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Starting DE Shaving - problem

Hi

Im 19 years old have since I was about 16 I’ve had to shave, I started out with the basic Mac 3 and normal gel. It was ok, but I wasn’t pleased with all the razor burn I kept getting. So I moved to a DE safety razor. I did some reading first on the subject and using this got some things.

This is what I currently use:
Badger Hair Shaving Brush (cost about £20) so not a great one but I didn’t want to spend too much at first.
American Crew Shaving Crème
Wilkinson Sword Classic Safety Razor

Now what the problem is, is I seem to have a very tough beard so when I shave I never seem to get a close shave. This is how I shave:

1. I have a shower and make sure I soak my face in hot water.
2. I then wash my face in the sink with more hot water.
3. Use a face wash and leave it on my face.
4. Soak the brush in hot water and let the excess water run off
5. Lather up using the badger hair brush and leave it on my face for about 2mins
6. Proceed to shave in a N-S direction.
7. Rinse face with cold water
8. Some times if I am feeling lucky I do the following.
9. Rinse face with hot water
10. Lather up again
11. Wait another 2mins
12. Shave in a W-E direction (Since I’ve read shaving S-N is not good).
13. Rinse face with cold water and apply after shave balm

One of the problems is I never seem to get a very thick lather; I can always see my skin through it. I’m not sure if its just the crème or, if I am doing something wrong, I soak the brush before and use it in circular motions on my face.

Can anyone give me any advice? I do love shaving with the DE and using the brush since it is so much more enjoyable and the razor burn seems to be disappearing slowly.

Btw I have been shaving like this for about 1 week so far.
 
I am not familiar with the American Crew shave creme, but one thing I would suggest is that you check your local water quality. Where I live in the UK has some of the worst water in the country, and with my first shave cream, eshave white tea, this was the main reason I couldn't get a good lather. I could get a thin watery lather, maybe enough for two passes, but generally I was very unsatisfied with the cream. Then I read a number of posts concerning lather and water quality and tried soaking my brush in warmed up bottled water and the difference was amazing, next I tried distilled water from my local garage and the lather continued to improve, it was thicker and more lubricious. Finally, totally convinced that there was a correlation between water quality and lather I had a five stage reverse osmosis filter with a 4 stage carbon pre filtration and a de ioniser plumbed into my home water supply and now my shaving bowl can barely contain all the lather that is produced.
All this rambling equates to is check your water supply, you will be amazed how much of a difference this can make if poor water quality is the cause of your unsatisfactory lather.
Warm regards,
Alex
 
Currently I am at University In York, and the water is meant to be quite hard. Would a Brita filter help maybe?
 
adamp1 said:
This is what I currently use:
Badger Hair Shaving Brush (cost about £20) so not a great one but I didn’t want to spend too much at first.
American Crew Shaving Crème
Wilkinson Sword Classic Safety Razor
Since you are fairly new to this method of shaving, I would highly recommend getting a more popular or mainstream cream. This way you can insure that existing problems do not result from bad product. As far as the brush and razor, they are probably adequate enough to get the job done.
adamp1 said:
Now what the problem is, is I seem to have a very tough beard so when I shave I never seem to get a close shave. This is how I shave:

1. I have a shower and make sure I soak my face in hot water.
2. I then wash my face in the sink with more hot water.
3. Use a face wash and leave it on my face.
4. Soak the brush in hot water and let the excess water run off
5. Lather up using the badger hair brush and leave it on my face for about 2mins
6. Proceed to shave in a N-S direction.
7. Rinse face with cold water
8. Some times if I am feeling lucky I do the following.
9. Rinse face with hot water
10. Lather up again
11. Wait another 2mins
12. Shave in a W-E direction (Since I’ve read shaving S-N is not good).
13. Rinse face with cold water and apply after shave balm

One of the problems is I never seem to get a very thick lather; I can always see my skin through it. I’m not sure if its just the crème or, if I am doing something wrong, I soak the brush before and use it in circular motions on my face.
After step #5, relather again right before you start step #6. Also, understand that if you are making only 1 pass (N-S) it is highly likely that your shave will not be extremely close. Most gents here rely on 3 or 4 different passes, followed up by a touch and cut. It is wise for you to use a single pass while your face gets used to this method of shaving, but it will not be a close shave.

Again, I believe you can notice a dramatic difference by changing your shave cream to a tried and true product. Also, read this post for lathering technique guidelines.

