The Quest: DFS + 0 Irritation or Ingrown Hairs

Discussion in 'Journals and Diaries' started by Johnnynroy, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Great report and even better news!
  2. My skin seems to be a pendulum. I can get a few good shaves, my skin seems fantastic, then it swings the other way and I get bumps and such all over again. I am going to eventually figure out what is causing these swings, but variation in kit is definitely part of the issue. I've noticed much more consistency in my shaves with the injectors because the shave to shave variation in blade isn't as noticeable as with DE blades. My first shave with a Chick has more blade feel and efficiency than my last shave, but it isn't the massive roller coaster swings that I note with even the most consistent of my DE blades: Gillette Yellows.

    I am starting to wonder about the witch hazel and whether it is helping or hurting me. The past few shaves when I haven't used it, my skin has generally felt good. Tighter than normal, slightly less moisturized, but still feeling good. When I get to nighttime, I'm noticing the tiniest bit of dry skin starting to form, so I apply the Thayer's with aloe. Slight sting telling me my skin was dry. I have plenty of unscented balms that I could use, a few without witch hazel. Alum definitely caused irritation for me. What irony if the witch hazel I've used as my cornerstone of post-shave since ditching alum is also causing irritation? Luckily I have the Cremo you sent, Jim, which lacks witch hazel so I can keep things moisturized but eliminate that variable. My suspicion is that it isn't the witch hazel. Rather, it is subtle variations in the kit or my skin on that day that are causing the issue.

    I keep thinking back to a few videos by Big John (mad scientist of wet shaving YouTube channel), where he talked about how your shaves can give you insight into your mental and physical health. Variations in your skin could be telling you that you're sick before you have any symptoms. With all of the stress and chaos I'm currently experiencing, it's hard not to chalk up some of these rough shaves to my current mental state, which is honestly fairly good. I'm happy, if a bit stressed, but I do feel quite inept at work. I'm working on that last part by studying a lot, but things are going pretty well.

    At any rate, I'm going to attempt to switch things up much less than I had been before. Now that I have several of Sudsy Soapery's soaps, I'll be using them more frequently which will make my skin happy. I'll stick to the injectors more now and try to learn the ones I've had difficulty with. But, I'll try to stick with a setup for a week at a time to minimize variation. Exciting times ahead!

    Enjoy the shaves, all!
  3. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    It sure is an ongoing and interesting adventure, Joel. You're better at controlling the variables than me. Not that I can't do a Fixed Four.

    Thanks for mentioning Big John. I should check his stuff again. Plus, I don't recall that particular statement, so I missed something worth finding.

    Whether it's necessary to use a razor for a month or two to learn it is doubtful to me at this point in my shaving journey. Looking back, it probably hurt me to use the Feather AS-D2 as long as I did. My guess is it was never going to work for me, but that is an unconfirmed guess to a degree. I got good shaves only by using too much of something (pressure and/or passes) and hurting my skin. Besides it seems to really favor cap riding. Having discovered design angle shaving makes me wonder whether I should try the AS-D2 at its design angle (neutral angle) or whether its design angle is actually shallow cap riding.

    The AS-D2 is not a razor I've mastered. Either that or it's a razor which has failed me.

    Most new to me razors recently, maybe all of them, I've liked or not liked immediately. The possible exception to that statement is the iKon Tech. Jury's out on the Tech.


    I'm sort of amazed at how good my shaves have been over the last month or so, Joel, and your also. We must have improved!

    I wonder what the learning curve is on two of the razors I'm fixing to begin using, and it's likely wrong to make any assumptions about the Hawk, too.. I don't expect any of the three new razors in my kit to be difficult but how would I know? Still, I think a few days or a week with each of them should be enough time to give me a pretty good idea of how they shave.

    I'm only saying that because it seems like I've been doing fairly okay with a pretty wide variety of razors recently, but a curve ball could be on the way.

    An adventure.

    Not that the injectors aren't another kind of adventure. Love my injectors, yes I do. Reliably good shaves. Easy. Fun. Nimble razors.

    Happy shaves,

  4. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    Every time I use a new razor I hunt my comfort zone. Whether that be shallow or steep or anywhere in between or taken to extremes.

    Once I find the comfort zone for that razor, it will take me a shave or 3 to evaluate the rest. Efficiency, pressure needed, results per number of passes all while using it at the same angle that gives me the comfort I want.

    Pretty much all of razors will give me what I want. The R41 and my Regent being the most difficult to control that comfort/efficiency balance.

    The better I become with any one razor, the less chance of irritation and the wider the window of angle vs comfort.

