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The Quest: DFS + 0 Irritation or Ingrown Hairs

I began wet shaving in June, and have thus far had middling to decent results. The most drastic improvement in results has occurred within the past month or so. I finished reading Leisureguy's book which caused me to change my prep and also slightly changed the directions that I shave. The goal of this thread is to document my progression in shaving. I encourage discussion here as much as anyone cares to!

This first post I will outline the different aspects of my shaving routine and other general information that I will build upon as I go forward with this journal. My skin is apparently somewhat sensitive, and seems to irritate fairly easily. I am not able to use many soaps as my skin gets red, hot and itchy, likely an allergic reaction. My current two that work well are Haslinger Schafmilch Rasierseife and Cella. I use either my Omega 11137 Boar brush or Stirling Synthetic Pro brush daily. My hair, beard and otherwise, is dry, coarse, dense and curly. Perfect setup for ingrown hairs, which I used to get with regularity when shaving with cartridges or electric razors. I get them with DE shaving too, but primarily if I go ATG. So far, my jawline and chin seem impervious to ingrowns and irritation, so I go ATG here where I otherwise seem unable to remove the hair to even a SAS level. My beard map is attached to this first post, along with a second map outlining my normal 3 pass shave. Yellow is WTG, Blue is 1st XTG, Red is 2nd XTG about 180 degrees opposite pass 2 plus some ATG on my chin and under my jawline. My neck grain does a weird chevron towards my ears which I have struggled to shave typically. This has improved over the past month too.

My current prep is as follows: Shower using Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Face Wash, Load Cella or Haslinger and use excess suds as pre-shave or use Whole Foods 365 Glycerin Soap as pre-shave, face lather, hot and damp towel for 2.5 minutes, re-lather, then shave. I let the towel sit on the cold counter as I shave. Post-shave I rinse with warm water, then cold, then apply the now cool towel, rewet with cold water, then apply Geo F. Trumper's Skin Food - West Indian Limes. The Skin Food is fantastic stuff, worth trying if you have the cash for it.

I have liked razors that hold the blade more rigidly, such as the RazoRock OLD type and RazoRock Hawk V2. I shimmed a Parker Variant this morning and got a wonderful shave out of it. I will try out new razors and blade combinations and try to post up my thoughts following the shaves. Will also try to post pictures of my neck and face currently, then periodically as time moves along to track progress. I got horrible shaves with carts and electrics, so I'm already doing better than I was before I found wet shaving. My goal is the title of this thread: a DFS shave, with 0 irritation and 0 ingrown hairs. That is my shave nirvana. BBS would be ridiculously nice, but I'm not going to pursue it.

First question for anyone who stumbles on this thread: Do my passes seem to be reasonably accurate for what I'm trying to accomplish? Especially the XTG passes, do they seem mostly XTG or is there a slightly different attack angle I could take?
 

Attachments

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
Should be a fun and interesting thread.

I know only a little about shims and using them, so I hope you will assume most readers, or at least one, have no idea what you're talking about, and cover some basics. Like where do they go - above or below the blade - to produce specific and particular results? Stuff like that.

I only have one razor, the Ikon X3, that I might consider using shims in to make the blade more rigid. I have also one razor, the Feather AS-D2, I might shim to make it more aggressive | efficient. Like I even know how to approach either of those projects!

Probably though, I'm set with razors which don't need anything form me except more practice.

Good luck with this noble quest. A Damn Comfortable Shave is a quest for me. Maybe I'll achieve my goals with my new SS Colonial General which is a nearly perfect shaver even on its first shave. Amazing razor! Assuming it wasn't just beginner's luck.

You and I will get where we are headed.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I’ll ride this boat with you for a while. Shoot who knows I may even be able to learn something from your journey. Welcome to the cadre.


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Ah shims. I don’t know a lot about them, just what I’ve read here on B&B. A shim is usually a second razor blade that has its edges removed and then inserted into a razor to either increase the blade gap or increase rigidity. Or both. There is a really good thread here on B&B right now on shimming that I’ll try to locate and link. To create a shim, you take a used blade (don’t want to ruin a new one) and a pair of ordinary kitchen scissors and very carefully got off just the edges. Wear goggles, you don’t want metal in your eyes.

