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The Elusive "Grain"

Today's shaving "Ah-ha" moment came while applying a coat of Brave Soldier Code Blue after a good Saturday morning shave (which, by the way, is a new found joy. After years of looking forward to weekends when I didn't have to shave, now I make sure to shave early on Saturday so I have enough growth by Sunday morning to get in another shave during the weekend!)

As I applied the Code Blue, I realized this was the perfect time to get a good idea of the direction of my particular grain and to make some mental notes for tomorrow.

The Eureka moment got me wondering about how bad it really would be if I were to make sure I got enough shave cream on during the second pass and to go against the grain.

Now I've read a lot on these forums about this, from "Don't even think about it" to "There is no such thing as grain in Method Shaving".

I'll post some progress over the next few days (if there is any interest).

Has anyone else ventured down this path? Also, does anyone have a good copy of the so-called "cut sheets"?
 
Hi Mustafa,

No idea about method shaving, but going against the grain is the key to the elusive baby's butt smooth (BBS) shave. Just make sure you have reduced your beard suffciently in prior passes, or it can get ugly. You might want to look at Ron's post on "The 4-pass" shave to give you some ideas.

I agree, the weekend shaves are great.

My, we really have a lot of folks in Oklahoma, don't we?
 
Thanks,

The 4-pass was a good read, I think I can visualize the pattern. I take it that prior to each pass one should re-apply some shave cream from the brush?

Current residency is Okalahoma. I move every 2-3 years. Actually lived in your neck of the woods, on 106th & West End Ave in NYC for about 6 years during & after college.

Any problems with irritation using the 4-pass method?
 
Mustafa:

In my opinion, understanding the "grain" on your face is THE key to getting the BBS shave we all strive for. I don't use the Method Shaving process but I doubt it's any different. The hair typically grows in different directions on different areas of your face and neck and understanding that direction is key.

I always make at least 4 passes, sometimes more because I strive for that BBS shave every day! I usually have little to no irritation but you do have to maintain a light touch or you certainly increase your odds of a good old case of razor burn.

Keep us informed of your progress.
 
DoubleE said:
Mustafa:

In my opinion, understanding the "grain" on your face is THE key to getting the BBS shave we all strive for. I don't use the Method Shaving process but I doubt it's any different. The hair typically grows in different directions on different areas of your face and neck and understanding that direction is key.

I always make at least 4 passes, sometimes more because I strive for that BBS shave every day! I usually have little to no irritation but you do have to maintain a light touch or you certainly increase your odds of a good old case of razor burn.

Keep us informed of your progress.

Jerry

I agree with Jerry, when I shave my INTENT is to go against the grain with every stroke. I make 4 passes but they are not full passes, they are as follows:

1) bottom of neck up the center of my face stopping at my chin, restarting at bottom of chin/cheeks aiming towards my nose till I either run out of whiskers or come to my goatee.

2) neck - starting below the ear, straight across to center line of the neck. cheeks - same thing.

3) neck - straight down about 1 1/2 inches left of my esophogus, I have a little patch that goes straight up. cheeks/sideburns - straight up to catch the strays

4) neck - straight up to finish the strays on the neck, cheeks and jawbone - starting below the ear to centerline


As Jerry said, with a very light touch! But where I shave helps with not getting any irritation either, I believe, I tried it in front of the sink maybe last month, (I know I did in December) and got irritation every day I did.

Keep us infomed.
 
Mustafa,
The cut sheets (aka Forms) I believe you are referring to are available on www.methodshaving.com

The actual patterns aside there is an underlying principle behind them that is good knowledge for any wet shaver. Whenever possible, make strokes that move either straight down or toward the center of your face. Avoid strokes that go straight upward or back towards the ear all together, or at least until your beard has been reduced sufficiently. That should get you 90% of the way to a great shave no matter how many passes you choose to make without having to worry about every little nuance of grain. Every man is different and we all have trouble spots that need to be dealt with in a specific manner. No cut sheet or pattern will help you there, only experience. It is those specific areas that may need to be looked at more closely.
 
