04-08-2013, 04:20 AM
#1
  • jshnks
  • Member
  • Space Coast, FL.
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Pretty new to wet shaving and outside of the Merkur 34c I don't know how anything else shaves and I was wondering what you would consider this razor? Aggressive, mild or relaxed? I've noticed that no matter how I go about shaving the bottom of my neck I always get red irritation that does clear up but it takes a few hours, and was wondering if I may need to get A more aggressive razor or a more relaxed razor or if it is just human error? I have also tried a-lot of different blades, and they all leave the same irritation.

Thanks!

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 04-08-2013, 04:46 AM
#2
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Good morning. I started with the Merkur 34c when I began shaving with a DE a couple years ago. It's been a while since I have used one, but my take on the razor is that it is middle of the road for aggressiveness. It is mild enough that a new shaver wont seriously damage himself/herself, but effective enough to provide a good shave.

I would also guess that it is either your lather or technique. Either a bad lather or too much pressure could cause the issues you are experiencing. How many passes are you doing? When I was doing 3 passes, it was more than my neck could handle. I dropped to two passes and have much less irritation. I would focus on a light touch and only two passes. Don't chase the bbs, hair grows back and within a couple hours it is gone anyway.

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 04-08-2013, 05:31 AM
#3
  • jshnks
  • Member
  • Space Coast, FL.
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Lets see here as for soap I am using Van Der Hagen luxury unscented and it is the only soap I have used so far. As for passes, I had been doing three passes, but I dropped to two passes to see if that helped with the neck irritation and still was just as bad as before. I am more inclined to say it's pressure but if anything I always make a note to ease up in that area.

I guess my ritual is,
Soak brush + Soak Soap + Face Lather(waiting for it to be nice a creamy) + Shave + Aftershave(Aqua Velva/Clubman Special Reserve)

I guess I really need to start adding alum to that as well.

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 04-08-2013, 06:05 AM
#4
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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The 34C is a great shaver IMO; I love the chunky industrial look and the heft. Not the greatest metal under the chrome, but I don't expect one to last a lifetime, although that would be nice.

They are more aggressive than a Tech, but not so much so as to be of any concern. I rate them alongside the Gillette 500 HD and also the English Red Tip, though these are hard to find.

No need to use any pressure whatsoever. You need to be patient until you get the hang of this; lay off doing ATG for a while as per PanChango's good advice above, what the heck anyway. It doesn't matter that you do 3 passes; there is no line in the sand about these things: do what's in your best interest and feel your way through these matters. When you become accustomed (to you face, ha!) then try ATG, maybe. I'd rather have very SLIGHT stubble than rash. Hair grows back shortly enough anyway.

Alum is a good idea, and a balm to follow. I recommend Speick Balm and Splash (not together).

Also stick with a milder blade for a while, Astras say. Good shave, less likely to irritate. Stay away from Feathers until your face adjusts, and even then they don't suit everybody anyway. I have mixed feelings about them. Sharpness doesn't necessarily equate with good/quality shave

Good luck with the rash.

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 04-08-2013, 06:08 AM
#5
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I would try getting what you have to work before adding alum. For me, alum actually makes things worse, as it creates razor bumps (my theory is that the alum closes up the pores before it has time to heal).

I also started with the 34c. It is a middle of the road razor and could be (probably should be for your bank account's sakes!) the only razor you need. If I was to guess, based on your relative newness and what you describe, you might be using too much pressure. Using too much pressure was something I had to unlearn from using plastic/lightweight carts and it took at least a few weeks. Remember that the point of the passes are about reduction, not removal.

The other thing might be not building adequate lather. If you can I would try some creams, as they are more fool-proof for getting nice, slick, cushioning lather.

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 04-08-2013, 06:40 AM
#6
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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Pores don't open and close, so alum wouldn't affect them per se. Alum merely helps clean the skin and tighten it (being an astringent), helping seal nicks and weepers and constricting blood vessels (assists with minor bleeds; for real bloodletting use a styptic; for arterial bleeds call an ambulance Smile

I find (potassium) alum calms the skin after the initial zing, depending how roughly you've shaved yourself Smile rinse it off and ahhh, nice smooth skin.

I found alum helped a lot with bumps and rashes actually, but, as ever, YMMV. It might also have been because I was using decent equipment but it's hard to remember because I have been using proper razors for years and years.

