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Starting DE wet shaving, looking for advice

So I'm going to try keeping a log of my adventures with wet shaving. Posting here occasionally with my methods and results, and seeing where I can improve.
Well, you're off to a great start for sure! Merkur 34C was (almost) my first razor as well. I did have a Gillette slim before the Merkur, but I wanted a razor that was more new-user friendly. My only other suggestion would be a razor blade sample pack so you can experience some different ones. Have fun! ;)
 
Had a somewhat disappointing shave yesterday. My pre shave routine hasn't changed, and I got brave enough to try an ATG pass with little to no irritation afterwards. Still working on an effective angle when shaving (Sometimes I hold the razor in place and move my head around).
My face still felt like coarse grade sandpaper afterwards. One problem might be the blades, after two days of shaving and maybe eight passes, them Merkur platinum blades lose effectiveness quickly. Especially with my sandpaper-like stubble.

On another note, I'm trying out Dove's sensitive skin/moisturizing soap. Not for direct use in shaving, I tend to shower right afterwards, and soap up most of me, including my face. It does keep my skin smooth, and once everything dries up there's a good satisfying feeling when gently rubbing my face/neck.

Skipping to this evening's shave, I used a fresh Merkur platinum blade (I've a couple other brands from a sample pack to try eventually, and I've got my eye on gilette nacet blades someone mentioned earlier). The fresh blade made a difference. I did four passes today, first was WTG, second XTG and last two ATG with barely any irritation.. Wiped off with a warm towel and re-lathered inbetween. Trimmed the lawn for sure, though I'd like to work up to a good smooth polish eventually. After showering and inspecting my work, I noticed one spot on my chin is noticeably smoother than surrounding area, so I must've hit the right angle somehow.
A little progress at least.

I'm looking into a pre-shave cream, to help soften up while I whip up a decent lather. My hand starts cramping up when working a brush for too long, but once I get a lather going, I can keep it up with no issues.
Thoughts?
 
I'm looking into a pre-shave cream

When your first starting out on your wet shaving journey, its slow going. This is because, in this period of time, you are learning your technique. Over time, it becomes 2nd nature to you, you will get there, I have faith in you, always.

In regards to your question, I've only used one type of pre-shave, and I've used it several times now, its the Proraso Eucalyptus Pre-Shave Cream. You can see it in this picture on the left side. Just put a little bit of it on your fingers, move it around, then scrub it into the whiskers on your face and neck. You will feel the slickness right away. Then apply your yogurt consistency lather, don't go for foamy lather!
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Map your beard...
It saves my neck, for a long time I didn't know my hair on the neck was growing in some random direction untill I mapped it and now no more red dots and small cuts

Also shave always in the same time of day, it helps with routine
 
Couple questions for y'all, how do you handle shaving one's chin? Been a problem area for me, having to go ATG to get it smoother. There's some snagging involved, despite a decent lather. Angle might be an issue, though I seem to be improving every time I shave.
This was with a fresh Merkur platinum blade. Those don't last long against my sandpaper chin/neck. I'll try a Gillete Nacet tomorrow.

Second question, should one apply alum before or after a post-shave balm? I tried doing so before, wasn't expecting it to sting so much.
At least todays shave didn't leave me with much post-shave irritation. Dabbed on some Proraso eucalyptus/menthol pre-shave while working up a lather. Got myself a sample of Stirling's Glacial Lemon soap... that is a very aggressively cool soap. I enjoyed it, and better yet, my mom didn't notice any lingering odors. So that's a soap I'm keeping my eye on when my current supply gets low.
 
Couple questions for y'all, how do you handle shaving one's chin? Been a problem area for me, having to go ATG to get it smoother. There's some snagging involved, despite a decent lather. Angle might be an issue, though I seem to be improving every time I shave.
This was with a fresh Merkur platinum blade. Those don't last long against my sandpaper chin/neck. I'll try a Gillete Nacet tomorrow.
I’m about 5 weeks in to DE shaving and the past two weeks have been having excellent shaves. For me, the secret to the chin is quick, short strokes. Too much curve to keep the blade aligned to my face on a long stroke. But I get nice and close using a series of short strokes.

