I have joined in on this excellent hobby because I was disenchanted after my electric broke, and I proceeded to try another electric as well as a Mach 3 Turbo. Both of those did terrible things to my face, so I decided that I have sensitive skin. I actually got something working with a Sensor Excel (two blade cartridges), but decided by this point that double-edge looked like fun so I gave it a go.
I have been shaving for several weeks now. My equipment is Merkur HD, Derby Extras, C&E Finest Badger Brush, and Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream (hypoallergenic). I have not had much trouble with my technique after the first couple of shaves -- I rarely cut myself and irritation is usually minimal or acceptable.
My problem is that I can't get a close shave. I have tried three-pass, four-pass (WTG, ATG, ATG in reverse, XTG), and more, but I can not seem to get a consistently good shave. The closest results are when I really take the time soften my whiskers with a lather massage and some steaming, but this only worked a couple of times. I am certain that my whiskers are very tough, so I recently ordered some feather blades.
I have a question about after-shave. My current procedure is to do a once-over with a styptic pencil (optionally), a splash of cold water, and then I go into my skin-care regimen: mild cleanser, wait several minutes to try, benzoyl peroxide (to promote clear skin, it creates a very unfavorable environment for bacteria), wait to dry, and finally moisturizer. Does anyone see any problem with me doing this instead of after-shave? Please let me know your thoughts. I need to keep this regimen, so it has to stay.