First DE Shave

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47
Hi everyone,

With the help of several people on this forum I choose my kit and had my first DE shave last night! I thought I'd report on the experience and what you guys thought of it. I also thought it might be a bit of fun for you to recall your first DE shave for comparison! here's what I selected as kit:

Merkur 41C - OC due to the fact that I generally go 1-2 weeks between shaves
Blades sample pack but choose to go with derby for first shave due to renowned 'bluntness' and forgivability (is that a word?)
proaso red - due to being easy to lather for a noob and I like sandalwood scent
vulfix 660 super badger brush
nivea aftershave balm - due to my skin sometimes being a bit dry on my face
styptic pencil

and the results.....

It was an interesting experience. I walked away thinking 'boy I've got a lot to learn'. My technique stunk to be honest. Having shaved for about 17 years with cartridges, I struggled to adapt my style and I'm pretty useless using a mirror anyway. Here's how I found each piece of kit:

Merkur - I'm very happy with this choice based on my first shave. despite 10 days of growth it didn't seem to have too much trouble getting through a fair amount in 1 pass

Blade - a VERY good choice for my first shave purely so I didn't slice myself up. I'm very unsure about the performance though, it felt quite 'scratchy' in several places. I wonder if I got the lather right? I didn't achieve what I would call a close shave but I'm pretty sure that was down to me rather than the tools. I was quite scared to start with but when I gave up trying to adapt a new style and just went with what I know I was very surprised how forgiving the blade was, particularly as I only got 1 nick (right at the very end....damn!). I may stick with this for a few more shaves and then move onto the astra in my pack.

proraso - seemed very easy to lather but I think my technique here needs working on. I know it's not rocket science but knowing when and how much water to add will take a bit of trial and error. I face lathered but I think it will be easier in a bowl, so I'll probably do that next time

brush - I used the 'breaking in guide' available online and the brush seemed really good. very soft and worked well with the proraso. no smell too.

balm - there's not too much to say about this. I've never used any kind of moisturiser before but it seemed to do the trick.

and now a few questions for you guys:

this morning my skin particularly under the neck is really really warm, is this the dreaded 'razor burn' or just my skin getting used to DE shaving? it felt ok last night immediately after the shave. If it is burn, will this likely be from the blade or my technique?

I'm a little confused about how to shave the neck i.e. with/against grain. I watched several youtube guides as part of my research with some saying downwards on the first pass i.e. start at chin and down the neck. others saying bottom of neck and upwards towards the chin. what do you guys think? I've always done neck upwards and when I tried the alternative last night really struggled to get the right angle for the blade to cut. I gave up in the end and went back to my usual method.

thanks for taking the time to read this. feel free to share memories of your first DE shave too!
 
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Congratulations. It will get better. Remember to use the correct angle and no pressure.
I'm a little confused about how to shave the neck i.e. with/against grain. I watched several youtube guides as part of my research with some saying downwards on the first pass i.e. start at chin and down the neck. others saying bottom of neck and upwards towards the chin. what do you guys think? I've always done neck upwards and when I tried the alternative last night really struggled to get the right angle for the blade to cut. I gave up in the end and went back to my usual method.
You need to 'map your face', i.e. find out which way your beard is growing. I like to refer people to this video from our own @Kevy:
 
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41C Nice looking razor. The Merkur open combs all use the same head, but the weight and length of the handle is something to keep an open mind about as your technique develops. The advantage of a three piece is you can change the handle relatively cheaply if you want to try something longer and/or heavier. That's a question to consider after quite a few shaves with a range of blades.

Neck up or down? Some prefer one way, some the other. You will find out.

Going against the grain may be something to avoid in the beginning. With the grain and a selective across may be the way to start, especially since your concern is not the closest shave.

You may also want to experiment with blade angle - a shallow 30 degrees or much steeper. You can only determine by trial and error the optimum for you with a particular razor head and particular blade.

Using a mild blade may be a good idea for starters - but if you have tough whiskers the blade may not be up to the job, and you could have more problems than starting with a more aggressive blade. Though, from what you say the Derby made a brave attempt at your few days stubble, so starting with it may be fine.

Your hand and brain have to adapt to the new approach, but so has your skin - it all takes time.

Let's hope every shave day gets better, but be prepared for a bad experience. "I won't do that again!"
 
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6,343
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At first I'd suggest you shave ' with the grain ', that is the direction the bristles grow in. You'll soon feel how they grow generally as you continue to shave. An often quoted piece of advice given here as regards pressure is to imagine you're shaving the lather rather than the skin just to help cultivating a light touch. Don't worry too much at this stage about whether the shave is as close as you'd like, just get used to the feel of the kit and build up some muscle memory. It'll all come good with practise, don't be over analysing what is really a fairly simple pleasure. Enjoy.

JohnnyO. o/
 
OP
R
Messages
47
Congratulations. It will get better. Remember to use the correct angle and no pressure.

You need to 'map your face', i.e. find out which way your beard is growing. I like to refer people to this video from our own @Kevy:
thanks for that. great video and very helpful.

the hair on my neck grows crazy. 3 different directions; straight down in the middle, left to right on one side and right to left on the other!

I can remember thinking last night that shaving sideways doesn't look easy. if I want to shave with the grain it looks like something I'll have to master.
 
OP
R
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47
yeah I wouldn't say I was blown away by the proraso but it was ok. I thought the lathering was pretty easy to be fair. I read some reviews that said the scent is 'artificial' and I have to agree. nevertheless I didn't mind it. the only thing I wasn't happy with is that after a while it started flaking off my neck, I was thinking what's going on?! It was only because I was taking ages with it being my first go but still, I'm not sure why. I'm sure there are better products out there.

Eventually I'll go for some taylors. the proraso was cheap and comes in it's own bowl so is serving it's purpose. The other thing I wanted to do is see if I took to face lathering or preferred a bowl. if the latter I'll probably get the taylors with their bowl, otherwise can go for the (cheaper) standalone soap.

edit: there was a little clogging but I think the OC option helped?
 
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213
Sounds like a standard first attempt - trust me, my first couple of weeks were very much like this! The flaking is very easily solved though - use more water! If it's flaking off your skin your lather is going to be too dry, and when you're taking a while because of technique, it will begin to flake off - so just start with more water. Practicing making lathers when in the shower helped me, I'd just make a lather on my face and then shower it off, and try again.

I would start off with just using your face to lather on, it's far easier to get the consistency right when you can feel and see it, rather than in a bowl when you sort of have to guess a little. You know in the bowl when it's perfect if when you can get large peaks forming, kinda like a meringue.

Clogging will happen, although less with an open comb, maybe it's just a case of washing your razor out more regularly. Also, shave a little more often, it's far easier to cut 2/3/5 days of hair than 10, especially at the start!

Best of luck with shave two, give me or anybody on here a shout if you need some help/advice :)
 
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