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 04-08-2013, 07:55 AM
#7
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razor aficionados seem to rank the 34 as upper end of mild or lower end of medium as far as aggressiveness. i would agree with that as to me it shaves about like my Progress set on 2-3. before the EJ and Muhle razors got popular the 34 was the most recommended "starter" razor.

my guess is that your problem, like most computer problems, is operator error rather than hardware error. it is relatively easy to maintain the proper razor angle on the cheeks, as they are flat. the neck is a lot harder due to the curves. plus for many people, me included, the neck is more sensitive so errors are magnified.

watch your angle, no pressure, don't rush. another thing to try is stretching your skin so that you are dealing with a flatter and more uniform surface. if you grab the skin at your cheekbone and pull up while ducking your chin at the same time, you can get some of your neck skin above your jawline and flatten it out so that it shaves easier. also, you may want to stick with one pass only on your neck until you really refine your technique.

as far as alum, if i put it on my neck i break out. i use it on my face especially if i get a weeper or two, but neck is off limits.

good luck and have fun!

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 04-08-2013, 08:36 AM
#8
  • jshnks
  • Member
  • Space Coast, FL.
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Thanks for all the reply's, I will say that I am still making it through my variety pack set of blades, and Astra's so far have been the kindness to my skin along with the Bic, I did try the feather, and yea I pretty much looked like I got mauled by a badger. I would like to try some Shark blades too as they did not come in my pack of blades.

With all that being said, I think i am going to order some Cella soap, and ever since I saw the Fatip Grandes at bullgoose shaving, I have wanted one. I dont know how aggressive they are, but it seems to be calling my name.

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 04-08-2013, 08:52 AM
#9
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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I consider the 34C to be a medium razor. I think it's a good razor for a starter but it is aggressive enough where you need to be careful to use proper technique. Make sure your not using any pressure with it. For your info I think the 34C is around the same on the aggressive scale as a Weber Polished or DLC. A very popular starter razor is the Edwin Jagger DE89 which is milder than the 34C. If you feel that the 34C could be a touch too aggressive the EJ DE89 would be the razor I would suggest next.

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 04-08-2013, 10:56 AM
#10
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(04-08-2013, 08:36 AM)jshnks Wrote: Thanks for all the reply's, I will say that I am still making it through my variety pack set of blades, and Astra's so far have been the kindness to my skin along with the Bic, I did try the feather, and yea I pretty much looked like I got mauled by a badger. I would like to try some Shark blades too as they did not come in my pack of blades.

With all that being said, I think i am going to order some Cella soap, and ever since I saw the Fatip Grandes at bullgoose shaving, I have wanted one. I dont know how aggressive they are, but it seems to be calling my name.

i don't know the Fatip personally but have read that it is very similar, if not the same, head as the legendary R41 which is widely considered as the most aggressive modern DE. once you get your technique pretty flawless it might be a fun thing to try. if you get sloppy with it, could have a mess on your hands.

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 04-08-2013, 12:00 PM
#11
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(04-08-2013, 08:36 AM)jshnks Wrote: Thanks for all the reply's, I will say that I am still making it through my variety pack set of blades, and Astra's so far have been the kindness to my skin along with the Bic, I did try the feather, and yea I pretty much looked like I got mauled by a badger. I would like to try some Shark blades too as they did not come in my pack of blades.

With all that being said, I think i am going to order some Cella soap, and ever since I saw the Fatip Grandes at bullgoose shaving, I have wanted one. I dont know how aggressive they are, but it seems to be calling my name.

Cella is brilliant. Smells great, lathers easily, and provides excellent cushion and lubrication, and also leaves my face at least feeling great afterwards.

May I ask what your pre-shave ritual is? Unless you've already posted it on this thread and I've missed it,I can't see a mention of it on here.

If you don't already, a nice hot shower before hand, followed by a face scrub/wash has improved my shave to no end. That, and the improvement in my lather making skills has seen me go from bad irritation nearly all of the time, to no irritation at all.

What's your pre-shave prep at the moment?

Alex

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 04-11-2013, 07:50 PM
#12
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Merkur's gotten a lot of milage out of the 34C's reputation as the stereotypical starter razor,I'm not sure why.It was my first razor upon my return to wet shaving,I got rid of it immediately.

It felt chunky,heavy...offered little to no feedback,a zombie shave.IMO it's like telling a new driver he should be learn to drive in a truck when it makes more sense to learn to drive in a car that's more maneuverable.

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 04-12-2013, 11:28 AM
#13
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The 34c is a good razor. You may want to try sharper blades if you want a better shave with it.

Or you might want to consider an adjustable razor like the Merkur Progress. It's a great razor that can't be beat.

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