Beginner's Progress Report

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by TheBurgh, May 16, 2022.

  1. TheBurgh

    TheBurgh Active Member

    As a humble tribute to you, the generous contributors here, and to provide some fodder for novices' considerations, here are my self-assessments after a couple of months (in no particular order). Expectations are high.

    PREFACE. I have deep, long experience in entering new hobbies with unrestrained, egregious materials acquisitions under the guise of research, testing and experimentation. Unusually, and with perhaps an above-average sized den for a beginner, I have (?temporarily?) halted buying the next great XYZ product. Now turning my attentions (and fun) to refining, experimenting and enjoying what I have on hand. I must note that I daily enjoy this and other forums and will continue to diligently read and participate.

    PRE-SHAVE. Always shave after showers, then hand cupping hot water onto beard for ~ 30 seconds. Finishing a jar of pre-shave cream to avoid waste. I'll then compare absence of pre-shave product with current usage.

    BRUSHES. Still testing and trying owned synthetics, boar, badger, mixed (B&B) and horse, two costing $60 and most less than $ 25. If I had to choose today, the choice is synthetic (despite having been originally certain that stiff, scrubby, dense boar would be my choice.). Ease of care, ease of lathering, and adequate backbone to massage into the beard are winning me over. Regardless of type, I highly prefer smaller (20 - 24 mm) sizes, low lofts and bulb or plisson shapes. I'll enjoy further experimentation here, all with brushes I already own.

    LATHERING. Good progress here, regardless of soap or cream brand. Using a bowl, my early tendencies produced heavy, but not moist and shiny, peaks. Now adding more water for bubble free, slightly runny consistency (even while razoring). Loving the bowl (Vikings Blade bowl which I reviewed here) so see no need to yet experiment with hand or face lathering. Using a salt spoon to measure, I no longer waste leftover soap adhering to the bottom of the bowl and still get enough lather for two passes and minor touchup. Overall, this is a critical shaving variable I am glad to have accomplished. Heck, it's even fun to produce a bowl of non-edible whipped cream!

    SOAPS & CREAMS. Have become an agnostic here; no preferences yet. I have no sense of smell so, ultimately, my choices will be based solely on lubricity/moisture preferences. Odd, though, that I bought some soaps based on olfactory memory. Nose blindness should save me bunches of RAD soap money. Perhaps soap/cream preferences will develop. I do intend to try sticks, particularly Speick.

    RAZORS. Some guilt here as I have not ventured beyond The Winning Razor and Karve Overlander. Retired a OneBlade Basic (too similar to the Mach 3 I escaped from) and have yet to open boxes for GC (both plates) and Supply Co. SE (three plates); have a Yates 921 on order. The way I see it now, until I further enhance my techniques, I'm willing to forgo razor swapping. I don't foresee further razor acquisitions. Get ye gone, RAD!

    BLADES. With two sampler packs and hundreds of "better" blades, I'm methodically testing two blade brands/types at a time. (Why I bought hundreds of well-regarded, untested blades? See PREAMBLE above.) I am unable to differentiate qualities or lack thereof among blades. Current favorites by a tad are Wizamet, Gillette Platinum and Gillette Silver Blue. Perhaps blade discernment is a refined taste I have yet to acquire. I have learned that my beard will only allow three double pass plus buff shaves per blade.

    TECHNIQUE, GLORIOUS TECHNIQUE. Here, I've done the most work and continue to experiment and refine. Best successes have been mapping my face into very small zones, slowing the shave, shortening strokes, lightening the razor pressure and stretching the skin. (That last habit has paid the most dividends.) Good results in almost all zones, even nose and upper lip. Struggling to refine lower lip and chin areas. Still producing weepers at skin creases, but fewer and less severe with most shaves. Results are consistently DFS +. Attempts at three passes approach BBS but cost lingering irritation.

    POST-SHAVE. Thorough hot water rinse, then long cold water rinse. Being scentsless, I miss and forego fragrances for witch hazel. Now comes the difficult part, waiting the two days until my next shave.

    There you have it, the summation of my wet shaving journey to date. Looking forward, I'll strive to know more about the things I don't know. Read, practice, ask and read some more.

    Again, I owe a profound sense of gratitude to the contributors on this and other forums. You've gotten me here and, no doubt, will continue to propel me forward in fine shaves and hobby enthusiasm!
    ChrisB, Hogie, Ron R and 6 others like this.
  2. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Glad to hear progress is going so well.
    And it'll only get better!
  3. gzp

    gzp Well-Known Member

    Hogie and TheBurgh like this.
  4. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    You seem to have all the right shaving gear and know it is just time to enjoy them, everything will fall into place.
    Hogie and TheBurgh like this.
  5. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    @TheBurgh thanks for the technique tips. Only doing DE about a month, so keen to adopt those ideas!

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