Once you’ve made a shim, you can add it under your blade to increase gap and rigidity (making the razor more efficient or aggressive) or on top of the blade, which will primarily improve rigidity and won’t affect blade gap. A shim underneath will also improve rigidity if that wasn’t clear.


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Shave today was with a single shim under the blade in my EJ DE89. Used a gillette 7 o’clock yellow. Got some irritation on my neck and actually on my cheeks, so I’m not certain the DE89 will ever be a razor I can use. My cheeks rarely get irritated so something about today’s shave wasn’t good. Very little burn with the aftershave though, so I’m a bit confused about it all. I’ll try the yellow in my Gillette OLD tomorrow.

I used cella and the stirling synthetic today. I also. did use a combination of stirling unscented aftershave and 3 drops of RR One X aftershave prior to the Skin Food today. Felt and smelled awesome. I may have to try out Fine aftershave with menthol as that is one variable One X has that the stirling doesn’t. I find my skin likes the One X better but the scent of full strength One X isn’t a great thing for my current work situation. One to three drops seems about right. Maybe the menthol cools off some irritation and muddies the water, however. Might make it more difficult to determine how well a certain product is working if it makes irritation less prominent.


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Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
Ah shims. I don’t know a lot about them, just what I’ve read here on B&B. A shim is usually a second razor blade that has its edges removed and then inserted into a razor to either increase the blade gap or increase rigidity. Or both. There is a really good thread here on B&B right now on shimming that I’ll try to locate and link. To create a shim, you take a used blade (don’t want to ruin a new one) and a pair of ordinary kitchen scissors and very carefully got off just the edges. Wear goggles, you don’t want metal in your eyes.

Once you’ve made a shim, you can add it under your blade to increase gap and rigidity (making the razor more efficient or aggressive) or on top of the blade, which will primarily improve rigidity and won’t affect blade gap. A shim underneath will also improve rigidity if that wasn’t clear.
So, a shim underneath the blade always increases both blade rigidity and gap, right?

And, a shim on top of the blade only increases blade rigidity, right?

Underneath the blade means between the blade and the bottom plate, right?

On top of the blade means between the blade and the top cap, right?

Sorry to be so dense, but if I don't ask questions I make too many assumptions, and some turn out to be really stupid and wrong.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
If you might like menthol you might love this.

Osage Rub.jpg
It's cheap enough on Amazon for a large bottle. It is amazingly bracing. I enjoy using it.

I apply it after my witch hazel application has dried. I wait a little bit after applying Osage before applying Geo F. Thumper's Skin Food. The Osage smell has not dissipated entirely when I apply Skin Food, but the smells mix very well, and the Osage smell is not long lasting.

Warning: Osage is very bracing but in an entirely good way for me.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Contributor
If I understand the problems with that razor vis a vis your face you need both less gap and more rigidity. I would think, based just on what you told me, that using a shim which would increase rigidity and increase gap would be like putting one foot on the gas and the other on the brake.

I'm just learning from you about shims, and don't know what I'm talking about, and asking stupid questions, but why not put a shim on top of blade (only on top) to increase rigidity?

What's your favorite of your current razors?
 
So, a shim underneath the blade always increases both blade rigidity and gap, right?

And, a shim on top of the blade only increases blade rigidity, right?

Underneath the blade means between the blade and the bottom plate, right?

On top of the blade means between the blade and the top cap, right?

Sorry to be so dense, but if I don't ask questions I make too many assumptions, and some turn out to be really stupid and wrong.
All of what you listed out is correct. I understand the need for clarification, as two piece and tto razors make shimming slightly more complex.

I can say with absolutely certainty that a shim underneath the blade increases gap, and one on top increases rigidity. I “believe” that one underneath increases rigidity, but I don’t have the same implement to test rigidity right now.
 
