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Stiff upper lip [hairs]

Hi all,

As you may recall from my earlier posts I'm fairly new to wet shaving. Been using a straight for about a month now. I'm getting better with it all the time, less time to shave, less irritation, smoother. Except for the upper lip, I'm just having a bugger of a time getting it well shaved without irritation. Each day it's either left with a lot of whiskers or the skin is red, bumpy and tender.

Method: I start with downward strokes, blade under the nose at 90 degrees then roll it toward thirty degrees as I moves free of the nose. This always leaves a lot of hair behind. I've tried side-to-side strokes but they have little effect as well. Only upward strokes seem to have any effect but this always causes a LOT of irritation.

Two things which I'm sure are contributing to the difficulties here: the whiskers on my upper lip seem to be the thickest and harders whiskers on my face and they grow at a steep downward angle. Also, just so I could learn to properly shave every where with a straight I got rid of my beard (which I keep changing - most recently it was a goatee plus a thin beard along the jaw-line.) This is the first time my upper lip has felt a blade in years.

Is there a better technique for shaving the upper lip or should I just keep a stiff upper lip and wait for my technique to improve?
My thoughts (though I have the same problem),

Lots of options here, the best being a moustache or goatee but, the sharpness of your blade shows itselfs in the most difficult shaving spots and the chin and upper lip are pretty famous for being the instigators. I recommend two distinct passes the first at the end of the first pass, when the whiskers have soaked the most at a 30 degree angle, the second at the end of the second pass at a 40 degree angle. If you use the tip of your razor a little more or even if you don't, consider using the base of the blade for the upper lip. The base often has more stability and if you use that section less it may be more sharp. I recommend tightening the upper lip when you shave it and give it a third, water only pass, at the end of your shave if your skin can handle it, though this may cause irritation. Also, I find that the upper lip has a multi-angle shaving requirement, my lip curls inward even though it looks like it is flat reflected in the mirror. Look at your upper lip sideways in the mirror and you'll see the angle needed to shave it close, it could be as high as 60 degrees (this is to keep a 30 degree angle against the skin).
My upper lipwhiskers are even tougher than yours. Very few razors can go against the grain there and no str8 (except the Feather) can. It turns out to be a sharpness issue. The sharpest str8s do the best job, but nnone can shave it clean. I always touch up with a Featherjector. The superior sharpness lets it go against the grain easily with a very light touch, shaving it clean without irritation. The little bit of additional pressure and slight pull are what make the str8 more difficult to use. It's a characteristic of the str8 that you can't get around.
Mkay, thanks guys. I've had my razor for a little over a month now and it's gotten dull. This past weekend I sharpened it for the first time - that's going to take some practice as well. It is sharper but doesn't seem as sharp as the day I got it so I'm going to work on that. I think I'll give the full shave thing a couple more weeks just so I can get a feel for the chin and upper lip then go back to a thin beard and goatee like I had before (every few days my wife asks when I'm going to grow it back again.)
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