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What I use for sensitive skin and tough beard.

Sorry for such a long post. But this may help others with a tough beard and/or sensitive skin. Please note YMMV. This is what works for me. However I still have many more experiments to do. The rabbit hole demands it!;] I am 52 years old. I have been wet shaving for about a year. Just got into straights. There are so many things that can mess up your skin. Even if your technique is good. I have a tough beard with sensitive skin. But at least my beard grows straight down. I shave every other day. I am a cold water shaver. But I take a warm shower first. This is a list of products that I am using at the moment.
1. Wash face with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap.
2. Straight Jojoba Oil as a pre shave.
3. TOBS Sandalwood Shave Cream. I also like MWF, Lather And Wood Sandalwood, and Proraso Red Cream.
4.Aqua Velva Ice Blue
5.Walmart brand witch hazel.
6. Lather And Wood Sandalwood After Shave Balm, or Duke Cannon Ice Cold Balm.
7. Pea sized amount of Corn Huskers Lotion mixed with 3 drops of Jojoba oil just before bed.
8. Meiji adjustable razor or Merkur 42001.
9. Wilkinson Sword blades. [the German ones]
Now I will comment about products and technique. I try to follow others advice about changing only one thing at a time for several shaves. But this requires great discipline because of the rabbit hole. And to think that there was a time when I used to think that these guys on this forum are just nuts! Why do you need so many different products? You only need one type of razor, blades, soap, after shave,etc. Ha! What a fool I was! I have now seen the light or maybe darkness of the rabbithole. Anyhow.
1. My face does not like sodium lauryl sulfates or certain heavy scents or other chemicals. I try to use a face soap that is more natural with a minimum of ingredients. Also, I don't exfoliate right before I shave. I do it the night before with shower shamy that I bought at Publix. [kind of like a luffa, but it comes as a long somewhat rough cloth that is easier to wash your back with. I only exfoliate on the nights before I shave. The rest of my showers I gently wash my face with my hands. I buy Dr. Bronner's soap at Walmart. They have different kinds. But I like the way the peppermint feels. Very cooling, but does not burn my skin like Noxzema does.
2. I have tried to use soaps without a pre shave product. But my skin is just to girly. Use whatever pre shave works for you. But if you use a oil; you will save lots of money by making your own. That way you will have much more money to buy other stuff! Yes. I know, that damn rabbithole again! Anyhow I like straight Jojoba oil. For more info; see my post on it.
A big game changer for me is cold water shaving. There are many post on this forum about it. However, I do take a warm shower first. My water does not get that hot anyhow. And since I live in Florida, my water does not get ice cold. I was very doubtful at first. But my skin is not as red as it used to be.
3. Use a good soap! I like soaps that have glycerin and/or tallow. Sheabutter is good also. Scents in most soaps don't bother me as much as a product that is left on my skin. But some can't stand scents at all. So try unscented soaps. Or soaps with very little. MWF is really good. But some are sensitive to the lanoline in it.
4. I like to use a alcohol based splashed. Always followed by a balm. I have tried a Alum block. But my skin does not like it at all. However they are not that expensive to try. I use mine as a deodorant. You will here all kinds of hate about alcohol splashes. But I like Aqua Velva Ice Blue because the menthol really cools my skin. I keep mine in the fridge! It also has glycerin in it. And it is not loaded with a whole lot of stuff in it. The scent fades quickly.
5. You can use witch hazel instead of alcohol splashes. Some brands are alcohol free. But mine only has 14% alcohol anyhow. I use it after the aftershave splash has dried on my face. I just splash it on. I leave it wet because the Lather and Wood Balm is much easier to spread on my face.
6. Balms are great for sensitive skin. I like Lather And Wood because of the natural ingredients in it. Lots of good stuff in it like aloe,shea butter,coconut oil,glycerine etc. They have unscented as well. But the sandalwood is very mild and fades very quickly. Duke Cannon works well for me. But it is strong in menthol which can bother some. It has a strong minty smell that goes away in a few minutes.
8. I like a mild razor. A adjustable is great because you can control the aggressiveness of the shave. My merkur 42001 was given to me by a friend. The Meiji adjustable is what I mostly use now.
9. I used to like Feathers. They cut through my steel beard like butter. ….But they are somewhat harsh for me. I right now I am using Wilkinson Swords. They are sharp enough for me, so much smoother than the Feathers! I have a few more to try. Try A Blade.Com Lets you order as few as you want.
7. Brain fade! I use aftershavebalm at night followed by a small amount of Corn Husker's Lotion mixed in my palm with 3 drops of Jojoba Oil before bed. The Lotion is high in glycerin and helps spread the oil. Even though I have somewhat acne prone skin; Jojoba Oil does not cause me to break out. Anyhow, I hope this may be of help to others. Please feel free to ask me any question. This is not meant to be a list of all the great products out there. This is only what I am using at this time. As always YMMV. Feel free to experiment. That is half the fun! Have a great day and have a great shave!
 
great post, Sir Dave!

