As times have been changing, the flavor of competition in the computer field has changed drastically. Once it was sufficient to be merely exceptional, fast, and innovative. A badge of honor among some was to be the guy wearing the jeans and tea-shirt and sporting a full beard in a wall street bank, and in a private office.
That's changed! Now politics and appearance have taken a superior stance to excellence, probably an artifact of the offshoring and H1b craze. Notice how LARGE and inefficient even a word processor has gotten. --- but I digress...
So, the beard comes off. I haven't shaved every day since I was honorably discharged! (I didn't ACTUALLY shave every day when I was in :-) ) This is
a scary concept. I always had sensitive skin, and a whisker forest of drill rod. Not a great combination if you want to be clean shaven.
I lurked here for a week or two, at the recommendation of a friend on this forum (I don't know his forum name), and ordered a Progress and "standard" blade assortment from West Coast Shaving.
I thought I would change one variable at a time, analyze each element, and determine what is hype and what is not. Let's face it, most of the reality we all take for granted is pure BS and not actually representative of natural laws. -- again, I digress...
I was used to using a Bic orange handle and Edge when I did trim beard, or do the occasional shave. So, the first variable to change was pre-treatment. I shaved the way I used to for a few days, and the burn, and thorough unpleasantness was just as I remembered. It was a new razor, I only use those three or four times at most, and only ONCE if it is used just after removing a beard.
Started with a "goo" coating and a hot/damp towel for abt 3 minutes, cleaned it off, and relathered. hmmmm -- definite difference. next time, I heated the goo (Edge) in the sink to prolong the hot feeling. I continued for a week. Results tapered to a major improvement over the now obsolete ritual. I went into the basement to turn up the hot water to JUST below scald. I even began to look forward to the hot towel in the morning, now hotter :-)
Took a trip to the local C & E and picked up a brush, soap, and aftershave balm. They were out of stock of everything I wanted. I wound out with a best badger "medium", "Sienna" shave soap, and a sandlewood balm.
Cost me a hundred bucks --- arrrggghh
I find it takes a bit of skill to get the lather correct. Mine was too wet until I read a "newbie" lather instruction page in this forum. Not that it mattered much, because I had already found a slight improvement over the gel even with a damp lather. I was also taking so much time to evaluate each minute detail, the extra water had usually gone by the time I actually put blade to beard.
So far, I've liked all these changes. I even look forward to the little self pamper every morning. The horrible smell of the shave soap has become rather pleasant. Since most of the prep happens when Im in the shower, I don't think there has been a significant increase in time for morning maintenance (SSS, for those of us churls)
ok, now comes the scarrry part. The ogre brandishing the double edged scythe of scarring. It was recommended I start with the "Derby". I went very slowly on the left part of the face - got a nick on my chin - by the time I went to the right side, I am wondering what the hell all the fuss was about. I proceeded at normal speed on the right, and no nicks. (subsecond long strokes from top of cheek to jawline) -- the ultra thin blade combined with a resonant handle gives a good deal of auditory feedback. There is definitely a good sound signature for wisker length, amount cut off, percent of attacked whisker actually bent vs cut, and grain angle of attack. There is of course tactile feedback improved over the Bic, but not as at high a resolution.
The setting I'm using is a 1.5, if the index lined up on 1 exactly when closed (it doesn't, mine actually rests at 0.5) - I will continue to use this blade/setting for another two or three weeks while I improve form. Too bad there are no katahs for safety razors. Another observation, the choice of angle of attack is extremely limited at the lower settings. Any variation from near optimal results in the blade missing the skin. Maybe this is intentional as I guess it's possible to cut whiskers without blade actually touching the skin. An electric razor works this way.
If anyone cares, or requests it, I will be happy to post my razor, and then blade experiences. The learning curve on blade and razor will be much longer, so it might be weeks to months before I have any worthwhile experiences and opinions to report.
If ti weren't for the expertise of those sharing their talents, experience, and instruction on this site, I expect I would be back to a couple weeks worth of growth. I am shaving daily, and so far am ACTUALLY enjoying the experience. There is no way I could have seen this coming :-)
I also enjoyed Mantics antics -- thank you very much Mantic59, and all you others.