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Struggling On...

Hi All,

Newbie to the forum here. Been reading for a while but thought I’d join and ask a question. I apologise as it’s one you’ve probably answered lots of times before, but I have searched and read a lot of old threads.

I’m fairly new to the world of DE shaving, although I have been wet shaving with cartridges for a long time.

The issue I’m having with the DE is neck irritation. This isn’t something I struggled with on cartridge razors. It’s getting to the point where I feel like getting rid of the DE and going back to cartridge, as it’s nearly as close a shave with 0 irritation.

However, I’m keen to keep at it as it’s enjoyable using the DE, much more gentleman-like!

I am using a Timor with Personna blades. I started with Timor but went to Personna.
I only shave after a long shower and I use a pre-shave oil.
I’m using Extro soap (Camelot) and lathering up in a bowl.

I’ve watched lots of videos and I’m sure it’s mostly technique. I’m trying to put 0 pressure on the razor, but when it comes to the neck, it ends up red raw with weepers after 2 passes. I’m yet to have a clean, irritation free shave with the DE.

I’ve adopted the “spoon” hold after searching through this forum which seemed to result in slightly better results but my neck is still suffering.

Post shave, I use an Alum Block followed by aftershave balm.

My beard is dark and thick, especially at the neck area. I can feel the blade tugging and “twanging” some of the hairs as I go. I’ve always got a fresh razor in there, never more than 2 shaves.

Is it worth looking at a more aggressive razor to deal with the thick hair? Is it still lack of technique and practice makes perfect? Any help to stop me from jacking the DE in would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Mike
 

ackvil

Moderator
Welcome to B&B, Mike.

First, limit the number of passes you do on your neck. I use only four and if I don't get a BBS shave on my neck, I just settle for less. The more you go over the same spot the more you increase your irritation.


Hydration is important to get a lubricating lather. So be sure to have sufficient water in your lather. Also, don't cheat on the product.


I have found it helpful to wet my face before each pass. The extra water on my face seems to make my shave smoother.

Irritation usually is caused by poor blade angle and too much pressure on the razor. The neck is a tricky area to shave because keeping the right blade angle and little pressure is a challenge. The usual advice is to let the weight of the razor do the job - not put pressure on the blade. To put that in action I have found that using the two fingers and my thumb to hold the razor with another finger resting on the tip of the handle. This results in holding the razor very lightly with no pressure on the razor. You want to hold the razor as lightly as you can without it falling from your hand. I have found that using the right grip on your razor goes a long way in keeping pressure off of the blade. The wiki deals with holding a razor and may help you. You may have to click on each photo to load it.

For information about blade angle, look here in the wiki.

Some additional suggestions.

1. Be sure your lather has sufficient water in it. This makes your shave smoother.

2. Be sure your face is sufficiently hydrated whether you use warm or cold water. If your face is wet before you apply lather for each pass, IMHO, your shaves will be better.

3. Take a washcloth and dip it in cold water and then place it on your face after your last pass.

4. Use WH on your face after you do step 3 above. Use an aftershave balm that is a good moisturizer.

5. At night, before retiring apply a good quality moisturizer to your face. I use CeraVe but there are other good ones out there, too. Look for a product that has ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
 
You mention tugging while shaving. Perhaps a different blade would also help. Get a blade sampler or pick some blades from Try A Blade. You will be surprised at the difference a blade will make. Also, just because a Feather or a BIC works best for me doesn’t mean they will work for you.

You have to kiss a few frogs to find a prince.
 
Thank you both for your replies so far!

I’ve ordered a sampler pack to try some different blades to see if that makes a difference.

I could only dream of 4 passes on my neck area at the moment. It doesn’t help that my hair goes in all different directions on my neck.

I did try the 2 fingers and thumb with a finger on the end of the razor today. It seemed to help but not when I have to invert the razor on my neck, as most of the beard grows from my Adam’s apple across towards my ear direction.
I’m sure most of it is going to be my technique. It’s just frustrating that I’m seeing minimal improvement.
 
