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New to Wet Shaving Frustration

I have been trying wet shaving since october. Seemed logical for me - i have a beard and only shave my neck. More economical than a cartridge. Coarse beard and somewhat sensitive skin. It has been a frustration ever since!

I shaved this morning and am about to toss in the towel and go back to cartridges. How long does it take to get this down right? I don’t know what is going on. My skin was perfectly fine before I shaved.

I had a shave on Friday at my barbers (Braun electric) and then I shaved again on Saturday night after my shower using a Feather Blade and the Viking Blade Chieftan (Odin). I used the burgundy Proraso shave soap on Saturday. All seemed to be ok but I was getting a tug from that side of the blade.

The attached photo is this morning…no shower, just at the sink. Used Viking Blade shave oil, a hot cloth for a minute, then splashed water on my neck, then applied Prorasso soap well lathered. I then did two passes shaving ONLY in the direction of the growth with the unused, fresh side of the blade reapplying lather after each pass. I really tried to give little to no pressure, keeping an angle. Ripped me up. Still feels like sand paper, like I did not shave. Post shave was an alum block follow by Sea Breeze and some Nivea sensitive post shave balm.

This can’t be that complicated. What am I doing wrong?
 

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First, congratulations on your progress!

And I can understand your frustration. ‘Traditional’ wet shaving is a skill set that takes awhile to acquire.

I suggest you read through the WiKi and focus on the following:
1. Good prep.
2. Building lather. (A good shave stick might speed the learning curve.)
3. Map your beard to understand precisely what you are doing with each pass.
4. Maintain an optimal razor angle.
5. NO pressure.
6. Post-shave care.

Stick with this and you will get the results you want!! :a29::a29:
 

Jay21

Collecting wife bonus parts
Welcome to B&B!

I really struggled at first before it all clicked. Maybe this will help:

 
All good suggestions.

It’s either prep, pressure, angle, or over shaving. Your post shave is far too astringent for sensitive skin. Consider a witch hazel splash and just your balm or moisture.

Always wash your face with facial soap first (try something like cetaphil sensitive skin.

Razor, start with something mild, real mild. Merkur 34c, Henson mild, EJ89, etc… and just do one pass with the grain and stop. Wait at least 24 hours and see how it went. Blades get something moderate like a Gillette Platinum or Silver Blue. No Feathers, Kai, Rockwell or Derby if you are leaning.

30 degree angle and absolutely no pressure, zero.

If after another week this doesn’t improve your post shave flare up, consider you or the hobby don’t match (most likely you since you can shave with a cartridge razor).
 
Good advice here - a good wet shave involves mastering several disparate pieces of knowledge and skill and then putting it all together. Get any piece wrong and the results will be sub-optimal to a complete mess, depending on just how far wrong you manage to go.

As a shortcut to diagnosing your problems, based on what you say above, I would guess the principle areas to address are:

1) Inadequate prep. Prep means fully saturating your hair to soften it.
2) Avoid shaving against the grain. This means you need to map your beard. I know you say you only shaved with the grain but, looking at your neck I am not sure I believe you! With the grain is different for different people - don't just copy what you saw someone else do.
3) You need to use no pressure and a good angle.

So...pretty much everything! ;)

If you spend 15 minutes reading and internalising the content of those links, then put what you learn into practice, I can almost guarantee your next shave will be much better. It might not be super close, but that doesn't matter. Close shaves come with experience.

However, for now you probably want to give your neck a chance to heal. I would wait at least a week before trying to shave over that again...shaving over existing irritation is never pleasant and to be avoided if at all possible. It may then also be that you need to reduce the hair with a trimmer before trying to shave - DE razors aren't really designed for taking down longer hair, especially the milder razors that tend to be the best choice for beginners. You don't say what razor you are using, so bear that in mind too, and never compensate for a lack of efficiency with pressure.
 
Welcome! Sorry to hear you're finding it frustrating, I've been there. Having switched from 30 years of using cartridges myself 2 years ago, I strongly suspect you're applying too much pressure. When you think you're not applying any, apply less still.

Other possibilities have been mentioned. Overshaving - going over the same areas multiple times on the same pass without relathering. Prep - shower or wash beforehand, keeping the whiskers wet for at least a couple of minutes to soften them. Lather - use a thin layer of dense lather.

Good luck, you'll get this!
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
Staff member
Welcome to B&B!

Maybe look at this as a beard reduction instead of shaving off part of your beard. You will need multiple passes to shave those hairs. Apply lather in between passes.

