04-11-2013, 07:25 PM
#1
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First Shave
Thu Apr 11, 2013

• Astra blade in Ikon SB Deluxe
• Hot shower
• Hot water soak of AOS badger travel brush
• Hot water splash on face
• AOS Lemon pre-shave oil on face and neck
• AOS Lemon shave cream lathered on face
• First pass WTG
• Rinse
• Re-lather
• Second pass XTG East to West
• Rinse
• pat dry
• AOS aftershave balm

Okay, so this might seem like zealotry, but my first DE shave was a revelation. I found it to be incredibly easy to remove hair from my face with the Ikon/Astra combination. Of course, this was my first shave and first blade tried, and I'm sure other blades will be different. However I plan to use all five of my Astras before moving onto my next pack of razors, which will likely be Derbys.

The Ikon felt GREAT in hand. As a matter of fact it felt like it was just gliding over my skin most of the time. I saw lather and hair being removed, but couldn't feel it cutting. After finishing my first pass and rinsing, I was almost surprised to see that the areas I had shaved were bare. That first pass made me say to my lady that I'd never use a disposable or cartridge again if I could avoid it.

After rinsing and re-lathering I decided to go across the grain. This was a little more complicated for me, specifically around the neck. I found that the curvature of my neck--especially around the Adam's apple--is especially prone to nicks if careless. I am happy to say however that I experienced my first DE shave without a single nick or weeper. Biggrin

After finishing my second pass and rinsing I had my lady inspect my face, and she said she could feel a TINY bit of stubble if she rubbed ATG. I expected that as I only did two passes and wasn't even attempting BBS. She also told me that my face felt VERY nice and smooth. Works for me.

After applying the AOS after-shave balm, I did experience a bit of irritation. However, this happens every time I shave. I think it may be more about me not using a suitable (for me) after-shave. I plan on picking up some witch hazel and Aqua Velva ASAP, and will of course check back in after I do.

All-in-all, I very much enjoyed my first DE shave. I felt like was treating myself to a bit of a pampering ritual, and I enjoyed it much more than shaving with a straight.

In the future, if I decide to use the straight again I think I will stick to the cheeks with it, and use the DE for the neck area.

Either way, I'm very happy with my purchase of the Ikon razor. And while the 34c or EJde89l would probably have served me just as well, I feel better knowing I have a quality, stainless razor that feels great in hand and will last forever.

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 04-11-2013, 07:31 PM
#2
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Any first shave you can walk away from is a good one, but your first certainly sounds much better than that. Great! It'll just get better too.

FWIW, pretty much everyone when asked will tell you the neck is the most problematic area. So you have plenty of company.

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 04-11-2013, 07:40 PM
#3
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Glad to hear you enjoyed your first DE shave. I think the idea to use the blade pack to completion before moving on is a good one. That way you can get to know which blades really work for you.

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 04-14-2013, 04:29 PM
#4
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Second shave
Sun Apr 14, 2013
8:04 PM

• Astra blade in Ikon SB Deluxe (2nd shave on blade)
• Hot shower
• Hot water soak of AOS badger travel brush
• Hot water splash on face
• AOS Lemon pre-shave oil on face and neck
• AOS Lemon shave cream lathered on face
• First pass WTG
• Rinse
• Re-lather
• Second pass WTG
• Re-lather
• Third pass XTG
• Rinse with cold water
• Generic drug store witch hazel
• AOS aftershave balm

Again, I found the shave to be VERY easy and enjoyable. The blade seemed to be just as efficient as the first use. This time, however, I was attentive enough to actually hear the blade cutting. I'm sure that focus will be invaluable over the years. I will continue to use this blade for another two shaves (four in total) before replacing it with a new Astra.

I did get one small weeper on my right cheek during the first pass, but the bleeding stopped immediately after a cold water rinse.

This time I noticed that the weight of the Ikon caused a little fatigue during the shave. It's definitely a substantial razor, but I'm willing to bet most new DE shavers experience similar, as (at least in my experience) the concept of multiple passes is probably a completely new thing after years spent rushing to scrape our cartridge blades across our skin in record time. I believe I will get used to the weight as my journey progresses.

