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Thread: First truly good shave without irritation. Advice to new DE shavers.

  1. #1
    Member MisterSensitive's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Default First truly good shave without irritation. Advice to new DE shavers.

    After many years trying to shave with a DE razor, giving up, and moving back to cartriges, I've finally given myself a socially acceptable shave (bordering on BBS) with almost no irritation and no cuts. As my name implies, I have extremely sensitive skin. Even shaving with an electric razor causes issues. Here are a few things I did this time that really made a difference.

    1. Patience - I'm naturally impatient. What usually happens is I do one or two passes, am frustrated and dissatisfied with my progress, and then try to hurry up and finish the last pass or even switch to an against-the-grain shave with a cartridge. It always ends poorly. This time around, I shaved at night so I had a lot of time and really went slowly, making sure to take as much time as I needed.

    2. Zero pressure - I took a few passes over certain areas and was still dissatisfied with the length of my stubble. Usually, I would put a little more pressure on the blade. This sometimes worked, but it would almost always end with irritation or a cut. This time around, I made it an absolute must to never use more pressure than necessary to keep the blade against my skin. I stretched my skin out with one hand, gently brushed the razor against the area, and eventually got the length I wanted. I found I could even pass the area multiple times and not get irritated as long as I used extremely light pressure.

    3. Leaving well enough alone - I could have continued shaving and trying to get closer, but after a certain point, I knew that any extra micron of stubble I could get off would be completely unnoticeable to anyone standing more than a foot away from me, so I left it alone. Equally as important, if a certain area of my face had a good enough shave (even if it was just after the first or second pass), I did not go over it again at all. My 3rd pass was more of a "touch up" since some areas of my face were fine after two. Going against the grain turned out to be OK as long as I was excruciatingly careful not to go too fast or use too much pressure.

    I'd like to mention that these are all things I "knew" beforehand, but sometimes it takes making a few mistakes yourself to truly understand why these tips are so important.

    This is just my experience. Do what works for you. Just hope my experience can help someone else trying to get into the world of gourmet shaving.

    Shave: Chrome Merkur Futura (set to 3) with an Astra Stainless blade, Proraso green with some Art of Shaving pre-shave oil, a best badger brush, and Thayer's lavender witch hazel.

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    Kyriaco (07-21-2017)

  3. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth Gasman's Avatar
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    No preasure is the key. Its hard to get into your head what that really means. It took me a while to make it sink in to ise no preasure. Now that im using straights, im happy i learned what no preasure means as it is even more important with a straight. And the saying "shave the lather, not the whiskers" helps too.
    Congrads and keep it up.
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  4. #3
    Senior Member ZipZop's Avatar
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    The worst razor burn I ever had in my life was the first time I shaved DE with a Feather blade. Too much pressure, too many passes, and the result was "The Razor Burn From Hell". Changing to other blades helped, but the key was truly backing way off on pressure and letting the razor do the work. I had gotten into a very bad habit of shaving in the shower or steam room at my health club at that time and being "sloppy" and "in a hurry" only contributed to the irritation. These days, I'm fine with Feather blades, although my beloved Voskhod blades will be in my DE razors for as long as they are available.

    BTW, Proraso Green happens to be my ultimate favorite line of shaving product. I have noticed that their jar of "Pre-Shave" really does work better with their cream than any "Oils" I have ever tried. And their Green Aftershave and/or Balm really puts a nice finishing touch on my skin. This is alcohol dependent. If you don't like alcohol then the balm is the way to go. Some gentlemen swear by using the Proraso Pre-Shave as a Post shave balm as well, but for me it's just a pre-shave application. They tout their White line as being better for sensitive skin, but for me, the menthol in the Green is just the ticket, and I much prefer their cream over their soap.

    Keep up the good work!

    "I get some lather and lather-up, then I get my razor and shave! Zip Zop, see that? My face Is ripped to shreads!" - Bill Cosby on Shaving

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    Kyriaco (07-21-2017)

  6. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Some really good advice there. I think it would be applicable when using any type of razor, DE/SE or straight razor.

    I would add that hand in hand with no pressure goes the right angle on the blade. That varies between the classes of razors and even slightly within those classes.

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  7. #5
    Special Agent Gibbs's Avatar
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    Try a Personna Lab Blue blade sometime. Plentiful at any shaving store, Amazon and at Buy Individual Razor Blades for Double Edge, Single Edge and Shavettes where you can get as few as 1 blade if you want to try. Seriously, I've shaved a lot with different blades and Astra is alright, but my finding is that for smooth shave and pretty close, the Lab Personna is hard to beat.
    ~~ Vern ~~
    I was born with nothing and managed to keep most of it.
    Former Nebraskan. Go Big Red

  8. #6
    Member Corgi's Avatar
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    Funny--I have *never* experienced razor burn using a safety razor, even when I was a rank beginner. I do, however, only use single-edge razors like Gem Junior, that don't leave any of the edge exposed. These also have the built-in advantage of laying the blade at the perfect angle on your face without you even being conscious of it, while their handle-heavy balance helps a feather touch.

    I've had friends who did experience some pretty serious burns with a DE safety razor. YMMV.

  9. #7
    Senior Member RollinCoal69's Avatar
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    I agree this is all very good advice. While technique and lather and patience are all important, these are normally learned skills. The one point you said that sticks with me is “leaving well enough alone”!!! I see it regularly where a beginner wet shaver wants BBS out of the gate. We all know where that leads.
    BobH and Dieseld like this.
    "The black smoke is just lost power"

  10. #8
    Member athiker's Avatar
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    I grew up shaving with a Gillette 3 piece Tech. ( I'm geezing ). Therefore, I've never had razor burn issues; however, BobH and everyone are correct. Very light pressure . . . Let the razor do the work. But one thing you might consider is your beard grain as regard to your passes; i.e., 1st pass - with grain, etc. Someone might have already said this . . .
    BobH and RollinCoal69 like this.

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