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Thread: First DE shave, an uneven mess

  1. #1
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    Default My first and second DE shave.

    Today was the big day, I had all my supplies and was ready to go:

    Merkur Classic
    Merkur Platnuim blade
    Edwin Jagger Best Bagder brush
    Trufit and Hill shave cream (It was a free sample)
    Aqua Velva Blue Sport

    The razor tugged at my hair the entire shave. (My stubble was 3 days old, and I showered before I started) My face after two passes (with the grain, and across) was a patchy mess of slighty cut hair, and hair that looked untouched. Rather then try another pass I grabbed my Mach3 and evened out the shave. The only positive to come out of this is that I received zero razor burn, ingrown hairs, or cuts. (A first for me)

    Despite my poor results, I'll stick with it. I think I have a problem mantaining a consistent shaving angle, (It's especially difficult under the jaw) which would probably explain the uneveness. Also my lather was too dry. (I shook out the brush one too many times)
    Last edited by Desibabu; 09-11-2006 at 02:05 AM.

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    Hello,
    Might be a dumb question buttttt....

    Did you replace the blade that came with your new razor???
    If not there might be your culprit!!

    Put a shiny new blade in her and try again.

    Patience, my lad...patience.
    rick

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    If the razor is tugging it would suggest two things. the blade isn't sharp enough or the angle of the razor against your face is wrong.

    Did you use the Merkur Blade you got free with the razor? If so, this could very well be the cause of the problem as they aren't in top condition because they're just kept loose in the razor box in transit. I would suggest getting one of John's (LetterK's) blade sampler pack, you will find out which is the best blade for you out the biggest names out there.

    As dfar as angle is concerned only practice and experience willl correct this, remember a DE isn't as forgivinf as the cartridge razors and you have to constantly change the angle of the razor as it passes over the contours of your face.

    You should be able to get a better shave with the DE than a Mach3.
    Cheers
    John

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    I didn't use the blade that came with the razor. Probably the only thing I did right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desibabu
    The only positive to come out of this is that I received zero razor burn, ingrown hairs, or cuts. (A first for me)

    Despite my poor results, I'll stick with it.
    So let's see: 0 burn, ingrowns, or cuts for your first DE shave-and you think these are poor results?

    Relax, my friend, you have just taken the first step on the road to turning shaving from an annoyance to something to look forward to. Your technique may have been uneven, but your results were much better than you give yourself credit for.

    Learning to shave with a DE razor is a new skill that will take some time to get the hang of- but once you do, watch out!

    Marty
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    I'm a newb myself, but I learn quickly... So take what I have with a grain of salt, but...

    It sounds to me like you possibly used the blade that came with the razor. As was pointed out, these can sometimes be in pretty rough shape. Replace it. Also, it sounds like you may have a pretty course beard. In that case, well.... actually no matter what, you want to try out different blades... The easy way is to get one of letterk's sample packs. This let's you try different blades, since different blades work differently in different razors, and you results will vary greatly depending on the type of beard you have. I have a fairly course beard that just doesn't soften up much no matter how much prep I do... For me the feather blades are almost a must.

    Next up would be your angle. My first shave with a DE was horible... Basically it was because I "looked" at the razor, seen the safety bar, etc.. And figured "ohh, must do it like this... " ;) Well, I was close, but not really. To get the angle right you can do two things. First, and probably most IMPORTANTLY, just LOOK at the razor with the blade in it. What I like to do is just stare at it edge on and adjust the angle till it's straight up and down. Then lower the handle until the blade is about 30 degrees off from where it was before. Now look at the handle. Keep that "angle" in mind, as that's the angle you want the HANDLE from your skin while your shaving. Next, when you first put the razor on your face, put the TOP of the razor (the big smooth soft part) on first, this will have the handle sticking straight out. Now slowly rotate the handle down while starting to move. You'll feel when the blade contacts the skin and starts to GLIDE across. That's the angle you want. Do a double check on the handle angle, but it should be almost exactly where it was in the first step.

    What I found I was doing on my first shave was lowering the handle to much. I had been using M3's and Fusions, and I was "used" to the kind of dragging and noise they gave me and was looking for the same out of the DE. As a result I ended up with too steep an angle. This made it "sound" and "feel" like it was working... What it was really doing was destroying my face.. When a DE cuts, you really won't FEEL anything... It'll just glide right through. If it's very quiet you can "hear" it slicing through the whiskers, but don't look for a lot of noise, etc...

