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Very bad shave irritation! (Bad aftershave routine/skincare?)

I recently starting using my first safety razor and love the idea of it....but so far it doesn't love me back. I have always struggled with razor bumps, razor burn and ingrown hairs on my neck while using a generic cartridge razor. But not nearly as bad as I do now after using a safety razor and new products. I have spent several hours watching youtube videos and searching the web for answers.

My skin and shave routine/products: I'd say I have sensitive combination skin. Shave on average 3-4 days per week. I use a gentle foaming facial cleanser in a warm shower and have tried exfoliating cleansers as well. I then run my badger hair brush under hot water for a minute or so. Shake the brush out. Apply a small dollop of Taylor of Old Bond Street Royal Forest Shaving Cream. Create a nice lather using circular motions to stand the hairs up, then smooth it out so there is no clumps. Run my Parker safety razor under hot water and begin shaving with the grain and no pressure, trying to not go over the same spot twice (still learning the technique of shaving with a safety razor.) Once I'm done, I splash my face with warm water and rub off all ruminants of lather. Followed by several splashes of cold water. Pat dry with a clean towel.... THIS IS WHERE I BELIEVE A LOT OF MY ISSUES COME FROM AND CANT FIND THE RIGHT ANSWERS...

Here are some products I've used for aftershave:
1.) I apply witch hazel and call it a day. Or apply witch hazel, followed by cerave daily moisturizer.
2.) Apply witch hazel followed by Clubman No Bumps Gel
3.) Apply Clubman No Bumps Gel

I'm starting to think that my skin and shave irritation become more aggravated by harsh alcohol products like the no bumps gel. I believe finding the right products for my skin will alleviate a vast amounts of the irritation followed by becoming more experienced with a safety razor and possibly try other remedies like shaving everyday or cold water shaves. Looking into trying lucky tiger tonic followed by some kind of post shave balm or Grooming Lounge Kit. Open to all product recommendations and advice! Thank you!

IMG_0498.jpgImmediately after shaving and apply Clubman No Bumps Gel.
IMG_0503.jpg1 hour after.
IMG_0510.jpgNext day (about 19 hours later and a shower with gentle foaming cleanser followed by cerave daily moisturizer on face and neck)
 
First, welcome to B&B.

From the photos you posted it appears that your problem is more related to technique rather than products.

Putting too much pressure on your razor will result in cuts, nicks, and irritation. Let the weight of the razor do the work for you. I find that using the correct grip can make a big difference. I use 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 so that it stays on your face and without it falling from your hand. The wiki deals with holding a razor and may help you. You may have to click on the photos to show the pics.

Finally, look here for blade angle.
 

shavefan

I’m not a fan
It looks like you are going through the new learning process of DE shaving. You'll get it down, but takes practice.

My advice would be to not try for a smooth shave in one pass, take the hairs down in stages. A light hand is your friend.

Good luck and welcome!
 
I assume you've already tried this, but I didn't see you mention it:

What if you don't use any post-shave products at all? Do you still have the same irritation?
I have not tried that while using the safety razor. Only in the past with multi blade cartridges and barbasol shaving cream lol.

By transitioning to DE shaving (still learning) AND alcohol based product, I could be creating a 2x the amount of irritation. After I finish shaving, my skin is very irritated due to my lack of experience it sounds like. However, maybe for now I need a post shave balm for sensitive skin? Then once I master DE shaving, try no aftershave? Thanks!
 
I have not tried that while using the safety razor. Only in the past with multi blade cartridges and barbasol shaving cream lol.

By transitioning to DE shaving (still learning) AND alcohol based product, I could be creating a 2x the amount of irritation. After I finish shaving, my skin is very irritated due to my lack of experience it sounds like. However, maybe for now I need a post shave balm for sensitive skin? Then once I master DE shaving, try no aftershave? Thanks!

No, I'm suggesting your rule out your post shave products as the cause of your irritation, right now, before you move onto trying other remedies.

As an experiment, for your next shave: immediately after the shave carefully inspect your skin. Do you have less irritation than usual? Now apply your post shave products and inspect your skin again. Does irritation now show up seemingly out of nowhere?

