08-07-2015, 11:04 PM
#1
User Info
[Image: uTKXmRv.jpg]My intent here is not to review what I used for my first wet shave, but the experience itself. Please feel free to skip the history or even the experience itself. i Just hope you enjoy the read.

A little history of me and shaving:

If you haven't read any of my posts (I've only created 3 posts and commented on 5 other posts) a little history. I'm 38 and up until I was 31 I was using cartridges with can foam/gel. My father never taught me to shave. Not because he didn't want to, but because I'm part Asian (the other half is German). I didn't start growing facial hair until I was 20 something. And when it was time to shave (about once a week - a week and a half) I grabbed a double bladed cartridge razor and canned shave foam and started to hack away. I do miss having to shave once a week.

I entered into military service at 27. I had to change my shave routine from once a week to every couple of days, (not allowed to have facial hair on your chin and have to be clean shaven every morning) eventually it turned into shaving every day. Needless to say I was constantly having ingrown hair, break outs and general facial discomfort, absolutely horrible. I hated shaving. My wife, after 6 months of seeing my face constantly full of ingrown hair bought me my first brush and shave cream. Bath and Body Works Shave Brush and Maca Root Shave Cream. I have always seen shave brushes in antique shops (when the wife drags me in them) and marveled at how well they look and lasted through out the years. My Grandpa before he died offered me his Gillette Super Speed. I passed on his offer because at the time I said "Those are for old guys like you Grandpa." He chuckled and called me "a young buck". I really didn't know people still shaved with brushes, DE, SE, and even straight razors. Her uncle (spittin' image of Sam Elliot even in attitude from Tombstone) uses a brush and DE and so does her step father. She told me all you need to do is go in a circle.

That first time with the brush I was extremely apprehensive, it was very new and out of my comfort zone, which felt pretty weird. In the end it felt pretty good. I liked how the lather felt on my skin, the smell was wonderful, and how the brush massaged my face. When I finished my face felt more refreshed. Heck it was pretty invigorating and actually I  had a little pep in my step. Now, the ingrown hair and break outs over the next few years wasn't horrible, but it wasnt gone either.

I just moved to Ft. Irwin, Ca. I started working with a guy who wet shaves. When I first met him he had this thick course black beard. After one weekend we came back and he had shaved his beard. I didn't recognize him. I did notice he has sensitive skin and understood why he had a beard. How we got onto the topic of wet shaving I couldn't tell you. I also found out 2 of my co-workers use a straight edge razor. He did open my eyes to the world of safety razors and wow how it now has changed. With some advice from him, intro to TSN, several websites, and a few youtube videos I finally found what might let me enjoy shaving. 

The point of this thread: my very first Wet Shave. 

To me it started a month ago after I talked to my buddy. I budget my money and I had to wait at least a month before I could buy the Tools. I shaved every day with my cartridge telling myself that soon enough I start getting a better shave and more enjoyable experience. That was a long wait within itself. I have a strong distate for suspense/anticipation. I finally got my order in. It was a very happy day. Sadly I would have to wait another week before all the tools would get to my house. Everyday when I got home I would hope that my Tools got in and was very disappointed that nothing came in. Then I would cheer up and tell myself "tomorrow, it will be here tomorrow." I truly felt like a kid again. My dad was in the Air Force and I remember him being gone for several months at a time. I would always wait by the mail box when I got home from school. Hoping for a letter or a post card. Once in a while we got a cassette tape. Those were the best. But any military brat will tell you the best present ever is when Dad/Mom comes home. I was on pins and needles for a week and a half.  I got my Satin Brush 4 days before my Razor Handle and Soap, that was my post card just a little tease of things to come. 2 days before my Razor Blades there was the cassette tapes I was waiting for. And when my Brush and Handle came in and I couldn't wait to use it. I had no growth so I had to wait until the next day. I woke up this afternoon (I'm on the graveyard shift) looked at my face and had little growth. I still wouldn't need to shave for a few more hours just because I think its important to not shave for 24 hours. To me it helps the skin recover. I started feeling like a kid again. It was like Christmas. You see all the presents under the Christmas tree and you couldn't touch it because it wasnt Christmas yet. Finally, I looked at the clock and said yep I'm sure you can shave.

I put the razor in the handle, started the water so it would nice and hot. Ran upstairs to grab a new face towel and hand cloth. Put the hand cloth in the sink to get it hot and wet. Ran my brush under the water to get it hot and wet. Shook off the excess water and placed the towel on my face. It felt nice. Dipped my brush into the soap and swirled. Got a small lather and figured ill finish the lather on my face. Which wasn't working right at the moment. Added more soap. "God why isn't it lathering like normal. Grrrr" add more water. Its looking better still not going on right. add more water. and finally it started to lather nicely. It smelled good, got a thick lather, and it feels good on my face. I grab the Handle and remember the words all my friends have been telling me. "Let the razor do the work. Don't press too hard." I made the first pass and I couldn't tell if I did good or not. I was going with the grain and  I was using long strokes like I normally do and it seemed fine. More than half way through my first pass I used some short strokes. I didn't notice a visible difference. Though I could hear the scratch of the razor against hair and skin with the short strokes. I finished my first pass and went onto the second pass. This time I cut agross the grain. I used both long and short. Depending where I was cutting. Under my nose I used short strokes. Along my cheeck i would use long strokes. Then I did the third pass. 

