Quote Originally Posted by AledJ View Post
XTG mean across the grain?

I have tried stretching but end up removing shaving cream. Will try and upload some pics! I may be being very picky as standing at a normal distance from a mirror (not with the mirror right in my face), its looks ok bit red in places but ok and clean. Its when I look closer that I see the stubble look.
Yes, XTG is across the grain. If the first XTG pass doesn't get it all then do one in the opposite XTG direction too.

Don't give up on skin stretching. It is the single biggest thing that made my shaves closer and better. Practice grabbing that skin in different places and stretch it. When you pull the skin from the direction opposite of the hair growth direction it makes the hair stand up and get cut at a more perpendicular angle. Otherwise your hair is laying flat and it gets cut at a long diagonal, thus leaving the hair longer, albeit pointy and thinner. If I don't stretch my skin I find it a lot harder to feel when the angle is right and the blade is cutting properly. Plus because the skin is not taught the razor won't glide as smoothly which causes irritation or even nicks.

An ATG (Against the grain) pass will make up for bad skin stretching but causes a lot more irritation because the hair pushes the razor down into the skin. Good stretching might make an ATG pass tolerable for you too if it makes the hair stand up straight enough. But I think you should wait on trying the ATG until you can consistently get no irritation and a good shave on the other passes.

Try not to be too much of a perfectionist until you are consistently getting no irritation. Nobody is going to be examining your beard up close except maybe your significant other. I like to have BBS in all directions but I have to accept that I will get a little irritation doing that and I can't do it every day. Fortunately my wife only feels in the downward direction on my cheeks and she is happy.