    PdP 63 I think is opening a new door for me in the comfort department.
  6. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    It took me a while to get my head around that idea, but you're right. There is no spoon(blade), at the right angle.
  7. I've been meaning to write an update post for awhile so here it is, lol. I started putting this into Mike's @Esox journal, but decided to move it here.

    I've been shaving with the General with a Proline, or Schick type F with a Proline almost exclusively for the past several weeks. I took a couple days and used the Gillette Guard, first cartridge shaves since last summer, to get a CCS/DFS when I was in a rush for work a couple days last week. Not a terrible shave, not an excellent one. You can still give yourself weepers with it, btw.

    I've tried to like the Gillette NEW SC, which is what I was commenting on in Mike's thread, but just couldn't get on with it. The General is more forgiving, and more efficient somehow. Efficient for me is now defined by the General: One WTG/XTG hybrid pass, followed by a buffing XTG/ATG pass with minimal or no cleanups needed. My Schick Type F with a Proline can match the General, barely, with this efficiency and equal it in comfort. Usually need some cleanup strokes under my chin and on my neck. The Type E and G haven't gotten a Proline shave yet, so they might be as good as the General or Type F, hard to say right now. I'll try out the RazoRock Hawk V2 again with a Proline once my current one gives up the ghost. Fairly certain this blade is over 20 shaves right now on my face, doing better than the injector blade in the F which was very harsh on my last shave with it (I blame the inability to flip the blade for that harshness). That Proline B blade had 14-16 shaves on it, so with blade flipping the Proline P should get around 28-32 in my General. The Chick blades have typically gone 10-14 shaves. They're just less efficient than the Prolines. The Type E with a Chick requires a WTG/XTG first pass, XTG/ATG hybrid pass, and a third ATG pass on my neck, chin and jawline to get to the same shave as my Type F or General with a Proline.

    I haven't been using the Twin blades and haven't had trouble with ingrown hairs going ATG. I have been getting my adult acne under better control. Getting to this point with my shaves, I occasionally caught an intrafollicular ingrown with the Proline going ATG, and sliced through the skin to the root without noticing during the shave. I'd finish and notice a short linear tracking of blood. I guess that's one way to get rid of an ingrown hair? These were so superficial that I never once felt this slicing occur, and have not gotten any scars from this. In fact, these didnt even leave dark spots like my normal ingrowns do as they resolve.

    The biggest change in my routine that seems to have made all the difference: actual facial care with good products. I have to thank Jim @Chan Eil Whiskers for that. He sent me a bottle of Cremo in one of our trades many months ago, but I just recently started using it. The difference was striking. I have always thought I had oily skin, so figured I needed the alcohol based aftershaves to dry that oil out. I have struggled with bumpy skin for a very long time, attributing it to PFB, ingrown hairs, and maybe a little acne. Turns out: probably was somewhat right on the first two, but it's mostly an acne issue. I spent several of my days off recently reading up on acne (not covered in depth in medical school ironically) and learning about it. I bought a few products from Amazon after doing some intense research, and have noticed a fairly significant difference. More even skin, less bumps (although my face is still adjusting and I am getting some breakouts outside of the beard area).

    I will write up my findings at some point for the newbie forum or the wiki so that it is in a repository for others, but the TL;DR for me was this: wash face 2x/day with a low potency salicylic acid face wash, toner may not be totally necessary after wash, shave after face wash, aftershave is ok for scent, cover with a good quality moisturizer after each face wash, exfoliate once per week. Obviously shave with as few blades as possible, obtain whatever quality of shave I want from the day, use the least scritchy brush possible (my new Turn N Shave quartermoon is beyond excellent for this purpose), use a good quality shave soap/cream. And finally, enjoy my shaves. Hope everyone is doing well.
  8. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    tl;dr: Use SE's and quality products. :001_tt2:
  9. Tokyospike

    Tokyospike Contributor

    Thanks, Joel, good to hear things are going well. Yeah, Jim and Mike are right: decent skin care and SEs. Don’t think we'll get better than the Proline . . .

    I’ve only started to have skin issues in the last few years - some of that annoying pre-cancerous stuff that I’ve had to have frozen off my face. I seem to have halted that (?) or in any case vastly improved the smoothness and clarity of my skin just by paying attention.

    I wash my face with a mild natural bar soap before I shave. On weekends, however, I substitute a very foamy face wash with Origins Checks & Balances soap, and then use Origins Never A Dull Moment scrub/polish on the top half of my face (the lower half gets exfoliated daily with a steel edge). I leave the NADM on my face during the weekend shave so the papaya enzymes can go after the dead skin cells . . . then into the shower. Over the course of a couple of years, I seem to have gotten back my skin from 20 years ago. My diet’s better, too, so that may be helping. Also, the shea butter in the Chatillon Lux post shave salve, which I use sparingly on my whole face, probably isn’t hurting.

