Lately, I have been noticing my shave quality deteriorating, and am not sure what combination of things may be causing it. I have some ideas, and I thought I would sort them out here, and see if anyone has any input. I have been using only one razor regularly since I have started wetshaving, a Merkur 23c, and it has been a great one for me with all sorts of different blades in the past. I have had my share of irritation free BBS's and DFS's with Feathers, Astra SPs, Iridium Super, Isreili RPs, and a fair number of others. Recently I acquired a 73 Black Beauty, which is really the only other razor that I have/had that I have used more than a handful of times. I really want to like this razor, but the good shaves I get from it are few and far between. For the last 10 or so shaves, I have been back to the 23c, with the Astra's, Feathers, RPs, and recently a shark. I got a great first shave from the Astra, but the second one bombed and tore my face to shreds. The feather gave me 2 decent shaves, with not a lot of irritation, but I could still tell something was wrong. This shark that I am using now gave me an excellent first shave, the second one was horrible, and again this morning it was a decently good shave, with a little bit of irritation. So there's a bit of back story. My thoughts on what the issues could be are: Technique. I may be using too much pressure, or bad angle. It seems to me that most of the damage happens under the chin and on the neck, XTG. I usually do 3 pass + touch ups, WTG, XTG, ATG. The ATG pass feels better to me than the XTG, so Im pretty sure that ATG isn't the issue, as it has not been in the past. How do you go about shaving across the grain, under your jaw? Blade choice. Though, if a certain gives me a good shave once, and the next one bad, then I'm not sure. Lather. It seems that my lather has been consistent though, using an easy to lather soap (Proraso White) with most of these shaves. It is nice and slick, offering good cushion, not too watery. Growth Mapping. Maybe I need to revisit this, and take a closer look at stubble direction. Does anyone else have anything to add that I may be missing? Sorry this turned into quite the long post, but I suppose I am just organizing my thoughts here.