I started wet shaving before I bothered picking up a DE.
I wanted to really fix the damage done by years of million blade razors and sludge in a can.
I took my routine down to the basics: VDH soap and the included boar brush (I actually ENJOY this brush) and a 10cent twin blade razor from the dollar store (ten for a buck).
After about 3 days of using something akin to Kyle's Prep, 2-3 passes focusing on using almost no pressure (you need SOME with a crappy cartridge razor) and focusing on the grain on my beard I was seeing improvement.
I added back in my old favorite of Nivea after shave balm.
My skin responded VERY well. I had some slight irritation around my neck, the thickest hairs on the most sensitive skin...but nothing to worry about.
I only ever had 1 weeper, same spot each time. It's a spot on my neck that gets a bit abused due to weird hair patterns and it being where my neck creases naturally. I didn't even bother to close it up as after a pat dry, cold splash and some after shave balm it never wept again.
I had that open a few times, always less and less.
Today I got the vintage DE's I ordered from eBay. I had put a screwy low ball bid on a lot of a Flare tip super speed, a 3 piece gillette, and a schick krona. I won it for $12.41 shipping included.
At the same time I also won a 40's style super speed, the one I really wanted.
I got them all today (awesome) and quickly set about cleaning and sanitizing (vinegar, boiling water, alcohol...)
Then I had to decide: What do I use...because I'm sticking with one for a WHILE. To be honest the one that seemed the most intriguing in person was the one I didn't even want...the Schick Krona. I love the grip, the long handle...it seems FANTASTIC.
But I decided that I wanted a DE when I saw the 40's style super speed...so that's what I would work with.
I've never used a DE before, never seen one in person before either. I was a bit hesitant about the blade angle so I decided to do a little clean up on my thigh in the bath tub first.
I have really soft, thin, and long body hair. If my facial hair was anything like my body hair I would shave with a buffing wheel with a piece of demin attached...but that wasn't my point, the POINT was to learn blade angle and not using pressure.
I will often clean up my thighs with a razor, who needs 1" long thigh hairs? Nobody. So it wasn't that unusual or anything.
After a few swipes I realized this was AWESOME and I basically shaved my entire thighs. Even getting into some sensitive areas (still on the legs gentlemen...I'm not THAT confident yet)
about 50% through thigh two I felt some serious drag all of a sudden my first though was "are these cheap ass blades giving up already!?" (I used the Crystal's that I got in my West Coast Shaving sampler...as there are 10 of them)
then I realized what was going on...Twist To Open razor...had started twisting open. I opened it up and closed it to make sure it was in there correctly, and tightened it back down.
PERFECT. I did get a couple bloody spots where I had not had the blade tightened: LESSON LEARNED, and I DIDN'T have to learn it ON MY FACE. This is why I started on my leg. I felt pretty confident after this and was looking forward to my actual shave.
I used VDH puck soap, Tweezerman brush (keeping it really simple for my first time) did my same routine of pre-lather, hot towel, lather pass, lather pass...
Then I had to look. I rinsed my face with rather warm water...my skin wasn't red, the few neck bumps I'd had from the single blade bics were not present AT ALL. I didn't feel BBS...but it was a lot better than I was getting just days before.
I decided to leave 2 passes, and just do some touch up. I did a little bit of against the grain shaving on a few spots on my neck (the hair lays almost flat here so ATG is the only way I can get them off)
I have ZERO irritation.
I jumped in the shower to get the rest of the lather off (I shave my head too, so this is just easier) then I turned it onto cold water, closed up my face, used my antiseptic face wash, washed it off.
Got out of the shower and BAM! Baxter of California after shave balm. It's like HEAVEN.
I do have a few rough patches around the back of my head (mostly behind my right ear) I was a bit afraid of fucking it up or cutting myself. I'll do better tomorrow.
Thank you to EVERYBODY ON THIS ENTIRE FORUM. I've read a LOT, and learned a LOT. I now have the tools to keep myself looking great and feeling great. And I can do it rather cheaply.
If I'd spent the money I spent on wet shaving stuff on my normal routine...I'd have enough supplies for about 6-10 weeks (depending on how lazy I got).
Now? I have enough to last me about 10 months, maybe more if I can get a full week out of a blade. And since I enjoy some very inexpensive products (VDH, RSC) that go a long way...I get to enjoy the spoils and luxury of rich lather and a smooth shave...at almost no cost.
I love you guys!