If your irritation increases after using the post shave products then that should tell you where your problem is.

If it's the same (which I'm guessing it will be) then your irritation is caused by something else.

Whatever you change, only change one thing at a time, that way you will know which thing is responsible for your success when you get it.
 
If you have sensitive skin, using a badger (or any animal hair) brush may not be a good idea. You may want to look into using a synthetic brush. If you do stay with a badger brush, you may want to reconsider holding the brush under hot water instead if soaking the knot in warm (or cold) water during your preshave.

Also, you may want to reconsider running your razor under hot water. While it may not affect your shave very much, some folks have reported that using hot water on their blades during shaving causes some problems that are alleviated by using cold water instead.

Oh, one more point you may want to reconsider is your shave soap. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to opt for a shave soap with sensitive skin formula. Since you seem to like TOBS, you may want to consider trying Jermyn Street.
 
I just want to join the chorus:

Go back to basics.

. . . To reduce shaving irritation, reduce pressure on the head of the razor.

"No pressure" means no pressure, not "half as much pressure as I'd use on a cartridge razor". Imagine a straight-razor going over skin -- its edge floats over a thin film of lather, cutting beard hairs, but never actually touching the skin:

. . . That's what you want, with your Parker and a sharp blade.

It won't work with a dull blade (and some blades are dull, fresh out of the package), because a dull blade needs pressure to cut.

Lots of people say that, if you have post-shave irritation, you should use only non-alcoholic post-shave products. Look for the word "Balm" in the name -- it's not a guarantee, but most "balms" don't use alcohol. (I think Nivea makes a non-alcoholic post-shave balm, designed for "sensitive skin".)

I have tried using "uber-lather" -- lather with some extra glycerin added. I've tried that, and it's been OK. I _think_ the glycerin increases the film strength of lather, and maybe it lasts a little bit longer. It might help reduce razor burn irritation. As my technique improved, I used it less, and finally gave it up.

I don't use any post-shave stuff at all.

. Charles
 

JCarr

More Deep Thoughts than Jack Handy
Just my opinion based on the photos you provided...but I've seen a lot worse than that...and some of the a lot worse was my neck. I don't think you're very far from real success and freedom from nastiness.

As others have already suggested, let the razor and blade do the work...no pressure on the handle.

The right razor blade helps. Try different blades to find one or two or four that seem to work well in your razor and agree with your skin.

A good slick soap can help the process. I didn't used to think that until I found a few soaps that were way slicker than most. Stirling Mutton Tallow soaps fit that bill.

Cold water shaving helped me. Cold water splash before and after and for rinsing your razor during the shave.

Every time you shave, you should use the same routines and patterns. A chaotic, irregular shave regimen invites mistakes and unknowns.

Too many passes invites irritation. Know when to stop and in the beginning...don't chase BBS. BBS comes with time and experience. It also comes regularly when you find the razor and blade that's right for you.

Along with the above in reference to passes...lather with every pass. Don't skimp on this important point. The lather is the protection when you shave. To make strokes and passes without it invites nicks, cuts and irritation.

As far as Lucky Tiger goes...it's a pretty good product.

Good luck and Happy Shaves!
 
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Welcome to B&B, it is a learning curve for all new folks who decide to venture into traditional wet shaving.
Lots of good advice already given on improving better technique. Stay away from certain blades like Derby extra at first, Derby Premium is a much better blade IMO. Lots of suppliers give a tuck of Derby Extra when you buy a razor.
I would suggest you map your beard if you have not already because it will help you a lot. Some folks can not go ATG because it will give all kinds of issues like irritation and ingrown hairs because it shaves to close for some folks.
Stop chasing the BBS at first and go for the enjoyable shave and you will be surprised how well a shave you get.
Cold water rinsing after each pass calms the skin and feels a lot better than hot water.
Reduce the amount of passes to 2 and see it that helps.
(print one off, it is a weird photo) 2 to 3 days growth will give you a better understanding of your growth. Visual is the best method of grain structure directions.
beard map (2).jpg
Have some great shaves!
 

