Ahh, I'm completely sold on Thayers Witch Hazel, picked some up at GNC last night and used it after my shave. Wasn't impressed really, didn't feel a cooling sensation and thought it smelled like crap. But at this point of my day my face is usually a bit sore, and it feels completely comfortable right now, I'm having trouble believing it.
Merkur HD w/ Feather (3rd shave)
AOS Lavender PSO
AOS Lavender Cream
Thayers Witch Hazel
AOS Lavender ASB
Razor burn still present around mouth but it's decreasing, and not as noticeable now. I've finally made some progress .
Blade experience so far:
Merkur Platinum: I think a jagged rock would work just as well.
Israeli Personna: A satisfactory and comfortable first shave, no where near as smooth as Feathers but it doesn't nick me and I get little to no irritation with these. That's the first shave, second shave gives me irritation and a couple nicks and it becomes too uncomfortable to use after that. Darn, I just got 100 Israeli Personna's and I can't get more than 1 good shave per blade out of the Isreali's.
Derby Extra: Just as sharp as the Israeli's except gives me an uncomfortable shave from the start, nicks/irritation, I don't even want to use it for the second shave.
Swedish Gillette: Sharper than everything except Feather, honestly I wasn't blown away by these. I didn't get as smooth a shave as I would with Feathers, and it nicked me a couple times, I came away feeling this to be an average blade. I'm glad too, these suckers aren't cheap.
Feather: Ahh, my saving grace. Without these DE shaving for me would be worthless. Gives me a smooth, smooth shave. I've gotten competent enough with these that I don't have much of a problem with nicking myself until the last pass or touchups, even then it's so small that it probably doesn't even need a styptic, but I use it anyway. The nicks are something I plan on fixing real soon by focusing a lot more my last pass + touchups.
All the blades have given me razor burn, but I've recently lowered it by practicing with the Feather. I looked at where I have razor burn and noticed that there are a couple areas that have razor burn but have no facial hair growing there. That problem was fixed easily as I just stopped shaving those areas, instead carefully avoiding them and only shaving areas that have hair growing. As for the other area's, I'm still trying to get enough experience to judge why I'm giving myself razor burn there.
I want to blame faulty products for my razor burn, but I know that it has everything to do with my technique, pressure, and lack of experience. I've made some decent gains recently and I'm going to keep working from there. I think that it'll take me a while longer before I can get the shaving experience I had the first time I used my DE.
I've also become more realistic with my expectations of DE shaving. I no longer expect myself to be able to shave every morning and get a comfortable and BBS shave. I forgot that I couldn't even do that with my Mach III, shaving was extremley painful from the second day on if I tried to shave everyday. So I shave every other day now like I did with the Mach III, except on the first shave of the week, that's a 3rd day shave. Gives my face an extra day to relax itself in case I really butchered my face the week before.
Thanks for posting all the reviews and tips, I've been absorbing everything to try and guage and improve my shaves.
P.S. Thanks to Scotto for your 'Tip of the Week' thread, both of your tips have really helped me make some appreciated improvements to my shave. My lather has never been better.