06-07-2012, 08:47 PM
#1
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I'm wondering if too much face preparation could make for a rough shave. Since I'm still relatively new to traditional shaving, I figured I'd put it up for discussion on the forum.

I ALWAYS seem to get rough shaves on the lower portion of my neck - I'm not sure if it's bad razor technique, the type of razor(s) I'm using, my lather wasn't built enough, or whatever...

Teiste and I were talking about this last night and he thinks I might be doing too much prior to putting metal to my face.

My usual preparation, when I don't shower before shaving, is to wash my face with soap, rinse it off thoroughly, rub my face down with a hot, damp towel for a few minutes, apply pre-shave oil, and then either face lather or prepare my lather in a bowl, then apply it to my face. Teiste suggested I just wet my face with water, apply the pre-shave oil, lather up, and go at it.

Do you think doing too much before shaving could be detrimental to the overall shave? what say you?

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 06-07-2012, 08:52 PM
#2
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Great timing with this post Andrew. For my last 3 shaves I've been experimenting with a pre-shower shave routine. I usually always shower before I shave, but my last 3 shaves are convincing me that I should always shave before I shower. My shaves lately have been much more comfortable and my face/neck feel better than ever. All I'm doing for prep right now is to rinse my face with cool - cold water and then face lather my soap. Nothing else. I've been very pleased and I'm currently testing most of my soaps with this method while also using a DE, which typically doesn't give me as good of a shave as a SE does. These last 3 thought, have been simply splendid.

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 06-07-2012, 08:57 PM
#3
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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When you say "rough shaves" do you mean that you have razor burn on your neck or that you have lots of stubble or both?

I have lots of trouble with my neck but I have found that the more prep I do on it the better a shave I get.

I'm a recent member of this board, coming back to DE shaving after 40 years of using multiblade razors so take what I'm going to tell you with a grain of salt.

When I shave without showering I first wash my face with soap and water. I then apply more warm water to my neck area. Then I put on a coat of shaving oil ( or just plain olive oil ) and then I prepare my lather.

I apply a moderate coat of lather to my face and neck and then I hold a hot wet washcloth over the oil and lather mix. When it cools down some I re-wet it again with hot water and do it again and then again for a total of 3 times.

At this point I lather up big time and do my first pass, re-lather for the second pass, re-lather for the 3rd pass. For the touch-up neck pass I make sure my neck is well lubricated and then I specifically go after the spots where there is more stubble than I like. I do little short strokes with NO pressure. As long as I have a good sharp blade this method gives me a BBS shave with no irritation.

I hope this helps.

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 06-07-2012, 09:09 PM
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(06-07-2012, 08:57 PM)uncledave Wrote: When you say "rough shaves" do you mean that you have razor burn on your neck or that you have lots of stubble or both?

I have lots of trouble with my neck but I have found that the more prep I do on it the better a shave I get.

I'm a recent member of this board, coming back to DE shaving after 40 years of using multiblade razors so take what I'm going to tell you with a grain of salt.

When I shave without showering I first wash my face with soap and water. I then apply more warm water to my neck area. Then I put on a coat of shaving oil ( or just plain olive oil ) and then I prepare my lather.

I apply a moderate coat of lather to my face and neck and then I hold a hot wet washcloth over the oil and lather mix. When it cools down some I re-wet it again with hot water and do it again and then again for a total of 3 times.

At this point I lather up big time and do my first pass, re-lather for the second pass, re-lather for the 3rd pass. For the touch-up neck pass I make sure my neck is well lubricated and then I specifically go after the spots where there is more stubble than I like. I do little short strokes with NO pressure. As long as I have a good sharp blade this method gives me a BBS shave with no irritation.

I hope this helps.

usually razor burn. my hair growth on my neck is all over the map.

the left, middle, and right side of the top portion of my neck grows north to south; the lower left half grows east to west; the lower right side grows west to east; and my lower middle portion grows south to north.

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 06-07-2012, 09:16 PM
#5
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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(06-07-2012, 09:09 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote:
(06-07-2012, 08:57 PM)uncledave Wrote: When you say "rough shaves" do you mean that you have razor burn on your neck or that you have lots of stubble or both?

I have lots of trouble with my neck but I have found that the more prep I do on it the better a shave I get.

I'm a recent member of this board, coming back to DE shaving after 40 years of using multiblade razors so take what I'm going to tell you with a grain of salt.

