Hi, my name is Peter and it's been 62 days since I used a cartridge!
I've been shaving for over 25 years. However, it's only in the last couple of months that I made the transition from multi-blade cartridges to "traditional" DE shaving. These last 2 months have been a great experience and I now enjoy what has always been a chore
I can't claim to be an "expert" (there are plenty here) but I'd like to share some observations and my experiences. I've only tried DE (straights scare me) but I think it's pretty general.
You'll find lots of information here.
Take the time to read through some of the threads...particularly the "stickies". There are links to lots of excellent tutorials. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions, I've had nothing but great answers...even when I've asked the same stupid questions that hundreds of other newbs ask.
Don't expect instant results.
We've all put up with years of "adequate" shaves and I know I'd got loads of bad habits from using tools that were very forgiving. Be prepared to keep practicing your technique...some areas of your beard will be simple to shave, others (especially your neck) will require more effort. That doesn't mean "keep going over the same patch until it's smooth"...that just leads to razor burn and irritation! Be prepared to make do with an OK shave at first. Additionaly, it's going to take your skin a little while to get used to the new experience.
Your face and beard are NOT average!!
The various multi-blade cartridge systems have had MILLIONS spent on them...however, most of that money has gone on designing something to suit as many people (i.e. customers) as possible. This means that, by their very nature they will suit the "average shaver". In the real world, your face and mine are different (along with everybody else's with (possibly) the exception of identical twins). You'll see lots of posts with YMMV (your mileage may vary) in...this is to highlight that whilst Tom may get a good result with product X, Dick and Harry may have totally different views on the same item. Be prepared to experiment a bit.
Your beard is a wild and natural thing!
You might think you have a nicely manicured lawn...in reality it wants to be a wild forest! I was surprised to find out just how many directions my stubble grows! Try skipping a shave and then rub a cotton ball (or your fingers) over your face...if it snags, you're going ATG (against the grain). Like me, you probably got away with shaving in any direction with a Fusion. DE blades tend not to give you that luxury.
You'll find the allure of the various AD's (acquisition disorders) to be very tempting. By all means, buy the razors/soaps/brushes you want...but take the time to get used to one basic set-up. Experiment a bit more widely with blades though as they can give very different results for different people. Most guys here will recommend getting a sampler pack. Try one type for a few shaves then feel free to switch. Please note though, that even two blades out of the same pack can have differences. They're designed to be disposable and they're a damn sight cheaper than cartrdges, so try a different one if you're not happy with your results.
Your skin is (probably) not as "sensitive" as you think.
For years, I would find both dry and oily patches on my face. Nowadays, I'm finding that my complection is much better than it's ever been. I put it down to treating it a lot better than when I used "goo in a can" and just shaved in the shower.
Enjoy the experience.
You'll find most of us now extolling the virtues of such much needed "me time" Yes, it takes longer to shave now than it used to, but it definitely counts as "time well spent"!
This is a forum of like-minded individuals. It's fun to contribute to other areas of B&B. You might not know how to shave yet, but you're bound to know other stuff! Take the time to personalise your profile, your location is particularly useful if you're asking about purchases.
This is just what I've discovered over the last two months and is only my opinion. I'll happily admit that I've still got LOTS to learn, but I'm definitely looking forward to the journey