@mikey642 - I know how discouraging it can be; I have the same problem on my lower neck. I ditched cartridges after years for DE, and like you, I enjoyed the experience so much better that I resisted the temptation to go back when I got the red, sore, irritation on my neck. But the advice from ackvil is very good. Hydration and prep can’t ever be skimped; I shower and exfoliate, then wet the face and apply Proraso preshave. I leave it on white I build a lather, mostly an ‘überlather’ with Proraso soap and cream, and a little glycerin. (Proraso don’t seem to make glycerin...🙄) Then when I’m satisfied that the lather is slick enough, it’s painted on, and left for a minute before I start with the razor. Cold water shave helps me.

Technique will improve with concentration and the effort you‘re obviously putting in. And aim for a comfortable shave on those sensitive areas rather than seeking the holy grail too soon.

I wet my face too between each pass, and reapply preshave. Afterwards I rinse, apply alum, and use Proraso balm (seeing a trend developing here) then use aftershave.

Sometimes, if possible, I’ll reapply the balm throughout the day if the neck irritation is a pest.

The use of a moisturiser at night is another good idea.

Stick with it, and hope you have plenty of cool, calm neck shaves in future! And remember - you’ve already taken the most important step - you’ve asked B & B members for ideas!

Ps - don’t worry about strange growth patterns on your neck - mine seem to grow in five different directions, and change daily dependent on the phases of the moon...😱😬
 
It's possible a different razor or blade would make shaving more comfortable, but generally the only way to get weepers is with poor technique.

The neck is tough because the angle keeps changing, so to keep the same razor/face angle you need to move the handle a bit. For me there is a fairly pronounced curve from the chin down a couple of inches, and then fairly flat.

Obviously, any time something is not going well you need to try something different. My first experiment would be less razor angle (more on the cap), and less pressure. Yes, even when you think you're using light pressure it's probably still too much.

On my neck I try and use less than the weight of the razor (but I have a pretty heavy razor, so see what works for you).

Also try very short strokes on your neck - 1" is not too short. Try anything and keep what works.
 

ackvil

Moderator
Your beard is similar to mine. Like you, my beard particularly on my neck changes grows in so many directions and then in spots swirls so that a WTG pass in meaningless. I look to see in what direction my beard grows the most and that becomes my WTG pass realizing that in some spots it may be XTG and ATG. I then use an exceptionally light touch in going in that direction.

My first pass is North to South. As I said some of my beard grows in such a manner that going N to S is against the grain and across the grain. My next pass is from the back of my neck to the front and with the third pass from the front to the back. My final pass is South to North. Most of my beard on the final pass is against the grain but in some places it is WTG and XTG.

Because every pass I take on my face is against the grain it is essential that I use a very light touch.
 

RenoRichard

Contributor
@ackvil hit the whisker on the edge with most of the possible causes and solutions- it is usually pressure and angle that causes irritation. When I first shaved with a DE, I often got some irritation on my neck and some weepers. Darn those white business shirt collars that were always getting stained.

I only have a few additional tips:

1. Lift your chin up high when you shave your neck. It may mean you cannot see in the mirror, so go gently by feel.
2. Use your non-razor hand to stretch the skin. You may have to pull down or pull up depending upon the area you're trying to shave. If your fingers are slipping due to the lather, rub your wet fingertips on your alum and they should grip better.
3. Don't go for perfect, just go for comfortable. Your shaves will get closer naturally as you develop the right feel and technique for your face and neck.

The good thing is you get to practice shaving often, whiskers grow back quickly :001_smile . So, most of all have some fun!
 

BigJ

Ambassador
Welcome aboard!

Some great advice above! My summary:
1. Map your beard to understand what you are doing with each pass.
2. Work to maximize your prep.
3. Learn to make a slick, protective lather.
4. Focus on maintaining an optimal razor angle.
5. NO pressure!

Stick with this and your results will improve! :thumbup: :thumbup:
 
Again, thank you all for the quick replies. Already liking this little community.

An hour on and the redness as reduced significantly, which makes me think I did better than normal.

New blades are in the post. Think I’ve got some feathers and Astra’s amongst others en route.

I’m tempted by a new soap/cream, as my face feels extremely tight after shaving. Maybe this will help.

