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No sharp blades available? What am I missing?

Hi all. I'm just starting out with DE shaving after using mainly a Norelco electric for decades. I've tried to follow all the advice I've read about getting started DE shaving. I'm using a Merkur HD, Badger brush and good soapy lather from TOBS cream after a hot shower. I got an assorted blade pack. No matter which blade I try they all seem very dull. The first few tries were impossible, the blade would not cut my hair but rather try to pull it out or just scrape at my face. So I ended up using a Mach3, which isn't especially comfortable, but worked. I finally found that if I lather my face first thing in the shower that after 10 minutes or so I can rinse my face and relather and I can get an OK DE shave. I can go with the grain, and across the grain, but even attempting against the grain is impossible because the blade won't cut any of my beard that way, it feels like it's going to rip the hair out rather than cut it.
None of the blades I've tried so far seem very sharp to me. I tried Feathers, Astra Platinum, Personna Blues, and other in the assorted pack like Sharks and Lord's, and Derby. Holding the razor at any angle and even pressing down I haven't even come close to cutting myself.
Am I missing something or do I just have several batches of bad blades?
Thanks.
 
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Believe me, even the blades which the majority here agree are not terribly sharp, are sharp. Certainly sharp enough to do damage to yourself if they are not treated with respect.

It takes a while to develop your technique- you understand that preparation, angle and pressure are important elements of DE shaving; now it is simply a case of getting them all under control.

As far as preparation is concerned - I nearly always shave after a shower and spend time in the shower wetting my beard and working soap into it in order to hydrate and soften the hair (which is what you are doing with your lather).

Controlling blade angle and pressure are a couple of challenges for new DE shavers - using the wrong angle will stop the blade from cutting correctly which often leads to pressure being placed on the razor and nicks, cuts and scraping can result. I would suggest that you keep at it - your cheeks are normally the easiest part of the face to shave because they are relatively flat and the jawline, chin and neck are difficult because of hair growth patterns and awkward contours. Stretching the skin will help in those areas.

I don't recommend shaving ATG initially but would suggest that you wind your expectations back a little and try to get a comfortable shave each day with WTG and perhaps XTG passes. Please keep us posted!
 
Some of the blades you list are what I would consider at the sharp end of the spectrum, and all should give a good shave. As djh writes, the issue is likely that you haven't quite found the correct blade angle, which can take a bit of doing if you're used to cartridge razors. Just keep at it and it will come, probably quite quickly.
 
Believe me, even the blades which the majority here agree are not terribly sharp, are sharp. Certainly sharp enough to do damage to yourself if they are not treated with respect.

It takes a while to develop your technique- you understand that preparation, angle and pressure are important elements of DE shaving; now it is simply a case of getting them all under control.

As far as preparation is concerned - I nearly always shave after a shower and spend time in the shower wetting my beard and working soap into it in order to hydrate and soften the hair (which is what you are doing with your lather).

Controlling blade angle and pressure are a couple of challenges for new DE shavers - using the wrong angle will stop the blade from cutting correctly which often leads to pressure being placed on the razor and nicks, cuts and scraping can result. I would suggest that you keep at it - your cheeks are normally the easiest part of the face to shave because they are relatively flat and the jawline, chin and neck are difficult because of hair growth patterns and awkward contours. Stretching the skin will help in those areas.

I don't recommend shaving ATG initially but would suggest that you wind your expectations back a little and try to get a comfortable shave each day with WTG and perhaps XTG passes. Please keep us posted!
+ 1
 
None of the blades I've tried so far seem very sharp to me. I tried Feathers, Astra Platinum, Personna Blues, and other in the assorted pack like Sharks and Lord's, and Derby. Holding the razor at any angle and even pressing down I haven't even come close to cutting myself.
Am I missing something or do I just have several batches of bad blades?
Thanks.
All blades are very sharp but some are sharper than others. I think you have stumbled on good preparation is vital and good lather is one of the factors to a good shave. Have a look at the Shaving Wiki on producing good, slick lather. One of the other factors is good technique and, as has been covered above, razor angle is important. I have used the Merkur HD with many blades and it has delivered good shaves. The Feather, Astra and GSB have been particularly smooth and delivered great shaves for me.
Finding the correct razor angle is important so keep working at it. i would stick to WTG and XTG passes for now and each pass should be reducing the stubble gradually. By the 3rd pass, the stubble should be sufficiently short for ATG but that pass is not possible for everyone.
I assume you are a daily shaver. If a Mach 3 works, a DE razor will also give you a good shave. You may have to do some beard mapping to determine what is your grain direction for the different passes.
 
