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Okay, time for the first time.

So I have a Merkur coming in tomorrow, and some of Letterk's 5-blade sample packs (for those of you who don't know, 5 blades of 5 different brands to see which is best suited to my face/skill level) coming in this weekend, and I've already for my Coral skin food, my brush, and I think I'm all set. All I need is some good quality shaving cream, and I'm ready to go. I think I'm not going to skimp and I'll get some Trumper's Rose shaving cream as well, because for the first time I want all the equipment to be top-notch, so that it might make up a little for my lack in skill. I've never shaved with a safety razor before, and I know that one of the biggest points to them is that you only need one or two passes, and that NO pressure is needed, that the blades take care of the work themselves. I have a few questions, however.:mellow:

1. Multiple lathers? Should I bother? Will I need them? Should I try multiple lathers my first time? My first lather, I understand, should not be allowed to just sit there (as with crappy shaving cream) but should be massaged in to get my skin slippery and make my hair stand up. Is this correct? :confused:

2. I have a problem with ingrown hairs where the grain of my whiskers changes 180 degrees about an inch above my adam's apple, North-South to S-N as you go down my neck. Should I do all of this in one swipe? Or should I stay with the grain no matter what?:confused:

Thanks very much for any advice you guys can give me, I appreciate it.


OK Jay,
1) Not so sure what you mean by "multiple lathers", but if you mean re lathering your face between each pass, then by all means use multiple lathers. Are you new to wet shaving with a DE? If you are you may only want to use 2 passes as your face adjusts to this new style of shaving. The style of lather you should be trying to generate should have a meringue-like appearance. If it is too dry, add a little water. If you have too much water, the cream will appear soupy. It may take you a couple of tries to get your cream to water ration just right, but in the end it WILL come together for you.
2) For some people, their hair grows in different directions. If you are someone who suffers from ingrowns, generally shaving against the grain is a bad idea. So if you have to change the direction you shave to always go with the grain then do so. Eventually, with good prep, you may find that you are able to go against the grain with a DE. Unfortunately, sometimes people find that they are never able to go against the grain without paying the price. Only time will tell for you and only you can be the judge.

For me, I use a 2 pass system...lather and shave N-S, then relather and shave S-N. Others use anywhere from 3-4 passes and somtimes an additional pass. If you are interested in using more passes, try searching guenron's patented 4 pass system. Hope this helps get you started.
I would agree with Randy that as a beginner you'll want to start with 1 pass, then gradually incorporate a 2nd, 3rd and perhaps 4th pass as you develop more technique.

Its not true that DEs require only 1 or 2 passes however--in fact, the idea behind DE shaving is gradual beard reduction, which for many guys requires a minimum of 3 to 4 passes, and even a touch and cut pass after that.

Randy's also spot in re: relathering between passes--avoid shaving a spot on your face that is not protected by lather.

Have fun and let us know how you do!
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