It may be that the blades are not sharp enough for your beard. (this is a theory on my part, aka, guess) If you read the blade forum you will see a trend and that is folks with tough whiskers not liking blades that are considered on the mild side. They will stat things like tugging or pulling but not cutting the beard. They often times end up liking Feathers are other well known blades that lean to the sharper side.
Maybe the angle of the blade isn't quite right for you. It sucks that it doesn't work for you because I've read your posts here and know that you've not had great experience with a lot of products and have really tried a lot of products with an open mind.
I don't remember offhand your DE journeys, I think you had some, but did you prefer sharper blades in those? The reason I ask is I up until quite recently liked mild shaves, actually still do, but I always thought the way to get that was to have razors with small blade gap.
I recently bought a Karve with an E plate. That's got a huge blade gap, but it clamps the blade very tight. I've had some of my best shaves ever with that thing. It's my best razor. It shaves closer than anything I've tried
(Feather Popular, Merkur 42c, 45, DE89, Bevel DE, Fatip Gentile, smoother and closer than all of those. The only razors I've used that came closeness were the Parker 99 which I found way to heavy and easy to nick and the Muhle Rocca which was to quick to nick. In fact the Rocca and Parker were kind of what cemented in my mind that I need only look at razors a smaller blade gap, probably .8mm or under.)
So anyway the Karve has a gap of 1.10 mm and an exposure of a positive .17mm (from their site, I don't measure these things myself). Why the E plate? I had read a number of posts from guys talking about that it was better to have what might be considered an aggressive razor that does the job in a couple of passes rather than multiple passes. Close shave, less irritation. That registered for me and I though at least if that is not the case for me, I can always buy a milder plate.
I've got almost a weeks worth of shaves with the Karve and I love it. I did finally get two weepers yesterday on day five, but I'm going to say it's because it was time to ditch the blade, it was day 5 on a Derby Premium. I felt on day 4 like it was running out of life.
Sorry about the tangent - I absolutely excel at them But its another view point that you or someone may want to consider on their journey if they haven't. I pooh poohed the idea for a long time until it occurred to me that an adjustable razor was a good way to test the theory. But also an adjustable known to clamp the blade rigidly and by that I mean close to the blade edges to eliminate any possibility of chatter. And with your tough hair, you would notice chatter before someone with easy to cut hair would.
Not a tangent but a detailed well thought response that I appreciate! Yes I have gone through quite a journey with this whole shaving thing and you have been a name to pop up with helpful advice frequently during this time.
Most of my facial hair is thicker then a sewing needle (not kidding, my wife plucked one to show me) but also grows not only in tight ring-curls but very flat against my skin... If I grow a beard it never gets longer but Fuller lol. My growth pattern is in crazy directions which also doesn't help.
I think chatter is exactly the issue with the skinguard for me, I've tested it with tweezers (on a spent cartridge of course) and the blades seem to flex and have minimal support. They even designed little finger tabs behind the blades to almost act like springs. Now here is where most people would suggest the Indian guard due to it's rigidity... That also grabs my hair pretty bad. This then leads me to believe it's the preset angle Gillette uses in their carts. For me to get a comfortable (feeling... During the shave atleast) DE shave I, regardless of razor, would have to keep the handle almost horizontal, meaning the blade as flat against my skin as possible. When I look at the profile or angle of the Gillette carts the blades are almost sideways vs the angle I need typically. It lends more of a scrape then a cut for me.
As for DEs and blades themselves: I tried so much.... SO much, over about 5 years. If the blade was too mild it would pull but if it was too sharp my skin couldn't handle it, Astra sp were my all around favorite as they were plenty sharp to get the job done but didn't ruin my skin like personnas or feathers. Mild razors never did much for me, even with sharp blades I would have to go over spots too many times causing irritation. Aggressive razors would work too well and cut too far. I had a long stint with slants and they simultaneously fix issues I tried them for while causing other issues I never had before. I tried several models of injector with both Schick and Pella blades, those were the most uncomfortable shaves I've ever had. I also tried a slim adjustable for awhile with the concept of dialing in for different passes and that was ok but still not great.
I used to chase BBS then I stopped and focused for a long time on just CCS and DFS but my crazy growth pattern ultimately causes me to shave some areas ATG which not only causes irritation but leaves a visually patchy shave. The philips Norelco oneblade has been great for me in that no matter what direction I go it won't cut below a certain level. Visually and by feel I've got 10 hour stubble but it's atleast even length around my face and not riddled with red marks. I hate it though lol, damn 'blades' die out quick and are very fragile. I also frequently use a Braun foil shaver due to my above journey and it does a great job but I can't use it more then 2 times a week or my skin freaks out. So I alternate between two expensive electric devices, neither of which I'm totally happy with, simply because I've spent well over $1,000 in the last 5 years on razors, blades, creams/soaps, brushes, aftershaves, etc to never find a solution to my problems.
Maybe I'll buy another skinguard and just try it again for two weeks, regardless of possible irritation or lack of shave.