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.