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Took the plunge, need some guidance

I have been lurking around these forums for a while. A few months ago I purchased the AOS kit with brush, oil, etc and tried them out. I have always had problems with a rash on my neck that appears after I shave. The use of the brush and aftershave balm, and changing the pressure I put on the razor seemed to minimize this. I enjoy the brush and lather so much that I have purchased 2 additional higher quality brushes and several high quality creams. So this week I took the plunge and purchased a Merkur HD razor as I have been using a Fusion this whole time. I tried it tonight with one pass from top to bottom on my face with pretty good results (only a few cuts.) So at this point I need some guidance on how to improve my technique. I see posts reffering to different passes and intervals for moving through the different passes while adjusting to the DE. Is there any place on this forum where I can reference this information? Where can I purchase a sampler blade pack (only used the Merkur blade so far)? Thanks in advance for any help!
sounds like you are off to a great start! There's tons of good info in the many, many posts to raed here. So I would advise you to keep reading, experimenting, and doing what works best for you.
One conclusion I have come to: always, always, always re-lather between passes! I found that - for me - this makes a world of difference.
The Merkur HD is probably the best razor out there. It always seems to be everyone's favourite.
Good luck!
cjbe1975 (Do you have a name?)

Sounds like you are off to a great start. Let me toss in a few ideas. First, learn the growth pattern of your beard. Rub your hands over your unshaven face. This will help you determine what "with the grain", "across the grain" and "against" the grain means. For the first week, possibly two, shave only with the grain. These shaves will be far from perfect, but they should be bloodless and you can focus on your technique. When you feel ready, add a second pass "across" the grain. Each pass may result in going in more than one direction on a single pass. That's because your beard does not grow in only one direction. Someone will probably chime in with North-South, South-Norh, East-West passes. Ignore those terms. Finally, remember that each pass is designed to reduce beard stubble, not eliminate it all at once. Joe Lerch taught me that important tip.

Take your time, focus on what you are doing, and before long, you'll be getting great shaves.

Welcome to B&B

the rash on your neck is probably caused by a small patch of hair growing in a different direction than the rest. like ray said check that spot and make sure that you shave it with the grain.
use no pressure on the razor. try using a two or three fingure grip on the end of the handle. this will make it hard for you to apply pressure to the razor. also if the razor seems to catch dont force it since you have probably hit a patch with a different growth direction, just go at that spot from a different direction until it shaves with no effort.
best of luck and welcome to the site.

I'm just starting off as well, and I've picked up a few things in my month of using the HD. The first thing, like everyone keeps stressing, is to use very light pressure. Let the weight of the razor do its thing. At first, I was saying to myself, what the heck are these guys talking about, weight of the razor? No Pressure? How will it cut? Trust them, it does. =) The second thing is that the 30 degree angle is an approximation. The angle for each individual's face will vary, and there will be some spots on your face where you'll have to either increase or decrease the angle. Letting your beard grow out for a few days so you can map your grain works wonders too. You also might want to pick up one of letterk's blade samplers so you can find the blade that works best for your face. It seems that each person has a blade or two that works best with their face. Good luck to you!
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