While I'm still less than six month in shaving with a straight, I've learned quite a bit and also wanted to share some with other new guys. I've been reading and studying, perfecting my technique, trying new products and reading some more. It's important for new guys to really take time and appreciate this site and all it has to offer. While I'm at it, thank you very much to everyone who contributes.

I started with a Shavette and a set from Art of Shaving. It had an oil, shave cream and lotion. I bought a nice brush and got right to it. I knew right away I was hooked, so a little over a month later bought a Dovo BQ and a strop set from SRD. I hated the oil so I got a Porasso cream. I went slow and learned technique, suffering only the most pedestrian and minor of nicks. All to be expected. But it wasn't smooth. I read a thread that emphasized the importance of skin stretching, so I incorporated that and saw improvement. My lather tended to dry out and I read about the importance of keeping hydrated, and saw improvement.

i stropped the ever living daylights out of my razor because it would occasionally fail the HHT. I still got a good shave, but I was certain my blade was suffering. I had read all of the wikis but went back through them.

Here's my point: even though I read everything before, it makes more sense after doing it for a while. Turns out I was doing the HHT wrong. So tonight I tested it and it passed with flying colors- without stropping. So I shaved without stropping. Just that boost in confidence produced a better closer shave. I'm still using my dominant hand exclusively, and there's at least one area of my face that I simply can't master yet- but that's ok. It will come with time.

Stick with it. The samurai said it takes a thousand repetitions to teach correct muscle memory and ten thousand to unlearn the wrong way. Go slow, and read up every once in a while. You'll be surprised what you missed.