When I shave without showering I first wash my face with soap and water. I then apply more warm water to my neck area. Then I put on a coat of shaving oil ( or just plain olive oil ) and then I prepare my lather.

I apply a moderate coat of lather to my face and neck and then I hold a hot wet washcloth over the oil and lather mix. When it cools down some I re-wet it again with hot water and do it again and then again for a total of 3 times.

At this point I lather up big time and do my first pass, re-lather for the second pass, re-lather for the 3rd pass. For the touch-up neck pass I make sure my neck is well lubricated and then I specifically go after the spots where there is more stubble than I like. I do little short strokes with NO pressure. As long as I have a good sharp blade this method gives me a BBS shave with no irritation.

I hope this helps.

usually razor burn. my hair growth on my neck is all over the map.

the left, middle, and right side of the top portion of my neck grows north to south; the lower left half grows east to west; the lower right side grows west to east; and my lower middle portion grows south to north.

That's my problem to a T. I've found that the little rapid short strokes on the touch up pass fix those spots but you have to be very careful not to press on the razor. If you press you WILL get burn. Also be sure these spots are well lubricated and stay that way until you are through with them.

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 06-07-2012, 10:34 PM
#6
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U.Dave hit on it.

Razor burn is from removing too many layers of skin cells during the shave. I generally lay it onto poor lather, and if the razor is moderately aggressive I suspect it could happen with poor technique OR poor lather. Razor burn is removing skinlayers down to the living layer and opening up the nerve endings. You need to increase skin protection (lubricity, cushion, something in the lather) or decrease pressure, or go to a less aggressive razor. Maybe a combination of those.

I never found oil to be worth anything, but if it works for you thats great. I HAVE found face prep with lather to work fantastically. In the winter I put a light coating of shave soap on my face and use a hot towel to amp up the minutes of hot soap moisture on my beard. But summer or winter I face lather and take my time because that's face/beard prep.

This is why:
[Image: WetWhiskerCutvsDry-1.jpg]

An internally moist whisker cuts so much more easily and cleanly. The optimum time for beard prep is 3 minutes. More can be done but with diminishing returns. Do what you need to get there but I'm convinced it works and it's basically just soap and water.

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 06-07-2012, 10:39 PM
#7
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(06-07-2012, 09:16 PM)uncledave Wrote:
(06-07-2012, 09:09 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote:
(06-07-2012, 08:57 PM)uncledave Wrote: When you say "rough shaves" do you mean that you have razor burn on your neck or that you have lots of stubble or both?

I have lots of trouble with my neck but I have found that the more prep I do on it the better a shave I get.

I'm a recent member of this board, coming back to DE shaving after 40 years of using multiblade razors so take what I'm going to tell you with a grain of salt.

When I shave without showering I first wash my face with soap and water. I then apply more warm water to my neck area. Then I put on a coat of shaving oil ( or just plain olive oil ) and then I prepare my lather.

I apply a moderate coat of lather to my face and neck and then I hold a hot wet washcloth over the oil and lather mix. When it cools down some I re-wet it again with hot water and do it again and then again for a total of 3 times.

At this point I lather up big time and do my first pass, re-lather for the second pass, re-lather for the 3rd pass. For the touch-up neck pass I make sure my neck is well lubricated and then I specifically go after the spots where there is more stubble than I like. I do little short strokes with NO pressure. As long as I have a good sharp blade this method gives me a BBS shave with no irritation.

I hope this helps.

usually razor burn. my hair growth on my neck is all over the map.

the left, middle, and right side of the top portion of my neck grows north to south; the lower left half grows east to west; the lower right side grows west to east; and my lower middle portion grows south to north.

That's my problem to a T. I've found that the little rapid short strokes on the touch up pass fix those spots but you have to be very careful not to press on the razor. If you press you WILL get burn. Also be sure these spots are well lubricated and stay that way until you are through with them.

I don't think I'm pressing on the razor, just allowing it to glide under it's on weight.

(06-07-2012, 10:34 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: U.Dave hit on it.

Razor burn is from removing too many layers of skin cells during the shave. I generally lay it onto poor lather, and if the razor is moderately aggressive I suspect it could happen with poor technique OR poor lather. Razor burn is removing skinlayers down to the living layer and opening up the nerve endings. You need to increase skin protection (lubricity, cushion, something in the lather) or decrease pressure, or go to a less aggressive razor. Maybe a combination of those.

