Where do I start? Gentlemen, this was freaking awesome!!! And I don't even have all the "stuff" yet - only my brand new shiny Merkur 178. I intended to wait until I got my TOBS shave cream, Derby Extras, and Clubman After Shave, but the only thing to arrive so far was the razor and its one lonely Merkur blade. It has been 3 days since I last shaved, so after my shower I decided to go ahead with what I had.
Unless you're somewhat of an oldster like me (60), you may not be able to fully appreciate this, but holding that stubby little razor in my hand, and shaving with it, brought me back to a time in my life when I was 19 years old and a "newbie" in a place far removed in time and space from this one - Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas. Basic Training. 1968. (For those of you that have "been there, done that" you'll appreciate the difference between shaving at 5:05 A.M., with 4 or 5 other G.I.'s waiting behind you for the sink, and a nice slow luxurious shave in the comfort of your own home).
I would have to say that my skin and beard are "normal". Anyway, on to the shave! With the equipment at hand, limited as it is so far, here was my routine:
2) Dry everything but my face
3) Soak washcloth in as hot a water as I could stand, wring out a medium-hard amount, hold on face for 30 seconds or so; Repeat.
4) "Lather up" (such as it was) with the only thing on hand - Gillette multiglide shave gel
5) First pass with the grain
6) Rub face to generate more "lather" (there was enough residual gel left to get a decent coating)
7) Next pass across the grain (I have NEVER done that before, never even thought about it - learned that from reading on this site)
8) See # 6
9) Final pass against the grain
10) Warm water rinse
11) Cold water rinse
12) Pat face dry with towel
13) Aqua Velva
I think this was the closest shave I've ever had. I took my time and didn't rush it - taking short strokes with my new Merkur. I was totally floored when I took that little razor in my hand and it immediately transported me back in time! I have no razor burn, the Aqua Velva merely tingled and did not burn, and my face, no matter which way I rub it, is smooth as silk.
I can't wait to get the rest of the things I ordered! I think they will greatly contribute to the sensory (or is it sensual?) experience of shaving.