    Shave on, brother.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
  10. Long time since I've posted here. I'm doing the FFFMM, and learned a lot lately. Wanted to share that here. @Esox, I know you thought my ingrown hair problem totally solved. Improved, definitely, but not solved...Yet. I think I might be close.

    This was my setup last night:

    Razor: Schick Type I-1 injector
    Blade: Chinese Schick (Chick)
    Brush: TurnNShave Quartermoon synthetic
    Soap: Grooming Dept Veritas
    Aftershave: RazoRock King Louis and Kyoku for Men facial moisturizer

    I started off the month shaving daily. My job is very intense this month with much longer hours and on more days than I'm used to working. Changed my blade on day 4 as I dropped it day 3 and dinged the edge. Same blade since. Around Day 9, I decided to stop shaving daily to try out something new. I know my skin does better with 36 hours between shaves. I began shaving every 48 hours, since I have to be up very early right now this timing was easier than every 36. My results improved dramatically.

    I generally get 3-5 weepers per shave on a good day, and many more on a bad day. I've also struggled with ingrowns for years. Even after coming to wet shaving, I've had some sticking around. Shaving less frequently has made a big difference on the number and severity of the ingrowns. I also get less irritation and almost no weepers now. I added witch hazel before my aftershave around shave 12, which has also seemed to help out my skin a lot. I am acne prone, and my thought was that the high alcohol content in aftershaves was overcharging the sebaceous glands causing the continued acne I've been getting. Using the witch hazel before the aftershave dilutes the alcohol concentration on my skin, or that is my theory. Definitely less acne, although not completely gone.

    My skin is overall much better. The ingrowns on my neck I think were happening because I wasn't giving the whiskers enough time to naturally grow higher above the skin. They sometimes weren't above the skin until my prep swelled them. Then I was shaving them at skin level and they would retract below the skin as they dried out. The angle they were cut at when this happened encouraged an angled growth pattern, leading to the ingrown hairs.

    Gotta thank @Cal again for getting the Fixed Four set up, and Jim @Chan Eil Whiskers for talking me into it last year. Maybe I'll get rid of my skin issues eventually. If I manage that, it'll be because of you guys.

    Trying to hold off on using another kit and stick with the Fixed Four, but the Mamba 70 with a perma sharp is calling my name. Hopefully my willpower holds out.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
  11. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Good deal, Joel.

    I know how important it is to you to have your skin stuff clear up entirely. Sounds like you've made some serious progress recently.

    I have no skin issues remotely akin to yours, but my skin is much better since I've been using the straight razor and better still using exclusively Grooming Dept soaps and such.

    Still, that doesn't mean I'm doing anything you should do (and I noted your Fixed soap; great choice).

    Happy shaves,

  12. Raven Koenes

    Raven Koenes Contributor

    If you manage that it'll be because of some of them guys and despite others. Don't forget your own work! Job well done. :001_smile
  13. Are you taking high dose vitamin E? That's what my dermatologist recommended for warding off future cancerous developments. Not fool-proof but helps a lot apparently.
  14. I finally made progress with a razor that has been my achilles heel for the last year whenever I've tried it: the NEW SC. I ordered a bunch of Astra SPs and Rapira Platinum Lux when I bought my Mamba 70 (which incidentally is now up on the BST as it worked but not well enough) and realized I hadn't used my "sharper voskhod", aka the RPL, in the NEW SC yet. Loaded up an RPL today with WhollyKaw Pasha's Pride and the Stirling Fan Shaped badger in Finest. I love this brush. I took Mike's @Esox advice from another thread and loaded heavily from the WK, and got a very good lather. I recall both Mike and Rabidus mentioning using a shallow angle with the NEW SC, but I know I tend towards a neutral or steep angle. So I started somewhat steep. I had 48 hours of growth on my face, and while not rushed for time I didn't have a lot of it. Steep was a mistake!! It tugged way too much. The teeth were also sharp feeling on my skin. I aborted that stroke before it had made it a quarter inch, trying a neutral angle. That also made it a quarter inch, then I wised up and went shallow. I couldn't feel the blade but I could hear it cutting. I went with that, allowing blade feel to tell me when my angle was too steep, and the noise of the razor working telling me when I was at the right amount of shallow. The result? 3 weepers, all where I had zits before the shave which it lopped off cleanly. But no weepers elsewhere. All previous NEW SC shaves were bloodbaths. I also got a BBS, which wasn't my intent. It just kinda happened with my standard 2 pass shave (XTG, XTG/ATG hybrid). My skin also hasn't looked this good in years. Very light amount of irritation where I had to styptic the weepers, and I have a few zits it didn't open up plus the ones it did, but overall my skin looks and feels great today.

