04-04-2012, 11:50 AM
#1
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
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For some people to get a decent shave with certain razors or does it all come down to technique?

I have a dozen razors at this point, all new and all modern. No matter what I do, what angle/technique I use, etc. etc., I cannot even get close to a DFS with a Feather SS or an Ikon SK9. 3 or 4 passes with touch ups still do not give me what I want.

Otherwise, I can use everything else I own to get a fairly easy 3 pass BBS' nearly every time and this includes heavies like the Cobra, a Muhle R41 Grande,(2011), a 39C Sledge Slantbar, the Weber's, DLC and ARC, a DE89, a Mergress, a Futur and a 38C Barberpole, all no matter what blade I use.

I go to the Feather Razor now only if I have some previous serious irritation, (rare now) or just to use it because it's so beautiful. The Ikon, the same. I've tried every blade combo in these razors from a Feather to a Merkur and in between to no avail.

I ask A) out of frustration and the fact the razors are just so beautiful and B) because I have read so many conflicting things on different forums.
Some claim "no such thing as an aggressive VS non-aggressive razor, it's all the user" and some claim that "there are razors that are aggressive VS ones that aren't" and specifically use the two examples I've given above as modern razors that are not particularly aggressive yet one should STILL be able to get a BBS... with ANY razor.

After 7 months, should I hope for gaining increased technique and the ability to achieve BBS/DFS with these less aggressive razors or should I throw in the towel now? If I can manage to use the heavy, aggressive razors with sharp blades without a problem, can this really be a technique issue?

Thank you!
Eric

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 04-04-2012, 01:12 PM
#2
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I just saw the SK9 video by GEOFAT on youtube and cringed at the angle he used. Sure enough, he got a nice nick on his neck. That said, his angle looks too steep with every razor he uses, but he seems happy. I know my face would be burger after trying it his way. You just have to continue to experiment. Put them aside for a bit if you are frustrated and come back to them when the curiosity gets the better of you. I know I just spent the past month on vintage Gillettes as a kind of challenge, and I've learned that the 7 O'clock blue just isn't getting it done in my old adjustables (Fatboy, Slim, or Super Adjustable). I've had some fair shaves, and some mediocre ones. I just did it on a lark. If I absolutely had to have effortless perfection, though, I'd be back to my Progress without hesitation. Having spent the last month playing with vintages has made me more conscious of pressure and blade angle, and also advanced stroke mechanics like G-slides and J-hooks. I'm sure my technique has been refined as a result, and when I return to my workhorse razors I will get the returns on my investment. I wouldn't have done the experiment if it felt like a chore. I just considered it fact finding. If you can do that, you should have no problems unlocking the potential of your modern marvels. Don't be tempted to use pressure to get closer shaves. Also, experiment with your prep. What routine are you following? Maybe a different product or technique will get you to that BBS that your other razors can.
Only you can decide if it is worth the effort to track down that variable that will get you there.

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 04-04-2012, 01:32 PM
#3
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JMHO Eric, but there are definitely razors that perform better than others for different beards, and seldom does it have to do with expense. Some razors are simply more mild. Some have no QC. But I prefer more aggressive razors (and blades) simply because 5-6 passes for me can be a PITA.

There are many different beard types.

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 04-04-2012, 01:39 PM
#4
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5 star post, Dirty Texan.

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 04-04-2012, 08:13 PM
#5
  • CMur12
  • Semogueiro de Coração
  • Moses Lake, Washington State, USA
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Eric, I don't see any reason to make yourself use something you don't like. As we develop our technique we also determine what we look for in our tools and expendables, and we move in that direction.

I have a coarse, but not really dense, beard and very sensitive skin, so gentle razors work for me. I have gradually moved in the direction of moderate razors, but my Edwin Jaggers and my Weber are really my limit.

Gentle razors tend to have a narrow blade gap, so the angle is more critical when it comes to getting a good shave. This can be especially challenging depending upon the peaks and valleys that you have to accomodate on your face and neck. I have one sharp dip just to the lower right of my Adam's apple, and it is very difficult to follow that dip with just the right angle to cut effectively all along its surface. A little more blade gap, such as what I get from an EJ or a Weber, makes that much easier. This may be part of the problem you are experiencing with the Feather.

I go through long cycles with my gentle razors and my moderate razors, which seems to improve my technique with each kind. I don't use aggressive razors, however, as my skin just doesn't tolerate it.

- Murray

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 04-04-2012, 08:58 PM
#6
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(04-04-2012, 01:32 PM)PanchoVilla Wrote: JMHO Eric, but there are definitely razors that perform better than others for different beards, and seldom does it have to do with expense. Some razors are simply more mild. Some have no QC. But I prefer more aggressive razors (and blades) simply because 5-6 passes for me can be a PITA.

There are many different beard types.

+1 Many variables to consider Eric. Sounds like you have a coarse beard. After seven months, i doubt it is your technique. After using the Cobra, the two that you mention would not compare unless you are doing 4-6 passes. Good luck, sir.

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 04-04-2012, 09:40 PM
#7
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Well, it could be angle, but as already written after 7 months you should have that somewhat down. Mild razors are very touchy about angle- it must be perfect or they don't work.

One thing I've found to be critical for a mild razor is the absolute best blade. I've found that the absolute sharpest blade I can get make them work the best. Feathers, Med Preps, Gillette Yellows, Super Iridium, Polsilver Iridium, are just a few blades that make my mild razors work great.