Up until this moment I thought to myself I've done pretty good no nicks, cuts, or even a scratch. I have run 2 passes on my face and its not sore or uncomfortable. the last pass for me. I re-lather and feel my face to see where I need to touch up. Needed on the corner of my mouth (first time for that), the "soul patch"  area (not to often but it happens) and as usual under the left side of my jaw. I set to work. I am truly feeling worried right now. How is my skin handling, sure its not sore and tender and it doesn't feel raw. But you really don't know until you rinse your face and wipe off the water and look to see if you are good to go or not. I get done and inspect my work visually and by touching. The areas I was suppose to touch up well some how I didn't get them done. The areas that I revisited on my second pass under the nose and along the cheeks were pretty good. baby smooth and relatively unsore. 

How do I describe my experience? No it didn't change my life, but I have a new appreciation of a better way of shaving. Something, I actually enjoyed for once in my life. Was I a success? Yes and No (my friends saw that answer coming) Yes, I succeeded in not cutting my face and shredding it to ribbons. No, I did not get the perfect shave, but my Wife enjoyed the smoothness and softness of my face. so yes I had a great experience. But, I think the greatest take away is this, I tried something new and enjoyed it and it made we want to learn how i could do better. Hold the handle different, use shorter strokes maybe use a different blade. Whatever the fix is I will get there and have the perfect shave with no consequences.


The Tools

The Brush: I never knew the many different brushes. Boar, Synthetic, and Horse. the Knot 20mm up to a 26mm. backbone and softness. All I knew was I loved the Bath and Body Works brush. I learned it was synthetic. Now I'm partial to synthetic (yes I have used a boar). And that is why I chose the Satin Purest. It's my new love. And its just cool looking. (definitely a young buck)
When I used it today, I could fell how soft it was and the backbone was beautiful. granted I'm kicking myself in the buttocks because I messed up my lather. I facial lather, always have and pretty good at it. I have a bowl for hard soap and I do pretty well. I couldn't tell you if it was the soap or the brush or just me. If i had to guess I would say it was my anxiousness of my first real wet shave.

The Shave Soap: I love a good cream. My friend brought in his sample collection and it's very impressive. I gave him some of my Maca Root. Which he liked, but his skin did not. He let me have his Castle Forbes Lavender which is a nice soap no complaints. The smell of the Strop Shoppe's Barber Shoppe was awesome, so I bought it. I have never worked with such quality shave cream. When I dipped my brush in there I could automatically tell I needed to put a small amount onto my brush with my finger. I didn't, so I just scooped a little onto my brush by pushing harder. Thinking about it now I am willing to bet my anxiousness got the best of me. It took me a little bit of finagling (more water) to get the lather right. All I can say it was wonderful. It felt nice, had a good smell. My skin wasn't dry. It was pretty awesome.

The Blade: The part that scared me the most. It is why I took my time shaving today. Just cause I'm trying to find out the proper technique to use so I can be more confident in my shaving skills. (the goal is to still keep my same routine 10 minutes from wake up to out the door this includes dressing and shaving.) I bought a sample pack that came with 10 feather blades, 5 blue bird and the gillette 7 0'clock green pack. I knew the feather is way to sharp for me right now. I'm sure in a few weeks I'll be ready. I have not done any research on blue bird so I don't know its aggressiveness. and the 7 o'clock for me is a safe choice. So its what I went with it. Because its my first razor I don't have an opinion on its aggressiveness. I do know it felt good, I was comfortable using it and that I'm satisfied that I did not cut myself. 

Finally the Razor Handle: It's a Merkur C42 Razor "1904". Ascetically its very beautiful. The Hexagonal handle is very unique.  (I will always say if everyone has one how is your different.) The stripe pattern down the sides are very nice. I was hoping it would help with grip of the handle, but i think it's more for looks than function.  It is closed comb. Through a lot of research I believe closed comb is good for beginners. I wasnt sure if the weight was going to be heavy enough. (My buddy has a Merkur 34C, I believe. Great Heft to it. love the weight and feel of it.) To me its a light handle, with good balance. I by no means have large hands, but they are long fingered. Next handle I get will have a long handle. I do like my 1904 and will problably keep it for a long time.

0 29
Reply
 08-07-2015, 11:32 PM
#2
User Info
It finally all arrived! Glad to see you got everything in and succeeded with your first shave without any cuts. Very entertaining to read your experience too. It sounds like you may need to try loading more soap. I know you are used to Maca Root which is a cream, but the Strop Shoppe is definitely a soap, even though it feels kind of soft. You should try some test lathers and be sure to load your brush for a good 30 seconds (synthetic should be fine in that time). I would watch some youtube videos if you need to have a visual. You are used to synthetic brushes so you know how to face lather with one but soaps can get tricky and require more water than you may be accustomed to adding. I find Strop Shoppe to be a top performer but I do have to add a decent amount of water to it. All in all it sounds like you did well Sgt. See you Monday!