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Welcome to the B&B forums. Great advice has already been given. It might take a bit of practice, but once you get the technique down, you can get a good shave.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 
Hello and welcome. Great to have you here on B&B. Wander on over to the Hall of Fame and introduce yourself.

As Mat said, check your angle.

What type of razor are you using? Some of the modern three piece razors can have the baseplate mounted upside down and they won't cut at all.
 
Feather is considered the sharpest blade. Astra SP and Personna Blue are also considered very sharp. Wash your face with hot water thorougly before lathering. Work your lather on your face and keep swirling it for like 2 mins. This will help the lather to soften your hair. Don't skip the XTG or if you hare uncomfortable, do 2 WTG passes, to cut down the lenght of the stubble before the ATG. Then the AGT should be more easy. Don't go too slow with strokes. Better short, somewhat speedy strokes. Speed gives to the blade more cutting power.

If all fails, try WTG, XTG one way, XTG the other way (the opposite direction).
 
People have different beards, but if you can't get a Feather to cut you're really missing the proper angle. Don't be afraid to experiment.
 
Too steep a blade angle perhaps; problem with the razor perhaps. Or it could be the lather. When I feel a good blade pulling and scraping, it's usually a sign I didn't take care with the lubrication. Maybe play around with making your lather wetter or drier?

One thing that seems clear is that it's not the blades. All of the ones you mentioned are at least decent.
 

KeenDogg

Social Media Guru
Too steep a blade angle perhaps; problem with the razor perhaps. Or it could be the lather. When I feel a good blade pulling and scraping, it's usually a sign I didn't take care with the lubrication. Maybe play around with making your lather wetter or drier?

One thing that seems clear is that it's not the blades. All of the ones you mentioned are at least decent.
I agree about the lather. Usually if there's tugging, it's my lather not being slick enough.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
 
Believe me, even the blades which the majority here agree are not terribly sharp, are sharp. Certainly sharp enough to do damage to yourself if they are not treated with respect.

It takes a while to develop your technique- you understand that preparation, angle and pressure are important elements of DE shaving; now it is simply a case of getting them all under control.

As far as preparation is concerned - I nearly always shave after a shower and spend time in the shower wetting my beard and working soap into it in order to hydrate and soften the hair (which is what you are doing with your lather).

Controlling blade angle and pressure are a couple of challenges for new DE shavers - using the wrong angle will stop the blade from cutting correctly which often leads to pressure being placed on the razor and nicks, cuts and scraping can result. I would suggest that you keep at it - your cheeks are normally the easiest part of the face to shave because they are relatively flat and the jawline, chin and neck are difficult because of hair growth patterns and awkward contours. Stretching the skin will help in those areas.

I don't recommend shaving ATG initially but would suggest that you wind your expectations back a little and try to get a comfortable shave each day with WTG and perhaps XTG passes. Please keep us posted!

+3! You need to respect your tools, especially blades! The issue is most likely technical as suggested by others.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Welcome to the forum!

As others have said, pay attention to angle. With a cartridge razor, the razor itself sets the angle as soon as you apply pressure to it against your skin. With a DE you have to find, and maintain than angle yourself throughout the shave. It's not difficult, but it does take practice.

Be very careful applying pressure with any blade and especially Feather blades. When you find the right angle, you'll be amazed how little pressure it actually takes.
 
I was sure you had the baseplate upside down, but with a HD that's not possible. I don't understand how you couldn't get it to cut hair-- especially with a Feather.
 
As many have mentioned, I also feel that the angle might be off. I am currently using Feathers and while there are tales of dud blades, it not too common. My problem area is the area around the neck and I kinda have to have it at about a 40 degree for it to work.

Good Luck!
 
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