If I understand the problems with that razor vis a vis your face you need both less gap and more rigidity. I would think, based just on what you told me, that using a shim which would increase rigidity and increase gap would be like putting one foot on the gas and the other on the brake.

I'm just learning from you about shims, and don't know what I'm talking about, and asking stupid questions, but why not put a shim on top of blade (only on top) to increase rigidity?

What's your favorite of your current razors?
I need to get the correct blade in my Parker Variant before I say for certain. However it’d have to be either the Variant or RR OLD as of right now.

In regards to shimming the razors, I put it underneath as I didn’t trust my cutting job to not have any burrs left over lol. Underneath the blade the shim doesn’t end up coming in contact with the skin. On top of the blade it could contact the skin, although after the blade, and it isn’t a guarantee that it would. The Variant seemed a good option to test shimming with as it has an adjustable blade gap so I can compensate for any increased aggressiveness. The DE89 though was ill advised though. I should probably just give up on it, I just wanted my first razor to work for me eventually lol.
 
So the past two days I've been using my RR Hawk V2. Two really great shaves with my normal equipment, today's wasn't very close. My Supply SE V 2.0 came in yesterday so I tried using it this morning but I was running very late. Ended up changing out the blade and base plate (for the aggressive one) to see if I can get it to work better. Not sure if angle was the issue or what but it wasn't removing anything for me this morning and I didn't have time for a 6 pass shave. The Hawk wiped my face decently clean in one pass and the half of a second pass I did knocked it to a CCS level. Nothing like what I usually want but good enough when you're getting up before 0400 to leave by 0500.

My face seems to be doing somewhat better with the Hawk lately than it had previously. I would guess that any irritation that I have should resolve within the next few weeks. I'll try to get some pictures up so tracking can be done over time. I'll also try to get up a better first impressions of the Supply SE tomorrow once I get a full shave in with it.
 
Your posting some good reads, Johnny. Finding the right combination of blade, razor and shave angle is critical in the first few months. You seem to have a good foundation, and I look forward to reading how it goes for you.
 
So the Supply Single Edge Razor V2. I'll start with the looks. It is gorgeous. I purchased the polished chrome version and boy is it a looker. I wasn't certain how I would feel about the polished version, as I generally prefer razors with more grip (knurling is my favorite on a handle). The loading of a new blade was very easy, as was loading the blade and a new plate at the same time. I like the injector style of the razor, and the blade seems fairly decent to me from an appearance standpoint. Performance-wise, I might have to buy a Chinese Schick (aka a Chick) injector cartridge to compare those blades with the Personna blades that came with the razor. More about the blades later.

Got my first full shave in with it this morning. Normal setup with the synthetic brush instead of my Omega Boar and used Cella. I tried this razor yesterday but was running very late and so couldn't give the razor a very good attempt. I should have just let the razor be and tried it again today, but I was convinced I had the proper angle yesterday (I didn't). So I put the 3 dot plate on, which is the aggressive setting, and replaced the blade with a new one. First thing I noticed with the razor was the blade feel. This razor with that plate is very blade forward. I am personally not a fan of blade feel so this was a bit offputting to me.

1st pass I did my normal WTG on my cheeks, then a S-N pass on my neck. The razor was quite slick in the hand and I didn't feel comfortable doing my normal straight sideways WTG pass with it. The pass felt relatively comfortable and even though I felt the blade, it didn't seem like too much blade. I got done with this pass and had a nice SAS. Might have even been CCS.

2nd pass XTG was ok. I did my normal 3rd pass as this pass, so a N-S angling towards my ear XTG pass on my neck and from left ear to right ear XTG on my face. This also seemed ok, but I started to notice the blade feel more, and felt a little irritation crop up on my left jawline, where the XTG is actually somewhat ATG.

3rd pass I did more XTG in a slightly different direction on my neck, and ATG on my chin and under the jawline. This might have been as comfortable ATG as my Hawk V2. Maybe more comfortable because of the added weight. I did start getting irritation on my cheeks and neck, however. Ended up with some mild razor burn at the end of the third pass on my jawline on the left.

I had trouble the entire shave with the razor getting wet and becoming very slippery. I tried wiping my hands and the razor down between passes, but every time I rinsed it during the pass, the handle became quite slippery, even with shaking the razor a lot after each rinse. I will have to try out different methods with the razor to reduce this, the most obvious being alum.

The irritation surprised me. I haven't gotten true razor burn in many months. I think the aggressive plate setting was too much for my skin, and I should have kept the same setup as yesterday with it. I simply wasn't getting the right angle. I thought I would need to make the angle less parallel to the skin, but I was incorrect about that. It shave very similarly to my MicroMatic Clog Pruf (which I've only used once and was the most recent time I've gotten razor burn before today). I think I may be able to tame the razor eventually. The question for me will be if this gives me a better shave than my Hawk or the Clog Pruf. Or if a Stainless General would give me a better shave (but that I wouldn't be able to figure out for quite some time). Overall, I think the razor has potential. I simply made a few errors with the plate choice and the way I did my beard reduction today. I have to use the Hawk tomorrow due to traveling but I'll be using the Supply for at least a week straight after I get back. I also might order some of the Chick blades to see how I like those, perhaps they are smoother than the Personna blades.
 
Simply blown away with that detailed mapping. Im also on the same boat here, has been a month since I started de wet shaving and have constantly rashes, razor burn and ingrowns. It’s the articles I read that keep me motivated and optimistic about the future. I’m doing a lot of reading and trying to avoid aiming bbs which is very hard to do!


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I didn't read everything yet, but for a shim to be effective, it needs to be cut as wide as possible!

IMAG0079_1.jpg

Also, Schick Proline makes the best AC blades! IMHO

I'll post my routine and thoughts later, I have to get ready for work.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
Ended up with some mild razor burn at the end of the third pass on my jawline on the left.
When I'm shaving along my jawline, over the points of my chin and other areas where the entire blade doesnt always contact my skin, I use less pressure than I normally would. If you dont lighten the pressure even slightly, that same amount of pressure actually compounds because the blade is contacting less skin so your actually applying more pressure to a narrower area.

The same areas for me, my jawline and points of my chin that are harder to shave and need less pressure, also need a steeper angle to shave me as closely as I like. Accomplishing that very fine balance will take time and practice but you'll get there.

My last shave with the Grande and an Astra SP it finally occurred to me that using a blade with more blade feel, Astra SP, Nacet and Kai, actually made that easier because I could feel even the tiniest bit of change in angle and/or pressure.

In comparison to the Gillette Yellow where I didnt feel the blade at all, its much more difficult feeling that angle and pressure change and very easy to over do it. If you over do it with a blade you cant feel, you wont know until its too late.


Got some irritation on my neck and actually on my cheeks, so I’m not certain the DE89 will ever be a razor I can use.
The slight difference in gap could be a factor in the irritation you had from that shave. I firmly believe that if you have sensitive skin, the less gap a razor has, the more comfortable your shave will be.

Shims I see as bandaids and a temporary fix to a permanent problem. They will help someone understand if a lack of rigidity is a problem, but I dont personally see it as the best way to solve that problem.

As rabidus said, the wider the shim the better it can do its job. If I was making one to use all the time, I'd take the edge off it using a sharpening stone and taper the honed edge to a more rounded shape while making it smooth. That way you'd have no issues with it under the cap and if it did contact the skin, it would be smooth and safe anyway.
 
Simply blown away with that detailed mapping. Im also on the same boat here, has been a month since I started de wet shaving and have constantly rashes, razor burn and ingrowns. It’s the articles I read that keep me motivated and optimistic about the future. I’m doing a lot of reading and trying to avoid aiming bbs which is very hard to do!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Keep at it! Try not to change up too much at once. That was my error when I started out. I have found that I can only go ATG on one area of my neck and nowhere else on my face and neck. That area of my neck is also the place with my toughest hairs, making even a CCS a struggle there without an ATG pass.

