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  1. #1
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    Default The right blade and technique?

    As I've read quite a few times it seems that the key to a good DE shave is as much finding the right blade as it is having the right technique but so far (around 2yrs in) I still haven't got everything right. My stubble is thick and grows out at a real shallow angle meaning I have to get a real close shave in order for it to look like a close shave so ever since I can remember I've always had redness around my neck at the sides and up on to my cheek a little each side (worth noting that everywhere else is actually pretty good usually). My stubble grows really fast so in order to look fresh at work I sadly have to shave every day. I've watched countless videos and read many guides online but can't rid myself of this redness. Also when I'm not working I have tried leaving 2 or 3 days growth between shaves but the redness still comes back right away. So below is a quick run down of what I do so please go ahead and pick faults as I clearly need to improve things. Also listed is some of the products I've used, also worth noting that because I need to shave every day I can't afford expensive products as it really does start to add up so have to stick with some of the cheaper options :-(


    • Always hot shower
    • Use facial scrub (St Ives Apricot Scrub - Gillete - King Of Shaves - The Real Shaving Company)
    • Rinse with warm water
    • Pat dry with clean towel
    • Lather up (Taylors Of Bond Street cream - BodyShop Macca root cream - The Real Shaving Company gel - Wilkinson Sword soap - Derby cream - Palmolive cream - various home made ebay creams)
    • One pass with the grain using Merkur 34C HD (Have tried most of the blades but have settled on Feather for now but still not sure they are right for me)
    • Pat dry with towel
    • Lather up
    • Second pass across the grain
    • Pat dry with towel
    • Lather up
    • Third pass against the grain
    • Pat dry with towel
    • Rinse with cold water
    • Pat dry with towel
    • Apply balm (King of Shaves - The Real Shaving Company - Gillette - Nivea - Various home made balms off eBay)


    I have also tried both lots of small strokes and less long strokes with the razor without much difference. I do employ the stretching method while shaving too. Also I try to just keep the weight of the razor as pressure but more often than not my stubble is so thick that I have to pull on the razor to get it to cut, I have tried sharper blades but have sensitive skin so and up with more redness due to that.

    If anyone can help with my technique or offer me advice with a blade type that might suit me that would be great, I'm an engineer so know all to well about how blade angles and coatings can affect cutting :-)

    Would an adjustable DE razor help me?
    Last edited by RipGroove99; 01-21-2014 at 07:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sheajohnw's Avatar
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    There are a number of factors that make a difference for me. Some of them make a big difference while some are subtle.

    The 34C is a good razor and one of my favorites. I also like the 37C (slant) and the Vision. I like the Vision best, but can get great shaves with any of the three. I think that there are many razors that work well, a few that work a bit better for me, and some that I do not like at all.

    I also use Feather blades. Trying to stretch too many shaves out of a blade results in stubble remaining and often some razor burn because there is a tendency to press down to try to get the stubble that is not coming off with the dull blade. While I like Feathers best, there are many other blades that shave well. I get my smoothest DE shaves using a fresh Feather.

    I shower and shampoo before lathering up. Keeping the hairs moist makes them easier to cut. Drying hairs get harder to cut and may promote stubble, pulling, and razor burn.

    There are many good shaving soaps and creams. FWIW, Mitchell's Wool Fat so far gives me my best shaves. It is a little bit harder to lather well and the puck cracks as it ages in the mug which is annoying, buts its performance on my face, where it really counts, edges out anything else that I have tried. That being said, I can and do get good shaves from my other soaps.

    Keeping lather moist is really important. Moist lather provides good glide and cushion, and keeps hair soft for easier cutting. I cannot tell you how many passes I make because I frequently touch-up my lather as I work from area to area. I always touch-up difficult spots immediately before shaving them. I also dip my brush tip in water and remix my lather to keep it moist in the scuttle or bowl.

    I do not do a lot of prep other than the shower and shampoo. I use warm lather from a scuttle in cold months and cold lather in warm months. Warm and cold lather work well for me as long as I keep it moist in the bowl and keep reapplying moist lather on my face. Drying lather starts to drag and chatter which leaves stubble and promotes irritation.

    I reduce my beard by 1st using WTG strokes and XTG strokes. I do my lather cleanup using ATG strokes or XTG close to ATG strokes. ATG strokes are less apt to irritate when there are few hairs left to cut from 1st using WTG and XTG strokes. Skin stretching is very important, it helps raise up the stubble so it becomes easier to cut the hairs close to the skin.

    I find it important to attack the difficult spots from many directions taking guidance from how the stubble feels against my finger when I rub my face, the sound of the razor cutting and the vibration from the razor. Cutting sound reduces when there are few hairs left to cut. I can usually get away with passing over the same spot many times from many directions by using a very light stroke, almost like trying to brush the hairs from a very delicate surface without damage. If I start to feel irritation, it is usually a sign that I have a dull blade and/or started pressing down with the razor. Even a new Feather blade will pull and irritate on drying hairs

    After shaving with lather and getting a smooth feeling face, I rinse with cold water and feel my face again. I usually can feel some areas of short stubble that I could not feel previously because I have washed away a thin cushioning layer of invisible lather residue. I then very carefully, using the lightest of skin pressure, remove the remaining patches of fine stubble using short ATG strokes. Using pressure at this point, without the cushioning protection of the lather film, or letting the hairs get dry, can easily result in razor burn. If hairs start to get too dry (feel pulling), I rewet my face with water. I like using the Slant or my Vision best for this final touch-up.