I never found oil to be worth anything, but if it works for you thats great. I HAVE found face prep with lather to work fantastically. In the winter I put a light coating of shave soap on my face and use a hot towel to amp up the minutes of hot soap moisture on my beard. But summer or winter I face lather and take my time because that's face/beard prep.

This is why:
[Image: WetWhiskerCutvsDry-1.jpg]

An internally moist whisker cuts so much more easily and cleanly. The optimum time for beard prep is 3 minutes. More can be done but with diminishing returns. Do what you need to get there but I'm convinced it works and it's basically just soap and water.

last night I face lathered with an arko stick, using a gillette NEW long tooth OC and a gillette 7 o'clock yellow, on it's 2nd or 3rd use, IIRC.

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 06-07-2012, 10:47 PM
#8
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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(06-07-2012, 10:34 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: U.Dave hit on it.

Razor burn is from removing too many layers of skin cells during the shave. I generally lay it onto poor lather, and if the razor is moderately aggressive I suspect it could happen with poor technique OR poor lather. Razor burn is removing skinlayers down to the living layer and opening up the nerve endings. You need to increase skin protection (lubricity, cushion, something in the lather) or decrease pressure, or go to a less aggressive razor. Maybe a combination of those.

I never found oil to be worth anything, but if it works for you thats great. I HAVE found face prep with lather to work fantastically. In the winter I put a light coating of shave soap on my face and use a hot towel to amp up the minutes of hot soap moisture on my beard. But summer or winter I face lather and take my time because that's face/beard prep.

This is why:
[Image: WetWhiskerCutvsDry-1.jpg]

An internally moist whisker cuts so much more easily and cleanly. The optimum time for beard prep is 3 minutes. More can be done but with diminishing returns. Do what you need to get there but I'm convinced it works and it's basically just soap and water.

That picture really got my attention! I used electrics for a long time. I had no idea that they just chewed hairs. It's no wonder I never got a comfortable shave from one.

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 06-07-2012, 10:48 PM
#9
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OK, I'm stumped. If the skin isn't being deformed as the razor passes, you're doing what you should.

If the lather isn't dense that could cause it. Try for cake lather icing. Yes I know ARKO is a water hog. It'll be somewhere between cotton candy Arko and fully satisfied ARKO. Load the heck out of whatever you're loading, or grate it into a puck and brush load if you need to. But amp the lather up.

Maybe a less aggressive razor or a less perfect (sharp and smooth) blade.

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 06-07-2012, 10:55 PM
#10
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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(06-07-2012, 10:48 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: OK, I'm stumped. If the skin isn't being deformed as the razor passes, you're doing what you should.

Maybe a less aggressive razor or a less perfect (sharp and smooth) blade.

Here's something I do sometimes. It's very hard to determine the grain on a couple of spots on my neck, so on those spots I will do little rapid short strokes with no pressure while varying the direction of the strokes. Hopefully all those angles will finally get rid of the stubble there. It usually works but I have to be careful not to overdo it and get burn.

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 06-08-2012, 01:04 AM
#11
  • Persius
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  • Reading, England
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I've been experimenting with reducing products used, and I've have found that for me, there is no point in pre-shave oils, pre-shave anti-irritation stuff, etc. I wash, lather and shave ...

... products after the shave is another thing.

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 06-08-2012, 01:47 AM
#12
  • Dave
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This is an interesting thread. For some reason for the last month, I've been getting irritation on the left side of my neck at the bottom. It's now to the point where I can't go ATG or XTG there at all or I end up hurting most of the day. I've tried switching out razors (Tradere>iKon>DE89>New, etc) and using a different blade and I'm still getting it. I never got it before. I'll try some of the suggestions in this thread.

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 06-08-2012, 04:51 AM
#13
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(06-07-2012, 08:52 PM)SharpSpine Wrote: All I'm doing for prep right now is to rinse my face with cool - cold water and then face lather my soap. Nothing else. I've been very pleased and I'm currently testing most of my soaps with this method while also using a DE, which typically doesn't give me as good of a shave as a SE does. These last 3 thought, have been simply splendid.

I agree. After my shower, the only prep I use is to splash cold water all over my neck and face then lather and shave. Sometimes you can do too much and, in your case, I think it's the hot towel thats adding irritation to your neck. Using cold water has eliminated all irritation in my shaves nad my skin feels much better afterwards.

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 06-08-2012, 04:52 AM
#14
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(06-07-2012, 10:34 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: U.Dave hit on it.

