I recently purchased a Merkur hefty classic, a low-end badger brush, and some T&H shave cream. I have enjoyed the brush and shave cream, but I'm finding that with the DE razor I'm getting a few nicks of varying severeness each time I'm shaving, and not getting a very close shave unless I go against the grain. Last night I shaved for the 4th time with the razor.
Before switching to the above, I was using a Mach 3 with Pacific Shaving Oil. With that combination, as long as I applied the oil properly with an adequately wet face, I generally had no irritation at all. The main motivation in switching was the cost of blades for the Mach 3 and the seemingly negative effects the oil was having on my skin (caused occasional acne compared to previous shaving gels/creams).
With the DE I am being as careful as possible not to apply pressure and to keep it at an acute angle. I apply a small amount of cream to the brush and then lather it on my face in a circular motion, making sure that there are no translucent areas.
The problem areas are the upper areas of my cheeks, the sideburns, and especially the neck below the sideburn area. I believe the irritation would be minimal if I just shaved against the grain once. But this seems to result in a wholly inadequate shave in a few areas. I find that I need to make a second pass and really stretch the skin and run over the area a few times. Mostly this is my cheeks and jawline.
Are these abrasions and nicks to be expected when making the switch? Is there a certain technique I can use to minimize nicks while also ensuring a close shave of problem areas?
I really started to question myself when I noticed Jake Gyllenhaal using the exact same razor with just cold water in a scene in Brokeback Mountain. No bleeding or anything after for him, but I still nick myself slightly with a good shaving cream and hot water...