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  1. #1
    If the ocean was whiskey...
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    Cool First Shave Complete - Details and Questions Within

    So I finished my first straight razor shave this morning (you can see all my gear in this thread)!

    I first shaved last night with my regular razor as I had grown quite a bit of scruff since my last shave and I didn't want my first straight razor shave to be extremely difficult.

    The shave itself was relatively easy. I started with my left cheek (I'm right handed) and when that went well I did the sideburn too. I then changed the razor position and shaved my right cheek and sideburn and when I had done both I was left with my mustache, chin, and throat areas. I felt like the mustache and chin would be difficult so I went for my left throat but this didn't feel right as I tried so I went back and shaved my whole upper lip. Confident after having done so, I went and shaved below my lower lip and chin as well. Now with my whole face shaved, I decided I'd go back to my throat but on the right side this time and I shaved it quite well. I shaved the left side and was all done except for the part right under the chin line. I felt like it was a good place to stop.
    So then I rinsed and re-applied some cream but found it really hard to shave against the grain so I just rinsed and used my alum block and was done!

    No nics, no cuts, nothing - just a mostly clean shave.

    I've got a couple questions:
    - How, exactly, are you supposed to use an alum block? Do I pick the whole thing up in my hands like a bar of soap? Or do I just dab my fingers on it? It works really well but I felt like my skin was stretched and dry afterwards.

    - What's the best after-shave razor care? I found that after my first pass on my left cheek that there were little bits of hair and cream stuck to the edge of the razor... I got it off with hot water but at the end of the whole shave there was some stuff stuck again. I just used water then lightly rubbed it with a towel.

    - I couldn't shave against the grain. Why is this? Going with the grain was a breeze...

    - What's the best way to get the area right under your entire chin line? Should I pull the skin down at my throat to expose the area on the underside, or should I pull up to expose it on my cheek/chin?

    Thanks everyone! I look forward to my next shave being much better as this one went so well.

    Cheers,
    - Rye

  2. #2
    Know thyself holli4pirating's Avatar
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    For the alum, I think most guys wet the block and/or their face, and rub the block directly on the face. The stretched feeling is normal, but if your skin feels dry as well, you may want to follow with a balm or use something else.

    For my razor, I rinse it under hot water and then wipe it off with toilet paper. If I see any residue or anything, I'll rinse and re-wipe. I hold the paper in my left hand and pull the blade through with my right. Be VERY careful not to cut your fingers - do not pinch too close to the edge. You can clean off the edge itself by stropping after the shave.

    Against the grain requires better technique than with. I don't know why, but it does. I think it's partly because shaving upwards is more of a pushing motion (while down is a pulling motion) and partly because of the way the hair grows. Either way, don't worry about it and don't force it. Wait until you are comfortable with it. Or don't go ATG at all - I very very rarely do. (Try rubbing your face with just your fingertips, first downward then upward. Feel the difference? I don't mean your skin, but how your hand feels on your face. Down you can probably use a much lighter touch and your hand probably moves much more smoothly.)

    Right under your chin line you have to experiment. I pull the skin up onto my cheek area as best I can and get as much as I can. Then I stick my chin way out. Usually, I don't really have to shave along my jawbone because the skin gets pulled up or down. I'm sure different people do different things, though.
    Last edited by holli4pirating; 04-06-2011 at 09:39 PM.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to holli4pirating For This Useful Post:

    RyeWhiskey (04-06-2011)

  4. #3
    Senior Member CDogg's Avatar
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    I don't think there's any need for further answers, holli4pirating pretty much got you taken care of.

  5. #4
    Some kind of Zombie BigJim's Avatar
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    +1 to Holli's advice.

    I wipe my blade "from behind" or from the spine. I wiped it once with the tip of my finger against the spine and shaved skin off my finger that way. Wiping it with the first crease of my finger against the spine, and the tip toward the edge of the blade gets the lather off, shows how much stubble I'm removing, and lowers the chance that I chip the blade on the sink/faucet trying to rinse it off. (It also keeps water away from the pivot)

    At the end of my shaves I don't strop...But I do dry the blade and then use a Q-tip and coat it in a little All Purpose (AKA Sewing Machine AKA 3 in 1) Oil. I wipe the blade, then strop before my next shave (though now that I think of it I don't think it would hurt the strop any for that little bit of oil to get on it each day).

    Peace,

  6. #5
    ace
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    Big Jim,

    There are some oils I'd put on a strop, like Neatsfoot, but I don't think I'd use a petroleum-based product. Just a caution.

  7. #6
    Some kind of Zombie BigJim's Avatar
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    Ace,
    Good thought. I did not think about the petroleum base of the machine oil. I don't know what that would do to a strop, good or bad. I haven't had any on one yet.

    I've used Neatsfoot on my strops, and other leather conditioning products, but no petroleum products (at least that I can think of...I may have to double check).

    Peace,

  8. #7
    ace
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    Jim,

    I read on the forum about using lather on strops to increase draw. I tried it and it worked really well. Just lather that bad boy up, let it dry completely, then wipe off the residual dried lather. The increase in draw was dramatic. If there is a downside, it is that the razor picks up some smudge when stropped, but it can be wiped off. I sometimes use eyeglass cleaner, which I always have around, and that takes it off easily. Without some solvent like the eyeglass cleaner, it can be difficult to rub off.

  9. #8
    Senior Member SpicyJem's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're doing great and on the path to becoming an shaving pro! The alum block was something I wasn't familiar with either, but it's a dream come true! I just wet it like a bar of soap and rub it on my face! Be warned that it may sting at first, but it's a good sting. It's really good for cuts, or what I sometimes do is just rub it on my upper lip (moustache area) and chin to help seal the pours and prevent any zits or anything from breaking out (which sometimes happens to me if I am super clean shaven and touching my face all the time)!

    As far as shaving against the grain, it WILL come. Don't rush it. I just finished my 16th shave today, and I only do PARTIAL ATG passes. I have found that PARTS of my neck I can go ATG, but when I try to do it under my chin, it just pulls like crazy so I stop. No sense in making an otherwise perfect shave into something awful because I'm trying to force something that just won't happen.

    With each shave, you get more confident in tackling different angles, and from my experience, one of those angles eventually works out best and you get the close shave you've been striving for.

    Keep it up!

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