As mentioned above, prep is key. Lather needs to be similar to Greek Yogurt. No pressure while shaving. The razor must do the work, not you. Lock your wrists and take it slow.
 
I see serious razor burn there. I'm guess in the L6 has some blade exposure and Feathers are both VERY sharp with a very steep bevel angle AND probably a bit wider than other blades, with the result you are shaving with the edge standing well proud of the razor.

If you combine that with too steep a razor angle, you end up scraping the blade over the skin which will pull, abrade you skin, and leave stubble.

Let your skin rest a couple days until no longer red -- hopefully your beard won't drive you crazy with itching until then -- and then shave with the handle of the razor further away from your face. Take a close look at the angle from the edge of the cap to the safety bar, you want both cap and safety bar on your face at the same time. A Feather blade won't require any pressure to speak of, just enough to keep the blade in contact with your skin.

Your lather should be very slick. Doesn't matter how thick it is, just that it makes your skin slippery. This lets the edge slip over the skin without peeling you, but cuts the hair at skin level.

Use very light pressure on the razor and vary the handle angle a little as you shave -- quite likely you will find an angle that doesn't pull anywhere near as much as other angles, and that is what you want to maintain. Too steep and you scrape, too shallow and you cut the hair above skin level. The latter will result in stubble and very uncomfortable shaves as the edge is splitting the hair lengthwise, not clipping it off.

A milder blade will help too, I'd suggest something like Astra Platinum, Gillette Silver Blue, or a German Wilkinson. Personna Lab blue (Comfort coated) are great, but require a mild razor since they are very sharp and marginally wide. Israeli reds are worse, so are Gillette Wilkinson Swords (same name, different company) -- they are all a bit wide and in an aggressive razor likely to irritate. Derby Extras can drag, but you won't get irritation from them.

You may also want to make sure you are not using platinum coated blades, some people get massive irritation from them completely unrelated to how they shave.
 
Great advice above. Take your time & read through the links & slowly learn the steps & techniques needed. You will be rewarded with a wonderful pastime that also is necessary.

If you are in the USA, please allow me to send you some razor blades to try instead of the Feathers. My favorite blade is Feather, but for a newcomer to start with a Feather is not advisable. I'm familiar with a variety of mild yet sharp blades & will be happy to send you a nice assortment for you to use. I just saw you have one post at this point so you are unable to send me a Private MEssage (PM) with your mailing information. I'm sending you a PM instead so you can reply to my message, or not, with your mailing information. I'll get your razor blades in the mail within the next couple of days.

Hope you stick with learning to use a de razor. It really is wonderful.
 
The photo of your neck skin looks familiar--I have had the exact same problem.

As someone else said, I'm not sure you're actually shaving with the grain (WTG). I thought the same when I started: I was starting the shave "north to south" on my neck. I have since learned that, for me, WTG on my neck is actually "south to north." For me that simple change made a huge difference. I don't know if that's the case for you or not, but it might help.

As others have said, it takes practice to shave correctly with a DE razor because the technique is different: The razor angle needs to be correct, and too much pressure will cause irritation.
 

musicman1951

three-tu-tu, three-tu-tu
Some excellent advice already. I'd add that the Feather is the wrong blade for someone getting razor burn. If I had to guess - which I do - I'd say too steep a razor angle, way too much pressure and definitely the wrong blade. Imagine the pressure you use with a cart, cut that in half and then cut that in half again.
 

Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
Welcome to the B&B community.

Our youngest son got me into wet shaving. He has a beard like you and just trims up his neck and cheeks to keep his beard neatly outlined. He started out with a Merkur 38C barber pole. The handle is a bit longer than the regular 34C. It isn't that expensive and you might consider a razor change to something that might be a better match for you.

It looks like you are using the Viking Chieftain, if I'm not mistaken. I haven't read many positive things about Viking razors. I know they are readily available on Amazon for an inexpensive price..... but as you read our responses to your original post, I'm sure you noticed a few razor suggestions, as well as some blade suggestions to move you away from Feathers at the start.

I did buy that son a Merkur Progress adjustable razor and he uses that now, though he still uses the 38C from time to time.

In any event, I hope you stick with it... get your prep down and continue to practice until shaving is a pleasure instead of a chore.
 
