly covered here, I hope to see some shave soap or cream products recommendation. As said in the main text, A few major facts that I don't like TfOBS are PRESERVATION MOISTURE (dry out of my face), BURNING (after shaving), HEAVY RESIDUALS, LATHER DENSITY. Regardless of other shaving products, this is definitely the one that does not suit me. At least one canned gel (Elemis Ice Cool Foaming Shave Gel) at my hand gives me a much better experience than TfOBS, but I want to see a traditional shave soap or cream to revolutionize the whole experience as what normally expected when comparing shave soap/cream versus canned gels.

I'll second the recommendation of Proraso White, easy to get hold of in the UK from Amazon or any of the UK based shaving suppliers. Try the tub. It's soft and easy to lather. This tutorial might help in that regard.

A good lather is half the battle. You mention the drying out of your skin. It might be worth considering the Proraso preshave as well. I've found it can help retain moisture and if you use the White or Green it will leave your skin feeling cool and well moisturised post shave. A little goes a long way. Most of the issues are technical and will be resolved over time but this should help in the meantime. You can always see how you get on without a preshave once your abilities improve, as I'm doing at the moment.

Finally, patience and practice works wonders. It's taken me a year or more to get consistently good lathers and subsequently, consistently good shaves and I'm not there yet, lol. Some get there quicker, some take longer. But progress will happen.
Ok, so the gear that you're using is fine. The shower as a preshave it great as well. Not a big fan of the soap as I'd put it in the average category. It's an ok choice but it's going to lack any noticeable positive post shave qualities. I mean it'll get the job done but it's nothing special. You should be able to get a good shave from your existing soap though, so no worries. You can find an upgrade for that later on if you choose to do so. Your gear isn't the issue here, it's the technique. It's almost always, like 99.9% of the time the technique.

There are better products out there but there is no magic product that's going to give you perfect shaves without putting in the work. AS much as I'd like to, I can't buy a pair of shoes that will magically make me run as fast as Usain Bolt. You'll find some glowing reviews for some of the classic products that are out there and they continue to be praised by many that don't try anything new. In my opinion, there are many new soaps that are light years ahead of the classics. I'd recommend some but I haven't a clue what is available in the UK. You're better off not changing anything either. Stick with what you have and improve your technique. You've heard the old adage "It's a poor mechanic that blames his tools". Same deal here. You'll actually slow your progress if you keep switching things.

So, most people who take up wet shaving have been using carts for years. They apply some shaving cream or maybe some shave gel and smash the cart into their face using a smash and drag approach. This works ok with a cart as the multi blades even out the surface and keep you from doing too much damage. A decent uncomfortable shave with a slight bit of irritation was what I'd normally get from a cart.

So onto de razors that utilize a single blade and no pivoting head. The single blade will allow you to dig in a bit deeper than a non swivel blade will. It will allow you to choose a poor angle if you don't know what you're doing here as well. You actually need to develop some skill to use a de razor. There is a technique to it and unfortunately we've all had the smash and drag method instilled in our muscle memory from using carts for years. So what most people do it they use way too much pressure and don't pay much attention to the angle as they slide the de razor across their face. They don't even realize that they are doing it.

Once you lather up maybe start off putting the cap of the de on your face. As you start the first pass drop the handle down slowly until you hear the blade just starting to cut the stubble. This is a good angle to start with. Try and maintain this angle as you do each stroke with the razor. Too shallow of an angle and you're not cutting anything but too much angle and you're dragging a sharp edge across your face like you're scraping paint off a house. It will become almost automatic in time.

Now to address pressure. You need to use just enough pressure to keep the razor on your face but not much more. If you smash this thing into your face it's going to cut a bit deeper than you've experienced with a cart and you'll end up with a bad case of what I like to call razor burn or RFS (red face syndrome) and it'll sting like hell. I get that this is going to be difficult so think of using as little pressure as possible throughout the entire shave and keep reminding yourself.

What you're trying to do here is retrain your muscle memory to remove what you've engrained from years of using carts. It's going to take you some time to do this. Likely about thirty days or so for a de razor. So figure you're going to get less that perfect shaves for around the next thirty days or so before you actually get good at this. Don't try to get perfection or you'll just end up with a bunch of razor burn to show for it. Your shaves will look presentable and the only one that'll know they aren't perfect is you. Hang in there as it's worth it because once you get your technique solid you'll be getting the best shaves of your life. Closer and much more comfortable at the same time.

I did notice no mention of post shave at all. You might want to pick up a good quality shave balm or lotion to help your skin heal. There are exceptions but most aftershave splashes are mostly alcohol and witch hazel and do very little in terms of post shave. So skip the splashes for now and go for the lotions and balms.

An alum block will help you learn technique a bit better as well. You can pick one up for about six bucks or so and you just wet it and your face with cold water and rub it on your face after your shave. Where it feels good you've done well. Where it stings a little you used too much pressure or an incorrect angle. Just remember to rinse your face before you apply the aftershave.

Also there is a product called The Cool Fix from a company called Shave Works. It's a blue gel that is amazing at getting rid of razor burn. You apply it, it stings like hell for about five seconds and the razor burn is completely gone, like it never happened. It's good to have a small bottle of this stuff around when starting out. It saved me when I torn my neck up so bad that it felt like my shirt collar was made of shard glass. A small bottle is about ten bucks at the local Ulta or Sephora stores here in the states. Maybe you can find a bottle online as it's worth it's weight in gold when you're suffering.