This time, after rinsing with cold water, I added witch hazel prior to my ASB hoping that it would eliminate the light irritation I experienced on my neck after the last shave. I poured the witch hazel onto my hand, then massaged it into my face. I then waited about five minutes, and with my face still damp from the rinse and the witch haze, I massaged in my AOS lemon ASB. Right now, however, I am still itching a bit under my chin and to the sides of my neck, so obviously it didn't work out for me as I'd hoped.

My technique on the neck could certainly use some improvement, as I still feel a more pronounced stubble there than on my cheeks. Also, I'm concerned about cutting myself there, so I go at that area a little timidly. I expect that to diminish as I continue to shave with the DE. Of course, I am also watching Mantic59's videos for reference.

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 04-14-2013, 04:44 PM
#5
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Some of the after shave balms have oils in them that can irritate the skin, at least that's what happens to me. Get a tube of Speick After Shave Balm for a soothing face massage. While you are at it, get a bottle of Speick After Shave Lotion. Very healing.

When doing your second pass on the neck area, do it lightly against the grain instead of across the grain. For the neck area I find this much easier and that one pass with a good razor and blade will eliminate 99% of the stubble.

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 04-14-2013, 04:46 PM
#6
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(04-14-2013, 04:44 PM)Johnny Wrote: Some of the after shave balms have oils in them that can irritate the skin, at least that's what happens to me. Get a tube of Speick After Shave Balm for a soothing face massage. While you are at it, get a bottle of Speick After Shave Lotion. Very healing.

When doing your second pass on the neck area, do it lightly against the grain instead of across the grain. For the neck area I find this much easier and that one pass with a good razor and blade will eliminate 99% of the stubble.

Thank you for the advice. I will look into your software suggestions, and I will try going XTG on the neck. We'll see what happens...

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 04-14-2013, 04:55 PM
#7
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Remember, especially on the neck area, NO PRESSURE.

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 04-15-2013, 08:44 AM
#8
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(04-14-2013, 04:55 PM)Johnny Wrote: Remember, especially on the neck area, NO PRESSURE.

Good thing I have a nice, heavy Ikon. Wink

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 04-15-2013, 03:49 PM
#9
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Ikon as a first DE, that's commitment! Most of us wait a full moon or two before we start shelling out money on the more expensive razors Smile

Happy to hear you are enjoying the new experience, it only gets better.

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 04-15-2013, 04:32 PM
#10
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Thankyakindly! I'm hoping I don't develop AD, though I find myself actively pursuing machinists I know about custom razor and brush handles. If any of that comes through things could get VERY bad.

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 04-15-2013, 06:25 PM
#11
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
User Info
Man you are committed. You jumped in with both feet with that Ikon. I hear they are excellent shavers, just a little to aggressive for me is my worry. I think the AS-D1 is more my speed of razor, seeing as how my favorites are my Krona, and my Super Speeds.Glad you are enjoying the process.

I love Astras, but I couldn't stand Derbys. They tugged too much on me, then I tried a Crystal and I was hooked. Crystal, Astra, Red Personna. I could do with only those blades and I'd be one happy shaver.

Good luck in your journey. Enjoy every stroke of the razor.

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 04-16-2013, 05:53 PM
#12
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Third Shave:

• Astra blade in Ikon SB Deluxe
• Hot shower
• Hot water soak of AOS badger travel brush
• Hot water splash on face
• AOS Lemon pre-shave oil on face and neck
• AOS Lemon shave cream lathered on face
• First pass WTG
• Rinse
• Re-lather
• Second pass XTG East to West
• Rinse
• pat dry
• witch hazel
• AOS aftershave balm

Okay, so today was my third time shaving with the Ikon and I'm actually feeling pretty confident with it. It's not that I'm getting BBS shaves, but more that I feel comfortable with the razor--for the most part. I'm still finding difficulty around the neck, but I understand that that is pretty common.

My problems are two-fold:
• Actually maneuvering the razor around the neck. I understand my grain pattern, but the razor just feels a little unwieldy down there. I'm pretty sure I'll get used to it over time, but right now I'm still left with a little stubble under the neck. I'm not trying to push it, though. Eventually I'll be getting it all gone. I remember that the object is to remove stubble, not completely get rid of the hair on one pass.

• I'm still feeling some itching to the right and left of my Adam's apple, even after the witch hazel. Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I try a stronger astringent? Something alcohol-based?

