6 months in - some observations

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by Joe Rouse, May 17, 2020.

  1. Joe Rouse

    Joe Rouse Active Member

    I’m about 6 months in to wet shaving. There are just so many options out there with razors, soaps, blades and pre- and post-shave options; it has been a bit overwhelming.

    Razors - I have used/purchased:
    Gillette Guard
    Schick Quattro
    Disposable twin blade
    Gillette Presidential
    Schick Krona
    Schick Type M adjustable injector

    I started with the Krona and the Presidential but due to my lack of experience I cut myself up badly and put them down for a few months and tried the various cartridge razors and the Guard. I noticed I was experiencing some irritation with the cartridges - less with the twin blades and zero with the Guard. I decided to try the DEs and the injector again and have enjoyed irritation free shaves with far fewer nicks and cuts than I originally had with them. For me it’s a toss up between the Presidential and the Krona. The injector is ok but I recently discovered it has a bit of a defect which results it the blade being crooked and that kind of turned me off to it. I am interested in trying out an adjustable DE.

    Soaps/creams - I have tried:
    Arko stick
    Derby stick
    TOBS Sandalwood
    TOBS Eton College
    Proraso red soap
    Captain’s Choice 45th Parallel
    Presidential samplers from Strike Gold
    Barbasol Sensitive Skin

    I still want to try more soaps and creams but I am finding I prefer creams a bit more. I have hard water which makes soaps a bit more challenging. I had good performance with Arko one of the first times I used it but not really since then. Derby hasn’t worked well for me at all. The one soap that I have liked is Proraso. I absolutely love the smell of Proraso red. It was the first shaving soap I purchased and I’m almost out of it. I like it so much I will sometimes just pop the lid off just to take a whiff. I had challenges lathering it up but once I discovered the idea of putting a little water on it to help it “bloom”, I started getting some great lathers. I want to get the cream and the aftershave. How is the scent of the cream and aftershave compared to the soap? Stronger? Weaker?

    The TOBS creams are great performers. However I cannot stand TOBS sandalwood. I expected it to smell like Proraso and was very disappointed to find that it didn’t. It is way too perfume-like for me, although oddly enough the scent reminds me of someone in my family; I believe it is a dearly beloved great uncle who is now deceased. I do enjoy the scent of Eton College. I would like to try some other TOBS creams, particularly the almond.

    I am still working my way through the Strike Gold samplers and have been impressed with those.

    Barbasol was fun to try.

    I would like to try the other Proraso soaps and creams, some Stirling soaps and Cella.

    Echolly Synthetic
    Perfecto Badger
    Unbranded boar
    Omega 10098 boar
    DSCosmetic synthetic

    I started with the Echolly synthetic then got the badger and then the unbranded boar (picked up at a farmers market). The unbranded boar, although I enjoyed it, was poorly made and it fell apart. Because I liked it so much I decided to buy the Omega. It is nice but a little big. I have been using the Echolly synthetic and the badger more. I am still not sure what my preference is yet.

    Blades-I have tried:
    Astra Platinum
    Gillette Wilkinson Sword
    Wilkinson Sword
    “Chick” Schick injector blades

    I purchased a DE blade sample pack when I first started wet shaving and had tried an Astra blade from it and wasn’t impressed. But I decided to give it another shot in my Krona today and I liked it. Of all the ones I have tried I have 4 that I prefer - Feather, Nacet, Gillette Wilkinson, and now the Astra. The Wilkinson Sword and Derby do not work for me. I think it might be the coatings on those blades. I still have some other blades to try from the sampler pack - Dorco and SuperMax. I would also like to try Gillette Silver Blue and maybe some of their other blades.

    My poor early experiences with DE shaving led me to wonder if a pre-shave oil would be a good idea. I feel they have helped. The first couple of oils I used had an eye dropper which wasn’t user friendly. Then someone PIFed me some Pete & Pedro which has a spray applicator and I much prefer that. My last couple of shaves I have used the Derby as a preshave and/or the bloom water from the Proraso and those seem to be better. I am going to keep tinkering with that.

    I needed an alum stick for sure and I won’t ever go without one. I had also used witch hazel, witch hazel mixed with tea tree oil, and some aftershave lotion. I have had the best results with the witch hazel/tea tree oil mix. I recently bought Aqua Velva musk and have been using that and it’s been about as good as the witch hazel/tea tree. I would like to try the Proraso aftershaves, as well as Clubman.

    It’s been a fun ride so far. I am really glad that I decided to give the DEs a try again and I will definitely continue to use them. Part of me wants to try everything and part of me is afraid to spend money on things only to find I wouldn’t like them. I also like to keep things simple; I don’t want a million different razors and creams and soaps and blades. I don’t have room or budget for it all. I would eventually like to narrow things down to a couple of types of blades and maybe 2-3 soaps or creams.