Ingrowns have plagued me for years. I’ve been shaving since I was 14, currently 29. I started shaving every other day in high school. Had to start daily shaving in college if I wanted to look presentable. My hair has always been very curly and coarse and dry, and my beard is probably more stiff and coarse than the rest of my hair. So, a detailed map was essential for me. The issue is what to do with the map once it is created.

I initially made out a map, then just shaved how geofatboy shaved and couldn’t understand why I didn’t get good results. Then I came to understand what WTG, XTG, ATG meant. WTG is with MY grain. My face was always easy. It’s north to south grain pattern except near the corners of my mouth. My neck, on the other hand, is a bit of a nightmare. Although I don’t have any swirls, which seem like they’d be a much worse nightmare. I initially thought going straight down would be mostly WTG, but no, it’s ATG on my sensitive areas. A south to north pass also hit certain areas at the wrong angle. It took me several months of slow experimentation to discover a sideways WTG pass works fairly well. I can chop my WTG pass in half and do under my jaw to halfway down angles towards my ear north to south, then reverse and go towards me ear south to north on the bottom half of my neck. It’s a ton of work and makes the WTG pass quite slow and doesn’t yield much better results, if any better.

Long story short: map your beard. Understand that map, then draw out what you want your passes to look like. Then shave that way and see if it helps. Give it time before you change it. It seems to be helping me, as have other things. But I still have a ways to go, and I’ve been at this for nearly five months now.
 
When I'm shaving along my jawline, over the points of my chin and other areas where the entire blade doesnt always contact my skin, I use less pressure than I normally would. If you dont lighten the pressure even slightly, that same amount of pressure actually compounds because the blade is contacting less skin so your actually applying more pressure to a narrower area.

The same areas for me, my jawline and points of my chin that are harder to shave and need less pressure, also need a steeper angle to shave me as closely as I like. Accomplishing that very fine balance will take time and practice but you'll get there.

My last shave with the Grande and an Astra SP it finally occurred to me that using a blade with more blade feel, Astra SP, Nacet and Kai, actually made that easier because I could feel even the tiniest bit of change in angle and/or pressure.

In comparison to the Gillette Yellow where I didnt feel the blade at all, its much more difficult feeling that angle and pressure change and very easy to over do it. If you over do it with a blade you cant feel, you wont know until its too late.




The slight difference in gap could be a factor in the irritation you had from that shave. I firmly believe that if you have sensitive skin, the less gap a razor has, the more comfortable your shave will be.

Shims I see as bandaids and a temporary fix to a permanent problem. They will help someone understand if a lack of rigidity is a problem, but I dont personally see it as the best way to solve that problem.

As rabidus said, the wider the shim the better it can do its job. If I was making one to use all the time, I'd take the edge off it using a sharpening stone and taper the honed edge to a more rounded shape while making it smooth. That way you'd have no issues with it under the cap and if it did contact the skin, it would be smooth and safe anyway.
I hadn’t considered the blade/pressure ratio in this. Ironically, that bad shave was with the supply which uses injector blades. These are he same length as a DE blade, just thicker and only single edge.

As to shim width, mine seem quite wide, I barely cut off the edge. All of the bevel is gone. I may have to try a grinder or Dremel to make a slightly better one, but I have to agree with you: I think they’re likely a bandaid and aren’t actually helping me that much in the long run. I’ll look into the fatips. Also looking at the timeless razors. The bronze is kinda calling to me. But I need to prove to myself the supply isn’t going to work first.
 
The shim goes between the blade and baseplate.

My routine is as follows:

I soak my boar brush and VDH Deluxe soap while I take a shower. In the shower, I wash my face with face soap. I've used Neutrogena fragrance free face soap, liquid or bar, for a while. I'm now trying Nivea Maximum Hydration face soap, so far so good. When I get out, I wet my face and apply my homemade preshave oil which consists of 3 oz sweet almond oil, 2 oz caster oil, and 2tsp bergamont oil for scent. I use about a nickel to quart puddle, none of that 2 or 3 drops nonsense. All traces of it is gone after my shave. I didn't use it for about three days this past week and it was missed.

