I was having similar problems this past week (I'm just starting out too). I was not really happy with Merkur blades, Debys were okay and I didn't like the Astra Superior Platinums all that much either. I felt that they weren't that sharp.
I tried a Shark SS this morning and WOW! Much better and for the first time, not one nick or cut, and very little burn.
I have a thick beard too and I've noticed that just shaving WTG, whether 1 time, 10 times or anything in between is not going to give me a great shave. I get a DFS by doing WTG x 1, XTG x 1 & ATG x1. I'm really happy with the shave I got this morning.
Try a Shark and once your ready, try XTG on your second pass.
Last edited by CarlosAT; 07-31-2009 at 02:41 PM.
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