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  1. #1
    Junior Member Vashanka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Thanked: 0

    Default First shave went great: a few lessons learned

    Last night I had my first straight-razor shave. Overall it went great- thought I'd share the experience. Even though I read all of the "start slow" tips and the newbie guide, I figure I've had the same face all my life and jumped right in. I'm pretty dexterous with either hand and knives don't make me nervous (Dad's a butcher so I grew up with lots of sharp things). I wear a short box beard so I don't have to worry about shaving my chin, sideburns or lips.

    I bought a Dovo and sent it to Lynn for honing. Got a small inexpensive strop off Amazon which I figure I'll likely ruin, a Tweezerman brush (more on that later), some Castle Forbes lavender cream, and some shave oil and soothing post-shave cream from the Body shop. Have a ceramic mug I made back in college which made a fine lather pot. Locked the kids and cat out of the bathroom, told my wife to come check if I didn't emerge after an hour or she heard a thud, and away we went.

    First off, I'm not stropping properly. I'm fairly sure I dulled the razor which Lynn had honed for me. Going to take a LOT more practice than I thought. I watched the videos and read the wiki- it's just going to take time and patience.

    Making the lather was easy- thanks again to the wiki info and posts. I used some Maca root shave oil on my face and don't know if it helped or not. The Castle Forbes cream is lovely, though I wish it were a bit more strongly scented. We have a lavender farm just down the road, so I may pick up a bottle of essential oil and add a drop next time.

    The Tweezerman brush was a real disappointment. It shed worse than a sick cat and the handle has a crack down each side, probably from having the ferrule shoved in and hot glued. There's also a small piece of paper embedded in the lacquer. What a p.o.s. I think I got most of the loose hairs out, and I'm going to sand and refinish the handle properly, maybe stain it and make it distinctive. Wish I'd spent more and got a better one, but it'll do.

    On to shaving. I used a hot towel, gooped up my face, and started on my left cheek WTG. No problem. Tugged a bit, and I'm sure my bad stropping was to blame- also my skin just wasn't "shower soft". Switched hands and did the right cheek, again no problem but one nick. Did my neck next, which I found pretty easy; again, I did everything WTG.

    I did a quick rinse and checked things out. Still just the one nick, and my face didn't feel as smooth as when I use my horrid Mach3 (aka "The Money Gobbler") so I decided to do another full pass XTG. Gooped back up and started shaving. Tried a couple of guillotine strokes along the arc of my beard. Tried one ATG pass on my neck and it really burned so I stopped immediately.

    I finished with just the one nick but I could feel the razor burn coming on. Rinsed off and things looked pretty good. I didn't get my beard line as even as I'd have liked, but it wasn't bad for a first attempt. I did get some uncomfortable razor burn, but I'm fair haired, fair skinned and am pretty sensitive so I'm not surprised. Slathered on the Maca root balm and that helped; this morning it's just barely sensitive.

    Here's what I learned:

    1. stropping is harder than it looks, at least for me.
    2. I'm avoiding Tweezerman from here on out. Cheap junk.
    3. every pass means more razor burn.
    4. I'm going to have to figure out a way to keep my beard line precise. I'm thinking I might need a very short razor, because the length of mine got in the way.
    5. I think I'll have less coffee next time. 10 cups is just too much.
    6. I definitely will take a shower beforehand next time- my skin wasn't soft enough.

    I am anticipating 100+ shaves before I get where I want to be. I think that's reasonable; it's an art and, like all things artistic, takes practice.

    Thanks everyone for all the valuable info and tips- I never would have tried this w/out the StraighRazorPlace!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Milton Keynes,Bucks.England
    Thanked: 33


    Hi vashanka,
    Congrats on your first shave!!

    You seem to have some pretty good kit -apart from the tweezerman.

    With the stropping go slow and carefully at first to get muscle memory.Once you get used to the stropping technique you will pick up speed naturally.

    All in all a very good result.Just keep going and you will soon notice improvements.Look for small gains at first.
    Well done !
    All the best,

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