Then I squeeze every bit of water out of my brush and pour the water off of my VDH Deluxe soap and load my brush. I load it until it is real creamy in the brush, no lather should be forming at this point. Then I spray a little Aveeno Therapeutic shave gel in a bowl and add exactly 1tsp of water and whip up a nice slick lather "not" adding anymore water! I don't use anymore than 1tsp of water with any lather.

I have come to only use extremely efficient razors and the sharpest blades. I use the ATT SE1, SE2, El Jefe, Mr SE, GEM MMOC, MMCP, and one of my 1912 razors that is more efficient than the others. I only use Schick Proline blades for AC and GEM SS PTFE for GEM. Feather and Kai blades are just not sharp enough for me! Lately I've only been using the AC razors. I was shaving my head everyday exclusively with the MMOC, but haven't in a week, letting it grow for a while.

My Technique is as follows:

I apply lather and then shave N-S. I use a shallow angle, I lower the handle until I "hear" stubble being cut, that's my angle, I don't have to feel the blade.

Each part of my beard requires different attention, so I go over each area until I don't get any more feedback. I go over areas 2 or 3 times N-S.

I then apply lather for the second and final time. I then shave each area S-N until I no longer get any feedback. And then I shave in any other direction to BBS my face. I have to do 6 or 7 strokes along my right jawline, from chin to ear to level the wire growing out of my skin. I have to give special attention to my Adam's apple on both sides to level that area. There's a small patch on the left side of my neck that needs attention. There's a spot on the left side of my chin that takes 15+ strokes S-N to level. My cheeks are the easiest. Above my lip takes several strokes S-N to level.

I don't have a set amount of strokes, my razor doesn't stop until I hit BBS. With my preshave oil and slick lather, I don't have any problem going over areas multiple times without getting irritation or blood loss. There's plenty of residual glide.

I attack my head shave in the same manner. I have areas on my head that's tougher than the toughest spot on my face, yet I was able to BBS my head daily.

For me, a BBS shave is when I run my fingers across my skin in all directions, stretching it, and can't feel any stubble.

I finish with a splash of Adidas Dynamic Pulse AS and then Nivea Maximum hydration post shave balm. The balm will instantly loosen up my skin and allow me to feel any stubble I may have missed, at which point I pick up my razor and dry shave it away no problem.

If I were to shave dry from the start or just wet my face and shave, I would irritate my skin to no end, so my preshave oil and lather is really protective and allows me to do what I do.

I abandoned the beard map when I switched from DE to SE. I shave N-S, S-N, and any other direction to BBS my face. I don't think beard mapping matters with the rigid AC or GEM blade, str8 razors typically only go N-S, S-N!

It's rare that I draw blood, I use to bleed like crazy when I started wet shaving 4 years ago. I started using SE razors exclusively around August of this year and never looked back. I would occasionally get ingrown hair and didn't go for extreme BBS results with DE, but with SE it's a different story.

My skin is not rough or anything special, I believe hydration is key to a rigid blade gliding and not causing problems. When I didn't use my homemade preshave for those three or four days, I noticed a difference during my shave and after my shave throughout the day.

While I didn't draw any blood, I noticed my residual glide would disappear and throughout the day, it would just feel like I shaved, no real irritation, just felt like I use a razor on my face.

The super lather is great, but I think the homemade preshave oil is the source of my powers.

From preshave oil to Balm, my shave takes from 9-12 minutes.
 
The shim goes between the blade and baseplate.

My routine is as follows:

I soak my boar brush and VDH Deluxe soap while I take a shower. In the shower, I wash my face with face soap. I've used Neutrogena fragrance free face soap, liquid or bar, for a while. I'm now trying Nivea Maximum Hydration face soap, so far so good. When I get out, I wet my face and apply my homemade preshave oil which consists of 3 oz sweet almond oil, 2 oz caster oil, and 2tsp bergamont oil for scent. I use about a nickel to quart puddle, none of that 2 or 3 drops nonsense. All traces of it is gone after my shave. I didn't use it for about three days this past week and it was missed.

