Hello everyone. I've been lurking here for a while now and decided to join so I can get advice from a few of the experts.
A little background first. I'm 52 and have shaving pretty much the same way since my first shave. My beard is tough as a wire brush and seems to be getting worse as grow older. With my current equipment and product I cannot shave without bleeding. The problem area is around my mouth, especially my upper lip. In order to get a close shave I have to scrape and scrape the same area over and over in multiple directions. I'm not cutting myself as much as what appears to be scraping off flesh in an effort to get at the toughest hairs. My neck and cheeks are less of a problem.
I've been using a Gillette Mach III cartridge razor for many years. Previously I had used the version that does not have the lubricating strip (Mach II maybe?) I preferred the earlier version because my beard will shred the strip on the first shave. They apparently are no longer available so I've been making do with the newer version. A few years back I purchased a Merkur DE and Merkur blades as an attempt to get a better shave and was sorely disappointed in the results so I'm back to the Mach III for now.
I've been using Col Conk's Almond shave soap and a badger brush which have been a big improvement over the canned stuff I had used previously. More recently I made a purchase from Amazon of Lucky Tiger shave cream and J.M. Fraser's Polar Ice shave soap. The Lucky Tiger, for me, clearly outperforms the Fraser's. Especially if I apply and let it set for about 15 minutes before i shower and then use it again when I shave afterwards. Even with this I need to drag the razor over the same areas several times in order to get a close shave. It's a little more comfortable but I still draw blood every time I shave.
When I use a moisturizer regularly I tend to have a more comfortable shave, but only if I remember to apply the day before I shave. It doesn't help the bleeding though.
I want to try a DE razor again and am hoping to get a few recommendations before I make the plunge. So if there are any of you that also have a tough beard and have found a razor that gives you good results I'd love to hear from you. I'm also going to try glycerin as a pre-shave or maybe jojoba oil. Please chime in if you have any experience with these also.
Thanks! I look forward to hearing your suggestions.