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Proper Introduction

I signed up a short while ago, and have posted a few things but figured I’d properly introduce myself.

My wet shaving journey began in my mid twenties, late 2011/early 2012 when a friend and I walked into a TAOS and both bought a bunch of stuff to get started. I got a badger brush, a set of pre shave oil, cream and after shave balm, a merkur progress and two tucks of Gillette platinums (dark blue) blades. I used the progress only a couple times as it was basically a scene from a slasher film on my sensitive neck. I used the tub of cream and went back to my Mach 3. After that first tub of cream was gone, back to goo in the can.

Some years later, I saw an ad for the supply single edge and was intrigued. I was promised the smoothest shave of my life. I bought one along with a few packs of the yellow chicks. Similar story, shaved with it maybe twice and into the linen closet it went while I went back to my Mach 3 and canned goo.

I became quite frustrated and decided to try a Braun electric shaver. Used that for maybe 6 months and honestly once my skin adjusted, it wasn’t too bad however I never felt like I got a good shave, and sometimes my neck would be pretty irritated. Once again, the Mach 3 and aerosol gel were part of my morning routine.

Fast forward to about 6 weeks ago, and I had the urge to try out the supply razor again. I used it for a few days, and you guessed it, more neck carnage. Once again frustrated, I did a bit of reading and picked up a Parker Adjustable Injector, version 2. First time I used it I was wowed. This was the most mild safety razor I had ever used, literally the only time I used a safety razor without cutting my neck or having excruciating razor burn.

After a week or so of using the Parker, I decided to dig the merkur progress and those Gillette platinums out of the closet and give that another go. Not great at first, but nowhere near as bad as in 2012. I think using the Parker for a week got me more accustomed to a light touch.

I picked up a merkur 34c for some variety (and to use when I was repairing my merkur progress as I detailed in another thread) as well as a sampler of blades. I feel like this whole safety razor thing is finally clicking for me, just wish it had taken less than a decade!

The things that have made the most difference are:
  • an adequately hydrated lather
  • cold water for rinsing the razor
  • beard mapping
  • proper angle (I find a shallow angle best for me)
  • most important of all, a very very light touch. That was the final piece that clicked for me. I’m fairly heavy handed (I cannot write with pencils as I constantly break the lead) so even though I felt like I was putting no pressure on the razor, in reality I was putting way too much.
Reading here over the last month or so has been a huge help, thanks to all those that contribute!
Welcome to B&B.

Considering the neck carnage, I have one piece of advice other than obviously less pressure:
Go ultra steep on your neck, safety bar first. Blade not even touching skin. Tip it in until you hear it grabbing hairs. You can keep tipping it in as far as you dare, but always start high so you reduce hair gradually. Going shallow immediately into your neck can grab bumps from their base and rip them off. Even dragging the bare blade edge lightly across irritated skin can make it worse. By using the safety bar, you can keep the blade completely off the skin if necessary.

I am a mostly shallow shaver, but I have to get steeper the further down I go. I no longer map, I zone and transition between them smoothly. I can now go shallow on my neck, but only after testing the current irritation by going safety bar first. Plus various stretching and pulling. At this point I can manipulate the stretch with my muscles, but in the beginning it helps to use your hand to try different things.

Reading back over your post, I would also recommend using your non dominant hand to fool with your brain. I always use opposite hand of the side I am on, but if I had a heavy hand I wouldn't use that hand until I got my technique dialed in so you can focus on one problem at a time.
Welcome! Thanks for the detailed post. I had a similar experience to yours in trying wet shaving and not getting it the first time. I tried it year’s ago but wasn’t impressed and put it away. I tried again earlier this year and it just clicked. Now I’m enjoying great shaves and interesting variety along with a warm and welcoming community. I hope the same is true for you.
Welcome.. like you my first foray into the world of DE shaving was littered with equipment that was far more aggressive than I should have been using and a severe lack of resources for information. The discovery of B & B and starting with a less aggressive set up made a world of difference.
We come to B & B where we initially come for the information and we stay for the camaraderie. 👍🏻


The Lather Maestro
Welcome, and so glad to hear you figured it out! Thanks for sharing. I don't know why some find it so hard and others find it so easy to get started, but I'm glad you persevered and were rewarded for it.

For whatever reason, when I started, I watched every Mantic59 video I could find, started with an EJ DE89 and Astra SP's and a bowl of Taylor's Avocado cream. I used that for about 2-3 months before I started playing around with other stuff, and I got great comfortable shaves right out of the gate. Anyway, you sound well on your way.

Like you, I also love SE razors.
Short strokes with the grain. If you see you've missed a spot, re-lather and pick it up on the next pass!
Do not go over the same spot twice w/o re-lathering if you're not comfortable yet.
Short strokes with the grain. If you see you've missed a spot, re-lather and pick it up on the next pass!
Do not go over the same spot twice w/o re-lathering if you're not comfortable yet.
Yeah definitely picking up on what I can and can’t do. Also getting my routine down and I'm getting more efficient with my process and can get quite a nice shave with little to no irritation most days!
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