Let me add just one suggestion...

In pre-shave, SCRUB the face with your soap of choice and, important, a Washcloth!
Get all that old face oil off!

Happy shaving!
Thanks. That would be much better than my lufa like shower shamy. But I do wash my face with the soap that I mentioned. It does do a great job of removing oil even using my hands. It never came to mind to use a washcloth. When did they come out with that invention? Can I buy them at Walmart? If not, can you sell me some? Name your price sir! ;] I am truly sorry. Sometimes I get just a little silly. I blame it on the fumes from my TOBS and Proraso Sandalwood soaps!
 
Sorry for such a long post. But this may help others with a tough beard and/or sensitive skin. Please note YMMV. This is what works for me. However I still have many more experiments to do. The rabbit hole demands it!;] I am 52 years old. I have been wet shaving for about a year. Just got into straights. There are so many things that can mess up your skin. Even if your technique is good. I have a tough beard with sensitive skin. But at least my beard grows straight down. I shave every other day. I am a cold water shaver. But I take a warm shower first. This is a list of products that I am using at the moment.
1. Wash face with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap.
2. Straight Jojoba Oil as a pre shave.
3. TOBS Sandalwood Shave Cream. I also like MWF, Lather And Wood Sandalwood, and Proraso Red Cream.
4.Aqua Velva Ice Blue
5.Walmart brand witch hazel.
6. Lather And Wood Sandalwood After Shave Balm, or Duke Cannon Ice Cold Balm.
7. Pea sized amount of Corn Huskers Lotion mixed with 3 drops of Jojoba oil just before bed.
8. Meiji adjustable razor or Merkur 42001.
9. Wilkinson Sword blades. [the German ones]
Now I will comment about products and technique. I try to follow others advice about changing only one thing at a time for several shaves. But this requires great discipline because of the rabbit hole. And to think that there was a time when I used to think that these guys on this forum are just nuts! Why do you need so many different products? You only need one type of razor, blades, soap, after shave,etc. Ha! What a fool I was! I have now seen the light or maybe darkness of the rabbithole. Anyhow.
1. My face does not like sodium lauryl sulfates or certain heavy scents or other chemicals. I try to use a face soap that is more natural with a minimum of ingredients. Also, I don't exfoliate right before I shave. I do it the night before with shower shamy that I bought at Publix. [kind of like a luffa, but it comes as a long somewhat rough cloth that is easier to wash your back with. I only exfoliate on the nights before I shave. The rest of my showers I gently wash my face with my hands. I buy Dr. Bronner's soap at Walmart. They have different kinds. But I like the way the peppermint feels. Very cooling, but does not burn my skin like Noxzema does.
2. I have tried to use soaps without a pre shave product. But my skin is just to girly. Use whatever pre shave works for you. But if you use a oil; you will save lots of money by making your own. That way you will have much more money to buy other stuff! Yes. I know, that damn rabbithole again! Anyhow I like straight Jojoba oil. For more info; see my post on it.
A big game changer for me is cold water shaving. There are many post on this forum about it. However, I do take a warm shower first. My water does not get that hot anyhow. And since I live in Florida, my water does not get ice cold. I was very doubtful at first. But my skin is not as red as it used to be.
3. Use a good soap! I like soaps that have glycerin and/or tallow. Sheabutter is good also. Scents in most soaps don't bother me as much as a product that is left on my skin. But some can't stand scents at all. So try unscented soaps. Or soaps with very little. MWF is really good. But some are sensitive to the lanoline in it.
4. I like to use a alcohol based splashed. Always followed by a balm. I have tried a Alum block. But my skin does not like it at all. However they are not that expensive to try. I use mine as a deodorant. You will here all kinds of hate about alcohol splashes. But I like Aqua Velva Ice Blue because the menthol really cools my skin. I keep mine in the fridge! It also has glycerin in it. And it is not loaded with a whole lot of stuff in it. The scent fades quickly.
5. You can use witch hazel instead of alcohol splashes. Some brands are alcohol free. But mine only has 14% alcohol anyhow. I use it after the aftershave splash has dried on my face. I just splash it on. I leave it wet because the Lather and Wood Balm is much easier to spread on my face.
6. Balms are great for sensitive skin. I like Lather And Wood because of the natural ingredients in it. Lots of good stuff in it like aloe,shea butter,coconut oil,glycerine etc. They have unscented as well. But the sandalwood is very mild and fades very quickly. Duke Cannon works well for me. But it is strong in menthol which can bother some. It has a strong minty smell that goes away in a few minutes.
8. I like a mild razor. A adjustable is great because you can control the aggressiveness of the shave. My merkur 42001 was given to me by a friend. The Meiji adjustable is what I mostly use now.
9. I used to like Feathers. They cut through my steel beard like butter. ….But they are somewhat harsh for me. I right now I am using Wilkinson Swords. They are sharp enough for me, so much smoother than the Feathers! I have a few more to try. Try A Blade.Com Lets you order as few as you want.
7. Brain fade! I use aftershavebalm at night followed by a small amount of Corn Husker's Lotion mixed in my palm with 3 drops of Jojoba Oil before bed. The Lotion is high in glycerin and helps spread the oil. Even though I have somewhat acne prone skin; Jojoba Oil does not cause me to break out. Anyhow, I hope this may be of help to others. Please feel free to ask me any question. This is not meant to be a list of all the great products out there. This is only what I am using at this time. As always YMMV. Feel free to experiment. That is half the fun! Have a great day and have a great shave!
I am posting a reply to my own post because I forgot two things. For some of us ATG is a no go. I only do WTG and XTG both directions. But I get a almost BBS shave. 2 pass WTG only on neck. If I rub my face downwards or across it feels BBS. But It would not pass the military rub a credit card AGT test! My shaves are so close that I can get by with shaving every other day unless I was in the military. I also wanted to say that night shaving might be better form some. That way your skin has a chance to heal more before being exposed to sunlight, sweet, or neckties, etc. Also you are not as rushed to shave before work in the morning. …… And if you have a special female in you life you will be smooth for any special activities before bed!...….Ah yes! Memories.;]
 