It could be that you are just incompatible with them. But instead of throwing in the towel, why not shelve them for a time and come back to them. They aren't eating anything at this point. If you return to them after a time and it's still an issue you might want to frame them or sell them.

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 04-05-2012, 07:48 AM
#8
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
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Excellent advice guys. I appreciate it!

The angle is the key, I agree and the tough spots on my face are indeed the constant problem because of the blade gap. The Cobra or the Muhle will overcome that so easily, not so the Feather or the Ikon for me.
I will likely shelve them for a bit and come back to them. I guess it was either that or keep at it for a long period of time with them. I end up using more pressure which I shouldn't with these mild razors and ultimately, both the shave and the irritation is worse.
And as mentioned, after the Cobra's killer, irritation free shave, who knows if they will ever equal what I need plus too many passes with them = too much time and irritation.

Today, the second day in a row for the Ikon was a bit better but still, having too much growth before 12PM is not cutting it. (Good pun huh???!) Biggrin

Thanks to all again! On the shelf these lovelies shall be, for a while at least.

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 04-06-2012, 08:39 AM
#9
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For me, a 4 pass shave will guarantee irritation. I have dense and coarse facial hair and sensitive skin to boot.
I shave every two days --the slant keeps the whiskers away that long -- and only need a two pass with a touch up for a dfs.

To me, it sounds like you're simply trying to hard. I get a bbs maybe 3 times a month, if I don't get it bbs after a couple of passes, I won't press my luck. If you're shaving everyday, you may want to cut down on the passes and just live with a dfs for a day. Your skin really needs time to heal after shaving, more time if you abuse it. Take a weekend off, let the skin heal and the whiskers grow, then mow them down.

Less passes is the answer, if you can't do it in 3, leave it be...

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 04-06-2012, 09:51 AM
#10
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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Eric, the razor and the blade is major part of the equation for a great shave. How you prep for the shave that makes the tools work better, I have been spending extra time in making my lather. Great lather makes the razor/blade work less effortlessly. The other part is how you use your razor, the right angle, the right blade choice. I personally never go beyond three passes. My goal each morning is to enjoy my shave time, to achieve a DFS.

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 04-06-2012, 07:56 PM
#11
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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(04-04-2012, 08:13 PM)CMur12 Wrote: Eric, I don't see any reason to make yourself use something you don't like. As we develop our technique we also determine what we look for in our tools and expendables, and we move in that direction.

I have a coarse, but not really dense, beard and very sensitive skin, so gentle razors work for me. I have gradually moved in the direction of moderate razors, but my Edwin Jaggers and my Weber are really my limit.

Gentle razors tend to have a narrow blade gap, so the angle is more critical when it comes to getting a good shave. This can be especially challenging depending upon the peaks and valleys that you have to accomodate on your face and neck. I have one sharp dip just to the lower right of my Adam's apple, and it is very difficult to follow that dip with just the right angle to cut effectively all along its surface. A little more blade gap, such as what I get from an EJ or a Weber, makes that much easier. This may be part of the problem you are experiencing with the Feather.

I go through long cycles with my gentle razors and my moderate razors, which seems to improve my technique with each kind. I don't use aggressive razors, however, as my skin just doesn't tolerate it.

- Murray

thank you for this post! Biggrin
Actually, i don't feel so bad now after 14 mos of DE wet shaving! I too have coarse hear but not dense growth all over.

My hardest to achieve close BBS are in the regions of my lower neck, adjacent to my Adam's apple- the hairs grow downward at an angle on the upper part of my throat. BUT those suckers from the bottom grow upward and are a *Bugger* to get close shaved without irritation.

Also,
to avoid irritation on my mustache, and goatee area, I don't shave ATG, only XTG .. i think learning my hair-growth pattern brought me a more relaxed shave Smile

here is a really good thread from a *different* site that talks about user experiences with DFS/BBS

http://theshaveden.com/forums/threads/ar...ave.25729/

..heh, now I'm back to reading it!

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 04-06-2012, 09:09 PM
#12
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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(04-06-2012, 09:51 AM)Howler Wrote: Eric, the razor and the blade is major part of the equation for a great shave. How you prep for the shave that makes the tools work better, I have been spending extra time in making my lather. Great lather makes the razor/blade work less effortlessly. The other part is how you use your razor, the right angle, the right blade choice. I personally never go beyond three passes. My goal each morning is to enjoy my shave time, to achieve a DFS.

I agree with this.

I have very thick and tough stubble. I never do more than a 2 pass shave, with the exception of minor touchups on the chin or getting the sideburns right, etc. The more passes you take the easier it is for irritation.

Razors make a world of difference, but blades even more so. The R41 is a perfect example of this. It is an extremely finicky razor. Even blades that work brilliantly in all my other razors are terrible in the R41. Just some food for thought.

Lather and prep are key. If either are poor you'll never get a BBS shave. Find what blades work for you, keeping in mind that they don't necessarily perform the same in different razors. Lastly, you have to find the blades that work for you. A ton of people praising blade XYZ is utterly irrelevant if they don't work for you. Ignore the masses, trust your experiences

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 04-06-2012, 09:39 PM
#13
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If you don't like the results from the razor, don't use it. I have never used the 2 you mentioned so I can't speak about them.

Aggressive, heavier razors do provide two things. First they allow you to "feel" the blade more, so it is easier to dial in the angle. Second they are more tolerant. By this I mean if the angle is off a bit you can still get good results, because of the gap and exposure.

I would not chalk it up to your beard though. The Tech is a mild razor and probably shaved every known permutation of beard and skin type, with good results, in it's decades of production

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