OP, I have to thank you for posting this. I started wet shaving with a DE Razor about 3 months ago and have had a razor burned neck ever since. Instead of listening to people on this forum I have been hopping from DE razor to DE razor in pursuit of the perfect razor. It has been fun, but I have shredded my neck along the way. Non stop razor burn to my neck! :lol1::lol1::lol1:

Last night I read your post and decided to do things differently, finally giving in to the sage advice here. I used my mildest razor (EJ DE89) with an Astra SP blade (instead of a Feather) and spent much more time prepping than usual. I splashed warm water on my neck and face until my beard felt noticeably softer, only then applying my lather (also for longer than usual). I focused on using a light touch and went WTG on all 3 passes instead of my usual WTG,XTG, ATG. I did go ATG on my most difficult spots, but this was during cleanup and a limited area of my chin, side burns, and neck--I was very careful to use a gentle touch. Choking up on the razor handle really helped me judge/control how much pressure I was using. The result was not the closest shave that I've had, but I would call it my BEST DE shave yet. No razor burn on my neck (finally) and a clean enough shave.

It took me to this point to realize that I would rather settle for a DFS with no razor burn that a BBS with chewed up neck. And I finally spent enough time to soften my beard with warm water before applying lather --I think this was key. You should try once more using the tips folks in this thread have provided. But first please let the razor burn heal completely, otherwise you only aggravate your razor burn further. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 
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I would wait a couple days before you shave again till your skin has completely healed, else you make things only worse. Been there done that too. I would take a hot shower before shaving IMHO it's a must, if it's not possible then I would use olive oil (or any other oil like vegetable, oy etc) as a preshave oil.

Map your beard growth, just because you see some person shaving in some direction and claiming it's an WTG it doesn't mean it's a WTG for you. The hairs on my neck grow in all kind of different directions, so I have to adjust the direction of shaving accordingly. Doing an ATG when the hairs are still pretty long is going to suck, try to remove as much as you can with the WTG.

Feather blades are damn good blades, sure they are sharp but all blades are sharp. Try out some other blades like the Astra SP's, Permasharps, Wizamet Iridiums.

I see that some members have recommended the 34C HD, it's a great razor but if you're looking for something even cheaper and milder get the Fatip Gentile. I got one recently and I can really recommend this razor to a beginner, super mild and hard to cut yourself with this razor.
 

Chef455

Head Cheese Head Chef
I am sorry that I have nothing helpful to offer you to help with your frustration. But I do want to welcome you to Badger & Blade and let you know that folks that have posted have likely had similar experiences. I hope you can figure out what's causing the irritation.
 
I have been trying wet shaving since october. Seemed logical for me - i have a beard and only shave my neck. More economical than a cartridge. Coarse beard and somewhat sensitive skin. It has been a frustration ever since!

I shaved this morning and am about to toss in the towel and go back to cartridges. How long does it take to get this down right? I don’t know what is going on. My skin was perfectly fine before I shaved.

I had a shave on Friday at my barbers (Braun electric) and then I shaved again on Saturday night after my shower using a Feather Blade and the Viking Blade Chieftan (Odin). I used the burgundy Proraso shave soap on Saturday. All seemed to be ok but I was getting a tug from that side of the blade.

The attached photo is this morning…no shower, just at the sink. Used Viking Blade shave oil, a hot cloth for a minute, then splashed water on my neck, then applied Prorasso soap well lathered. I then did two passes shaving ONLY in the direction of the growth with the unused, fresh side of the blade reapplying lather after each pass. I really tried to give little to no pressure, keeping an angle. Ripped me up. Still feels like sand paper, like I did not shave. Post shave was an alum block follow by Sea Breeze and some Nivea sensitive post shave balm.

This can’t be that complicated. What am I doing wrong?
Hi and welcome to B&B. Some suggestions:

  • Experiment with soap/water ratios for maximum slickness. Some products are at their slickest with a thinner and wetter lather. Others the opposite. Have found that my softer soaps (including Prorasso) need lots more soap loaded than my hard soaps.
  • While good I've found that Prosasso soaps (I have the red version) are not the slickest out there. Try a shaving soap with more slickness and you may be able to eliminate or significantly reduce any irritation. Soaps I use that are currently available include Cyril R. Salter, D.R. Harris, Tabac (new formula) and Razorock What-the-Puck.
  • Try shaving without the shaving oil and see if that helps slickness. Some controversy out there regarding shaving oil and whether or not it interacts with the shaving soap lather to reduce effectiveness. YMMV so see how this works for you.
Good luck and happy holidays!
 
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