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Questions On Beard Reduction & Stubble Retraction And Observations On DE.v Cartridge Effects On Skin

I have noticed that after a DE shave I often in the first few shaves I did, i initially felt frustration because of apparent visible stubble. However, after about an hour the stubble appears to completely 'retract'. Is that me or do others notice this too? Using a 5 blade cartridge I would notice, especially using a fresh one that my face seemed completely smooth immediately. No remnant hair visible. I am getting the same effect from a DE shave now, but it seems to look better after about an hour, to the standard of a cart.

I would always use a small cup of boiling water to rinse my cartridge razor, and I would notice skin scum with the whiskers in the water. Was the 5 blades basically ripping off a layer of my facial skin, giving the impression of a cleaner shave while actually doing damage to my skin?

I do ideally like to use the same boiling water method to rinse my DE razor, but I have found it unnecessary, although I have used it a couple of times to keep the blade very hot. I do let it cool for a moment before resuming strokes.

I have noticed since using a DE that there appears no skin scum in the water that I rinse the head in, merely the finely cut beard hair.

My facial skin has been feeling better and actually softer. Do carts actually remove a layer of facial skin, and this appears to give the impression of a closer shave?

Is this the difference between so called 'beard reduction' from a DE and 'skin destruction' from a cartridge razor?

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Do you know for sure that what you have in the cup of hot water is actually skin? Could it be something else?

It is certainly possible that you are scraping skin with the cartridges, but that might be due to technique more than anything. Maybe try splashing some alcohol-based aftershave after your shave and see if you get any burn. If it stings a lot, then you were probably scraping.

My experience with the Fusion Proglide Flexball is that I've been able to get a closer shave with it than I ever could with DE's. I have a coarse beard that grows fast. I even gave the mighty Ikon Tech a try and still couldn't get BBS (had a Polsilver SI blade in it). With the Fusion Proglide, I am pretty much BBS. With good prep and a light touch, I can get very comfortable shaves with it. I use oil and a moisturizer for pre-shave. I find that the oil gives me good protection and it helps lock in the moisture.
I find that with a EJ D89 or an old school tech I am achieving BBS shaves after about 2 months reinventing my technique. For many years I used a BIC orange which is non swiveling and demands care in use of blade angle, which helped. It made DE shaving more 'familiar'. I switched to the ProGlide flexball power in 2008. Gave them up due to cost and terrible quality control. Failed power buttons (twice), and a head that just fell off. Three expensive razors junked in 5 years.

Some of the scum could be foam, which I used, but there was obvious skin flakes present also. I felt my face was being exfoliated. I'm not getting that feeling now.

I am using inexpensive Gillette Wilkinson Sword blades from the Indian production plant. I have not yet tried the IP's or other hotter blades. I won't be returning to carts, primarily for cost reasons, and also because they do not give the pleasurable shaving experience I am getting with DE shaving.

I too have a coarse beard, and am quite dark featured in terms of stubble.

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Abandoned By Gypsies.
Regarding stubble retraction, I have recently ovserved the same thing. I assume it is due to whiskers shrinking as they dehydrate.

But on second thought, perhaps our shaving skill is so extreme that we scare our beards into retreat? It’s a thought!

Long time since I used a cart, so take this with at least a grain of salt.

My understanding is that the first blade or two of a cart pulls the hairs beyond the skin allowing subsequent blades to cut the hair below the skin. Hence, there is an increased risk of ingrown hairs, etc.

All I know for certain is that once I switched back to ‘traditional’ wet shaving, my ingrown hairs resolved and my skin improved dramatically!! Perhaps this was due to better prep, better soaps or better AS. However, my best guess is that much of the improvement comes from the single, sharp cutting edge.
My OP title references a strange phenomenon in the 'wet shaving world'. That of the scourge of 'Bread Reduction'.

I course meant Beard Reduction. It was late when I typed that. *cough*.

Bread reduction is of course the well-known problem of spending money one doesn't have on old razors on Ebay auctions, and the subsequent buyers remorse and desperate justifications to self and significant others as to exactly why one HAS to own a 1962 English Rocket (with plastic case)

Now back to our regular programmes.

Bread retraction is all relative to the skin surface. If relative to an outside datum, it my not be bread retraction but rather the skin retuning to its normal state after the shave.
If you use a balm it will hydrate the skin a little and the whisker is deep rooted and the shave will feel a lot closer because it now below skin surface mostly. Drinking some water in the morning will start also the hydration quicker IMO.
This is a photo from my archive I took years ago what a BBS looks like and it does look like the whiskers are below surface in the picture and I used a DE razor to accomplish it. So you can get close shave with a DE razor as a cartridge razor.
I took this picture because I had just bought a USB microscope and was having a little fun with it. Using a balm like CeraVe moisturizer lotion with HA or Nivea will give you a BBS by cheating a little.
DFS.bbs  just after a shave! (2).jpg

Have some great shaves!
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