Thursday, July 10, 2008

Well I did it! First shave with a straight

So I got my first straight razor in the mail yesterday from Bill Ellis.  A very nice and clean Electric Brand straight (I love the irony in the name) with black plastic scales.  I don't think the razor is quite shave ready, as I could not get it to pass a hanging hair test.  Im sure all it really needs is a good stropping, but my Tony Miller apprentice stop hasn't shown up yet.  I wanted to try the razor out yesterday when it showed up, but my neck felt so raw after yesterdays horrible shave.  This morning I just had to try it out, my neck is still a bit tender but I didn't plan on going for a BBS shave my first time go 'round with a str8. I read that you can do a half way decent stropping on a belt.  I found a nice smooth belt in the closet and heard the zip zip of the blade. 
I had a nice hot shower, and then lathered up with Proraso.  This is where I ran into problems, how do I hold this thing?  What felt like a natural way of holding the blade did not lend itself well to seeing my face in the mirror.  Once I figured out what SHOULD work for me I started in.  Wow this thing is loud!  I could hear it cutting the hairs over the running water in the sink!  I shaved one cheek, then fumbled around trying to figure out how to hold the razor in the other hand, and shaved my other cheek.  As I go to shave my chin (not up to trying the neck yet) I smack my chin with the blade, I feel heat, "Oh boy this is not going to be good..."  I shave my chin and nothing too bad.  The little cut is bleeding, but I don't think I need to call 911 yet.  So I finish my first pass (face only no neck) and thought that it went much easier and faster than I expected.  I seriously thought of just cleaning up and calling it a day.... but again it went too easy, "Lather up!"  Because I was more worried about cutting off a slab of cheek, and getting used to holding the razor in both hands, I have no idea what order I did WTG XTG or ATG...  but I don't really care either at this point.  I went for a second pass, and ventured into neck shaving, not too bad!  I was shaving my chin for the second time and I got an honest nic, not just being stupid and hitting myself, but a nic I can be proud of.  I ended up doing 3 passes (probably closer to 1.5 passes with all the spots I missed) and I don't think I ended up with that bad of a shave.  I am not BBS, I have a nice little slice on my chin with a mini me nick just below it and I found the slightest nic just below my right ear.  The little weepers disappeared after a cool splash, the slice on the other hand.... pressure, blood, pain stick (styptic pencil), blood, ice cube, blood, more ice cube and scrubbing the pain stick into the slice, a little less blood, nice big chunk of TP, I think I've stopped the blood.

Will there be a day of faceturbation? Not today.  Will I shave with a straight again? Not today. Will I shave with a straight tomorrow? Absolutely  Will I throw out my Merkur DE? Absolutely not.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

So I did 3 days of shaving with my feather, all is well.  I was going to replace it with another feather, but I have a brand new Gillette laying open (the one that was replaced with the feather).  I didn't want a bare blade just laying around so I figured I would just go ahead and use it up. First days shave was with Classic Lavender, had a fine shave, but now that I am gaining some experience Im a little disappointed with the lack of lather. Today was the second shave on this blade.  Back to Proraso and had what felt like a fine shave.  Spent a little extra time on my throat trying to get a better shave.  It seems my whiskers are still changing directions, at least they are no longer getting coarser.  I started off with the whiskers on my neck all growing from left to right, now I have a spot on the ride side of my neck that grow down, and at the very edge of my neck they grow right.  All felt good and gentle.  I rinsed in cool water and walked back to the library to put my stuff away, last night I picked up a bottle of which hazel (they didn't sell lavender scent) and tried a splash.  I then looked in the mirror and noticed that my neck looked like ground beef!  Wow thats a lot of little bloody spots.  I pulled out my (now broken) styptic pencil and decided wetting the end wont work, I have to turn the sucker side ways and use the whole side and paint my neck.  Even though the pencil is broken in two, it can still bring the pain!  Hopefully my neck will clear up here real soon before I have to head out.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Im foolish, lets try the feathers!

So I had a fine 2 pass shave last night, but I'm heading out this morning... do I need to shave, no, do I want to shave, yeah.  So Im getting ready to hop in the shower, load up the HD with a fresh Gillette blade and then think "better" of it.  Lets try the feathers.  I unload the Gillette and open up he feathers blades.  Lock and loaded, head into the shower.  SOP pre, wait, lather, wait, lets shave!  Then the strangest thing happened, I guess I forgot to put a blade in the razor!  There is no resistance, no sound, no nothing, just smooth metal gliding over my cheeks.  Ok I lied that wast the strangest thing, but what was the strangest thing is that my whiskers were just falling off my face.  The slightest touch of the rounded razor head just made the hairs fall out of my skin!  That or maybe the Feathers are as sharp as everyone says they are...  These blades just gave me the most amazing shave!  I expected razor rash no matter what blade I used because I just shaved last night, I did a full 4 pass shave and feel great.  Great Im going to be walking around in public faceturbating embarrassing my wife...  Life is good.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Continuation with the experiment.

Well after all this research and reading on straight razors and strops, I decided to finally (6pm) hop in the shower and have a shave.  Hoping for 3 perfect shaves in a row.  Lather up and start with the first pass, whoa! I can feel the blade, it is getting dull.  For optimum results, Gillette blades must be limited to 2 uses.  I did 2 quick passes, and walked away with a fine shave.  Todays shave is at LEAST as good as any I ever got from the Mock3, if not better.  Yup I think I have this wet shaving thing down.  I am starting to see a wear spot on the back of my Proraso tube, I sill have more than enough to last a while, but I think I will have to look into ordering a few of the big tubes online pretty soon.

What have I done?

When I started this, all I wanted was a better shave.  Now Im stopping by antique shops looking for vintage safety and straight razors.  Well I went and did it today.  I ordered a "shave ready" refurbished razor from a custom razor maker.  Well that will only be good for a day or two of shaving so now I have to order a strop.  Tony Miller is a cottage industry part time maker of some of the fines strops around (supposedly) so I ordered one of his "apprentice" strops.  Reported to be of the highest quality, just a simple design.  I like that combination, quality, simplicity, and a more than fair price.  Wish me luck.

Continuation with the experiment.

July 1, 2008 So I duplicated my best shave, and  now it was time to duplicate the worst shave... well sorta.  I duplicated the variables of the worst shave (1 day growth, 1 day old Gillette, shower...) except I am using the go to cream Proraso instead of soap.  First pass nick a bump on my neck, totally my own fault, face done, 4 passes no problems, neck done, 4 passes no real problems.  Noticing hair growth patterns much more, right outermost edge of hair growth goes opposite direction, quick touch up (eh its small area I don't need any more lather) ok its smooth now, damn, razor burn!  Well except for my own stupidity, I duplicated my worst shave with a different lather and it worked great.  I am sensing a shave soap sale coming soon, unless the Mrs. likes it.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Back at it!

After my worst shave, I decided to give my face the weekend off.  Well almost, I did a quick single pass on face only no neck with my wife's new Ladies Gillette with stars(Thanks Thirdeye.  I'll stick with my Merkur though, she said she really enjoyed it).  Anyhow, new Gillette, hot shower, Proraso pre in shower, wash up, lather with Proraso, condition hair, WTG in shower, XTG in shower, wow almost done. Rinse off, lather, exit, 2 steps to sink, ATG, little touch up. Absolute BBS and ZERO irritation!  I am not going to sell off my mama bears soaps quite yet.  I will keep up with this regimen for a while, and try to sneak in some soap next time I'm on a new blade.  Im telling ya, I am going to get a good shave and smell like almonds or Nernoli!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The day after BBS, how disappointing

Ok, so yesterdays shave was perfect, BBS.  The only thing hat could have improved is if I got to use my Mama Bears almond flavored soap.  So today I set out to replicate the perfect shave with the perfect soap.  Almost identical scenario as yesterday; variables: only one day of whisker growth instead of three, Gillette blade has been used one day, the soap.  Quick play by play; hot shower, Proraso pre, let soak, (added from yesterday) quick rinse of face, whip up lather from shave soap, paint face, let sit a little while, shave, get nicks and weepers on my first "with the grain" pass!  Ive never nicked myself on a WTG.  Very disappointing, well Im not going anwhere today other than maybe Home Depot, one pass will be enough, Ill just touch up on my rough spots.  Nicks galore!  10 for a nickel! WTF?!?  Yesterday I just had my best shave ever, today is honestly why worst shave... well I don't have any irritation at least (faceturbate, wait, yeah I do on one spot on my neck).  Wow, could the gillette blades only last one day?  Could it be that for some horrible reason mama bear soaps just don't work for me? (Anyone have a phone number for Proraso so I can call and ask for almond scent)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

wow, this is it, BBS!

Ok, I've been kinda busy, kinda bummed out, and haven't shaved in the past couple of days.  I was telling myself I was letting my whiskers grow out to better map my face... So I keep reading how prep is the key, and a lot of people swear by a hot towel over lather for a minute or two.  I cant do this, not because I am just so busy that I can't afford one spare minute, but its more like I can't stand still and do nothing for that minute.  I tried lathering up and letting it sit without a towel,  "hmm, I know Ill brush my teeth while I wait" my tooth paste ends up tasting like proraso... yuch.  I brushed my hair, after I shaved I just have to brush my hair again so that was a waste of time.... I just cant imagine sitting there with a towel on my face...  There has to be an alternative.  I know, Ill lather up in the shower, and let it sit while I wash.  

    My wife was already gone to work so I grabbed my gear from the Library, put in a new blade (I really like my blue Israeli, but Im almost out, so I'll save those and try the Gillettes from my sampler pack), and off to the showers.  So I hop in the hot water, get my beard nice and wet, and wonder how bad this shave is going to be because my whiskers are pretty long.  I pop open my proraso pre cream and smear it around.  This time I actually read the directions and said to apply and rub in until absorbed.  I used a little bit more than I usually do and it seemed to really moisturize my face.  Considering that I haven't shaved, in two or three days, I was amazed at how soft my whiskers felt all of a sudden especially when I think on how much more rough my whiskers feel since I started wet shaving.  "Hmm this might be an interesting shave..." I then whipped up a nice brush full of proraso lather, and painted my face.  I let the lather sit as I finished up the shower.  I was about to get out when I thought of how big of a mess I will make in the sink with this much hair growth, So I decided to go for a quick first pass in the shower, and let the hot water clean up my mess.  Wow!  I felt almost zero resistance on the blade.  I kept looking at the razor making sure that there was hair under the blade and that I wasn't just wiping the lather off with the face of the razor.  It was shaving, it was just shaving incredibly smooth.  I rinsed my face, re lathered and got out.  Hey its kinda nice only taking two steps to the shaving sink instead of walking to a completely different room.  Shave across the grain, and still no resistance.  Rinse, check, I seem to be about one pass ahead of myself, the shave is that good so far, and the rough spot on my chin is almost BBS without an Against The Grain pass!.  Re lather and go for against the grain, ok besides a few little weepers on my neck that I don't even feel, this is by far the smoothest, absolutely irritation free, best shave I've EVER had.  Before I cold water splash, my throat is BBS, this just doesn't happen to me.  Im so happy!  As much as I love the scent of my other creams and Mama Bears almond, I am finding it hard to want to shave with anything other than Proraso.  I am not sure if the different blade was that much better for me, the extra pre cream, or what, but all I know is I have a great shave!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Have it all figured out?

So, I have been using proraso for the past week or so and my shaves are coming out quite good.  I am on my second Blue Israeli aka Crystal blade and I really like it.  The other day I pop in a new blade, lather up with Proraso, have 2 passes, hydrating between passes, then put on some Art of Shaving pre shave oil, and finish up the last two passes.  Just about a perfect shave!  The next day I was going somewhere or doing something special (cant remember what it was) and wanted a lighter scent so I decided to forgo the Proraso and shave with my Classic Lavender.  After 4 passes I had the least amount of irritation yet on any shave, but the shave was not as close as I had been getting with the Proraso.  I thought maybe it was just because it was a used blade (I have been getting 3 shaves per blade) So today I thought I would use the same blade (more used now) with Proraso and see how it goes.  Unfortunately I did not do this test very scientific as I changed more than one variable.  I decided to try using the Proraso Pre/Post cream as a pre shave (I have up until now only used it as a post shave treatment).  Well, even with a used blade, I have the best shave to date.  Only the slightest amount of irritation and that is when I am outside in the heat and starting to sweat, and a nice smooth face (including my neck)!  Well, Im sure that the majority of my shave improvements is strictly my techniques improving, but it sounds like I have my base blade/cream to base all others on.

Comment on putting the AOS Pre shave oil on after the second pass:  My first two passes on my neck cause no irritation, third pass I can feel some resistance, and the fourth ATG pass is where things get tender.  I have found that if I put the oil on at the beginning, I shave it off by the time I really need it on.  It seems to work pretty well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Trying out the (in)famous Proraso

So in my running around yesterday I stopped by a beauty supply that happens to carry the classic Italian shaving cream Proraso.  I've read many good reviews about it, its cheap, so I decided to try it.  $12 for a big ol' green tube of shave cream and another $12 for a jar pre/post shave cream.  Couldn't wait to get home and try it.  Well, as they say one thing led to another and never got a chance to shave Saturday.  No worries Sunday morning will start off with a bang... well, some house work, an emergency call for work... Saturday night before bed I finally take a shower and head off to the library to shave.  Nice sink full of hot water with my brush soaking during the shower, drain and refill with fresh hot water, load up the brush with a little pearly white worm of proraso, and we're off and running.  

Hmm sorta medicinal smell, Eucalyptus and menthol, lather is pretty dry, add some water, lathers really quick.  Seems pretty slick, smells..."classic" kinda reminds me of a (not necessarily mine though) grandfather.  It shaved quite well, had enough cream in the brush for a good 3 pass shave plus a little touch up.  I have had some irritation on my throat that I want to clear up (barely visible) so I didn't go for an aggressive ATG final pass.  My neck is not the smoothest (cant get it smooth without the ATG) after tonight's shave, but better than my usual old shaves with a Mach 3.  Only one slight nick, and I'm hesitant to call it an actual nick, it stopped weeping before the last pass.  One last hot water rinse, wipe off the face, then cold water splash.  I started to pat dry my face when I remembered the aftershave cream, I re-wet my face and get a little of the thick paste on my finger, I rub it around in my wet hands and pat my face, it feels pretty good, no alcohol burn, but it does feel warm (and cool at the same time?) sorta like I used some CoolHot on my face.  All together a very pleasant shave.

All in all I think the shave cream does a very good job, it seems like it is very lubricious, it makes my face tingle, and it is very refreshing.  The scent is... there.  I do very much enjoy the vintage clean smell of it, but it might be just a little over the edge into the medicinal.  I will definitely be using the shave cream again, I need to try the post cream again, I'm not sure if it really does anything for me.  I think next time I shave, go for the final ATG, and develop some razor burn for my troubles, I will learn if the stuff really does what it is supposed to do.  Judging by the shave cream, I will be surprised if it does not.

Closing thought is if they made this stuff smell like Mama Bear almonds, I would sell off the rest of my shave creams and concentrate on the perfect blade.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

new blade, hot lather, and a damn fine shave

Well, no pressing jobs this morning, my wife is finnaly back to work, so I get to shave in the big bathroom, not my personal "library".  I get the shower running, fill the sink up with hot water to soak the brush, and I put a little hot water on my soap.  Ok, time for a new blade, I was going to pop in another Derby, but thought I would try a Dorco instead.  Water is nice and hot so I take my shower. Shower is done and the hardest part about shaving, NOT drying off my face... I have always dried my face first thing when I step out of the shower for ever!  Lets shave!  I dumped out the cooled water on the soap, put on some new fresh hot water and lathered up with Neori.  Wow, so this is what everyone is hooping and hollering about about, the HOT lather felt great!  I started to shave... kinda odd... the blade almost feels sticky?  Im guessing that it is not quite as sharp as the Derby, and I am feeling extra drag.  Mustache: down, quick lather, L to R, quick lather, R to L, done.  Sides of face: down, QL, L to R, QL, R to L (which is against the grain), inspection, minor touch up on chin, done.  Rinse face, lather throat, top down (smoothest), QL, bottom up, QL, on sides of throat R to L (against the grain), all is good and pretty smooth with no irritation, then center throat (problem area) R to L, done.  I'd have to save this is my best shave yet,  I had some touch up on my throat but not too bad.  I noticed with the Dorco, it doesn't seem to shave as well, I shave a short area(chopping motion), turn the razor over and do a smooth second pass of the same area.  

Monday, June 9, 2008

More soap

Ok, so the neroli is growing on me but its still....nice...
Last night I was still pretty awake and knew I had to get up early so I decided to take a nice hot shower and shave.  Both relaxing and with the alarm going off at 4am  the less I have to do in the morning the better.  

Out of the steam and into my little shaving bathroom, decisions decisions... Ill try the new almond soap.  I lather up... ok now I believe I failed to mention that I noticed a difference in lather between shave cream and shave soap.  The soap seems to lather up much quicker than cream, but the creams lather is more...well... creamy and the soaps lather is more...well...soapy.
Anyhow so I start lathering up the almond soap, and wow this stuff hits me, what an amazing smell!  I end up doing a 3/4 pass shave, took my time and just thoroughly enjoyed the scent.  If it were not for impending razor burn for sure, I would have enjoyed another couple of passes.  This morning as I stood in the shower trying to realize that I was not awake and that consciousness was just happening to me... I started thinking about shaving with the almond soap again... ehh forget it, I'd lop off an earlobe.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

shave soap instead of cream

So I got n on the Mama Bear Neroli shave soap.  Everyone was raving how this is the best smelling EO.  This was to be a limited edition special run, the Essential Oil is ridiculously priced, so this special shave soap was to cost more than her regular shave soaps.  It just showed up in the mail today along with a tub of Almond scented soap.  First I open the Almond, sniff sniff, mmm almonds, then I crack open the Neroli, sniff sniff, hmm, sniff sniff, smells like an orange tree.  Not like an orange, but an orange tree.  I didn't shave this morning so in the evening I went into the bathroom, ran some hot water, splashed my face, put in a new Derby (I found out yesterday 3 days is just about maxed out on a blade for me) and started to get lathered up.  Wow this stuff lathers up real quick compared to the Classic Brand and Art of Shaving creams that I've been using.  The scent is.... there.... its not bad, but its not great.  I don't think I would have picked it up at a store if I could smell it first, and then with the added EO price hike.... I would have left it on the shelf.  This was not my best shave.  Im guessing because I did not take a hot shower prior to shaving my beard was pretty rough.  I also did not use any shave oil.  I only did one pass as my face was getting pretty beaten up, I'll wait until tomorrow after a shower and give it another go.

Monday, June 2, 2008

new approach to multi pass shave

Ok, so shaving my cheeks is the easiest, followed by my chin, with my neck as the hardest to get a good smooth shave.
I see no need for a 4 pass shave on the cheeks, so I tried something new today, one pass south on each cheek, re-lather and add a little water to lather on chin and neck, then one north pass on each cheek. Add a little more water to chin and neck keeping lather fresh.  Shave with grain on chin, re-lather just chin, shave cross grain, re-lather, shave against grain.  Oh yeah I shaved my mustache at some point in here...  my face is now shaved and clean of cream while my neck is still slathered.  I then shave with the grain on my neck and remembered that I forgot to use pre-shave oil and feel the start of razor burn.  I finish the first pass nice and slow, finding that indeed short shaves work better than long pulls of the razor.  I put some oil on my neck, re-lather and shave cross grain, I think I shaved cross grain twice but not quite sure, followed up with an against the grain shave.  
results: not quite baby butt smooth but by far the best shave so far.  Not sure if it the shave oil, the switch to Derby blades, or just my techniqe is improving, but I only have the slightest amount of  sensation from the shave.  I almost wish I could try shaving twice a day, but ehh too much work.

Friday, May 30, 2008

New blades same cream

ok, swapped out my dulling Merkur blade for a shiny new Derby.  Used the same nickel size preshave oil, and lemon cream.  I must be getting better at lathering as it seemed much nicer this morning.  Plenty for 2 passes (Im sure I wasted a lot) and squeezed out enough for a 3rd pass.  The blade is much quiet than the Merkur,  I was thinking of shaving half my face with a new merkur and half with derby, but that was just too much work.  I shaved the little scab AGAIN  I think thats 4 shaves in a row, you think I would have learned by now... I think I got a closer shave as my face seems a little sensitive, but it doesnt look too bad(well the aspect of my face dictated by shaving).  Yup just felt up my face and my chin is very smooth, my throat is getting smoother.  
5/29/08  I decide to take a nice hot shower at the end of the day and shave (gave my face a few days off to heal)  Nice HOT shower, dry off the body but leave the face wet, walk into my shaving room, run some hot water in the sink and get ready.  I wanted to change to a new blade, but decided I would do one more shave with the old razor (Merkur) because I was switching the shave cream and adding the shave oil, and I didn't want to add too many variables.

First I added about a nickel size puddle of the oil and rubbed it into my beard, as I said earlier it smelled like olive oil.  All of a sudden I wanted to eat some pasta, but held off and decided to finish my shave.  I lathered up some lemon and started brushing my face, ooohhhhh it smells so good. 

 Ok, so on this shave I learned a lot.  I am paying super attention to the angle of the razor, I start to drag it down my face while rolling it until I can just hear he razor start to cut, then try to keep that angle while working that plain of my face upper face goes well, and really working the angle under my jaw.  I know that wet shaving takes longer than the quick hack with a M3 but for some reason I felt myself start to rush, not good, I need to slow down and do it right.  I do several passes on my throat with only the slightest amount of irritation.  The olive oil really seems to help!  I have been been reading about face mapping, you need to figure out which direction your beard grows, well my hair all seems to grow from left to right, which makes it hard to get a super smooth shave on my throat.  So the last couple of shaves I have been using 100% aloe as an after shave.  I have been noticing that my face seems tighter since I have been wet shaving,  I also got a bit of a sun burn last weekend while out on a boat, so while I haven't shaved in the last couple of days Ive been feeling my beard... it feels totally different.  If feels thicker or coarser or something, and the angle of my beard growth feels totally different.  I posted this finding on B&B and had some responses saying that multi blade razors cut your hair and an angle whereas a DE cuts it of straight and many people find that their beard feels different.  

All these variables and changes and I would say this is my best shave yet.  The two rough spots on either side of my chin are the smoothest they've been since puberty, my throat isn't great, but no worse than the normal shave with Goo and an M3.  I think I will shave again in the am with a fresh razor and see what happens.

ps note to self, go back to AOS, smell other preshave oils, and check out scented post shave balms....mmm sandalwood......
5/27 back in the shower, for some reason, I could not get enough hot water.  It wasn't cold outside, maybe the water was hot, but I was cold?  Shave was not too good, did so many touch up passes on my throat, I ended up with a nice road rash.  Cant hear the razor cut/scrape in the shower, I do like the cleanliness of it, but until I master the techniques, I think I will have to stick with sink shaving.  My house has 1 and 1/2 baths, I have taken over the half bath as my... library... I have a great idea of just moving all my toiletries into the smaller bath giving my wife even more room in all the drawers...

I am not too happy with the results I've been getting and getting tired of the razor burn.  I am considering an pre shave oil.  Been reading good things (other than price) about Art of Shaving well I had a job that was just down the street from a mall that had an AOS shop, so I just had to stop by.  I walk in and first impression was that it was the smallest shop I've ever been in, but then again, how big does a shaving supply shop need to be?  It was a very attractive store, made reminded me of a vintage barber shop (at least what I always thought vintage barber shops would be like)  I walked over to check out their 4 flavors of shave cream.  Ooh, Lavender... gotta compare to the Classic Brand.  Sniff Sniff, hmm very faint, barely able to smell it, guess Ill stick with the Classic Brand.  Sandalwood, Sniff Sniff, hmm barely smell that one either, Lemon, Sniff Sniff, Hey now! Reminds me of a lemon flavored orange julius or lemon flavored sherbet, smells frosty (if that makes sense), Non Scented, Sniff Sniff, good, clean, slightly soapy.   I spoke with the salesman and mentioned that I cant smell the sandalwood, he takes a whiff and says that he can smell it fine.  Ok no biggy, my nose is on the fritz today.  He says to try smelling the preshave oil scented with sandalwood, Sniff Sniff, nothing.  He pours a small amount on my hand and I rub it in, Sniff Sniff, still nothing.  I buy a tub of the lemon shave cream, a bottle of the unscented preshave oil (I didn't smell it at the time but now that I'm home, it smells like olive oil), and a shave brush stand.  On my way home I smell an unbelievable good scent but I don't know what it is.  The smell sticks with me for a few hours until I get home and wash my hands, ahh it was the sandalwood, now I want to go back and buy some of that too!  Cant wait to try shaving again.
5/26/08 Getting ready for work and shaving at the sink, my wife walks in, bumps me with the door, and I cut my neck.  Some miracle of miracles, it is the EXACT same place that I nicked myself the first day!  Ok, not feeling this shaving in the sink thing, I think I will stick with the shower.  Bit of a road rash on my neck again, need to play with razor angle.

Bored and ordering supplies

5/24/08 Spent the weekend in a hotel.  BORING!  I was reading B&B on my iPhone while sitting in the hotel.  There is a group buy on a limited edition shave soap made by Momma Bear called Neroli with some super rare orange blossom Essential Oils... or something.... I get in on the order, and find out the shave soap is going to be around $30.  Wow this stuff better be good.  I jump through some hoops that have been set up (poor Momma Bears web site crashed in the middle of all this so it wasn't quite as painless of an order as everyone was hoping) and find out that she will only ship via air.  Roughly $10 shipping for a soap, wow, I guess Ill add an extra almond scented soap to get more from the shipping...  At time or writing I have not received these yet but will post my findings as soon as they show up.  

I also see people recommending buying a razor blade sample pack from west coast shaving.  What the hey, Im stuck in a hotel, its pouring rain, why not order more!?!  At time of writing, I have received the razors but haven't tried any yet.

Back in the shower

5/23/08 I always shaved while I was in the shower.  Its hot and steamy, my beard is softer, I have a little mirror, clean up is a snap, why not?  So after a few goes with the DE at the sink I decided to try it back in the shower.  First I go out to the kitchen, grab a bowl, sneak back down the hall and the wife is none the wiser!  I take a shower as normal after filling the bowl with hot water and letting my brush soak.   Time to shave, sump the bowl, grab a blob of heaven scent, and start mixing.  First thing, I don't like the sound of lathering in a bowl.  Ding, ding, ding.  it was an annoying tone, maybe if it was more of an organic thud like from a earthen ware or terra cotta pot...I got a little more lather than face lathering but nothing earth shattering better.  I will remind you that I am new and I am sure that I still don't know what I am doing, but it just seems like more things to clean, plus it takes longer, build lather in bowl, then rub lather on face.  Why not build lather WHILE rubbing lather on face?  I got some razor burn on this shave.  I could not hear the razor as I shaved over the running water... I was warned but did I listen...noooooo. Not to bad though, still learning.  Plus the razor is getting old, time to replace

Take 2

I am interested in why so many people use a big ol' cereal bowl for lathering up.  Again too lazy to walk out to the kitchen grab a bowl, and face the Spanish inquisition... instead I can lather on the side of the sink bowl.  Hmm seems to make a pretty good lather, but Im not convinced it is any better than on my face.  Will have to experiment more.  Nothing new this time around.

First shave

I am not going to post how to wet shave as there are so many good articles, posts, and videos on that.  I just want to post my findings as a new wet shaver.

So I soak my brush in the hot water, but a blob of shave cream on and start to face lather.  I did not use a bowl as I didn't want to walk out to the kitchen and grab one then get the weird looks from the wife... plus that is how I saw my father shave so many years ago.

All lathered up and ready to go, I will admit that I was a bit nervous about loping off an ear lobe or something equally as devastating.  It wasn't that bad I did not do a 4 pass shave as I knew my technique wasn't going to be good enough and I knew I would have some skin irritation.  My cheeks were fine, chin ok, with just a little irritation under my chin (my most sensitive spot).  I have always had a real rough spot on either side of my chin and always had to go back and hit it a couple times with my old Mach 3 to grind down the whiskers, it was not too bad with the new DE.  I still had to go over it a couple of times but no irritation, and oh god the smell!  I should have started this 15-20 years ago.  All in all not too bad of a shave, I got one tiny nick on my throat that didn't require a styptic pen, and I don't even know how I did that.  Things will improve with practice.

Equipment and suppliers

Ok so I did just enough reading to get totally confused but I had an idea of what I wanted to get as far as a razor, brush, blades, soap & cream.  I wanted a Merkur razor (pronounced with total white boy accent "Mur Kur" don't say it fancy "Mer Qur") it sounds like the most popular is the Merkur HD.  So thinking that google is my friend I start to search.  Merkur HD, Heavy Duty, Heafty Duty, 34c, are all the same thing.  The HD line of razors have big heavy heads that help do the work.  The classic line is lighter weight, and you have to press ever so lightly to do the work of shaving.  The HD comes in both original short (and I mean short!) or the new long handled 38C.  I am a big guy with some good size meat hooks,  I wanted to order the longer razor but they were brand new at the time and no one had them in stock.  After ordering, receiving, and using the short 34C, I am happy with the short handle and it fits my hand naturally "choked up" right benhind the head.  I ordered my razor from ClassicShaving,  I don't like ordering things online so I gave them a call.  The lady on the line was very friendly and helpful.  I told her that I also needed a shave brush and some cream.  She recommended the Vulfix Pure Badger brush, and their own line of Classic Brand shave cream with the Lavender scent.   I expressed my  concern about shaving with "foo-foo" smelling shave cream, but she informed me that Lavender is not real floral, and slightly medicinal.  I took her word for it and ordered.  Another reason I called is that their website said they were out of stock on the 34C, and I called in hopes that they just failed to update the site after a large shipment.  They were out of stock, but the clerk was so nice that she took the last razor out of the display case and send it to me.  A few days later (I believe it was 5/20/08) I received a box on my front porch,  when I opened it up I was surprised how small the razor was, it seems to be about half the length of my Gillette Mach 3.  I opened up the brush and examined it, seems very soft, and no foul odor that I heard about.  I then opened the tub of cream... first, the cream is not cheap, $17 for a tub (ok, not cheap compared to buying a can of condensed goo called Edge from the grocery store) and the tub itself is kinda cheap looking and feeling.  I unscrew the top and take a whiff, "Hey now!" sniff sniff... I like it, it is very clean smelling, slight memories of barber shops, but to be honest it reminds me of smells at a tattoo shop.  The lady was absolutely right about the smell not being foo foo!  Cant wait to try it out.


Not the smartest thing I've done, but I will attempt to start a blog about my adventures in "Wet Shaving" this morning after sleeping on the floor and still working on my first cup of weak coffee.  I have done some reading over on badgerandblade and learned a lot of what to expect as I start, but I am finding more things that were not mentioned.  So instead of posting threads like "What I learned yesterday", "What I learned yesterday II"... "What I learned yesterday XXVCCII" I thought I would start this blog, record my findings, and hope that it can be of some use to other wet shaving noobs.