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    Figuring out just how much water you should shake out of your brush is something that you learn in time. You should check out Mantic's videos if you haven't already. He's got some great pointers there on building lather. On days where my lather has been too dry, too wet, or just right, I notice a huge difference in my shave. One of the main points that I picked up was that if you think you have enough water in the mix, you don't, you still need more! That's the confusing part.
    [URL="http://www.badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4557&highlight=crispy"]crispy's[/URL] Hall of Fame Thread

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    As a relative newbie myself at DE shaving, it took me about a week or two to get to the point where I started getting BBS daily or nearly daily. The blade angle is hardest thing to pin down. Did you try blade angle techinique suggested in the FAQ? Also, after you stepped out the shower, did you wet your face again with really hot water? On the days I shower before I shave, I always re-wet my face with hot water from the sink.

    Go slow, be patient and believe me, you will be rewarded with a fantastic shave. Good luck!
    Joe

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    I second the idea of trying different blades. It sounds to me very much like an insufficiently sharp blade---and that's my experience with Merkur blades. In terms of my experience (YMMV): Feathers are best/sharpest, then Derby, then Israeli. Merkurs I'm not using any more. Still have the Swedish Gillettes to try.

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    Enough cannot be said about prep and particularly making the best lather possible. Take the time, do it right, the results will come. Enjoy the experience because you're doing this for yourself. You're not going to impress anyone but you so relax and get into the spirit of giving yourself a proper shave.
    - Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by jduffy
    Enough cannot be said about prep and particularly making the best lather possible. Take the time, do it right, the results will come. Enjoy the experience because you're doing this for yourself. You're not going to impress anyone but you so relax and get into the spirit of giving yourself a proper shave.
    Desibabu:

    I agree with this, and many other posts. I think the primary culprit, however, is blade angle. This will be perfected via some experimentation. Start with that classic perpendicular |- (where | is the head of razor against your face vertically and - is the handle), and begin moving it downward just until you can "feel" the blade gliding.

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    lots of great posts here but i also have to agree that your blade angle is too steep that causes the scraping feeling with hair left over. congrats on the good first shave though. (mine looked like i shaved with a brick )

    matthew

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    Preparation and getting the angle correct also how much pressure you apply is important. Stick at it.
    Aky

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    I'm going have my second DE shave later today. Hopefully it will turn out better.

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    Default Second times a charm

    Had my second DE shave a couple of minutes ago. My supplies were the same except for the Florena shaving cream. (Great smelling stuff my the way)

    This time I did two things differently. I applied more pressure to the razor and then shaved at an angle more then 30 degrees. (Around 40 to be precise) Although I was bending the rules, I got a great shave, (in three passes, with no tugging) even besting my Mach3 in some areas. (Cheeks and under the nose) I received no razor burn, bumps or ingrown hairs but did cut myself a couple of times.

    Even though I had great results, I still ran into some problems:

    I often found my lather drying up before I finished a pass, I added more water to the lather but it didn't seem to help. Any idea on what I may be doing wrong?

    I had some white (soapy) residue on the handle of my brush, in the base of the bristles and even on the handle of the razor. (Last time I shampoo my beard) I tried to clean if off, but to no avail, anyone have any tips on how to clean a brush?

    After I completed my third pass, my mouth and chin were burning. (No redness though) I never had this sensation after shaving, could it be due to the cream? (After relathering my face I felt a slight burning sensation which I never recived with my Gillette Foamy)
    Last edited by Desibabu; 09-11-2006 at 02:05 AM.

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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Desibabu
    I had some white (soapy) residue on the handle of my brush, in the base of the bristles and even on the handle of the razor. (Last time I shampoo my beard) I tried to clean if off, but to no avail, anyone have any tips on how to clean a brush?
    Brush Cleaning:

    Look, as far as I know, there is no easy answer. This is what I do - something I just made up on my own so I'd be liberally creative and flexible to make it work best for you.