Razor burn is from removing too many layers of skin cells during the shave. I generally lay it onto poor lather, and if the razor is moderately aggressive I suspect it could happen with poor technique OR poor lather. Razor burn is removing skinlayers down to the living layer and opening up the nerve endings. You need to increase skin protection (lubricity, cushion, something in the lather) or decrease pressure, or go to a less aggressive razor. Maybe a combination of those.

I never found oil to be worth anything, but if it works for you thats great. I HAVE found face prep with lather to work fantastically. In the winter I put a light coating of shave soap on my face and use a hot towel to amp up the minutes of hot soap moisture on my beard. But summer or winter I face lather and take my time because that's face/beard prep.

This is why:
[Image: WetWhiskerCutvsDry-1.jpg]

An internally moist whisker cuts so much more easily and cleanly. The optimum time for beard prep is 3 minutes. More can be done but with diminishing returns. Do what you need to get there but I'm convinced it works and it's basically just soap and water.

WoW! I wish my dad were still around to see that picture! He was a confirmed electric razor shaver and wasn't concerned about a precision job. Rolleyes

That picture probably explains best why I tried three times to be one myself and didn't succeed. I couldn't handle the lousy results.

My face felt like it had been slapped with the multiblade disposable razors, which led me to seek alternatives.    

Finally, two years ago, I found my niche with DE, SE, and straight razors. The straight razor provides the best shave, but that was with two years practice. Tongue

I think I was driven to learn how to use the old-time equipment because of the rotten luck I had with the stuff you typically find in the grocery store and department store.

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 06-08-2012, 06:10 AM
#15
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I'm just the opposite. If I suffer razor burn and can't take a day off from shaving I'll use my Braun 565. The Braun shaves comfortably and smoothly without irritating my face. It allows my face to heal because it doesn't remove skin like a DE, or a cartridge does. I have good luck using the Braun where when I've used the Norelco rotaries they've given me some pretty good razor burn on my neck. I use a preshave when I use electrics, it's either Shaving Talc, or Afta Electric Preshave.

Clayton

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 06-08-2012, 08:40 AM
#16
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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It doesn't sound like you're prep is out of the usual. I shower, wash my face while in the shower, then apply lather at the sink. I'm not big on oils either.

I'm thinking it's a grain problem. Since it's all over the map you're probably hitting areas xtg, atg and wtg at the same time. Since I only use straights I don't have much advice but I think some of the techniques above may help.

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 06-08-2012, 01:06 PM
#17
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(06-07-2012, 10:34 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: [Image: WetWhiskerCutvsDry-1.jpg]

An internally moist whisker cuts so much more easily and cleanly. The optimum time for beard prep is 3 minutes. More can be done but with diminishing returns. Do what you need to get there but I'm convinced it works and it's basically just soap and water.

Excellent photo and comments about the need for adequate shave prep, Brian!

I soak my beard for 2-3 minutes with a wash rag and hot water before lathering up.

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 06-08-2012, 01:15 PM
#18
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Andrew, i concur with Randy; stop the hot water and towel and start using cooler water in warmer weather and luke warm to warm water in colder weather, but never hot water. i used to prep the same way when i started and had the same irritation and since i have altered my routine, i hardly get irritation any more unless it is from poor technique. Good luck.

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 06-08-2012, 01:30 PM
#19
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(06-07-2012, 08:47 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: I'm wondering if too much face preparation could make for a rough shave. Since I'm still relatively new to traditional shaving, I figured I'd put it up for discussion on the forum.

I ALWAYS seem to get rough shaves on the lower portion of my neck - I'm not sure if it's bad razor technique, the type of razor(s) I'm using, my lather wasn't built enough, or whatever...

Teiste and I were talking about this last night and he thinks I might be doing too much prior to putting metal to my face.

My usual preparation, when I don't shower before shaving, is to wash my face with soap, rinse it off thoroughly, rub my face down with a hot, damp towel for a few minutes, apply pre-shave oil, and then either face lather or prepare my lather in a bowl, then apply it to my face. Teiste suggested I just wet my face with water, apply the pre-shave oil, lather up, and go at it.

Do you think doing too much before shaving could be detrimental to the overall shave? what say you?

No, I don't think you're doing too much prep. The question of whether or not you need to do it all deserves to be asked but I don't think anything you're doing is hurting you. I say this because your description is almost line for line what I do.

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