Scotto...the "4 Pass" method sounds good. I read Ron's summary and I'm going to give it a go Sunday morning. I figure that I'll have a good three day growth ( I've been waiting for the rash to go away) and it sounds like that it'll go pretty good. Can't wait to try it out.
 
Well Scotto and all...tried out the 4 pass method and liked it. Took a little longer than usual however, that is a good thing on a Sunday morning. Still got a little burn though but I think that it might be the poor quality of the blades that I'm using (walgreens, my merkurs have not come in yet!) in my old gillette super speed. Plenty of lather everywhere, on every pass. Maybe should have went with the first and second pass, skipped the third and then went with the fourth. I don't know...I'm going to try a couple of variations and see what works best for me.

Just want to say thanks to all...this place is great and I've learned so much by reading all of the different posts. My wife thinks that I'm crazy, but oh well she just doesn't understand the trade off...she spends a typical hour or two getting ready and I spend a little extra time on my face. I'm still downstairs waiting/grinding my teeth for the blow dryer to stop...

Thanks all!:thumbup1:
 
Thanks for all the words gents.

Today's shave went very well. I tried a "modified 4-pass" based on what I found out yesterday about the direction of the grain, especially around my neck.

I found that I have to swipe horizontillay aross my neck from the center to the ear to get across the grain there, albeit on the 4th pass after I had whittled down the bristles enough.

I felt good afterwards, althought there was still some bristle (I'll admit, I haven't upgraded the razor yet. I just ordered up a batch of 3 Schick Everlast Injectors from e-bay last night. Till then, it's a Sensor 3).

After about an hour however, I noticed that it did feel real smooth. Do bristles "retract back into the skin"?

My only issue has been with some irritation (no red, just sensitivity), but I was wearing a turtleneck to a concert most of this afternoon.:w00t:
 
After about an hour however, I noticed that it did feel real smooth. Do bristles "retract back into the skin"?
Mustafa

I actually had the exact same experience this morning, and many other times as well.

I don't think my shave is super close, but an hour or so later it's excellent. Whiskers must have some sort or retraction after the pores close up(?).

Not to hijack the thread or anything - however, you brought up a good point that I haven't seen much discussion about.:thumbup1:
 
Mustafa & Howard,

I've experience the same phenomenon, specifically in the goatee area. If I get overzealous in this area for more than a couple of shaves in a row, I can end up with some tenderness. If, however, every third shave I leave a slight stubble, an hour later it is b/b smooth.
 
Well this is my 4th day of going against the grain after my "Ah-ha" moment of figuring out that I could use my time after shaving, while applying a balm, to gauge what direction my grain grows with my fingers.

The devil's in the details, especially on the throat, where the grain may run E/W, then shift W/E an inch or 2 away. Beween lip and nose it seems like I have to shave straight up (S/N) to go against it there

Contrary to what I've read here, I've had to shave diagonally from the chin to the ear to go against some of the grain on the cheek. Around the chin, hair seems to grow straight out, not going in any particular direction at all.

Anyway, while there may not be as much interest out there on my particulars, it's making for a much closer shave (even if I'm still using a Sensor Excel; awaiting for some Schick Eversharp Injectors to arrive any day now). Getting a little bit of irritation which disappears after an hour or 2 (about the same time I notice any residual stubble I felt while applying the balm retract back into the skin. Coincidence? :skep: ).

I'm using a Kent BK-12 with C&E Nomad cream and applying Baxter's aftershave.

As always, thanks for the feedback and I'm always interested in hearing how others have achieved the BBS shave.
 
Everyone's face is different, as you are finding out. I still dork around from time to time, seeing if I can do better. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It is like some insane obsession, trying to get to a state where every last whisker on every part of your face has been eradicated. That's the fun, though.
 
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