    After I am finished I rinse my brush out with hot water. I rinse very thoroughly. I part the hair, rub, and squeeze. I grab the brush at the base of the bristles, to kind of squeeze them together, loosen my grip to let the water into the bristles, and then squeeze my grip and the water is expelled through the bristles. I do this quite a few times. I think it is important to part the hairs and rub in there. Then I shake my brush dry and let it hang, finishing my after-shave routine. Then I shake it out more, a little harder...then I take the brush, and kind of smear it on a dry spot on a nearby towel, to get the excess moisture off. Then I take my brush and really shake it dry - this is kind of the hardest part, as I am not sure how I do it - and have had some accidents throwing the brush . Basically I take the brush between my thumb, forefinger, and middle finger like this:











    I then proceed to whip the moisture from the base of the bristles to the tip by whippin the brush pretty fiercely. I don't know if I can in good consciece reccommend this activity, although I developed it myself out of a lack of other options. It really pulls the moisture out of the bristles, by sheer G-force I imagine. I kind of alternate shaking and rubbing on the towel. This completely eliminates soap residue from the bristles...you might be able to see some in these pictures because I didn't clean the brush so well today.

    Basically the most important thing is to physically dry it out, rather than letting it air dry because air drying is what leaves the soap residue on it. I always make sure, when I am first rinsing it clean with hot water after my shave, to rub it clean and dry with a towel right away to remove the soap residue from the actual handle.

    I just posted my first review of my razor, Gillette Super Adjustable, and marked it down for just a similar reason: soap residue accumulating in the razor head/adjustment mechanism. I don't know how to clean it so I figure I will just give it a real 'deep clean' with hot water, toothbrush, etc. every once in a while.

    This is all I've got so far! I hope someone else can chime in here.
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    Lightbulb Brush Cleaning

    Brush Cleaning can be done this way:

    Make a solution (in whatever mug/glass you soak your brush in) of one part white vinegar, nine parts water. A splash of glycerin can be added if you have it or if you want it in there. Soak your brush in this for 10 minutes.

    I do this to my brushes after every 4-5 uses. Cleans all residue out, allows them to hold great amount of water.

    Some people also use borax, but I've not tried this yet so can't endorse it.

    fyi - your mouth and chin may have burned because of your angle.

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    here is how i clean my brush.

    daily- i rinse the brush by holding my lather bowl under running hot water and swirling the brush in it until the water is clear (no more soap tinting it) then give it a few shakes stand it up and your done.

    monthly- make a solution of 1:9 dish washing liquid to water and soak your brush in it swirling from time to time for 10 min. then rinse well and make a 1:9 viniger water solution soak brush in it swirling from time to time for 10 min. rinse very very well (you will not want to smell viniger while you shave). and dry. (occasionally i borrow my wife hair dryer).

    also im pretty sure the irritation is due to applying pressure. the trick to the chin are is not useing more pressure but finding that elusive angle /direction of cut which is sooo hard to get exact due to the shape of the chin and growth of hair around that area.

    this is just work works for me others may have better ideas

    matthew

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    I can vouch for Trader Joe's brush cleaning recipe. Used it this past weekend and there was a noticeable difference in the water holding and lather making ability of my brush. I added the glycerin and the brush was really smooth when it dried.

    YMMV.
    Larry C

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    A lot of replies with a lot of suggestions
    If the razor is tugging it would suggest two things. the blade isn't sharp enough or the angle of the razor against your face is wrong.

    What I found I was doing on my first shave was lowering the handle to much. I had been using M3's and Fusions, and I was "used" to the kind of dragging and noise they gave me and was looking for the same out of the DE. As a result I ended up with too steep an angle. This made it "sound" and "feel" like it was working... What it was really doing was destroying my face.. When a DE cuts, you really won't FEEL anything... It'll just glide right through. If it's very quiet you can "hear" it slicing through the whiskers, but don't look for a lot of noise, etc...
    You should check out Mantic's videos if you haven't already.
    This time I did two things differently. I applied more pressure to the razor and then shaved at an angle more then 30 degrees. (Around 40 to be precise) Although I was bending the rules, I got a great shave, (in three passes, with no tugging) even besting my Mach3 in some areas. (Cheeks and under the nose) I received no razor burn, bumps or ingrown hairs but did cut myself a couple of times
    .

    Even though I had great results, I still ran into some problems:

    I often found my lather drying up before I finished a pass, I added more water to the lather but it didn't seem to help. Any idea on what I may be doing wrong?
    Watch the lather video & read the FAQ page

    Is your razor tightened all the way down? the blade should bend!



    This is what your lather should resemble!

    Last edited by Jim; 09-11-2006 at 06:48 AM.

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