Best of luck and let us know how you progress.
 
adamp1 said:
Currently I am at University In York, and the water is meant to be quite hard. Would a Brita filter help maybe?

Before I got into wetshaving I found that my local water supply had an adverse effect on many of the soaps/ facewashes that I used to use. In order to combat this I used to mix cold Brita Filter Water 50/ 50 with hot tap water and it definitely improved the latherability of the products I was using. The maxtra filters are slightly better than the regualr filters, but unless you are as anally retentive as me I doubt that you would notice the difference.
Warm regards,
Alex
 
Just ordered some Taylor’s of Bond Street Eton College Shaving Cream, so hopefully I will now know if it doesn't lather its not the creams fault.

Thanks with all the help so far btw
 
As a relative newbie myself, I'll leave the opinions to the experts and simply share what my (little) experience has taught me. My initial inclination was, like you, to wash my face before shaving as well as washing between passes, but I found the lubrication to be lacking, causing razor burn and nicks. So I asked my self what I could do to improve the lubrication and started looking at some pre-shave oils before my epiphany when I realized that my face was already covered in oils and I kept washing them off right before I needed them the most! Same principle with washing between passes; why take that thin layer of lubrication away? Now I wash my face at night (a fantastic way to go to bed), so when I wake up in the morning I have a nice little buildup of natural oils without the grime that can accumulate during the day.
 
Hi (Adam?),

Welcome to B&B. You have gotten some good advice so far. I will add my 2 shillings:

You are doing a lot of washing of your face. I would greatly simplify things by just washing your face in the shower and leaving it at that. Less is better here for skin irritation.

Shake water out of your brush if your lather is too thin. You can always add, but you can't take away.

To get a close shave, you'll need to do multiple passes at different angles. Don't do any cold water rinse in between, just rinse with warm water and re-lather. You can do the cold rinse at the very end. Your face will dictate whether you can stand an against-the-grain pass; too get really close you will need it, but I would give your face a chance to adjust with the N-S and across grain passes for a while first.

The Taylor cream may work better, though Eton wouldn't have been my choice for someone having issues. I would try something gentler on the skin like Rose or Avocado.

Do let us know how things go, and continue to ask questions.
 
Adam,

Since you are a University student I assume money is tight.

Of your kit I would look to replace your razor at some point - I assume your Wilkinson Sword razor is the one they sell in Boots the chemist with the plastic cap. Should you wish PM me your address I will send you a 1940's Superspeed as a gift.

You don't mention the blades you use but the most popular brand in the UK is Wilkinson Sword..., they're expensive & not particularly good. If John Lewis's is close-by they stock Swedish Gillettes which is a superb blade and very reasonably priced at around £1.40 a pack. Should you not have a JL close to hand, then the ubiquetous Tesco's sell their own (mystery) blade - even cheaper at £2 for 10 and possibly even better than the Swedes.

The Taylor's shaving cream is great stuff, but did you know that they sell it regularly in T.K. Maxx for around half the price? T.K.M is a good place to pick-up quality toiletries when on a budget - shaving balms etc at less than half the normal price. No T.K.M close-by, well OK pick-up Palmolive shaving cream just about anywhere at about £1.50 - it lathers as good as Taylors.

John Lewis's is a good place to purchase Kent brushes in the future - they're a good value brand. JL also sell an alternative to Palmolive for about the same price - Ingram (blue writing variety) contains menthol (which some like) and lanolin ..., should you have trouble with your water that last ingredient will produce an extra slick lather.

Finally what follows is a classic shaving method - it works:

The steps to a good shave

1. The best time to shave is after a bath or shower. Your beards bristles are more prominent and softer.

2. Soak your shaving brush in hot water. Use an old clean coffee mug or buy a shaving mug at sometime.

3. Soften your beard by washing your face with soap & warm water.

4. Remove the shaving brush from the water, stand it up on its handle and let it drain naturally. Should you find that your shaving lather is regularly too runny you might need to shake your brush slightly to remove a small amount of water.

5. Wet your face again with warm water and lather up a wet foam using a pea-sized amount of shaving cream on your brush. The lather keeps the face wet and lubricated. Ideally the lather you're trying to create needs to be as wet as possible, as close to the limit of wet without it dripping off your face.

