Today’s the day! First shave in more than 30 years with a DE safety razor! Even the medicine cabinet where the pre-shave and soap rested overnight smelled rich in shaving goodness :->
The good news first, successful and very adequate shave for a newbie I think! My wife said she thought it was smoother than typical. I wasn’t so sure, but it wasn’t bad either.
Things that went well:
The handle and blades were great. I used the Derby blades to start since they appeared to be pretty forgiving from the discussions I’d read. Dropped one of those bad boys in the handle and tightened it down. I shaved after showering so damp skin everywhere I tested the blade on the underside of my arm. Really shaved smooth with no tugs or scraping.
Pre-shave went well. My skin was already moist, but I used the Proraso pre-shave and rinsed with hot water a couple of times, an left the pre-shave on the last go before lathering. This should work I think.
The shave itself went well too. I figured just starting out I’d do two passes. So, I did the first pass with the grain. Then, I re-lathered and went XTG on my cheaks, lip and chin, then ATG on my neck. No pressure on the blade handle really.
It was a nice comfortable sensation. I could hear the the blade cutting the whiskers, but not really feel it. No real tugs. I mean, I met resistance on my chin where the whiskers are thicker, but the blade went right through them.
After the first and second pass I rinsed my face and could feel a couple of spots that were a little rough. I have some shave oil that I rubbed into those areas (the brush was barren at this point, more on that below). With the oil and gentle swipe with the razor, they came clean quickly and comfortably.
After shave, check. Cool rinse with water felt great. I put just a dab of the Proraso pre/post shave on my neck and some after shave balm and felt very comfortable.
Things that didn’t go so well:
Lathering the Proraso soap didn’t go as I’d hoped. First, I forgot to put some hot water on top to soften the top of the soap. That wasn’t too bad, I add the water and just spent one more rinse and spin on my face with the pre-shave cream.
I didn’t load the brush very well either. It looked right, soap on the brush and everything, but when I whipped in the mug it really didn’t lather up very well. When I rubbed it into my face, if seemed thin and not very rich. I worked it for a good couple of minute on my face and I seemed to get a decent shave, just not quite right.
Regarding the barren brush, I thought I was done after pass two so I started to rinse the brush out and didn't have any lather left to finish up. I will try to remember to save the lather for a third or finish pass next time.
Sequencing. It just helps to think through what you want to do and in what sequence so you don’t forget simple things like hot water on the soap.
The advice here, on the B&B forum, is pretty much spot on. Having prepped and organized in the ways suggested here, the actual shave was so comfortable and easy I was rather surprised! I think the prep is probably had more to do with a safe, nick free shave than my shaky razor handling :->
Follow the method. Understanding the direction the whiskers grew on my face was really helpful. Organizing the passes, one WTG, and the second partially XTG and ATG lastly on my neck gave me pretty decent result without killing my face or neck.
Practice. Ok, I wasn’t happy with my lather. So later in the day I just loaded up my brush 3 or 4 times with lather and spread it on my face. By the time I got to the third face-full, I was very satisfied. I didn’t have to shave to practice the technique.
BTW, with the Proraso I found that building the lather on my face worked a lot better than in the mug. I could feel when I needed a little extra water and the extra time on my face will probably serve the process well when I shave. Your mileage may vary of course, but this is what worked for me.
All in all, a great day and thank you for this forum. It helped me a lot!