I'm on the verge...

Discussion in 'Cartridge Razors' started by scott69, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. scott69

    scott69 New Member

    I've been shaving for over 35 years. About 5 years ago I tried DE shaving, unsuccessfully. And just recently I tried it again, unsuccessfully. I followed everyone's suggestions, tried different blades, razors and soaps, used no pressure etc., to no avail. My face has red irritation, it feels warm all day and I cannot achieve a close refreshing shave. I even changed from Aqua Velva to Witch Hazel to soothe the nicks. It seems like there are 2 choices when DE shaving. 1. A very close shave with lots of redness and nicks. 2. A very comfortable shave that looks like a 5 o'clock shadow when you're done. In fact, it seems that most of the discussions on the on-line DE shaving forums have to do with wanting a "better razor", a "sharper blade", a "more cushioning soap", "problems with this & problems with that", and there are very few people that actually say "I get a great DE shave every day and I'm satisfied with all my stuff." It's more like an endless search for something better that doesn't exist. And emphasis is on new products and preparation rather than results.
    So I'm going back to my trusty old Gillette Sensor. And I'm really looking forward to it because I haven't had a comfortable, close and refreshing shave for a while.
    (I need to change my avitar and signature soon!)
  2. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    Part of that is the hobby aspect of this, and part of that is the people asking for help, which is why we're here, to help.

    If you've been making as many changes as you say, that's probably the reason you're having trouble. There is a technique to shaving with most of the tools discussed on this forum. You have to learn the technique first. Patience is a large factor, too.
  3. scott69

    scott69 New Member

    I'll be the first to admit that I have no patience. But I like you TSD shaving cream very much, and the good thing that came out of this experience was discovering it, as well as other quality soaps. So because of this I plan to continue the mug & brush routine with my Sensor for an even better shave. (And don't be suprised if I try DE again in the future, I get bored easily!)
  4. TomPike

    TomPike Active Member

    I sure can't speak for all DE shavers on all the various forums, but for me, DE shaving is a great experience. Actually, I should say that it's a great experience now that I'm good at it.

    When I first switched back to DE razors (they're where I started some 35 years ago myself), I had a lot of irritation. I had razor burn to the point that my skin was lightly peeling. It really wasn't fun, but I was determined to master something that I never could back in the early '70s when I started shaving with my Dad's superspeed.

    One thing that helped me a lot was to stick with one brand of blade, one razor and one kind of shave cream for a month. It took me that long to really figure out good lather, no pressure, the right angle and all of the nuances of DE shaving. Over a year later I'm finally figuring out how to lather soaps really well.

    Maybe I'm a slow learner, but I do enjoy my DE shaves and I'm really not looking for anything different or better now. The variety of razors is fun to experience. I like having more than one brush. Using different soaps and creams is a joy.

    So, please allow me to be the first to step up and say I get a great DE shave every day and I'm satisfied with all my stuff.

    That said, I also got great shaves with my Gillette Fusion. I shaved in the shower using really good gel products and always had close, comfortable shaves. It took me a lot of years to figure out just how to get a great shave from a cartridge razor, but once I had it figured out, it was easy and pleasant. DE shaving, for me, is just more fun and more self-indulgent. I enjoy it much more than my old rushed cartridge shaves. I get just as close with no irritation and do it every day.

    I guess that's one improvement for me over the Fusion. I used to only be able to shave every other day. Now I shave every day and my face is much more comfortable because I don't spend half of my time with a day's worth of stubble.

    This is just one man's experience, but perhaps there are some thoughts above that may help. I'm all for being comfortable and enjoying your shaves. If doing so with a cartridge razor is the way or you, more power to you!
  5. Dridecker

    Dridecker Sherlock

    Tom makes a lot of good points there.

    I for one don't get a great D/E shave every day, I know why I don't when it happens, and I usually can adjust for it the next shave. (interruptions, new razor or blade, new soap/cream)

    I enjoy trying new soaps/creams/blades/razors. I don't need them, or am I hunting for a magical combo, I just haven't grown tired of trying new shave goodies yet. I do enjoy every D/E shave, whether it is a great shave or not, I couldn't say that before when I used cartridges.

    Anyway, lets review where you are at if that is okay with you, and we will see if we can help.

    The way I see it, you have been at this for a week?

    You use a flair tip Super Speed?

    You use Derby blades?

    What is your pre-shave prep?

    What have you been using for soap/cream?

    Have you been happy with your lather? (Is it slick and cushiony?)

    What is your pre-shave prep?

    When you shave, do you get any pulling or tugging of the whiskers?
  6. scott69

    scott69 New Member

    My problem is that all of my years of shaving has been with cartridges. I started with a Techmatic, then a Trac2, Atra, & Sensor. It was the normal progression from the late 1960's onward. I tried Mach3 & Fusion but always went back to Sensor because the Sensor is smaller, easier to handle in tight places and it doesn't have that rubberized strip mounted below the blades that causes drag. So I agree with you, it takes time to adjust, and maybe if I had less cartridge years behind me it would be a little easier. To me, the Super Speed just seems too protective. I've tried Personna, Derby and Shark blades and they just don't cut through my beard well. I tried an older Super Speed and it was even milder. I have an open comb Merkur which I haven't used in years, maybe I should try it with some Feather blades?
    But I'm actually envious of you because it sounds like DE shaving has worked out well for you and that's great!
  7. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    I lost my train of thought on that first post. :o Still have no idea what else I was going to say.

    For me, the brush and cream/soap is the most important part of a good, enjoyable shave. So, I'm glad to hear you'll be sticking with those.