The Astra (on its third shave) still felt good, though I notice a BIT more stubble remaining than on my prior shaves. Now, it could be because I moved a little more quicker and confidently than on the prior two shaves. We shall see.

I have a pretty decent kit so far. Quality brush, razor, blades, software. I don't have any desire to develop AD for this because I don't need another hobby, but I'm wondering if maybe I shouldn't try some new software, just to see if maybe that may eliminate some of the itch I'm feeling.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not judging anyone for whom this IS a hobby. I just know how I am, and if I let myself I'd have 10 custom razors, as well as brushes, and need a whole new bathroom for all the accoutrements.

Any suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks

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 04-18-2013, 05:28 PM
#13
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Fourth Shave
Thu Apr 18, 2013
9:13 PM

• Astra blade in Ikon SB Deluxe (fourth and final shave on this blade)
• Hot shower
• Hot water soak of AOS super badger travel brush
• Hot water splash on face
• AOS Lemon pre-shave oil on face and neck
• Burt's Bees natural shave cream
• First pass WTG
• Rinse
• Re-lather using AOS lemon shave cream.
• Second pass XTG East to West
• Rinse
• Re-lather with AOS lemon shave cream.
• Third pass ATG
• pat dry
• witch hazel
• Nivea Razor Defense ASB

First things first: I'm very happy I went with stainless steel handle because with the weight I have NO desire to add extra pressure as I'm shaving.

Second: The Burt's Bees natural shave cream did NOT produce a good lather. Even with a LARGE dollop on the brush my face lathering produced no lather at all. There was a sheen of lubricant on my face, but nothing visible on the brush at all, and for my second and third passes I reverted to the AOS lemon cream I've been using this far. I will NOT be using the Burt's Bees again, despite my actual enjoyment of the slightly menthol odor.

Today was my first attempt going ATG, and contrary to my prejudices against that pass, it was actually simple and produced only one small weeper on my left cheek. My neck area is still left with a small amount of stubble, but mainly to the right and left, which means I may have misjudged my grain pattern there. I will let my stubble grow for two days and then try to map the grain again.

After finishing my shave I removed the blades from both my Ikon AND my Merkur mustache razor and rinsed them both well under cold water. I left them apart to dry and will only reinstall blades when next I shave.

All-in-all I am VERY much enjoying my journey in wetshaving. So much so that I actually anticipate the process as a form of relaxation as well as something worth working to develop skill in. It is definitely making the sometimes abhorrent chore of shaving into something more enjoyable. Thanks for all your help here.

Now, I'm hoping I can get some more. Smile

I want another shave cream, preferably something with a bit of soothing menthol to it. I also need to find an Alum block because after shaving I am STILL feeling some itch on the neck area, even after applying the witch hazel and the Nivea Razor Defense.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Jason

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 04-20-2013, 06:05 AM
#14
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I hit Bullgoose on Thursday and ordered up some Proraso white cream, an alum block, a styptic pencil and some Proraso pre-shave. I'm hoping this makes a difference with the irritation I get on my neck.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Jason

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 04-21-2013, 07:32 PM
#15
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Fifth Shave
Sun Apr 21, 2013
11:18 PM

• Astra blade in Ikon SB Deluxe (first shave on new blade)
• Hot shower
• Hot water soak of AOS super badger travel brush
• Hot water splash on face
• AOS Lemon pre-shave oil on face and neck
• AOS lemon shave cream (lathered in ceramic soup bowl)
• First pass WTG
• Rinse
• Re-lather
• Second pass XTG
• Rinse
• Re-lather
• Third pass ATG
• pat dry
• witch hazel
• Nivea Razor Defense ASB

Today I started again with a new Astra blade and I could certainly feel a difference at first touch. It sounded like I was cutting grass during my first pass.

I had let my stubble grow over the weekend and re-checked the grain pattern on my neck hoping to achieve a closer shave and less itching. I'm happy to say that up to this point (10 minutes since applying ASB) I am itch-free. I still feel a little stubble on the sides of my neck, but the middle (directly under my chin and down) feels smooth. It may be that finding my correct grain pattern there on the neck has helped a little, though at this very moment I am feeling a slight onset of some itching.