Nice call on the Stirling soap. I’ve already built quite the collection of their products. I use their pre shave oil instead of something like the Proraso pre shave cream. Whatever works for you of course, but I do enjoy the different scents and I have been getting great shaves lately.

I can also say I’ve been using Nacet blades since I started and have been thrilled with them. I think you’ll like them.
 

JCarr

More Deep Thoughts than Jack Handy
As others have already suggested, let the razor and blade do the work...no pressure on the handle.

The right razor blade helps. Try different blades to find one or two or four that seem to work well in your razor and agree with your skin.

A good slick soap can help the process. I didn't used to think that until I found a few soaps that were way slicker than most. Stirling Mutton Tallow soaps fit that bill.

Cold water shaving helped me. Cold water splash before and after and for rinsing your razor during the shave.

Every time you shave, you should use the same routines and patterns. A chaotic, irregular shave regimen invites mistakes and unknowns.

Too many passes invites irritation. Know when to stop and in the beginning...don't chase BBS. BBS comes with time and experience. It also comes regularly when you find the razor and blade that's right for you.

Along with the above in reference to passes...lather with every pass. Don't skimp on this important point. The lather is the protection when you shave. To make strokes and passes without it invites nicks, cuts and irritation.
 
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Got myself a new brush (G5C w/ AP400 handle courtesy of AP Shave Co.). A bit heavier than the Omega brush I started with, holds a lot of soap in the bristles. That lather I started with got better over time at least.

A fresh blade helps a lot, I'm slowly working on smoothing the rough spots on my chin/jawline. Out of the two blades I've tried so far, the Nacet blades perform better. I can get two, maybe three shaves with them before they start to get dull. I've got a pack of Feathers I'm going to try after running out of Nacets.

I'll keep toying with cold shaving and see if it helps.

Thanks everyone.
 

Got myself a new brush (G5C w/ AP400 handle courtesy of AP Shave Co.). A bit heavier than the Omega brush I started with, holds a lot of soap in the bristles. That lather I started with got better over time at least.

A fresh blade helps a lot, I'm slowly working on smoothing the rough spots on my chin/jawline. Out of the two blades I've tried so far, the Nacet blades perform better. I can get two, maybe three shaves with them before they start to get dull. I've got a pack of Feathers I'm going to try after running out of Nacets.

I'll keep toying with cold shaving and see if it helps.

Thanks everyone.

I love reading wet shaving journey stories, as I am on a journey as well, I think we all are honestly, were just at different stages is all. I caution the use of Feather blades. I say this because I find they are the sharpest blades in the land. So be very careful when using them, cause you can cut yourself very easily. Also, because the Feather blades are the sharpest in the land, they also suffer from poor edge retention, which means they only last but a couple of shaves before dull.

Its a lot like when sharpening a mower blade all the way to be razor sharp, sure, it will be sharp, but dull after the first mow. So we only put a bit of an edge on a mower blade, not too sharp, that way the edge retention is better, and they will at least last a residential person a season, or a landscaper 2-weeks to a month.

And ya, I been cold shaving lately, thats cause the weather warmed up, and I don't want to use my scuttle. So, everything is being done cold in my shaving routine right now. And if you want it even colder, try mentholated shave soaps, like Stirling Glacial Lemon Chill, you will feel the cool on your face alright, and I am going to love that for this summer, when it gets 80+ to 100+ degrees.
 
Welcome! When you get a chance head over to the Hall of Fame and tell us a little about yourself.
 
Slow with the purchasing you say? Bit too late for that, I've got another four tubs of Stirling soaps on the way. Couple more Glacial scents and a few Sheep soaps due to their mutton tallow supply issues.

Checking back in, I've been having better success with closer shaves using shorter, faster strokes. I've been able to smooth down my mustache area and chin, two normally very coarse areas, with minimal irritation.
I'm still having a bit of trouble along my jawline and both sides of my mouth, though I think that if I slowly work at those areas as well they'll get smoothed down eventually.
I'm still using the same loadout, though I did try a Feather blade. Not quite as smooth a shave as with a slightly used Nacet, I'll keep working with them and decide if Feather's will be my blade of choice later on.

