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Newbie Questions: Recommended Progress setting & Others

Next Tuesday, I get me a nice pile of things:
-Merkur Progress Razor & 10 Merkur DE Blades
-A Pile of quality shave cream samples
-A big tub o Taylor Almond cream
-A Men-u Premium Synthetic Brush & Sample cream

Question 1:
Sounds like the disadvantage of learning with a Progress is the temptation to change the sensitivity every shave and not really learning how to shave well. I figure this can be combatted by picking a number and sticking with it. What number should I pick? (Sensitive skin, sick of getting torn up by Mach 3)

Question 2:
Anything I'm missing in addition to the goodies I get next tuesday?

Question 3:
I've been reading most of this board and the msn group, but if anyone has any assorted advice, fire away!
Greetings sirion,
Best of luck with your new shaving kit. As to your first question, the setting of your Progress. I would suggest a setting of 2.5 for your first few shaves. While I am sure some will suggest higher or lower settings, this setting is on the mild side of the equivalent for the fixed head Merkur razors. Be sure to carefully reassemble the razor head to body. You should note that there is a | on the head and a ^ on the body. You want to be sure to align them on the same side of the razor when putting it back together after putting in a blade, etc.
The only other question, are you missing something, I am sure that you will hear that you are missing the pleasure of a badger brush, and you are. From what I have read on the boards, the vote is still out on the men-u synthetic brushes. Aside from that, perhaps you may wish to make a raid on the kitchen cabinets to find a lathering bowl. This too is a part of my daily routine and I would be almost lost without one. Some aftershave lotion or balm is always nice depending upon your skin condition and perhaps a styptic pencil for that occassional nick. At anyrate, good luck and good shaving. We are here to help if you have any additional questions.
Sirion, you can't go wrong with the Progress and Taylor's Almond - great combo. As for settings, you have to see how your particular one works. Depending on the blade thickness and the manufaturing tolerances, it won't necessarily have "1" as the mildest setting. Mine won't go smaller than "2". Regardless, start on the lowest setting for a week and see how it goes. then you can slowly dial it up over time as your face and confidence adjusts. Once you are comfortable with the razor, after a few weeks, you might try shaving with/across the grain on a very open setting, and against the grain with a low setting, which is what I do.

Good luck, and get yourself some sort of aftershave treatment as well. Please update us on your Progress a you go along.

One last comment - if you have never shaved with a DE, I would propose sticking to one cream for a week or two before diving in to those samples. This will help tune your technique without the variables of the cream.
Ron suggested a good setting. I suggest you work on your technique until you have it down. Also, start picking out your favorite badger brush because sooner or later, you're going to get it.
Hi Sirion--

As a Progress user, I would suggest turning the dial no more than one-half turn (which corresponds to ~ "3" for me) and keeping it that way for at least a month, until your beard and technique adjust to your new way of shaving. If you're using a Merkur blade you might want to knock it down a half-notch (e.g. down to "2.5" for me) and if (heaven forbid for a newbie!) you're trying a Feather...well...turn it all the way down the bring it up a half-notch (e.g. "1/2" :scared: ).

After you've gotten the hang of it, it'll take some experimentation to find the right blade and razor setting combination. For me its been an Israeli Personna with the Progress set to "3" for my first two passes then up to "4" for my last pass and T&C. This has worked amazingly well for me: clean, smooth shave everytime, with nary a red dot.

I don't have much else to suggest. Taylor's is an excellent cream, and the Men-U brush performs very well (though its nowhere near as soft as I would prefer; I returned mine and will stick with either my little Savile Row super badger--for travel or hard soaps--or my Shavemac SMF silvertip. But then I'm a sucker for the luxury experince :biggrin:

You got some superb advice thus far..... hopefully if we can get AHEM - Nick to finish up that B&B DVD sometime before 2006 (we need a breakin' balls smiley) :biggrin: :biggrin: I'd be able to show you video of it.....

Basically keep it slow and easy, feather light touch, and if you run into ANY troubles, immeidatly stop, explain what the problem is on the forum, and we can help ya out! If need be, I can provide you with my phone number, or give you a call, and I can help you via phone as well!

Keep us posted!
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