Then I squeeze every bit of water out of my brush and pour the water off of my VDH Deluxe soap and load my brush. I load it until it is real creamy in the brush, no lather should be forming at this point. Then I spray a little Aveeno Therapeutic shave gel in a bowl and add exactly 1tsp of water and whip up a nice slick lather "not" adding anymore water! I don't use anymore than 1tsp of water with any lather.

I have come to only use extremely efficient razors and the sharpest blades. I use the ATT SE1, SE2, El Jefe, Mr SE, GEM MMOC, MMCP, and one of my 1912 razors that is more efficient than the others. I only use Schick Proline blades for AC and GEM SS PTFE for GEM. Feather and Kai blades are just not sharp enough for me! Lately I've only been using the AC razors. I was shaving my head everyday exclusively with the MMOC, but haven't in a week, letting it grow for a while.

My Technique is as follows:

I apply lather and then shave N-S. I use a shallow angle, I lower the handle until I "hear" stubble being cut, that's my angle, I don't have to feel the blade.

Each part of my beard requires different attention, so I go over each area until I don't get any more feedback. I go over areas 2 or 3 times N-S.

I then apply lather for the second and final time. I then shave each area S-N until I no longer get any feedback. And then I shave in any other direction to BBS my face. I have to do 6 or 7 strokes along my right jawline, from chin to ear to level the wire growing out of my skin. I have to give special attention to my Adam's apple on both sides to level that area. There's a small patch on the left side of my neck that needs attention. There's a spot on the left side of my chin that takes 15+ strokes S-N to level. My cheeks are the easiest. Above my lip takes several strokes S-N to level.

I don't have a set amount of strokes, my razor doesn't stop until I hit BBS. With my preshave oil and slick lather, I don't have any problem going over areas multiple times without getting irritation or blood loss. There's plenty of residual glide.

I attack my head shave in the same manner. I have areas on my head that's tougher than the toughest spot on my face, yet I was able to BBS my head daily.

For me, a BBS shave is when I run my fingers across my skin in all directions, stretching it, and can't feel any stubble.

I finish with a splash of Adidas Dynamic Pulse AS and then Nivea Maximum hydration post shave balm. The balm will instantly loosen up my skin and allow me to feel any stubble I may have missed, at which point I pick up my razor and dry shave it away no problem.

If I were to shave dry from the start or just wet my face and shave, I would irritate my skin to no end, so my preshave oil and lather is really protective and allows me to do what I do.

I abandoned the beard map when I switched from DE to SE. I shave N-S, S-N, and any other direction to BBS my face. I don't think beard mapping matters with the rigid AC or GEM blade, str8 razors typically only go N-S, S-N!

It's rare that I draw blood, I use to bleed like crazy when I started wet shaving 4 years ago. I started using SE razors exclusively around August of this year and never looked back. I would occasionally get ingrown hair and didn't go for extreme BBS results with DE, but with SE it's a different story.

My skin is not rough or anything special, I believe hydration is key to a rigid blade gliding and not causing problems. When I didn't use my homemade preshave for those three or four days, I noticed a difference during my shave and after my shave throughout the day.

While I didn't draw any blood, I noticed my residual glide would disappear and throughout the day, it would just feel like I shaved, no real irritation, just felt like I use a razor on my face.

The super lather is great, but I think the homemade preshave oil is the source of my powers.

From preshave oil to Balm, my shave takes from 9-12 minutes.
Thank you so much for this writeup! I actually noticed I was getting ingrown hairs (or so I think) with my GEM Junior when I would go ATG with it. Whatever the irritation truly was, I was getting red dots on my face when I used it that disappeared within days of discontinuing usage of it. I had never considered tossing the beard map, as I have spent a lot of time working it all out. I do notice that my Hawk seems to not really care about certain my normal trouble areas. I have a feeling that I have found the types of razors I should be using (SEs only, primarily AC style) and likely won't be doing much with the Supply razor after my week of trying it out. Going to see if I can track down some cheap Chick blades, but I'm not holding my breath.
 
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