So, I've had 3 shaves with my Merkur 34C, with an Astra blade in place. I'm using Williams soap, and a decent boar brush from Parker. My very first shave with the DE was last Saturday. I had my morning shower, and then basically followed the steps in one of the shaving videos.
I had my soap, as I've had for a while, in a sort of rocks glass. I got a little glass bowl from the kitchen and after loading my brush, did the lather in the second bowl. It worked fairly well, but I know I need more practice. I had built lathers before, but not in a separate bowl. I had been doing it on top of my soap in the rocks glass.
The shave was acceptable. I'd say it took me about twice as long per pass as with a disposable. I relathered once and had a second pass. Both I did as I've done in the past with a disposable, some WTG, some ATG and some XTG. Not much ATG though, because I was afraid I'd slice off a piece of lunch meat. Some of my face was BBS, but most was just socially acceptable, or whatever. I can say that it was nearly as good as I ever did with the disposable.
I had one significant nick on my nostril. It happened because I wasn't paying attention and just kind of let the razor go a little limp in my hand while I was looking at the progress on the side of my face.
I had gotten some L'Occitane en Provence aftershave balm with my blade assortment, single serving:
I did not like the scent at all, too feminine for me. Very disappointed I smeared that stuff on. It seemed too greasy as well.
My second shave on Monday, I had no nicks or any sort of bleeding, but I don't think I got quite as smooth. Under my chin/upper neck was the least close, but that's always been the case when I shave. My cheeks, and surprisingly, lower lip to over the chin, was almost BBS.
This time I had made my lather in a stainless steel "pretend" toy bowl that I stole from my girls. It's about the right size for this, but my lather was too loose, too sudsy looking. I think I had too much water. I need more work with this aspect. The shave was ok though, as I said. My Astra blade still very sharp. When I got done, I had a very respectable pile of stubble in my sink.
I picked up some Nivea sensitive skin aftershave balm. I'd used this stuff before, and I really like it. It's worth a try for anyone who's not used it.
Third shave was Wednesday. I went back to making my lather in my rocks glass, and got a little firmer lather. But, I really didn't have enough. I tried doing some face lathering, but didn't have great success with that. The shave turned out fine though, better than Monday's. I think my shaving technique is getting better, even if my lather is inconsistent.
I picked up some Aqua Velva and splashed that on afterwards. Pretty good burn on a couple of spots, but no lasting irritation. Liked the scent quite a bit. My dad, God rest his soul, used this and Skin Bracer, as well as Old Spice. He always used an electric razor though, after I was old enough to know anything. Anyway, it took me back.
Followed the AV with the Nivea again. This combination, I think, will work well for me. I do have issues in the winter with dry skin, so I'm hoping that the Nivea will do me some good.
Tomorrow will be shave #4. I am considering trying a new blade after using the Astra three times. I didn't get any tugging, pulling, scraping, or any bad feelings with the Astra. Anyone can give me a suggestion from my choices from my sampler: