I am a newbie to the forum. As background, I have been frustrated with the quality of the shave I can get with commercial products for years, but I never took the time to look for something better. As I have gotten older, my beard hair has gotten wirier, is growing back faster, and I perceive that my fair skin is getting thinner. This has all added to my frustration. Sometimes I have imagined that the commercial razor industry is conspiring against me, reducing the quality of their blades to get the consumer to buy more often.
I have a job that puts me in a suit almost every day, and to me there is nothing worse than being dressed up for business and getting a lousy shave. Like a lot of guys, on the weekend I occasionally give my face a break.
So after a little research (including scanning this forum) I bought the following: Merkur Vision DE Razor, 100 Feather Blades on sale, Body Shop Shaving Cream, Nancy Boy Shaving Cream, and a badger brush. I just received the blades, got the Body Shop cream over the counter, and the rest of the kit arroves Monday. I cannot wait to get started. In the meantime, I have been using the Body Shop cream with my Sensor razor (after I went to two blades, I refused on principle to go to more. I have tried the three and four blade systems but the net effect is I cannot shave directly under my nose with anything more than a two blade system).
I have a question, which I hope some of you either can answer or just point me in the right direction.
When you write in on this forum that a particular cream, blade, or technique gave you a better shave (from a BBS perspective), how do you judge that with any kind of objectivity? For example, are there conditions under which a man's beard will grow faster on one day and slower on another, and could that cause a misjudgement as to the effectiveness of a particular method?
I understand (now, after reading this forum and other material) that there are many aspects of a "good" shave, including the smell of the cream, comfort factor of the blade against your face during shaving, and naturally, the "BBS" condition of your face after you are done. My question is, whether it is with commercial razors or traditional DE systems, has anyone "scientifically" studied the relative shave quality (BBS) of different systems and techniques? I mean there is a lot of terrific analytic dialog in this forum and elsewhere (I mean this quite sincerely) but has anyone who is handy with high powered magnification (perhaps someone who does testing for the cosmetics industry would have the right equipment) studied, counted the length of hairs after 24 hours, etc.?
For example, I honestly believe that my Sensor gives me as good a commercial shave if not better than all the 3 and 4 blade systems on the market, including the somewhat amazingly horrific fusion system. I shaved today with my Sensor and the Body Shop shaving cream, and I think it is a slightly better quality shave than when I use Edge gel. (I know the forum reviles the commercial goo but please go easy on me, I am a newbie and just getting started). I know for a fact that my skin feels smoother I think due to the high quality moisturizers in the Body Shop cream. But it is the closeness of the shave I am most interested in, and from that perspective I do think it is a slightly better shave.
For me, I am judging the quality of the shave based on how rough my face feels at 5 or 6 in the evening after shaving a about 6 in the morning. My beard grows so fast, that it is inevitable that I can feel roughness at that time, the only question is how much.
Typically in scientific method you try to stabilize all factors and variables to isolate the one area you are studying. So I feel good to be using just the high quality cream at this point and getting a slightly better shave. It is quite possible that this is just one of many contributing factors to the better shaves that forum members site.
Could the collective wisdom of the members of this forum render a judgement on the objective (BBS) quality of commercially available shaves?
I get a sense that with a good DE, particularly if it an adjustable system, you can get as close a shave as you want, but it is a delicate balance between comfort, cutting yourself, and BBS, that we are searching for. Since there are so many variables the search becomes less of a scientific exploration and more of a hobby, since the permutations are endless.
Anyway, thanks for your patience, in reading this newbie's thoughts, and I think there are one or more questions, or at least something you all might want to comment on, in the ramblings above.
Regards to all forum members, thanks in advance for any reaction or comments, and I will gladly post my reaction once the kit comes in and I start shaving the "right" way.