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.