    Problem is, I made a rookie mistake. I changed up WAY too many variables. Only constant from yesterday's shave was my brush. Otherwise, it's all different. I'll have to give it a few more shaves after Easter (apparently we are going out of town, just found that out today).

    On a side note, I've been shaving with my DEs more frequently of late. Tried to like the Mamba 70 but it just wasn't my cup of tea. Enjoyed my Schick Krona which is what made me decide to dump the Mamba 70. Now enjoyed one shave with the NEW SC. I did buy 100 perma sharp supers to get to free shipping from Maggard. Maybe I'll have to use all of them up? I'm enjoying my DEs lately, so here's hoping the perma sharps work in all my razors and not just the Krona...
  15. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    The NEW SC and the Schick Krona! What's happening here, Joel? Where are your injectors, my friend?

    Happy shaves regardless,

  16. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    The more you use your WK the easier it will be to load. I've found soaps soften quite a bit with continued use.

    I didnt find the Rapira Plat Lux very sharp. It wasnt a good choice for me in my SC, or any other razors. It is smooth but I can see you having some tugging issues Joel.

    The SC is a very rigid design. I've found with such rigid designs that I needed to step up my blade choice because theres no 'give' in the razor or blade. It's like @rabidus said, you'll feel exactly how difficult to cut your stubble is, thats true. Imagine a very stiff and rigidly held blade. As the blade encounters the hairs, if it doesnt pass through the hairs well for you, its going to tug because the blade cant flex and act like a shock absorber. Something has to give and in that case its the hair being tugged. Now imagine a less rigidly held blade. As it encounters the hairs it flexes, even just a tiny bit. That flex acts like a shock absorber limiting how much tugging takes place while cutting under spring pressure. Again, something has to give, but now its the blade flexing instead of tugging. This is why I think its far more important to find the blades that have coatings that allow the blade to cut through your hairs composition with the least resistance possible.

    Now think about the inherent rigidity in the designs of both the Mamba and the SC. The Mamba offers far less baseplate support than the SC so if you found the Rapira a more comfortable blade in it, this is why.

    This is also why I prefer Derby Extra over most other DE blades. All my DE razors but one, my R41, are very rigid designs and none have any 'give' built into them. Derby Extra blades are very mild and I can use more pressure with them which can also limit any tugging because the hairs are being cut in a more forceful manner.

    I'll bet if you have a close look at the edges of the teeth in the comb you'll find them rough. I would think that can happen over the years from misuse or who knows what but it would be a simple 30 second fix if you're so inclined. Lay a piece of very fine wet sandpaper in the palm of your hand, I use 600grit, and gently roll the teeth across that paper and make them smoother, then do the same with a polishing compound. I'll bet after you do that you dont feel that sharpness or roughness on them.

    The SC is a great razor. I need to use mine again but after using nothing but the MMOC for I dont know how long now, I highly doubt any DE will stack up. DE blades are like sending a boy to do a mans job.

    The Planer Effect. It's real! The more rigid the design, the more pronounced that effect can be. Its a very notable feature of the Fatip OC and even more so, the MMOC.
  17. I found it sharp enough for that shave if my angle was shallow enough. The follow-up shave was back to being uncomfortable and blood filled.

    I've traded for an open to clean Schick E-2 recently, and bought some secondhand DE razors. A couple super speeds, and old type, a MMOC, and a merkur 37c. The 37c is my favourite of them so far, but it's also the only one I've used a perma sharp in. I tried a couple blades in it before the perma sharp, but I'm done blade searching for it. Very comfortable, efficient enough. Two passes for a solid dfs to BBS. Have to had to use my nick stick for weepers in two shaves now. Going to continue using this combo for awhile. I've used different soaps and brushes, keeping the same results. I'm quite impressed. My skin is really liking it too. Hope I'm not being overly optimistic. But I may have just found my daily driver of a razor. Who'd have thought it'd be a DE, and a merkur at that!?

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
  18. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Amazing, Joel.

    Have you tried the E-2 steep or at the design angle (neutral angle)?

    Happy shaves,

  19. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    A slant! Have you used a slant before Joel?

    I remember hearing rumors about a Fatip slant seemingly a lifetime ago...
  20. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    I suspect if I were going to use a DE razor it might be a slant. A Fatip Slant (mine's in transit).

    Slants FourSlants.4Slants.MySlants.9-18.640.jpg

    Actually, there are several slants in my little collection of them that I like, but the one that I think I most want hasn't arrived yet.

    I'll be interested in hearing about yours, Joel.

    Happy shaves,


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