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Shaving Help!

Hi gents, new to the forum and world of DE shaving.
Apologies for the long detailed post but am looking to cover all bases up front.

So I recently got into DE shaving after originally starting out with cartridge like Mach 3 pretty much all my life with no real issues apart from some irritation or tugging at times due to dull blades or the odd ingrown hair here of there until about the last 4 years where I have been using a Phillips one blade, which has been sort of ok, leaves my skin a bit dry/flaky never a close shave but ok enough for my lifestyle apart from the costs of the blades.

So I decided to get into DE shaving for a smoother cheaper (haha $300 and counting!) shave. I've had maybe about 4 or 5 shaves over 3 or 4 weeks but this hasn't gone well for me I think.

I am now suffering from many ingrown hairs on my cheeks, some on my neck and multiple red sore bumps on my face after wet shaving. Most ingrown is just past the edge of the goatee line.

I have thick beard hairs, pili multigemini (double hairs growing from the same shaft). I feel some hairs like to just grow flat on the face and start to dig in creating some of the bumps and some just seem to get trapped under the skin, grow sideways and wont grow out.

My current shave items are:
With the blades I haven’t used all but my experience has been derby tugged at hair and irritated (1st save with DE though), astra green seemed good-ish, blue a bit less so, almost all other blades were sort of fine, feather irritated a bit, persona cut good no irritation still ingrown, treet felt not sharp enough, 7 O'Clock Super Stainless didn't seem too bad. Most times I tried to shave with about 4 to 6 days worth of growth, the last lot of blades I tried a less growth shave of about 2 days, still had issues.

My routine is usually a shower then a shave, I lather in a bow, and work the lather into the face scrubbing it in with the brush to try and soften and lift the hairs, I have also used a TOBS sample as well. I use very light weight with the razor, short strokes, did an extremely light pressure shave too to see how this would work for me, as much minimal blade angle riding the cap and then adjusting down till just blade contact to be as gentle as possible still got ingrowns and red sore bumps on face, I haven’t tried the pulling on the skin the opposite way technique much, maybe once or twice, use alum at the end of every shave and wash off with cold water, use the Proraso After Shave Balm, moisturise face everyday, tried cold water shave, warm water, I've do a 2 pass shave or so of WTG and XTG or a 2 - 3 pass shave of just WTG. Same result. Bumps appear and ingrowns start. My lather is of whipped cream consistency, I don't shave areas without lather, I need multiple passes to get the hair shaved as usually the first pass barely removes the hair.

I use Shaveworks cool fix after shaving and then morning and night as directions but it doesn't seem to do anything, tea tree oil seems to help with the bumps reducing but I am unsure how ingrowns will be with it as I have only used it for 2 days so far. At this stage I will go back to the Philips one blade for now to stop destroying my face.

What seems to be my issue here? Do I need a more aggressive razor? Slant? Adjustable? Is my technique in angle lacking or is there something else going on here?

Appreciate your time and help in reading this.
 
Your Merkur has a straight safety bar in contrast to a toothy open comb razor and is deemed mild. With heavy beard, a 4-6 days growth and still improving technique this might be a bit much…

How about mapping your beard after 4 days to see in which direction it grows and then reducing it with your regular electric trimmer. After that you can work on the shorter stubble along the mapped growth direction with only 1 pass WTG. The result should be reducing the stubble and not having a super smooth face.

After a day or two you do the same again without using the trimmer first - 1 pass WTG along your mapped growth direction. The next day you should see where WTG doesn’t get you any further with longer hairs standing out. Then you can add the second XTG pass to get rid of those.

I would stick to the Astra SP for the time being if they felt better to you than the SS. After a week you should see if the ingrowns and bumps are getting less and how your technique gets more stable. Only then I would start the chase for smooth and try an ATG pass if desired.
 
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@The Spaniard, this may sound absurd to you but, if you really want to stop getting skin irritation and ingrowns, start shaving with a straight razor (SR). After about a month of daily straight razor shave and developing your technique, you should find your problems gone.