Anyway, hang in there and you'll get it down. It's worth the effort.
Lots of great advice from seasoned DE & SE traditional wet shavers.
-My advice is to go with a synthetic brush(24mm tuxedo knot) is one of the best in my opinions. Easy to make lather and cloud like soft tips & dry's out quickly for your next shave. Applying lather with brush is one of my great pleasures of traditional wet shaving.
-Soaps now a days are easy to lather and a good croap are abound.
-If you are worried about time stay with tube cream or shave sticks because less fuss and clean up.
-Razors are so confusing and I suggest a Razorock SLOC or Yaqi melon head (Such a easy going shave with one). Cheap and very effective IMO. (Astra blade was a reasonable choice you made already)(nothing wrong using cartridge razors if you like them.)
- Just do a 2 pass shave with pickups will give you a great shave if technique is dialed in.
-Map your beard direction will give you more pleasure whether you use cartridge or DE & SE.
-witch hazel or a cheap aftershave to finish shave with a small dollop of balm might be all a person wants.(atomizer is nice & fast)
Just a basic breakdown of simple shave gear and hopefully you stick it out because it is a better way to shave IMO.
This is already an awful lot of information to absorb and try to apply. So if you are already on overload, feel free to ignore my thoughts!

First there is the pre-shave. Although it has thinned over the years, my beard used to be fairly coarse. My father taught me to begin with enough hot water on my face to soften my whiskers. I usually just splash it on. Now and then I use a washcloth.

Lathering is more complicated than it sounds. Lather runs the gamut from clouds of puffy soap to something that is much thicker, almost the texture of dish washing liquid. I far prefer the latter, but I usually find that first I need to use up the sudsier stuff. Given that the first pass, with the grain, is the most gentle, I load my brush with enough for three passes, and I put on that fluffier first lather and shave with the grain. The next lathering is a little more dense and less sudsy, and I use more of a painting stroke and take the across the grain pass. This is a critical stage and one where you have more risk of irritation. Keep the XTG strokes short and light. The third lathering will be the most dense, and the strokes against the grain need to be very light, very short, and, frankly, repetitive. No when to stop! If you feel you are irritating anything, just stop. Live to fight another day!

I personally like mild razors and sharp blades. They won't beat you up over the course of a very gentle three pass shave.

Rinse it off or shower, and splash on a nice aftershave. It will sting or feel bracing for a bit, hopefully not too much. It helps everything to heal. I don't mess with alum, witch hazel, or anything else. I figure the less I do the better off I am. Of course my approach in that regard goes against what most seem to think and do, but irritation and unpleasantness are terms that just never crop up in my daily shave. Good luck.
And you could try some Pinaud Clubman talc on your face to ease any irritation and deal with razor burn. This is the stuff in the green plastic bottle -- like baby powder, and that's what it is, but it has the Clubman "barbershop" scent as well. I apply it after every shave and leave it on during breakfast, then rinse it off.

I concur about the synthetic brush. I bought one a couple of years ago, and for a while disliked it because it did not feel like the badger or the boar against my skin. Earlier this year, for some reason I began to use it more, and discovered I really liked it. Now I use it 70% of the time.
Too much advice. Until you master making lather (which is not hard) stick with the canned goo you’re used to from cart shaving. Your equipment is first class, no problems there. Sounds to me like you’re having some trouble finding the shave angle. This differs w every razor and can be tricky. Experiment a little til you feel and hear it cutting. You’ll get it
Don’t feel like you have to get BBS or even DFS. Good enough is good enough. Old guys like me did one-pass WTG shaves for most of our lives. We didn’t know more was possible and we didn’t care. The idea then was to get it done and get to work, etc.
Too much advice. Until you master making lather (which is not hard) stick with the canned goo you’re used to from cart shaving. Your equipment is first class, no problems there. Sounds to me like you’re having some trouble finding the shave angle. This differs w every razor and can be tricky. Experiment a little til you feel and hear it cutting. You’ll get it
Don’t feel like you have to get BBS or even DFS. Good enough is good enough. Old guys like me did one-pass WTG shaves for most of our lives. We didn’t know more was possible and we didn’t care. The idea then was to get it done and get to work, etc.
When I first started shaving in the 60’s, it never occurred to me that I should map my beard, go any direction other than north to south, and do multiple passes. I thought it was normal to have stubble on my face that not only I could feel, but everyone could see.
Too much advice. Until you master making lather (which is not hard) stick with the canned goo you’re used to from cart shaving. Your equipment is first class, no problems there. Sounds to me like you’re having some trouble finding the shave angle. This differs w every razor and can be tricky. Experiment a little til you feel and hear it cutting. You’ll get it
Don’t feel like you have to get BBS or even DFS. Good enough is good enough. Old guys like me did one-pass WTG shaves for most of our lives. We didn’t know more was possible and we didn’t care. The idea then was to get it done and get to work, etc.
I continued to use the canned Gillette gel for my first couple months of DE shaving. Brush and soap are better, but you can certainly get good results with a DE and gel.
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