    Thanks too to all of you who have offered encouragement along the way. You all are just a great, friendly group of people. I also want to give a special shout out to KenSurfs. I don’t know if he comes to these forums. But it turns out he and I work for the same government agency and our paths had crossed before and we were recently able to connect again once I learned we worked at the same agency. He was excited to learn there was another wet shaver in our organization. He PIFed me a few items including the DSCosmetic brush, the Nacet and Gillette Wilkinson Sword blades, and the Pete & Pedro preshave oil.
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
    Jim99, Paul Turner, Keithmax and 5 others like this.
  2. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    My advise on adjustables. Buy either a Gillette Slim Adjustable, or a Gillette Fatboy. Then stick with it for several weeks, without using anything else, along with the same brand blade, for a week at a time. You will not be disappointed.

    178-bplatoon likes this.
  3. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    Excellent recap, Joe. We all have to discover what works best for us, but what Scott just posted is very good advice. Truly it matters not what razor you use; what matters is that you perfect your technique with that gear. Now, soaps and aftershaves are quite subjective, so branching out affects your shave minimally. I don't care for TOBS Sandalwood either. It certainly doesn't smell like sandalwood.
    Personally, the adjustables are perhaps a great way to discover what level of "aggression" i.e. blade gap, suits you best. However once you discover it, you won't be "adjusting" the gap anymore. Blades, again this is my opinion, are almost all the same. Unless you get a clunker, they will shave your hair.
    Go with the one razor/blade suggestion for 30 straight shaves.
  4. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Technique is #1 as been mentioned. Don't chase the BBS it will come to you when you get your technique dialed in, I am very happy when I get CCS,DFS,BBS range.
    Some other shaving helpful's that is very seldom mentioned and are very important is map your beard grain(2 or 3 days growth will show the direction), I had to learn from the forums this tool because I was never explained this simple process, this will make your shaves feel much better. Most folks just use a cartridge and just roam all over their face until it feels good enough. Traditional wet shaving works in beard reduction by different pass directions and some folks can not go Against the Grain (ATG)because of sensitive skin issues.
    Another helpful procedure is clean & hydrate your skin before the shave, this makes shaving very pleasurable and it took me time to perfect and tweak my routine.
    My Pre -shave routine is a Dedicated synthetic Brush to wash my whole face with CeraVe hand bar cleanser + followed by a dollop of clear Aloe Vera Gel on beard area(cleaned and hydrated for easier whiskers slicing of the razor blade). The CeraVe soap lasts & lasts &....... you don't need much on the brush(7+ months later I have a 1/2 bar still left). I actually did a shave with CeraVe and it worked but not as good as a shave soap( I should loaded the brush more?).
    I will leave some other information for you. The template will help you and just print one off for reference.(it is a weird photo looking photograph even to me but it WORKS.)

    CeraVe 2 (2).jpg
    Blade review Revision #5 Dec14-2018.jpg
    Have some great shaves!
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
  5. steve207

    steve207 Well-Known Member

    Welcome from Washington State nice to have you here
  6. The situational shaver

    The situational shaver Active Member

    The Situational Shaver here, I personally have found that almost all the shave gear works.
    One of the keys, in my opinion, is when you use it. The right ‘situation’ makes all the difference.
    You said you have hard water, so the creams work better, that’s the basic concept.
    If you live in a humid area, and apply a glycerin after shave, it might feel ‘sticky’. In an arid climate, it’s great.
    If I shave on a humid day, my skin is already hydrated, and ‘soft’ feeling, so I prefer a badger brush, and a soft cream
    because it has a softer face feel.
    If I shave on a day where the humidity is low, and my face feels dry, and ‘tight’, I like to use a boar brush with a
    hard soap, to get some exfoliation.
    The key is to use the same gear (soaps, brushes, after shaves, razors) in different situations, to find out how it works
    for you. Also, when you use the same stuff, you learn how to work it to get the best results.
    So when you get a new product, use it exclusively until you see how it performs in different ‘situations’.
    Then, you’ll start to find what works for you at any time.
    Happy shaves!
  7. Joe Rouse

    Joe Rouse Active Member

    Thank you all. I should have mentioned that one of the other things I was able to do while I was using the cartridges was face mapping. I think that was a huge reason why I didn’t have as much difficulty when I switched back to DE. I am still trying to hone my technique, particularly on my neck, but knowing the basic growth pattern was significant.
    gorgo2 and Ron R like this.
  8. cobb

    cobb New Member

    Interesting information. I started out using Astra Platinum in a Merkur 23C and never had an issue with cutting myself, but then I always used blades to shave since the 70's, never used electric. Last cartridge type was the Mach III, still think they are the best, I used them since they sent me a promo sample. So is it possible that I never had any issues nicking when switching to a safety type razor is that I have a learned pattern and never realized it? I do shave against the grain, that means down on the right side and up on the left, seem to get a cleaner shave that way. Again, some good observations, got me thinking.
  9. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member


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