Don't be afraid of SR shaving. Most men SR shaved for hundreds of years. Razor maintenance takes a lot less time and skill than you may think and overall setup cost is much less than you have already spent.

If you decide that you may want to venture into SR shaving, post in the straight razor section of B&B where you will be given the best SR guidance on the internet.
 
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Your Merkur has a straight safety bar in contrast to a toothy open comb razor and is deemed mild. With heavy beard, a 4-6 days growth and still improving technique this might be a bit much…

The individual hairs themselves are thick on their own but I don't feel like I have a heavy beard. These pics taken just now are from a shave around 5pm Monday till now 10:37pm Thursday.

20210812_222949.jpg20210812_223034.jpg20210812_223043.jpg20210812_223051.jpg

Sorry for the nasty arse face pics :closedeye

How about mapping your beard after 4 days to see in which direction it grows and then reducing it with your regular electric trimmer. After that you can work on the shorter stubble along the mapped growth direction with only 1 pass WTG. The result should be reducing the stubble and not having a super smooth face. After a day or two you do the same again without using the trimmer first - 1 pass WTG along your mapped growth direction. The next day you should see where WTG doesn’t get you any further with longer hairs standing out. Then you can add the second XTG pass to get rid of those.

I'll definitely give this a go, my only concern is that when using the one blade it's almost like a shave with about 0.3-0.2mm or less of stubble and I worry about causing razor burn at that level. I always found shaving at low beard length with cartridges always caused me irritation so I always had about 1 shave per 4 to 6 days comfortably.

@The Spaniard, this may sound absurd to you but, if you really want to stop getting skin irritation and ingrowns, start shaving with a straight razor (SR). After about a month of daily straight razor shave and developing your technique, you should find your problems gone.

Don't be afraid of SR shaving. Most men SR shaved for hundreds of years. Razor maintenance takes a lot less time and skill than you may think and overall setup cost is much less than you have already spent.

If you decide that you may want to venture into SR shaving, post in the straight razor section of B&B where you will be given the best SR guidance on the internet.

Wouldn't say it's a crazy idea, I guess big learning curve and difficulty level goes up. Are you suggesting shavettes or classic straight razor? I would imagine the razor plus a strop, compound and the higher grit polishing stones are going to set me back quite a bit to start with.
 
The individual hairs themselves are thick on their own but I don't feel like I have a heavy beard. These pics taken just now are from a shave around 5pm Monday till now 10:37pm Thursday.

View attachment 1310609View attachment 1310610View attachment 1310611View attachment 1310612

Sorry for the nasty arse face pics :closedeye



I'll definitely give this a go, my only concern is that when using the one blade it's almost like a shave with about 0.3-0.2mm or less of stubble and I worry about causing razor burn at that level. I always found shaving at low beard length with cartridges always caused me irritation so I always had about 1 shave per 4 to 6 days comfortably.



Wouldn't say it's a crazy idea, I guess big learning curve and difficulty level goes up. Are you suggesting shavettes or classic straight razor? I would imagine the razor plus a strop, compound and the higher grit polishing stones are going to set me back quite a bit to start with.
Sorry I’m not familiar with the One Blade. Stubble grows about 0.3mm a day so it’s about 1.2mm after 4 days. Long enough to spot the growth pattern, swirls etc. With an open comb razor and stable technique you can shave that off in one go. With the Merkur and at this point in time I would use a trimmer or clipper to reduce ist to 0.5-0.6. Long enough to see success when shaving yet short enough to not give the Merkur or you any trouble.

In an ideal world you would just try to smoothly clean the lather from your face with your razor and it unnoticeably cutting the stubble in the meanwhile. As long as your muscle memory hasn’t fully developed you have to watch your growth pattern, the shaving angle AND the pressure - which should be as light as possible. Loosing the angle and therefore pushing harder to make the blade cut is unfortunately common.

If possible see that you heal completely before picking up the razor again.
 