    For after shave care, I splash on Thayers Superhazel following a cold water rinse. After my face dries, I splash on aftershave. I can tell how well I have done avoiding skin damage by the level of aftershave burn felt. I usually feel only a mild brief sting and sometimes almost no sting. The aftershaves with the highest alcohol content usually sting the most.

    HTH
    Last edited by sheajohnw; 01-21-2014 at 08:52 PM.

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  4. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    You have an elaborate prep, use good shave soaps/creams and are using a known sharp blade. That leaves me to think that there is still something lacking in the shaving technique you employ. That is usually a matter of angle and pressure. With the head of the razor flat on the face lower the handle till you just feel the blade and go from there with only the weight of the razor for pressure. If you have too much of an angle on and/or too much pressure you have an almost certain chance of razor burn.

    Bob
    Life is a terminal illness in the end

  5. #4
    Senior Member BeJay's Avatar
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    There are two things that will still give me irritation. My number one cause is inadequate prep. Even with prepping in the shower I would dry my face when I got out and the stubble would dry out very quickly. I now keep my face moist until I apply oil or lather. Face prep is very important for me if I want an irritation free shave. My second cause of irritation is using the wrong soap or cream. I have sensitive skin and it can react to some creams. I love the way TOBS lathers, but I get irritation on the right side of my mouth (my main trouble spot) every time I use it. Trumpers soaps and creams work great for me. I've learned that with the right prep and the right soap/cream I can get a good shave with almost any razor/blade combination.

  6. #5
    Senior Member blabbermouth 10Pups's Avatar
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    Maybe use a pre-shave oil ?
    Good judgment comes from experience, and experience....well that comes from poor judgment.

  7. #6
    Member Danm's Avatar
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    It's not just about blades, but razors as well. You are using what most people consider the sharpest DE blade. From what I've heard the 34c is middle of the road as far as aggressiveness goes. If you have trouble with the razor tugging, a more aggressive razor like an open comb (Merkur 15c or 25c) or a Slant Bar (Merkur 37c or 39c) might work better for you. If the razor/blade combo you are using doesn't tug but you still get irritation you may need a more gentle razor like a vintage Gillette Tech or SuperSpeed. With an open comb you will definitely know if your angle is out or if you are using too much pressure. I have a medium/heavy beard that grows sideways and upwards on my neck, I get way less irritation with my 15c or 37c with a Feather blade than with any other razor/blade combo in my arsenal.

    I hope this helps.

    -Dan

  8. #7
    Senior Member kevinred's Avatar
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    Just a suggestion but just go back to basics for a month, this helps me when my skin is irritated. I bet it's the products your using. So keep it simple.

    Pick a soap / cream you know does not irritate and stick to it, forget the rotation of products.

    Use an unscented bar soap to wash your face prior to shaving. Forget the facial scrub (Facial scrubs are harsh for sensitive skin and pretty unnecessary mostly).Dont scrub your face with anything particularly your neck. Try using a simple toner (without alcohol) to clean your skin, The Thayers range is great and inexpensive but a simple witch hazel toner will do. This can be done when ever you like, but I prefer either post shave or even better before bed, then moisturise only if you need to.

    Don't use really hot water, use water that is comfortable or use cold water to wash your face, prep and shave. A cold shave will not irritate your skin but adding heat does. The water doesn't have to be freezing cold, tepid is fine.

    Shave WTG / XTG and ATG only if you have too, do you really need a BSS every day? Never shave skin that does not have visable soap on it.

    Use a balm following the shave that does not contain alcohol. Stick to it for the month. If it stings on application stop using it, get one that doesn't.

    Apply splashes or colognes to the back of your neck, chest, pulse points but not your face or neck

    Use a simple Moisturiser (not balm a simple non oily moisturiser) only if your face feels dry or itches post shave. Its not good to moisturise too much. I usually moisturise before bed after using a toner and only if my skin feels dry. May I also suggest using a pre shave oil everyday. I have very recently started this and I find the results quite amazing skin wise already . Something simple like Almond massage oil is cheap and effective (avoid scents in the oil) . Apply only 3/4 drops to wet hands and apply to a wet face before shaving.

    These steps should get your skin back in condition. I really suffer If I use lots of products. So I get around this by sticking to products my skin likes. If its drying or irritating I stop using it. When introducing a new product to your routine just try one new product at a time. Don't get a new range and expect plain sailing skin wise.

    Don't get me wrong I love all the different smells and soaps but spend your money on splashes and colognes and don't put them on your face. In time you'll end up with great skin that you can add the occasional going out splash too, But in the week stick to the basics and your skin will love you for it.

    I hope that helps
    It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness

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  10. #8
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    Wow loads of info there, thanks :-) Will see what I can do now.

  11. #9
    Senior Member Lince's Avatar
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    I would sure leave out the patting your face dry too........................

    I would be splashing on some water.
    Bob

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