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Thread: Started DE shaving....must be doing it wrong.

  1. #1
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    Default Started DE shaving....must be doing it wrong.

    I have been reading for a little bit and got the urge to get a DE razor. I ordered a Merkur long handle, 100 Astra superior premium blades, a escali badger brush, and a cup of Taylor of old bond street sandlewood soap.

    I have not used the astra's yet, since I have only shaved 2 times. I used the razor that came with the Merkur.

    My old shaving habits are a quick pass with an electric, then cleanup with gel using a gilette sensor head razor.

    out of both days I used the DE, the first day, I made a pass with the electric first. The second day I did not. I have not cut myself, I have been using light pressure and short strokes. Both days, I have made 3 passes, re-lathering each time with circular brush strokes.

    What I find is the shave is not close at all. I am not sure why. On the day that I used the electric razor first, the shave was not close, but passable. Today, I used the DE-only, and after three passes, I had to shave again with my gilette.

    This is not the experience I was hoping for.

    Any help/comments?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth tcrideshd's Avatar
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    As with all things worth it , time will make it all fall together. Technique and prep and skin stretching, a DE is used very much like a straight , proper angle , finding the blade that suits your beard, the aggressiveness of the razor, it's a lot going on. I have shaved with. A DE for 44 years it didn't go we'll in the beginning , if you in vest the time you will be rewarded with a fine shave. Do some research or just ask more questions, but go slow, pay attention to what works and what does not, at least there is this forum for you to get some advice and help. ;44 years ago I just had to use a lot of toilet paper! Tc
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    Senior Member Java's Avatar
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    You've invested in top notch gear. (the Merkur blade didn't work so well for me) Now it's just a matter of finding the angle the razor wants to cut at. Until you get used to it, keep focusing on the fact that all these years your Sensor has been teaching you if it's not cutting to use more pressure. If a DE isn't cutting, the angle is wrong, not the pressure. Also, remember it doesn't have a pivoting head, so you have to maintain the angle around curves. I know it's frustrating to learn, but try to enjoy the ride. It will be worth it.

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    Senior Member deepweeds's Avatar
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    YouTube vids by Mantic59 and Geofatboy are good for finding a faster track to good technique. The DE looks and feels enough like a cartridge razor that it's hard to realize, at first, what a different animal it is.
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    Keep your pivot dry!

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I would ditch the Merkur blade and try an Astra SP. The angle to use and maintain is a big issue too. To find a good starting point for the proper angle you could put the head of the razor flat on your face with the handle at 90 degrees to the floor and slowly move the handle down until you just feel the blade on your skin. That should be a decent starting point for an angle and fine tune a bit from there. On a cartridge razor the head usually pivots to follow the contours of your face but not a DE, it is up to you to constantly adjust the angle a bit to follow the contours as you go. A cartridge razor is also made of plastic and is very light causing the user to use more pressure than is needed with a DE. The DE being heavier only really needs the weight of the razor on the face and you just guide it along with the handle. It just take time and practice to find the right angle and pressure.

    Bob
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    I have exactly the same problem, not a close shave at all! I just got a merkur hd 34c silver blue blades 3 pass shave and nothing special not what i expected either. if you experience any improvements fill me in

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    Member hotshoe's Avatar
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    Was my first shave with a 34 c tonight also , was as close as a cartridge razor for me. I have used a mug and brush for twenty years. Don't know why it took me this long. I lathered up good and went slow ... too new to to add much advice but I can say don't give up ,lots of friendly help from the guys on this site
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    Sounds like you are using an angle that's too shallow. If the angle is shallow you won't cut much hair, too steep and you'll scrape off a lot of skin or cut yourself. Bob gave some good advice about the finding the proper angle, and once you find it you need to maintain that angle during the entire stroke. The best way to do that is to lock your wrist, which is completely different than using a pivoting head cartridge razor. Takes some getting used to, but once you have the technique nailed down you should be rewarded with great shaves.

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    Update to my original post:

    Using Merkur DE and astra premium blades.

    I am now 8 shaves in. I have been using the same Astra since shave #3. I think I have had some razor burn starting about 2 shaves ago. Not sure if that means a razor will last me only 3 shaves or not. Not sure. I will change the blade tomorrow.

    Several points:
    * I do get a close shave on all parts north of the chin-line with the exception of directly under the nostrils. I have contorted my face as much as humanly possible. I have not tried lifting my nose yet, but that will be tomorrow.
    * I am finding I need to make 4 passes, lathering each time. Pass #4 is fast, but necessary, at this point.
    * The hardest area to get smooth are the area covered if you placed two fingers under the jaw bone, and the under-ridge of the chin all the way around.
    * The neck seems to leave hairs randomly, which I try to keep passing over (lathering each time) to get. This is causing some burn.

    All-in-all I will continue to attempt to perfect this and figure it out. I do need a good post-shave routine, though. I will check other areas of this forum next.

    I love (and more importantly, my wife loves) the Taylor of old Bond Street Sandalwood. If I could find more of this smell (cologne, soap, etc), I would buy it.
    Last edited by dpete; 04-03-2014 at 09:16 PM.

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    Senior Member kevinred's Avatar
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    Great you're progressing.

    I change my blade every two shaves as I get diminishing returns after that. You'll find yourself pressing to compensate for the blade dullness which causes irritation, and there is nothing worse for the skin than a dull blade. May I suggest getting a sample pack of blades as they are all different. Shave with one for a couple of shaves and see what you and your skin like. My skin doesn't like Merkurs, Bics, Astras, or Sharks and Feathers do more damage for me. They all give me close shaves but none are as comfortable to use as the Israeli Red Personna blades. They seem to have the right amount of cutting and are smooth. It's just trial and error to begin with.

    Also the razor you use makes a bit of a difference. The 34C is a mild razor, and does a fine job, but sometimes a more aggressive razor may be more suited to your beard type. I like adjustable razors, particularly the Merkur Futur and the Progress. The Futur is very aggressive but it gives me a great shave in fewer passes than the 34C, however it will bite much easier than the 34c. The Progress is similar but I prefer the weight of the Futur. Like most of us you'll try a few I'm sure.

    I would keep going with the great advice given in previous posts for now and concentrate on the angle, skin stretching and getting your prep spot on. Another thing to try is changing the direction of your passes , Do a NS first, but then try a diagonal ear to chin for a second pass or a diagonal nose to ear, playing with the pass angles can help. Remember we are looking for hair reduction not 2 days growth to BSS in one pass. Thats possible but it will hurt like hell.

    A tip for under the nose is to hold the razor like you would a soup spoon and work XTG from ear to nose as it were. don't try to make big strokes just lots of little light ones towards the nose and use a combination of stretching your upper lip over your teeth as well as putting your tongue behind or blowing air into the upper lip, I find that works for me

    One thing I will say is that TOBS Sandalwood cream is to die for, beautiful scent and fantastic protection and glide. Their cologne is also fantastic and one of my favourites, it lasts for ages too.

    enjoy
    Last edited by kevinred; 04-03-2014 at 11:05 PM.
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