6. Wet your razor and shave in the direction of the grain of the beard (generally North to South on the face, South to North on the neck). Use lots of short (1”) vertical or diagonal strokes and rinse the razor periodically. DO NOT MOVE THE RAZOR PARALLEL to the blade edge, unless you like the colour red. DO NOT PRESS THE BLADE HARD AGAINST THE FACE; press lightly, use the weight of the razor. Manoeuvre the handle so that the blade edge is always in contact with the skin. In some areas (for example around your cheeks) make the bristles more pronounced by stretching the skin with your fingers. All the above isn’t as complicated as it may appear in print.

7. For a really smooth shave lather up again and repeat.

8. Once you are confident handling your razor look to improve your shave by moving the razor head ‘diagonally’ across your face, but keeping the blade edge horizontal – a chevron cut. A nice analogy is “like a snow-plough blade is angled, going up the street”. Also don’t forget to "stretch that skin", think of shaving as a two handed activity.

9. (Optional) Rinse your face with cold water and rub a block of ‘alum’ around the area just shaved. This may sting a little, as the alum is an astringent. After about a minute or so splash your face with cold water again. Always store the alum block in a dry condition otherwise it will dissolve.

10. Splash your face with cold water (this closes the skins pores), pat dry with a towel and moisturise. Do not splash on aftershave as this can irritate the skin.

11. Rinse razor head (loosen if need be) and shake out moisture. Do not wipe the blade as this blunts them. Change the blade approximately every week to fortnight.

12. Wash out your shaving brush in warm water and nothing else. SHAKE EXCESS WATER OFF and store in an upright position. NEVER STORE LAYING FLAT. It may take a couple of weeks to ‘break in’ a brush.

13. Give your face a rest by not shaving at least one day a week.

Regards
John
 
Adam,

I assumed the York you mentioned was the English city in yorkshire & not some place in the States. There I go assuming again.

Regards
John
 
Hi again, thank you very much for the all the help on this subject, I have just received my Eton College shaving cream and it works a treat, the other stuff just did not work at all. This lathers straight away. Thank you very much for all the help yasuo, your comments are gratefully received. (And yes York in England).

I was just thinking after this morning how bad the razor is, it’s quite light too. Yes it is the one from boots & yes it uses the Wilkinson blades, they seem to go blunt after 3 days or so. I just got it to see if I liked the safety shave instead of cartridges, and so far I love the whole lathering up with some proper English shaving cream and a badger brush. Makes the day start so much better.

Thank you very much for the offer of sending the razor, but I dont want to be a hassel.
 
Hi, right I been shaving now for about 1 week with the new razor an blades. It is much easier to shave with I have found, but am still gettings lots of red blotches around some of the whiskers. My shaving method is to lather up as normal, shave with the grain (this is not N-S all over face) then shave at 45 deg to the grain, then against the grain.

I was wondering if an alum block would help?

Any advice would be welcome
 
adamp1 said:
Hi, right I been shaving now for about 1 week with the new razor an blades. It is much easier to shave with I have found, but am still gettings lots of red blotches around some of the whiskers. My shaving method is to lather up as normal, shave with the grain (this is not N-S all over face) then shave at 45 deg to the grain, then against the grain.

I was wondering if an alum block would help?

Any advice would be welcome

I'd keep going without the against the grain pass until your technique is developed. Or maybe replace the against the grain with another 45 degree pass 90 degrees from your original 45 degree pass.

I hope this makes sense.
 
You could also try an almost against the grain pass. I have a patch on my neck where I'll get major problems if I go directly against the grain. If I go just slightly off, say 10 degrees, it's smooth as buttah.
 
Adam,

Don't shave against the grain - it is not good for the skin, especially if you are experiencing blotchiness.

One thing to also consider is that you may be allergic to the shave cream you're using.

An Alum block is good idea for a couple of reasons - it acts as an anticeptic and astringent so you are less likely to get spots, it is also about the best indicator going as to whether you're shave routine is tough on your skin - the more it stings the worse the more the skin unkind the shave.

Make sure you stretch the skin for a closer shave.

Regards
John
 
I will be starting DE shaving soon. I've got a Mercur HD on the way. These days I alternate between a Mach3 and Fusion. But with those razors must go against the grain to get a close shave, at lease that's what I've found over the years. So I wonder what it will be like with a DE. And I wonder, can I, will I, ever get a trult close shave without shaving against the grain?
 
John, I don't know guys can stretch their skin, me, I just cannot do it at all. The reason why is I literally find it so painful that it's impossible. As soon as I even attempt it, the pain becomes unbearable. I have to just shave without stretching.

Jeff
 
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