    Like Tom, I'm also in the Happy With What I Have party. I have one razor, 2 or 3 brushes (use only one of them usually), have my go-to blade (and don't run around trying every brand that's getting hyped at the moment), and a couple soaps and creams that are in the shower cabinet (yes, I have a cabinet in my shower). And that's it. On occasion I'll get caught up in the latest hype-fest, but it's rare.

    Basically, you can't listen to everyone on the forum. You have to take the advice given and weigh it out for your own personal situation.

    Blade samplers for one thing. Overkill, IMO. Take the most liked blades and try those. You don't need 25 brands of blades to find the one that fits you best when starting out. You do however need a comfortable, forgiving blade to learn on. Once technique is learned, then you can find your best blade, and other blades that work for you.

    Focusing on one aspect of learning this hobby can also be helpful. Never used a brush and soap before? (not you specifically) Learn that first. Then move to the razor.

    Time to stop. Brain hit a wall again. :o

    Just my thoughts and opinions, and I'm sure plenty will disagree.
  8. scott69

    scott69 New Member

    Don't laugh but I've been at this for 5 days (but I did try DE before). I have a 1960 Super Speed Flare Tip, a 1955 Super Speed (gold colored with a thicker handle), a 1952 Gillette Tech with black plastic handle and a Merkur open comb 3 pc. I have Personna, Derbay & Shark blades. And I have TSD cream, VDH soap and Col. Conk Amber soap. I'm happy with the later with all 3, actually the VDH may be the most slick. I also have King of Shaves Gel which is super dense and cushiony, almost impossible to cut yourself with it, but I haven't used it with DE shaving. Maybe I should? My prep includes soaking the brush in hot wather, washing/hydrating my face with lots of hot water, developing the lather in mug, more hot water on face, then applying soap to face a and build it to a very slick dense cushion. That part is all easy. I don't get any pulling when shaving, the blade just seems to skip through the whiskers when doing ATG and doesn't cut them well. Stubble left. And after more lathering and passes the redness, soreness and nicks start. Maybe I should use my open comb Merkur and get some Feather blades?
  9. scott69

    scott69 New Member

    Everyone, I have to admit that if this were working out better for me I would be the first one to get the latest hyped up stuff. "Bigger, better, faster, more". It's in my nature! I'm just disappointed that I wasn't able to make shaving more of an event.
  10. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    The Best advice I see so far is to cut out the Against the grain shavimg. That would be my suspect.

    I am a member of the " I have 20 different soaps, as many After shaves, and over 60 razors in my collection" club. I prefer a SE razor, but use a DE and a Straight some too. All with great easy and success. I never ever touch a Cart razor for my use.

    Having said that, I would suggest that before you go back to the cart garbage, try a SE razor some. Take time to learn technique. It is well worth that effort.

    I look forward to every shave, but in the end it is up to you as to what you use to reduce the whiskers.

  11. Dridecker

    Dridecker Sherlock

    Scott, I'm not going to laugh, nothing funny here.

    I will tell you that five days just isn't going to be enough time to get where you want to be, it takes time to get the right technique down.
  12. spinyeel

    spinyeel Member

    I shave almost exclusively with S/E razors.I have used almost every type of razor,but find S/Es the best for my face.;) In all fairness though,the Sensor is a fine razor and I would not hesitate to use one if need be.
  13. scott69

    scott69 New Member

    The ATG problem is on the bottom left and bottom right sides of my neck. The whiskers grow horizontally there from left to right. I've seen some SE razors around that aren't expensive, Gem for example. I just might give one a try but aren't the blades harder to find? Just out of curiosity, why would you never use a cartridge razor?
  14. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    The SE blades are somewhat harder to find in some areas... mostly because there are not as many company's making them. The ones that are on the market work just fine.

    I like the old ways, I love the fact that I can use a tool that was made that long ago.. and use it well. Then again I also prefer pump shotguns, revolvers, Old style drip or stove top percolator coffee makers, and stick shift vehicles.

    I am hooked on the ritual of the shave. Using a cart would be like cheating to me.

  15. NoobShaver

    NoobShaver BGDAAA

    GEM was one of the main SE razor makers. There are still some blades out there with the GEM label on them. I can find SE blades at the local CVS at a decent price.
  16. michiganlover

    michiganlover Member

    5 days isn't nearly enough time to develop anything near consistent technique. It took me pretty close to two months to have repeatable consistent shaves.

    If you are truly lacking in patience as you say, this may not be the best method of shaving for you.
  17. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!


  18. scott69

    scott69 New Member

    Thanks to all of your help & suggestions I decided to stick with it a while longer. I tried something different today. Instead of using one of the soaps I used King of Shaves Alphagel. I've used this before but never with a DE. This stuff is not a typical gel like a can of Edge where you massage it into a foam on your beard. It comes in a tube, and when you apply it to your face it stays in a gel form. It remains clear so you can see what you're shaving. And it is so thick and gooey that it provides a protective barrier between your skin and the blade. What a difference! Almost impossible to cut yourself. I got a very close shave with just a few tiny nicks and hardly any razor burn or redness. I did 3 passes: WTG, XTG and ATG plus some touch ups, and it clings to your face so well that you don't have to apply more in between passes. Just rub the existing gel over the area. It's especially protective in problem areas like the chin and neck. I'm not necessarily going to stick with this stuff permanently because I like the traditional ritual of the mug & brush. But it's an excellent product for a beginner during their learning period. In addition to the protectiveness, being able to see the whiskers underneath the clear gel is a great help to me. It helps me relax and concentrate on my technique more. The only minor drawback is that it takes a little longer to rinse your razor and rinse it off your face. (CVS carries it). :D
  19. tomholton1234

    tomholton1234 Member

    i just think some people have more sensitive skin, and hence can't get as close a shave without irritation. I cannot go against the grain on my neck without razor bumps flaring up. its all about experimentation.
  20. scott69

    scott69 New Member

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