I have been wet shaving now for close to four months. I went through the initial blood-letting that everyone experiences and slowly relearned to shave. I have been getting good shaves but rarely achieve the "Alpha" shave. My method is as follows:
1. Moisten beard with hot towel.
2. Apply cream. (I have tried several Classic brand soaps, Col Conk soap, Palmolive cream, and Taylor's cream).
3. Shave N-to-S on face and S-to-N on neck. (I have been using a Merkur classic with Merkur or Feather blades. I sometimes will use a gillette fatboy adjustable instead of the classic.)
4. Rinse, relather, shave diagonal, downs from ear to chin. (I have experimented with more of a horizontal pass but haven't noticed any increase in efficiency).
5. Rinse, relather, shave diagonal, up from jaw to nose.
6. Rinse, relather, shave S-to-N and then finish with a little touch & cut.
I always pay very close attention to blade angle and pressure. I rarely have any irritation (if any it is on the jawline or neck). I also rarely have that glass smooth finish that I strive for.
I know that a better shave is out there. I am just a little unsure as to what I need to do so that I am getting it. Any and all suggestions/criticism are welcome.