I am fairly similar in terms of what I use and I have sensitive/dry skin and tough stubble. I now use Kinexium oil as a preshave and it makes a world of difference. I also find mildly scented creams/soaps work best. MWF, Erasmic and Proraso blue work well for me. Shower shaving also really helps me to soften stubble in conjunction with preshave oil.

What has made a massive difference to me recently has been using an intensive moisturiser at night (Nivea Sensitive Intensive). This has really made my skin less sensitive and improved its condition over the last few weeks.
 
I am posting a reply to my own post because I forgot two things. For some of us ATG is a no go. I only do WTG and XTG both directions. But I get a almost BBS shave. 2 pass WTG only on neck. If I rub my face downwards or across it feels BBS. But It would not pass the military rub a credit card AGT test! My shaves are so close that I can get by with shaving every other day unless I was in the military. I also wanted to say that night shaving might be better form some. That way your skin has a chance to heal more before being exposed to sunlight, sweet, or neckties, etc. Also you are not as rushed to shave before work in the morning. …… And if you have a special female in you life you will be smooth for any special activities before bed!...….Ah yes! Memories.;]
I have similar issues like you. A bit less sensitive but oily skin with eczema around chin. Now I’m more inclined to cold shaving before midnight. Instead of hot bath before, I’m perform deep cleaning and applying preshave with appropriate products from Proraso. While shaving I prefer a very close single pass with either shavette or straight. I prefer Bolsano blades in case with shavette. After shaving, I’m applying my medication cream to eczema area, the petit remedy gel from l’occitane or Bepanjel from Bayer to irritated areas and a mousturizer all over face. Followed by non or low alcoholic after shave like 4711. As my eczema getting better in meanwhile I able to use low alcohol aftershaves also.
 
Dave,

Thanks for sharing your interesting ideas. I too like cold water shaving, but I have hard water and it's difficult to whip up a lather with a brush and cool water. Do you make lather with cool water or with warm water?
 
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