I am having difficulty going ATG on the neck because I keep trying to shave both sides with my right hand. I'm not quite comfortable trying my DE with my off-hand. I guess that's something I'm gonna hafta work on as time progresses.

Lathering in my ceramic bowl SUCKED. The bowl is smooth, so there is nothing in there to knock lather around and help it build up, but I must say that my brush seems to produce WAY more lather on my face than it did tonight using the bowl. Any ideas or thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

No nicks or weepers tonight, and no sting from the witch hazel.

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 04-21-2013, 07:53 PM
#16
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Sounds like you're settling in to wet-shaving very nicely, mate. I've only been doing this for about six months, but the main thing it took me some time to get used to is the amount of pressure you actually NEED to use. When you're starting out, you can almost always use less. Speaking of myself, I used to press into my neck a little bit as a habit carried over from using a Mach 3. It's a bad one that I'm still trying to break, but mostly, I just remind myself that the weight of the razor and the sharpness of the blade are all that's necessary to cut. They don't need help from me.

Mapping your beard growth was a great move, and something that helped me too. The next step is working out a routine that works for you based on growth patterns.

I hate my ceramic bowl too, but I improved it's latherability by taking a craft knife and scoring a grid pattern into the bottom. The lather has somewhere to catch now and it does work better, but I still rarely use it. The cheap copper bowl I bought from a Turkish seller works much better.

How are you finding the witch hazel contributes to your shave? I've never tried it.

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 04-22-2013, 01:17 PM
#17
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Thanks for chiming in.

This far I've done a good job of not putting any pressure on the razor. That is probably what's kept me from nicks and limited my weepers.

As for the bowl, I'll probably just get a scuttle from Feats of Clay as disposable income (is it ever really?) comes in.

I wish I could give you a more definitive response on the witch hazel. Honestly, I don't even feel it when it goes on. At this point it's just a splash that I put on before my ASB, but I can't tell if it's accomplishing anything. I just figure it can't hurt.

Today I received an alum block, some Proraso white soap, and some Proraso white pre-shave. Tomorrow I will try it all out.

Any hints on how to use the Proraso pre-shave cream?

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 04-22-2013, 01:54 PM
#18
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
User Info
I use witch hazel after my cold rinse and before any other balm or splash. I find it soothing and it tightens my skin. But basically I do it because it feels good. Biggrin

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 04-23-2013, 06:01 PM
#19
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Sixth Shave
Tue Apr 23, 2013
9:42 PM

• Astra blade in Ikon SB Deluxe (second shave on blade)
• Hot shower
• Hot water soak of AOS super badger travel brush
• Hot water splash on face
• Proraso white pre-shave cream
• Proraso white shave soap
• First pass WTG
• Rinse
• Re-lather
• Second pass XTG
• Rinse
• Re-lather
• Third pass ATG
• Hot water rinse
• pat dry
• Alum block
• witch hazel
• Aqua Velva blue

Okay, so I have to admit this has been both my closest and my most enjoyable shave. Wow! The Proraso white pre-shave and soap are WONDERFUL! I really enjoy the menthol coolness in both products, and I got a decent lather using a soap for my first time.

I got a couple tiny stings while rubbing on the alum, but I couldn't see any cuts or nicks.

The Aqua Velva didn't bother me at all (in terms of the alcohol). I can't say I'm in love with the scent at first application, but if it helps me avoid the itching I've been experiencing, I'm happy.

And to that end, it's been about 25 minutes since my shave and I have NO itching or irritation!

On the other hand, the right side of my neck is BBS, but the center and left still have some stubble. That's obviously due to my discomfort shaving the left side of my neck with my right hand. I'm gonna hafta work on using my left hand.

Despite that, this was easily my best, most enjoyable shave so far!!!

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 04-23-2013, 06:51 PM
#20
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(04-11-2013, 07:25 PM)ImGatMan! Wrote: However I plan to use all five of my Astras before moving onto my next pack of razors, which will likely be Derbys.

It sounds like things are going well for you thus far, which is good to hear. If you bought a blade sampler pack and only have a 5-pack of Astras, you might want to save at least one to try again after you've worked your way through the rest of the pack. Once you've refined your technique, you'll probably be able to notice subtle differences between blades, which might help you hone in on the brand that works best for you.

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