About a year ago I was introduced to this forum through a wetshaving info post by a member of another forum that I frequent. Ive always loved shaving and getting a great shave so it was natural for me to jump right into the whole wetshaving. To start off with I got 2 tubs of Mama Bears Soaps (Rosemary Mint and Tangerine Clove) along with KMF Vanilla cream and Williams Soap, a Merkur HD, C&E BB brush and a blade sampler pack. My DE start was not good - even though I had seen the Mantic videos, upon discovering that the DE blade was not cutting my skin I started treating it like a mach 3, scraped it over my skin and got the worst razor burn ever. I tried a couple more times and got less burn because I was more slow and careful but the razor left me extremely stubbly. Couple this with the fact that I could get a good shave with a fusion with one ATG pass and a stressful new job situation I put the DE back in the drawer and went back to the Fusion but still used my soaps and brush (with the one ATG pass - Ive tried the multiple passes with the fusion and it leaves me irritated - which also leaves me frustrated that I only get to lather up once!).
A few months go by and things have quieted down at my job, I am less stressed, and still reading B&B and getting jealous of the shaving ritual everyone else gets to enjoy. I went to C&E picked up the SAO SC and got 6 new soaps from HBS and decided to give it another go.
I got my DE out and this time was very very careful and slow, always remembering the rules of no pressure, right angle, locking the wrist. I also realized the my grain goes from my nose across to my cheek on both sides of my face and neck (from the center, horizontally out) so I started being very careful to not push it and go WTG only at first. Ive now done 3 new DE shaves and last night for the first time I really heard the hair being cut. I do one WTG pass, wash face, then do another. I still have a LONG way to go as after these 2 passes I am still very stubbly. Before I would get really frustrated at shaving at night, finishing stubbly, and going to work the next morning very stubbly which really left me frustrated and not happy with the DE. Now I use a different approach - I do the 2 slow WTG passes with the DE to slowly hone my techinique and finish up with an ATG pass with the fusion. Yes it takes longer to do than I could prob do with the fusion alone and not really any more comfortable (prob a bit more burn) - but instead of doing a 2 min fusion shave for the first time last night, after my third night shave I really learn to enjoy this night ritual Ive made for myself. I take a really hot shower, wash with noxema on my face, lather up the HBS Brut soap, the bathroom gets really steamy, I now do my 3 passes (2 with DE, one with Fusion), splash with really cold water all over face, run ice cube over face, splash witch hazel and go to sleep really relaxed as if I just came out of a sauna. My skin is also softer I suspect from that much more lathering and passes with the HBS moisturizing soap. Since I still get smooth I dont get frustrated.
I picked up a guitar the other week and tried to learn a song by tablature. At first it was really frustrating and I couldnt move my fingers fast enough to switch chords or stretch them far enough to get the chords but after a few days of practicing Im now getting the song down pretty good. Im telling myself that its the same thing with the DE now - so Im going to go slow and enjoy the process and hope for the day when Im skilled enough to get a damn fine shave with just the DE in the morning. Mantic said it took him 4 months to get consistently good shaves with the DE so Im not going to rush it. For now, Ive added a relaxing ritual for myself at night that I thoroughly enjoy.