WOW!!!! That is what I have to say. I cannot believe the results.
This is the closest shave that I have ever achieved.
After lurking here and checking things out I have purchased a Merkur HD from classicshaving.com. I bought creams from scotto and tried the lavender for my first shave. I am using a Merkur Super blade, not the one that came with the razor! I have blades on the way from letterk and I have watched the videos. My brush leaves a bit to be desired for right now but for a good reason. I am a woodturner and I am in the process of importing 20 Silvertip brush heads from China. I will turn exotic wood handles for them and keep a couple for myself and sell a couple. I have a little money tied up in that right now so I figured that I could get by with a less expensive brush for the time being.
A few things that I noticed.
1. I have to work on my lather building. I thought that the first lather that I had gotten was all right but the first pass produced a bit of irritation. This was partly caused by the poor lather that I built before the first pass and the fact that I did not follow the rule of shaving for par. I went slow but I think that I made a couple too many passes over unlathered areas.
2. A good shave cream smells great.
3. I thought I was close after the first pass by feel but the razor was still cutting hair. The second pass I cleaned the brush and used a little more cream and got a perfect lather but that did not take care of the irritation from the first pass.
4. I need a good shave balm. I think that I will go to target tomorrow and get some of the proraso.
5. Just under my chin was hard to get but with the proper lather and a very light against the grain pass took care of it without irratation.
Overall I think I did pretty good for the first time.
QUESTION: I did have some small nicks mainly due to some of the bumps left over from my Gillette Hacker (I mean fusion) so I needed to use a styptic pencil. I was not sure when to use it though. I used it after I rinsed my face with warm water and the poors were still open. THAT STUNG. Should I rinse with cold water before I use the styptic?
Other than that, thank you for all the advice.