I’ll have to keep practicing! Just annoying I have to wait a whole day before I can go again!
 
Again, thank you all for the quick replies. Already liking this little community.

An hour on and the redness as reduced significantly, which makes me think I did better than normal.

New blades are in the post. Think I’ve got some feathers and Astra’s amongst others en route.

I’m tempted by a new soap/cream, as my face feels extremely tight after shaving. Maybe this will help.

I’ll have to keep practicing! Just annoying I have to wait a whole day before I can go again!
I sometimes feel the urge to shave the day following a poor shave, but have to restrain myself to allow my skin a rest. Although I have gone again the next day with a milder razor and blade, and sacrificed all-day closeness for a comfortable result; but generally speaking when it’s irritated, my neck thanks me for a day off.

And like you, I sometimes find that as the day goes on, a ‘sore’ shave can settle down nicely!

That’s when later applications of a good balm can keep the irritation away!
 
Welcome to B&B.
I’ve watched lots of videos and I’m sure it’s mostly technique. I’m trying to put 0 pressure on the razor, but when it comes to the neck, it ends up red raw with weepers after 2 passes. I’m yet to have a clean, irritation free shave with the DE.
Many video show poor technique so be wary of what you watch.
Perhaps blade angle is your problem leading to poor technique. Have a look here; Blade Angle | Badger & Blade
Get the angle correct and the stubble will be shaved with ease, get it wrong and you start to apply pressure to compensate. Also try stretching the skin in those problem areas.
The Shave Wiki {link top left of page} is very helpful.
Is it worth looking at a more aggressive razor to deal with the thick hair? Is it still lack of technique and practice makes perfect?
Most razors are very capable of giving you a good shave so look to technique first. Good lather and preparation helps too.
Thick hair, any hair in fact, is cut by the blade. Have a look at some different blades like Astra SP or Gillette Silver Blue.
 
Either take a hot shower or cover your beard with a hot towel and let it sit there for ten minutes. The hotter the water the less time it takes to soften. I have found prep to be the single most important factor in having a comfortable shave. Also try just making one pass that's with the grain. A lot of guys with sensitive skin are better off shaving every other day. Furthermore, I suspect your tachnique may need work... I don't suppose you have a video of you shaving?
 
I'm in my mid 70s and never had anyone teach me to shave. My mom and stepdad gave me an electric in 1963 in high school. In college I switched to injector and canned foam. A few years after marriage in the late 60s, until the late 90s, I used a cart with canned foam. In 2009, I found this site and finally learned how shave. When I first starting using a DE, I would use my old cart to finish what my cart left on my neck. Practice makes perfect. I got my angle down and never looked back.
 
I think it’ll come down to blade angle. Practice makes perfect and all that. It’s just getting the grip right, angle right and applying no pressure all at once that I need to get right.

I think the 30deg blade angle can be tricky to visualise on a curved blade. I think on my razor, a handle angle of 45deg is about right.

@mr_houston Interesting what you say about Alum. I only bought it after reading about it on here and how it helped stopped someone’s irritation. But now you mention it, the tightness did start after using it. I’ll give it a break for a bit.

@musicman1951 unfortunately no videos of me shaving. However I think it will be down to technique which needs more work.

New blades are on the way as well as new cream and balm. Depending how the neck is tomorrow will depend if I have another crack at it!

Thanks again all for the replies!
 
There has been so much good advice offered up already. I agree that mapping your beard and skin stretching is essential. Light lather or preshave your neck. Lift your chin and take a few mins to rub your neck with your fingertips, When you feel the tips of your beard hair it’s against the grain. Mine grows in crazy directions but I can get a damn fine shave with a straight in 2 passes because I know my beard.
As for skin stretching, I use a microfibre rag to stretch skin and to wipe fingers / razor / brush.

listen to the pros here, take your time to know how your beard grows and learn the balance of your razor. Balance in my opinion is the most important aspect because a well balanced razor for your hands will allow you the most control over angle and pressure.

good luck to you and let us know how you are progressing
 
Another vote for changing blades. Feathers are reputed as the sharpest, give them a try and then compare to your old blades or the blade sampler to see how your skin prefers different levels of sharpness
 
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