Some more questions for y'all.
1- Regarding alum use, should one apply alum wherever you shaved, or just use it for occasional nicks/cuts?

2- Is it ok to not rinse out a lather bowl after shaving? There tends to be a lot left after my shaving session, and I don't like to waste things if I can avoid it.

3. How do people get those blobs of lather on their brushes that look like soft-serve ice cream? Is it a matter of one's brush/soap and experience shaving? I can work up a slick creamy lather in my bowl that gets the job done, but nothing that impressive.

4. What's the best way to transport a brush when traveling? Plastic bag good enough? I'm going out of state next month, and want to bring my shaving tools along.

Thanks everyone
 
1- Regarding alum use, should one apply alum wherever you shaved, or just use it for occasional nicks/cuts?
The alum block can be used any time, the styptic is for nicks. They are different types of alum, the later being stronger acting.
2- Is it ok to not rinse out a lather bowl after shaving? There tends to be a lot left after my shaving session, and I don't like to waste things if I can avoid it.
Yes! But be warned, you might end up buying multiple bowls as an excuse solution. I usually have a frankenlather bowl hanging around, I think you can guess what that means. I try not to leave lather in my main bowl.
3. How do people get those blobs of lather on their brushes that look like soft-serve ice cream? Is it a matter of one's brush/soap and experience shaving? I can work up a slick creamy lather in my bowl that gets the job done, but nothing that impressive.
As has been mentioned before, those photogenic lathers are not the best to shave with. I have thought about making a lather for a shoot and then going back and adding more water to shave. I know one person here(@Chard52142), if he sees this, who is well know for his soft serve lather shots. You can add certain chemicals and turn the bowl upside down, etc.
4. What's the best way to transport a brush when traveling? Plastic bag good enough? I'm going out of state next month, and want to bring my shaving tools along.
No, that is a sure way to have a musty brush. Travel tubes are cheap and sometimes included with a high end brush. You can probably find some info to DIY if you want, it needs to have holes to vent and not squish the knot too tight. Remember, depending on how hectic your schedule is, a brush might never fully dry. You probably want to take it out at the first opportunity to give it some air. But in the past, people didn't worry about this at home and the brushes still lasted a good while. Also maybe use brush cleaner after the trip just in case you bring home some new organisms.
 
So is it better to keep shaving daily, or wait a day or two to let one's skin/hair recover?
I can shave every day now, but only because I have learned to go easy with the pressure, use an unaggressive razor (your Merkur should fit the bill), take the time to build a good lather in a bowl, (face lather didn't work for me) and I do a double whammy after shaving. First I use an Alum block and then about 15-20 mins later, before leaving for work, I use some aftershave. I sometimes even use the alum block again in the evening.

If I do those things, I can shave everyday.
 
Alum after a shave gives you good feedback on where you've been a little bit rough. As does aftershave.

These days I only really use alum on cuts.

It's also a great odour-free deoderant.
 
For those that use alum as a deodorant, how long does that stick/block usually last? Compared to SpeedStick deodorants I've been using for a while, those last me maybe a couple months.

I might end up with a "Frankenbowl" of soaps, I'm trying to work it out where I smear just enough soap in the bowl for a shaving session, so I can try different soaps every day without mixing too much.
I did buy a silicone bowl from Stirling, which has large ridges on the bottom, I'm curious how that affects the lathering process.

On the topic of brush tubes for traveling, I found a vendor here selling aluminum tubes for a reasonable price. Looking at the provided pictures of said tubes, there's only one hole. Is that sufficient or should I add more?
I do intend on taking that brush to air out whenever possible. I shave every day for now, so I don't think it's ever going to get perfectly dry.

Back to my shaving routine, after a few shaves with Feather blades, I'm not sure they're working out for me. It's a bit hard for me to describe, but they make my face feel well, it's a faint fuzzy texture. Not entirely smooth. Though I'm still improving on my technique, slowly working out which way my hair flows, a decent angle, the usual.
I've still got some Derpy, Personna and Wilkinson blades to try out, but if those don't work I'm investing in a pile of Gillette Nacet blades. So far those give me a decent shave and have a fairly long life.

Thanks y'all
 
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