Inconsistent Shaves

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by arvanlaar, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. arvanlaar

    arvanlaar New Member

    Hey All,

    I have been shaving with a safety razor for about 7-8 years now. I have always had the same set up and routine until very recently. That set up/routine was:
    1. Wash face with very warm water for about a minute, while letting razor and brush warm in mug with hot water.
    2. Add cream (Body Shop Macca Root) to mug, later up so it is thick and apply to face.
    3. Shave from top of face to bottom of face
    4. Wash with very warm water again
    5. Apply more soap and shave left to right for the right side of my face and right to left on the left side of my face.
    6. Wash with very warm water, then cool down with quite cool water.
    7. Apply Nivea for men aftershave lotion.
    The only changes that I have made recently have been using a homemade pre-shave oil between steps 1 and 2 and I have switched to Proraso Sandalwood shaving cream.

    I have always found, that some days I have an amazing shave (my good shave days are even better now after using the pre-shave oil), other days are satisfactory and other days my skin feels just awful. The only variable I can see is with my razor blade. I used to use Bluebirds for 4 years but switched to Astra since then. The same issues happened with either blade. Also, when first starting off, I did try sample packs of blades and chose the ones that worked best for me. I have also looked at how often I use each blade. I have tested blades on their first, second and third shaves and sometimes a blade on the first use is amazing and other times it is terrible. Same with the the second and third uses.

    My technique, while probably not perfect, is basically the same every time I shave. I am at a loss as how to have a consistent shave. The only reason I shave is because my wife likes a smooth face and I do enjoy her affections lol. I would really like to enjoy shaving, but consider it a necessary evil much like taxes at this point and I would like that to change.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance gents!
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  2. Tedolph

    Tedolph Well-Known Member

    Don't use warm water after the first pass. Only cool things on your face after the first pass.

    Paul Turner likes this.
  3. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    I would advise you to map your beard growth direction and shave with the grain, and maybe instead of two passes, up it to three or even four passes (if needed) to make up for the lack of closeness of the shave. Alternatively, switch to one across the grain shave for the third pass and skip a fourth pass. Avoid shaving against the grain.

    Doing this, your shaves should get more consistent, and comfortable. Nivea for men should be an option for particularly bad razor burn days, not a post-shave requirement.

    I don't believe blade choice is a factor in the inconsistent nature of your shaves. Astra, is my preferred blade. Bluebirds, on the other hand, are right at the very bottom of my list of favorite blades.

    It could be your razor. I don't know what razor you are using, but cheap razors and some vintage razors can be less than mechanically perfect. Check the blade exposure and gap, it should be even on both sides, and parallel to the top cap. An off-center blade is not a fun thing to try to compensate for while shaving.
    awk-m4 likes this.
  4. BigMike

    BigMike Well-Known Member

    I've always found that Russian made blades perform poorly on odd numbered days that start with a T, and that Sandalwood soap is really only effective in the Summer. </end obligatory sarcasm>

    I usually get a better shave if I do it first thing in the morning-- if I wait until after breakfast I have problems. Blame it on the caffeine, but it's clearly my technique that's suffering.

    Sharper blades generally make for less irritation, but with a higher liklihood of getting nicked. I usually use Astra blades but will switch to Derby or Bic from time to time if I find my shaves are becoming a bit off.

    It sounds like your routine is a two pass shave. Three passes might help you if you make each of them lighter.

    Maybe you'll find one or more of these ideas helpful. Good luck!
  5. gzp

    gzp Well-Known Member

    Assuming you shave in the morning, what if anything are you doing the night before, or maybe the day before you are getting your good shaves? I have always believed that the best pre-shave begins right after you finish shaving. Anything you do which helps moisturize your skin helps when you shave,
  6. arvanlaar

    arvanlaar New Member

    Hey All, Just to update my shaves have gotten MUCH better. The one thing I changed was not using hot water between passes. I tried using very cool water like Tedolph suggested and that seems to have been where I was going wrong. I still get the odd nick but that is just part of the game. The terrible burn and itchiness has basically disappeared and it has become a much more enjoyable experience :)

    Thank you all so much for your advice! I REALLY appreciate the time each of you took to respond :)
    Sara-s, Primotenore, Tedolph and 3 others like this.
  7. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire

    @arvanlaar glad you have found a solution. My hubby & I love home-made pre-shave oils too. Just curious what your ingredient base is.
  8. arvanlaar

    arvanlaar New Member

    @Sara-s, Thanks! So I made two batches and unfortunately, forgot to label my ratios before mixing haha. That being said, both oils seem to work just fine and I really can't tell the difference between the two.

    For #1 I used 1:1 ratio for castor oil to olive oil and the other is a 2:1 ratio of castor to olive oil. I made them in little eye dropper type bottles and added one drop of black spruce essential oil in one and 2 drop of orange essential oil in the other.

    Hopefully that helps. I am afraid it is very basic but does the job :)
  9. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire

    I've used blue spruce EO, @arvanlaar but not black spruce. Are they very different?
  10. arvanlaar

    arvanlaar New Member

  11. awk-m4

    awk-m4 Well-Known Member

    That makes sense. I shave my head and throat daily and always shave first with the grain. For my throat I need to start at the bottom and work my way South to North. More often thatn not only a single pass is required as I've always had a difficult time going with the grain. In the bad old days using cartridge razors I used to get an awful rash and shaving more than once a week was problematic. As for my head it took some practice but I'm at the point where I don't have to think about it anymore. Results day to day are very consistent.

    Paul D
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  12. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    I'd also add try using pure aloe vera gel on the face after you are done shaving instead of the nivea lotion. That stuff works really well with tightening up and moisturizing skin.

    This is the brand I use. They also sell this at Walmart. If you decide to try it and use another brand just make sure it is also alcohol free like this.
    gzp likes this.
  13. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Glad I was able to help.
    awk-m4 likes this.

Share This Page