I'm writing this account in hopes of getting better at straight shaving. So perhaps you will read and see something that I'm doing wrong and can point me in the right direction!
I received my sight unseen whipped dog razor (thanks Larry!) last Saturday. it was a great and much anticipated package full of new toys for me to play with. First impressions: Larry gives a great value to us newbies, and the straight razor is a lot smaller than I thought it would be. I set the razor aside to be used Sunday night. I work at a church and didn't want to show up on Sunday covered with knicks and cuts. I figured for my first set of shaves I would experiment with my soaps/creams to see which gave me better cushion and glide for straight shaving.
Omega #48 brush
Proraso Pre (green)
Proraso Cream (red - new formula)
I started with a long, hot steam shower with some conditioner on my beard to help soften everything up. I applied the Pre and let that sit in while I lathered up the Proraso. After applying the lather I decided to go to work with the straight. Holding the straight razor initially felt strange, but began to feel more comfortable throughout the "shave". I'm right handed so it felt okay to shave the right side of my face with that hand. Switching to my left hand was terribly uncomfortable. I felt like I was trying to shave with my foot. I shaved where I felt comfortable, attempted some places on my neck, had a battle with my chin, and finished up with the DE. No cuts, or weepers and I was pleasantly surprised. I applied some Witch Hazel and then some Nivea aftershave lotion. I didn't really feel any razor burn, but my face didn't feel that comfortable.
I had about two days of growth on my face and the razor really seemed to skip/tug/pull at the hair instead of just slicing it off. I felt my angle was okay, but perhaps it was too great. I thought my lather was slick enough (it usually is for my DE), but I think that a straight razor may require a bit more attention to the lather. This tugging sensation was a little surprising, but I'm sure it is rooted in my technique
CO Bigelow (green)
One of my initial thoughts for the previous day's shave was that perhaps I had allowed too much growth and it was interfering with the razors ability to smoothly cut with my lack of technique, so I went for a next-day shave. I followed my same prep routine, and while the Pre cream was setting in I pulled out the strop and tried my hand at stropping. It seemed to work well, I hadn't ruined my strop and my razor edge looked to be nice and sharp (as far as I know).
I tried to make my lather a little slicker, I thought I did. But the razor still seemed to stick, tug, pull, skip, etc... I narrowly escaped a few cuts, but got a nice little weeper near the corner of my mouth. Nothing bad, but is a new experience since I havent cut myself shaving in a long time. A styptic pencil took care of the cut. I tried an all "right-handed" shave and it felt more natural... like I had more control. The shave wasn't any better, but I felt like I was working the blade better. I finished up with the DE, and my DE loved the lather I had made. So, I'm perplexed as to why the straight isn't getting the gliding action. I'm sure its my technique. Just gotta figure it out.
Mama Bear Aged Spice
My prep was the same as the days before and the stropping went as well as I would have hoped. Everything looked good to go. I made what I assumed to be a slick lather with the MamaBear and proceeded with the shave. The shave started well, the right side of my face felt pretty good. The razor was still sticking and tugging, but it went slightly better than the day before. When I went to go shave the other side of my face, it felt like I was dry shaving. At one point the razor stuck and the point of it dug into the side of my face leaving a nice gash. Blood, styptic pencil, etc... At that point I was kind of angry at myself and frustrated. Not wanting to welcome any further cuts I put the razor away and finished with the DE... even with this combo I could achieve a very good shave. I think my skin was just too beat up.
I've yet to attempt shave 4. That will be later this evening. But I've given my face a few days to rest and think it's time to get back on the horse. Any ideas on my technique, or why my blade feels like it is tugging/pulling/skipping so much? Thanks guys!