View Full Version : Mangaging Variables
04-16-2010, 04:14 AM
I finally decided to stop snooping around and join the forum..
I have been shaving for about 2 months and really enjoying the process.
I have read that controling varibles in the shave is important when first starting out and this makes perfect sense to me. But I find myself getting too excited to try various soaps, creams, and blade combinations not to mention how many passes and in what direction!
I realize the whole YMMV thing but I just wanted to get an idea of how long people are waiting before deciding if it works or not. Shouldnt it be fairly obvious if it doesnt work?
04-16-2010, 04:39 AM
Welcome to B&B, glad you stopped lurking! :thumbup: When I started I only had one brand of blades and one soap so I concentrated on getting my lather right first. Once I was happy with that I started acquiring more stuff...don't we all? However, I tried to give each new variable about a week before adding another. Otherwise it's hard to appreciate the differences.
04-16-2010, 05:03 AM
Welcome to B&B!
When deciding if something works for me, I usually know right away if it does not, and I take a bit more time in deciding if it really works for me. That said, you also have to be careful not to confuse learning curve/improper technique with how well something works for you.
Good luck and enjoy the shaves.:biggrin1:
04-16-2010, 10:07 AM
Welcome to B&B !!
04-16-2010, 10:23 AM
Welcome to B&B.
If you want to get a great shave consistently,the fastest way is to follow the advice to find what works and improve, changing one variable at a time, and all that. But if your shave is good enough, there's no reason you can't choose to focus more on enjoying the process. (Although I think this is more like the opposite of focus.) So, basically, you decide. Only thing I'd add is if you do choose to play it fast and loose, go back and retry things you didn't like, say maybe six months later, because you might not know what variable was at play.
The amount of time you stay with one thing depends on how many other things you want to compare. If you stick to one razor and one blade, you can still change prep, soaps & creams, preshaves, and other things, and that could take years. Personally, I'm on the other end of the spectrum, and sometimes don't even stick with one razor for a whole shave. I'm still kind of new to B&B and all the choices and products available, but I've also been DE shaving for probably 20 years. The more variable way has its advantages for the likes of us gestalt types, but without a certain amount of internal guidance, it's easy to get lost. I think either way is viable, and has more to do with your personality and how you approach the experience. But until you do have some way of divining the path to the grail, you can go through some awfully dark, winding roads. I'm still learning a lot from B&B.
04-16-2010, 10:25 AM
welcome to B&B!
04-16-2010, 02:09 PM
I'd say to stick with something for at least a week before coming to a decision. Sometimes trying a new soap requires a period of getting acquainted in order to appreciate the qualities offered by the product.
However, if it really sucks immediately (like a soap or AS that is clearly irritating), then abandon it and don't worry about making a too hasty change.
04-16-2010, 02:12 PM
I realize the whole YMMV thing but I just wanted to get an idea of how long people are waiting before deciding if it works or not.
For myself, knowing if something works comes down to not just whether I can safely duplicate the conditions that lead to a predictable outcome, but whether I can duplicate those conditions with minimal thought. A good example is lathering. I must have made (and poured out) ten bowls of proraso lather before I felt like I knew how much product to use, how long to work it, how much water to introduce and when, and what the most desirable end-product looked like. The variables in lathering were very daunting for me.
As for the rest of shaving, I did myself a huge disservice by switching between razors and blades and poor lather for my first month. Every shave was a new experiment. It was instructive, but in the most painful and inconsistent way possible. If something is painful or inconsistent, it's not working.
I stopped with the brush and bowl, went back to barbasol, selected a 40s superspeed as my tool of choice, and stuck with a single blade (sharks). For almost three weeks, that's all I did. Then I put down the can and picked up the brush (after all those practice bowls). Then I began occasionally using a different razor, always going back to the superspeed for a few days. I'm now at a point where I can change blades and feel a difference between them. I've got enough comfort with the superspeed and technique (not perfect, I'm guessing, but consistent) that I can switch to a different razor without much adjustment.
Finally, I should point out that I don't really feel some burning need to get a "BBS" shave, or to complete X number of passes in a proscribed manner. I'm shaving to look presentable and have no nicks or irritation. I can't do three passes, anyway... my face just doesn't like it. Ultimately, I think this is what people here mean when they say "do what works for you".
Hope it helps,
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