Just had my first safety razor shave, thoughts:

Discussion in 'General Shaving Talk' started by McCrae, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. McCrae

    McCrae New Member

    Hey everyone,

    I'm new to the whole wet shaving game, I've been using Gillette cartridge razors ever since I started shaving 5 years back. I've maybe only had a handful of "good" shaves with those and was always left with irritation and razor burn. Also, my hair is pretty thick and the cart razors never did a good job of giving a smooth shave. After doing some research I decided that safety razors are the way to go and I've just now experienced my first safety razor shave. (Edwin Jagger DE89, Semogue 830 brush, Mitchells Wool Fat soap).

    This first experience is definitely a learning lesson, I took a hot shower before making sure to wash my face and open up the pores, and I've soaked the brush in some warm water as well as the soap while showering. The soap is a bit tough to lather (realized this when reading reviews earlier today), but I manged to get what I assume to be a good lather (lathering up on my face as opposed to a bowl), although never making one before. I did two passes WTG, since I missed some spots on my first pass, and a third pass across the grain. I'm still getting the hang of holding the razor at an angle and not using any pressure, sometimes I'll go over a tricky spot and not remove any hair because I wasn't holding it at the proper angle. The shave came out alright, I don't have any cuts (a first) and just a mild burning sensation which I assume to be from shaving this way for the first time. I've also made the mistake of not shaving for a week (my hair grows pretty fast) and I have some spots that I missed, but I'll try again in two days which I believe would make it easier to shave.

    Is there a way to keep the lather warm between passes? I find after the first pass it's already cool, which is not a big deal but would be nice if it was warmer.

    What do you do if you have some spots that you missed after your third pass? Do you do another pass or leave it for next time?

    How can I tell if my lather is "right"? Is there a trick where I know that it's at the right consistency?
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
    Keithmax, RyX, MR41 and 2 others like this.
  2. david of central florida

    david of central florida Rhubarb Rubber

    First, they make a special bowl called a scuttle. You can fill it with hot water, it radiates the heat to the lather. 150_Opal_Rim_on_Black_Scuttle-1.jpeg mine is called a dirty bird(you can Google dirty bird scuttle to find it)
    Second, they say the lather should be ready when it had a sheen to it, but i normally look for a consistency and coverage i like, if it's thick, I'll make the Fawcett drip and pass the brush under it, sometimes I dip it in the water I soaked it in.
    Next, passes, I go n-s, then s-n, them ear to chin (or adamsapple), if touchup is needed, I'll go shoulder to nose (if i buff, it'll be lightly in this last direction) i don't always to this last, but I'm stubborn. The three will get me a very nice to perfect shave if my technique is on point.
    Lastly, irritation. Coming from carts I'd bet your using too much pressure. You'll adapt, soft educated hands take time to develop, you'll get there.
    Stick with it, it's very fun doing it this way,(with tons if delightful choices in both gear and scents)
    Enjoy the ride bro.
    Keithmax likes this.
  3. TitanTTB

    TitanTTB Well-Known Member

    Welcome to The Shave Den and congratulations on your first traditional shave!
    As David said a scuttle can warm your lather. I usually do two passes and as I rinse my face with water I'll feel for missed spots or patches and then just touch up opposed to doing another full pass. When making lather I look for 'stiff peaks' that stand on the brush. They say Mitchell's Wool Fat can be finicky but is fantastic once you get a hang of it.
    Keithmax likes this.
  4. Enrico

    Enrico Well-Known Member

    :signs046: @McCrae from western NY, glad you decided to join us at TSD. Please feel free to stop in at welcome center and introduce yourself.
  5. sdguero

    sdguero Well-Known Member

  6. Dansco

    Dansco Well-Known Member

    Welcome along! :signs046:
  7. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Welcome @McCrae! There's about eighteen different things to all learn at once. Making lather is all it's own discussion. You can cobble up a scuttle from stuff in your kitchen if you have a couple different bowls to stack up. The razor handling skills have a couple fine points like riding the cap, and that no pressure light touch. You'll unlearn cartridge habits and replace them with DE Razor Technique.

    If you'd like a mix of Cheer leading, Coaching, discussion about blood on steel and the procedure to staunch the flow, and a high probability of Shenanigans - Join us in The 30 Day Rule / Focus Group. We're a bunch of new shavers learning vintage gear & vintage shavers trying out new razors. Check the first post for more details. Then either read 15 pages to catch up or skip straight to the end and jump in!
  8. Dansco

    Dansco Well-Known Member

    Get on this if you want to get better, fast. They won't try to convince you buying new gear is the answer either ;)
    Linuxguile, MR41 and RyX like this.
  9. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    Hi nice to meet you.
    Linuxguile likes this.
  10. Jim99

    Jim99 Gold Water Shaver

    Welcome to The Shave Den! It sounds like you have good equipment there. The EJ razor and Semogue brush are both excellent.

    You have already gotten some great advice, but I’ll add one more thing regarding the lather. The Semogue 830 is a boar brush and boars will take about a dozen uses to break in. Until the brush has broken in, lathering with it can be difficult.

    Be patient and, as @RyX said, join the 30 focus group. DE shaving is quite rewarding and, in my opinion, way better than any cartridge shave I’ve ever had.
    RyX likes this.
  11. jar

    jar Well-Known Member

    A few things that will make all more enjoyable.

    First, light, light hand; you should be more aware of the top of the razor than the blade itself.

    Second, do a couple passes but then rinse your face and rub your face down with an alum block. That will make it easier to stretch your skin for any touchup.

    Third, technique is really a learned thing and does take time. For now your priority should be comfort. Close shaves will come naturally as you become more comfortable shaving.
    178-bplatoon, Jim99 and RyX like this.
  12. 178-bplatoon

    178-bplatoon Well-Known Member

    :signs046: to TSD @McCrae

    I hope you enjoy it here. Congrats on your first of many great shaves to come. :happy088:
    Jim99 likes this.
  13. McCrae

    McCrae New Member

    Wow, thanks for the kind welcome and advice! I'll definitely check out the links, I'm eager to learn. :)
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  14. SFTrooper

    SFTrooper Active Member

    Welcome to the Den.
  15. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire

    Here’s a thought on learning technique; if you’re having trouble, try a practice session where you lather up and “pretend shave” with no blade. That was you can work on angle and light touch with no risk to your face.

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