Edward89, Just so that you will know you're not alone, here's my story: A few years ago, on a whim, I decided to go back to wet shaving. I bought a Merkur 23C, aka Long Handled Classic, a brush, some Derby blades (all online), and some VDH soap from Walgreen's. I figured I would soon have this nailed--after all, I had started my shaving career with a DE razor and some canned goo back in the 1950's. While I didn't suffer major lacerations of the face, I wasn't happy with my results, even after several weeks. I blamed the razor, I blamed the blades, and I blamed the soap. I then bought a couple of vintage Gillettes. Finally, I started to get decent, but not stellar, results. I used this as evidence that the Merkur razor was not for me. Now, the vintage Gillettes are well designed razors and are probably a little easier to learn on, but the truth is that my technique was improving without my realizing it. I eventually tried the Merkur again, and guess what? Yes, very nice results. Even the Derby blades were performing better for me, although I have since found others that I prefer. This process had taken two or three months, not 7 to 10 shaves. OK, I'm a slow learner, but I now get consistently excellent shaves from a wide selection of razors and blades. I found that I had picked up some unfortunate habits using cartridge razors, and it took some time to eradicate those habits. Here's what I would do if I were in your shoes. Get a decent cream, such as Taylor's--it's easy to lather and a little goes a long way--you can always try soaps later. Get a sampler pack of blades, stick with your Merkur or try a vintage Gillette (which may be a little more forgiving). Just give it time, and follow the guidelines outlined by the other guys on this forum responding to your plight. It won't happen overnight, but one of these days you'll be surprising yourself with fine shaves day after day. It's worth the effort and just keeps getting better. Good luck! By the way, my Merkur 23C is in my regular razor rotation now and I love it.