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Sorry I’m not familiar with the One Blade. Stubble grows about 0.3mm a day so it’s about 1.2mm after 4 days. Long enough to spot the growth pattern, swirls etc. With an open comb razor and stable technique you can shave that off in one go. With the Merkur and at this point in time I would use a trimmer or clipper to reduce ist to 0.5-0.6. Long enough to see success when shaving yet short enough to not give the Merkur or you any trouble.

In an ideal world you would just try to smoothly clean the lather from your face with your razor and it unnoticeably cutting the stubble in the meanwhile. As long as your muscle memory hasn’t fully developed you have to watch your growth pattern, the shaving angle AND the pressure - which should be as light as possible. Losing the angle and therefore pushing harder to make the blade cut is unfortunately common.

If possible see that you heal completely before picking up the razor again.

This here is the Phillips One blade.

The pic shows how short it gets the face hair.

1628775131994.png

There's also a video showing how short it gets the hair. This is why I figured I'd just be almost shaving skin after using it. It does come with combs so I'll have to see if I still have them and maybe use one of the longer lengths.

I do have a pretty good mapping of my growth direction but understand you points on the angle and pushing and I am going to give the DE a rest until I'm my face stops looking like I went through a grinder.
 
There are tons of YT videos on wet shaving also with lots of interesting characters…
For a general overview without trying to sell you the newest hot [email protected]@@ I found Geofatboy a good starting point for visualizing the whole procedure - including funny faces and stretching the skin to lift the hairs.

He even did a couple with the Merkur 34 like this one
Maybe you can spot something that you did until now completely different or something obvious that was missing to your routine.

In the linked video he has quite some growth an uses a Feather blade which is recognized as the sharpest on the market. Just in case you are wondering why it looks so easy.
 
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The individual hairs themselves are thick on their own but I don't feel like I have a heavy beard. These pics taken just now are from a shave around 5pm Monday till now 10:37pm Thursday.

View attachment 1310609View attachment 1310610View attachment 1310611View attachment 1310612

Sorry for the nasty arse face pics :closedeye



I'll definitely give this a go, my only concern is that when using the one blade it's almost like a shave with about 0.3-0.2mm or less of stubble and I worry about causing razor burn at that level. I always found shaving at low beard length with cartridges always caused me irritation so I always had about 1 shave per 4 to 6 days comfortably.



Wouldn't say it's a crazy idea, I guess big learning curve and difficulty level goes up. Are you suggesting shavettes or classic straight razor? I would imagine the razor plus a strop, compound and the higher grit polishing stones are going to set me back quite a bit to start with.

I suffered similar outbreak a few months ago, mine was more nasty and it stopped me from shaving for a month.

I'll share the reasons for my outbreak and steps taken to improve the conditions.
You can compare if anything comes up as common :

# Too much stress in life -

Started Meditation, it helps.

# little to no exercise -
I'm still working on this issue :em3300:

# Oily skin (not regularly but after the shave) -

I started using a gentle face cleanser before shaving to eliminate excess oil

# ATG passes, more pressure, old blade -

I quit going ATG and instead started doing WTG, XTG and XTG (East to West and West to East)

# No or ineffective pre shave prep -

I started using hot/ warm towel dab on face before shaving and things improved.

I also use Pinaud Clubman shaving cream as ore shave whenever I feel like I need extra slickness.

# No or ineffective or wrong post shave care (using balm and alcohol based after shave in my case) -

I stopped using alcohol based aftershave and no balms in Summer and Monsoon season to prevent oiliness after the shave.

# Cold water used for shaving -

I switched to warm water and things improved.

# Blades -

I started using sharper blades in my razors, that helped in improving the efficiency and reducing the number of passes required

# Lather -

I never consider my lather as perfect, there is always room for improvement, so load heavy, hydrate it well and enjoy the shaves

# Scrub -

Too much scrub can be detrimental for the skin, even with a boar brush until it is broken in properly try not to overdo it as initially it might seem enjoyable but the skin may suffer.

Listen to the skin and decide if you are going forward with a boar brush or a good quality synthetic brush.

# Little to no pressure -

I didn't realize what no pressure (beyond required for effective contact) meant until recently.
A good efficient razor with sharp blade takes care of shave for me.