JCarr

More Deep Thoughts than Jack Handy
Just noticed from your thread that you're using TOBS shave cream...good choice! That's a slick product that produces heaps and gobs of slick lather. I always like the way my face feels after using TOBS. You could have started off with something that wasn't nearly as good as TOBS shave cream. I would say that you have a winner in TOBS.
 
You don't mention what razor and blade you're using. That could be crucial. Another newcomer recently posted with similar problems, and his bumps and irritation were wholly cured by getting a different razor.

Razor: Parker 64S

Blades: Shark Super Stainless Blades (only ones I have tried so far.) I also have Astra Superior Platinum Double Edge blades and Voskhod Bocxon Teflon Coated blades that I am yet to try.
 
I know you’re getting a lot of info thrown at you but I want to reiterate trying some different blades. I’m just getting started again after having tried and given up before. When I look back at why I am fairly certain it’s because I was provided blades that didn’t work for me. I bought a sampler this time for like $15 and have found several that work well. All the other info I’ve read here is important as well but I just wanted to drive this point home a bit. Best of luck!
 
I know you’re getting a lot of info thrown at you but I want to reiterate trying some different blades. I’m just getting started again after having tried and given up before. When I look back at why I am fairly certain it’s because I was provided blades that didn’t work for me. I bought a sampler this time for like $15 and have found several that work well. All the other info I’ve read here is important as well but I just wanted to drive this point home a bit. Best of luck!

Thanks for the advice! When you switched to a "good" blade, did you notice right away with the first shave? With all this advice and knowledge from others, I'm not sure where to start (trying cold water shaves, or new blade, or a post shave balm, etc.) Like someone mentioned before, change one thing at a time.

Although it may be overwhelming and frustrating right now, I am excited to slowly try different recommendations until I find what works best for me and master DE shaving!
 
Thanks for the advice! When you switched to a "good" blade, did you notice right away with the first shave? With all this advice and knowledge from others, I'm not sure where to start (trying cold water shaves, or new blade, or a post shave balm, etc.) Like someone mentioned before, change one thing at a time.

Although it may be overwhelming and frustrating right now, I am excited to slowly try different recommendations until I find what works best for me and master DE shaving!

In my case, because I was using a blade that was so wrong for me, it was night and day. You’ll see discussions of blades being sharp and efficient or smooth and forgiving however it really is a personal thing. I have had good luck with making my way through a 30 blade (15 brands, 2 each) sampler that I got for like $8. Some have been great, some not, and most in the middle. I had a fantastic shave with a Derby Extra a few days ago and, from what I can tell, most people dislike them. I’ve also liked more popular ones like Gillette Silver Blue or Bic Chrome Platinum. Like you mentioned, it’s a lot of fun trying new things and blades are generally one of the cheapest things you can experiment with. 👍
 
First, welcome to B&B.

From the photos you posted it appears that your problem is more related to technique rather than products.

Putting too much pressure on your razor will result in cuts, nicks, and irritation. Let the weight of the razor do the work for you. I find that using the correct grip can make a big difference. I use 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 so that it stays on your face and without it falling from your hand. The wiki deals with holding a razor and may help you. You may have to click on the photos to show the pics.

Finally, look here for blade angle.

+1! Great advice!

Technique trumps most everything else in ‘traditional’ wet shaving. Focus on:
1. NO pressure!
2. Maintaining proper razor angle.

Stick with this and your results will improve!
 
Hi man

When looking at your pictures I get a deja-vu!
This is exactly what my neck looked like in the beginning.

What really worked for me was this:
-Do NOT push down on your face when shaving, this willl probably be your biggest mistake.
I solved it by buying a heavier razor, helped somehow and I notice that when I do use the ones that are lighter (like my dad's vintage Gillette twist) I end up pushing it too hard everytime.
But your Parker already is suite heavy.
- your neck seems to suffer more than cheeks, chin, stache area, as did mine. I bought an adjustable razor and use a smaller blade gap for my neck.
(I know, I'm a fraud and unworthy of these fora but there you have it... 😛)
- I lather, then put a hot towel on my face for half a minute to a minute. Feels absolutely wonderful fresh out of bed!
Then relather and shave.

These three things really changed things around for me.
 
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