13 947
Reply
 08-07-2015, 11:40 PM
#3
User Info
(08-07-2015, 11:32 PM)Hobbyist Wrote: It finally all arrived! Glad to see you got everything in and succeeded with your first shave without any cuts. It sounds like you may need to try loading more soap. I know you are used to Maca Root which is a cream, but the Strop Shoppe is definitely a soap, even though it feels kind of soft. You should try some test lathers and be sure to load your brush for a good 30 seconds (synthetic should be fine in that time). I would watch some youtube videos if you need to have a visual. You are used to synthetic brushes so you know how to face lather with one but soaps can get tricky and require more water than you may be accustomed to adding. I find Strop Shoppe to be a top performer but I do have to add a decent amount of water to it. All in all it sounds like you did well Sgt. See you Monday!

good advice. will take it. ill see you then.

0 29
Reply
 08-08-2015, 01:33 AM
#4
User Info
Great post love the storey behind it all. Keep going and don't be aftaid to ask people here for advice.

4 642
Reply
 08-08-2015, 02:06 AM
#5
User Info
Thank you for sharing your interesting story with us, once you get to try out different products and experiment it's easy to see why so many people love this method of shaving. Keep at it, I'm glad you enjoyed your shave, be patient eventually everything will start clicking, you will develop the knowledge and find a combination of products that work best for you and provide you with the perfect shaves.

Like Oli has said, never be afraid to ask for advice here, lots of good folks with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

7 787
Reply
 08-08-2015, 05:05 AM
#6
User Info
Thanks for sharing your story with us. I enjoyed it. It's always nice to revisit my memories of starting out & your story did that for me. 

Keep practicing, especially lather making as that is the one variable that we have the most control over on each and every shave. Try different blades as they all seem to have their own personalities and quirks. The best news for you though that I can share is that the shaves will only keep getting better. 

Cheers to you sir & thanks for your service.

31 8,058
Reply
 08-08-2015, 05:31 AM
#7
User Info
Thanks for sharing, it sounds like your first shave with a DE went smoother than mine Wink

3 4,678
Reply
 08-08-2015, 06:26 AM
#8
User Info
To everyone thank you for the comments. It was my hope to bring back memories to those who read it.

@sharpspine thanks you for recognizing my service.

0 29
Reply
 08-08-2015, 06:31 AM
#9
User Info
Thanks for sharing your experience and congratulations.  As a veteran, thanks for your service Thumbup

61 3,796
Reply
 08-08-2015, 10:25 AM
#10
User Info
(08-08-2015, 01:33 AM)Windsor Citrus Wrote: Great post love the storey behind it all. Keep going and don't be aftaid to ask people here for advice.

Thumbup

83 21,115
Reply
 08-08-2015, 12:34 PM
#11
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
Congratulations on the first one.  Now just do it everyday for the next 50+ years.  You will really start to enjoy the art of shaving when you abandon the I have to get ready in  10 minutes routine.  Enjoy the shave.  I have been shaving for a lot longer than you are old and it still takes me 20-30 minutes to shave.  Oh, I could do it a lot faster but I enjoy the ritual to much to rush.   It is the zen moment of the morning that starts my day.

Keep at it, it only gets better.

179 23,941
Reply
 08-08-2015, 06:00 PM
#12
User Info
@hrfdev thanks you for recognizing my service.
8
@johnny. I can't wait til I can make a ritual shave of it. but i love my sleep and physical training comes to soon in the morning. I do know in about 8 years I will be able to enjoy sleeping in and taking my time to getting up in the morning. I do look forward to those days.

0 29
Reply
 08-08-2015, 06:08 PM
#13
User Info
(08-08-2015, 06:31 AM)hrfdez Wrote: Thanks for sharing your experience and congratulations.  As a veteran, thanks for your service Thumbup

+1, and joining at 27? Ouch.

3 1,356
Reply
 08-08-2015, 08:10 PM
#14
User Info
(08-08-2015, 06:08 PM)Otis375 Wrote:
(08-08-2015, 06:31 AM)hrfdez Wrote: Thanks for sharing your experience and congratulations.  As a veteran, thanks for your service Thumbup

+1, and joining at 27? Ouch.

in all fairness, I did do 8 years in the army reserves before joining active duty

0 29
Reply
 08-09-2015, 02:16 PM
#15
  • Teddyboy
  • Guilty, with an explanation
  • NYC
User Info
Great story.  My first shave in 2006 was George Trumper's Rose cream; Merkur 38C razor with a Merkur blade and the Art of Shaving Finest Badger brush.

Without exaggerating, before I finished my very first stroke I new I was hooked.  I never had ingrowns, but I never dreamed that shaving could feel and smell good and not pull and tug.

I tossed out my disposable Good News  along with every can of Edge I had.  I have never looked back. Here is what this metamorphosis has lead to-

[Image: PoWFKPp.jpg]

1 796
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)