# Growth mapping -

It is a simple but very helpful step if you want to get more comfortable shaves.

Channel -

I use Anothercutabove 's face lathering approach and I'm getting good results in lathering.

Give your face a few days rest, if you need to shave then gently pass over the bumps and let them heal.
A less than stellar shave is better than bloodied face IMO.

Good luck with the shaves.
 
Some great advice above!

I also suggest you read through the Wiki and watch a few videos. Then focus on developing your technique, changing one thing at a time. Stick with this and you will get the results you want!
:thumbup1: :thumbup1:
 
Just do a single WTG pass if you're experiencing irritation. Try more later when you've refined your technique.

I'd recommend sharp blades like Feather, Nacet and Bic for thick hair. A sharper blade should be less irritating provided you have a light touch.

Skin-stretching is definitely worth looking into. It helps prevent the blade from digging-in. Straight-razor tutorials will probably give you the best tips. DE shavers don't do much skin-stretching.

Maybe try cutting out the alum and all other post-shave balms and splashes in case your skin is reacting to one of these? Alum is great for nicks and cuts but I don't use it after every shave (it's also a great deoderant).

If you're curious about straights but don't want to go the whole hog with stones, strops etc, I'd recommend one of these AC shavettes. If you get on well with that you could look at the Feather SS shavette (this is a loose copy) or a traditional straight razor. A "real" straight does feel a little nicer but the AC shavettes are very good. I shave with one almost every day.

Schick proline are a good choice for AC blades. They're better value than they look given they last about four or five times longer than a normal DE blade.
 
The individual hairs themselves are thick on their own but I don't feel like I have a heavy beard. These pics taken just now are from a shave around 5pm Monday till now 10:37pm Thursday.

View attachment 1310609View attachment 1310610View attachment 1310611View attachment 1310612

Sorry for the nasty arse face pics :closedeye



I'll definitely give this a go, my only concern is that when using the one blade it's almost like a shave with about 0.3-0.2mm or less of stubble and I worry about causing razor burn at that level. I always found shaving at low beard length with cartridges always caused me irritation so I always had about 1 shave per 4 to 6 days comfortably.



Wouldn't say it's a crazy idea, I guess big learning curve and difficulty level goes up. Are you suggesting shavettes or classic straight razor? I would imagine the razor plus a strop, compound and the higher grit polishing stones are going to set me back quite a bit to start with.
Yes, it's a learning curve, just as most new experiences are. Initial proficiency will take about 7 to 10 daily SR shaved. The difficulty level does not go up, its just different. I would suggest a traditional straight razor however some start with a shavette. Once they switch to traditional they realise how much easier it is to shave with a traditional straight razor.

As for cost, here is an example (in USD's plus shipping):
  • New factory honed SR $100±
  • Professional honing of SR about $25
  • New decent leather strop $50±
  • A set of three (0.5μm, 0.25μm & 0.1μm) diamond pasted balsa strops >$100. You will have to put this set together yourself but detailed instructions are provided on B&B in the SR section.
I'm assuming that you already have a brush, soap, etc. Nothing else is need and the above setup should last you a lifetime. My initial setup cost me about USD 150 in total.

Your SR should only need to be honed once in its life if maintained using diamond pasted balsa strops. However, if you later wish to go down the honing rabbit hole, you can consider lapping films (<$50) and/or whetstones ($100's or much more).

If interested, post in the SR section of B&B.
 
Some excellent advise already given. I'm going to talk about something that doesn't seem to have been mentioned yet.

Only 4 or 5 shaves so far, I'm going to go out on a limb here and take a guess: just like anyone new to wet shaving, most likely the quality of your lather sucks.

In addition to the already mentioned advice, spend some time learning how to make great lather. Watch some YouTube videos of making lather with the soaps you already own. Try to replicate what they do. Go ahead and waste some soap trying. Try to get the consistency like Yoplait yogurt, or maybe a little thicker.

I'm suggesting this because you don't have to buy anything new, and you can practice as often as you want, even in-between shaves if you want.
 
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