Help Me Stop Butchering My Face

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by RichardTheHairy, Jun 29, 2020 at 9:11 AM.

  1. RichardTheHairy

    RichardTheHairy New Member

    So for years I used a Gillette Mach3. I recently switched to a safety razor, because I heard a lot of good things about them. Like that they irritated your skin less and provided a cleaner shave with a lower risk on ingrown hairs. Well, with my safety razor I keep cutting my face in several places each time I shave. I don’t even feel when I’m cutting my face. I try to stretch the skin out on my face as best as I can and go over the area with the grain but I still end up cutting the area. What am I doing wrong here? This wasn’t a problem with the Mach3. Is it because my new razor doesn’t have the pivot ability that my old razor had? Thanks for any help, ideas or advice.
  2. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    1. Carts find the angle for you but you have to find the correct angle of a DE blade edge to skin. That takes just a little practice, then you'll have it nailed down.

    2. Use minimal hand pressure. Let the blade do the work. It's a scythe, not a plow.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020 at 11:40 AM
  3. BigMike

    BigMike Well-Known Member

    Cartridge razors seem to like quite a lot of pressure and fairly short strokes. DEs the opposite.
    Also, experiment with two or three makes of blades. Blade choice is fine tuning, though, and it sounds like you have coarse adjustments to make.
    Edison Carter and Leo501 like this.
  4. John Beeman

    John Beeman Little chicken in hot water

    I had a difficult time making the switch as well.
    Years of mindless cartridge shaving and no knowledge of how to handle a DE.

    There's lots of online how-to videos (some good, some not so good) and lots of forum threads.

    I enjoyed reading Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving since I'm more of a book guy than a video guy. You might consider picking up a copy.

    I would avoid the temptation to make too many changes with equipment/blades. The problem isn't the tool.

    After my first six weeks of DE shaving I thought I had it figured out. I wasn't reaching for my cartridge razor to finish any more and my shaves were getting pretty good. After my first six months I realized that I didn't have a clue at six weeks.

    Try to be patient, takes notes on your shaves, and remember that each day you get to practice again.

    And don't be confused by the constant mantra "no pressure". You will use pressure but nothing like what you use with a cartridge razor. The strokes and techniques are very nuanced and it takes a lot of practice to get a "feel" for it.

    Stick with it and you will be rewarded with the best shaves of your life.

    Oh, and by the way... you could end up owning 150 razors someday. Just sayin'
  5. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    Ride the cap, my friend. Put the cap on your face and lower the handle until the blade touches your skin. Then use light/no pressure. Usually too steep an angle is what causes the cuts/irritation. Go with a shallow angle of attack and you should do fine.
  6. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    Oh, yes, I forgot.

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  7. ischiapp

    ischiapp Well-Known Member

    As above, find the right angle is the most important factor.
    No pressure, also is a keypoint: motion is to drag.
    I find helpful too:
    • back grip
    • skin traction
    It's a learning curve: take your time.
    Aim for progress, not perfection.
  8. octoserge

    octoserge Member

    ^ this. And shave only after you shower. And don’t give up. It took several weeks of uncomfortable shaves with DE razors before my skin got used to them. I too moved on from Mach 3s, and now I’ll never go back....
    Edison Carter likes this.
  9. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    Edison Carter likes this.
  10. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    First bad habit to unlearn going from carts to DE or SE shaving is don't mash the razor head into your face. That will cause more cuts than anything else in the beginning. Also don't try to chase the baby right away until your motor skills develop enough that are proficient with handling the razor. This style of shaving is a skill that you develop over time. You can get results from the get go but anyone can just pull a blade across their face and cut hair. Not everyone can finely control the blade as it is doing so. That is the skill.

    Most everyone has given good advice so my only pieces to add are try a more shallow angle with the blade more parallel than perpendicular to the face. DE razors are designed to scrape more so than plane, usually there is a happy medium somewhere between. The shallower or more you work the razor like a planer the less likely you will be to cut yourself, though you may not get as close of a shave as if you use a steeper angle more like a scraper.
  11. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Much good advice above.

    Many (self included) have participated in the 30DC (30 day crew) program and thread.

    Basically, you commit to using the same gear for 30 days. You can post a record of your shave and get a lot of responses and suggestions on your technique. Usually at the end the month things are much better.

    Stick with it. You will be happy.
  12. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Frankly when first coming over from carts DE razors are not the best format to use. The schick injector not the modern AC injectors are a better option. They are more cart like than any DE or SE format out there. Very easy to use. If I knew then what I knew now when I first transisitioned from carts I would have never picked up a DE razor and went straight to injectors or what is termed natural angle razors which are almost exclusively made in the SE format. Natural angle refers to razors whose shave geometry is designed to minic closely a straight razor.

    If you want to consider this route I would suggest since there really isn't much in modern realm for schick style injectors is what is a termed Type G Schick injector in the vintage realm. They are fairly cheap and dime a dozen on ebay along with being in what I call the goldilocks zone of not too mild or aggressive. Blades are also easy to get, vendors on Amazon, Walmart etc. carry blades for these razors still.
    Edison Carter and FaceScraper like this.
  13. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    The following is just a joke, riffing off of the title asking for help to stop it.

  14. david of central florida

    david of central florida Rhubarb Rubber

    Lots of good advice above.

    listen, would be my most helpful tip. Turn off the water, and fan if you can. Then listen and feel your way, stretch later. Just lightly let the edge slice the hairs away. Listen to it start to cut, then go, keep the razor at the angle it starts making noise, let the weight of the razor do the work on the down pass, then feather light strokes(short little swipes) on the Up pass. Lastly against the grain, listening to almost no noise left, leaving smooth skin. Angle is everything, pressure is unnecessary. Smoothness gets achieved by passes. Think of using a router (if you know tools). Sometimes you just know material should be removed in passes. Then sanded to perfection. Same way with your face. The baby face gets there on the last pass.
    Lastly patients is needed to learn any new skill. Try sticking to one setup and changing few things Till you find what works.
    Remember angle is everything. A soft touch gets developed.
    Good luck, stick with it, you’ll get there.
    Ask, the gang here loves to help.
  15. J_Man

    J_Man right on the Mass border

    Plenty of good advice here. I would say once you hear the "feedback" from the razor, the sound of it cutting through your facial hair then you have got the angle right. Like others have said don't apply additional pressure just let the weight of the razor bo the work and listen for the sweet sound of feedback.

    Forget everything you thought you knew about shaving, because with a cartridge there is nothing to just weild those things like a mad man no real technique needed. Carts are very forgiving they twist, flex, pivot, etc. They are made so that a monkey can shave without cutting its nose off. DE's on the other hand are rigid, unforgiving and definitely not recommended for monkeys.

    Go slow, be mindful, get your technique down and before you know it your de shave will be second nature.

    I have been shaving with DE razors for about 30 years and believe me once you get used to it you will find that your daily shaves will be just as quick and easy as your cartridge shaves were.

    Hang in there-- you will be glad that you did.

    Sent from my LM-Q720 using Tapatalk
    Edison Carter likes this.

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