Calling all bearded men of Icrontic

UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA:Redwood City, CA Icrontian
edited March 2013 in Style
Ok, so maybe not bearded, but those who have the capacity to do so.

I present to you a shaving question.

I've shaved with an electric razor ever since I've been man enough to be able to do so. My dad shaved electric as well, so electric was all I ever knew.

But I've got a slight inconvenience. I grow facial hair faster than a scout can grab the intelligence on the first round of a 2fort game.

When I shave electric, within about 3 hours you can't tell that I had even shaved at all. This left me desiring something more, a closer, more thorough shave.

The internet is currently raving about the shave with the classic saftey razor. It's starting to see a resurgence of sorts as a result of great articles from many websites, including . These articles caught my attention, and everyone had been giving great reviews of shaving with a blade, saying that it resulted in the closest, most comfortable shave they had ever had.

So I wanted to give it a shot. I want to start shaving with a saftey razor, using the classic methods of old. I thought a better idea would be to learn on standard multi-blade razers that are popular and cheap. This way I could understand shaving with a lathered cream and an open blade before making the jump to the epic saftey razer.

So I picked up a Gillette Mach 3 and taught myself how to shave with a blade. It really isn't that difficult, and it most definitely results in a far closer shave than the electric can accomplish. My face actually looks decent well into the evening after using the blade.

But here's my problem - and perhaps where any Icrontians can give advice - if I try to shave with a blade 2 days in a row, my face gets cut to pieces. I don't mean deep cuts. Once I rinse off with cold water, the bleeding is done. But during the course of that second shave I look like something out of a bad horror film. My face is just raw on that second day. I have yet to try 3 days in a row, it just sucks too much.

The easy solution, of course, is to just shave with a blade every other day. But I can't pull this off, by the end of the second day I look like a hobo. I need to shave daily.

So what am I doing wrong? I typically alternate blade and electric, but I'd prefer to just make it all blade all the time. I've been shaving intermittently with a blade for about 3 months now. Does my face just need time to get used to it? Is the Edge gel that I'm using crappy shaving cream - will others do better? Men of Icrontic who have mastered the art of shaving, let free your knowledge!


  • JokkeJokke Bergen, Norway Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    Well, the skin is covered in lots of stuff. When shaving you remove all of this stuff, along with the hairs, leaving your skin unprotected. The skin needs time to recover, and hasn't done so yet after two days. When you then try to shave the second day, you are basically shaving unprotected skin, leading to the results you get.
    Or somehing like that. I think there are creams or something you can put on your face after shaving, that helps protect your skin, but I don't really know.
    I shave maybe once a week, so I don't have these problems. You could go to a barber or a pharmacy, explain the problem and see if they have any tips for you.

    P.S: I had to laugh when I saw the google ads; "Shaving Pictures", "******l Shaving", "Women Shaving" and "Shaving Video".
  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    Are you using shaving cream? If not, I would recommend something for sensitive skin. The only one I've been able to use is Skintimate Shave Gel. Also, which direction are you shaving? With or against the growth? If you're going against, try shaving with the growth. Less irritation that way.
    There's also shaving in the shower. Seems to work pretty well.
    Sometimes it just takes getting used to a regular razor.
  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    UPSLynx wrote:
    I want to start shaving with a saftey razor, using the classic methods of old.

    I just came. HAWT.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    Lechery! :rolleyes:


    I have the exact same problem, Lynx. I can only shave every 2-3 days because of the recovery time.

    However, I have found that Nivea makes this line of "for men" products that seems to help a LOT. Also, I've been using the Fusion which is the most comfortable razor I've ever used. Downside? Super**** expensive for the blades :-/

    The single most important thing is this: prepare for shaving with the hottest water you can stand. If I'm not shaving directly in the shower, I'll take a washcloth and run it under steaming hot water and then lay it on my face for a minute or two.

    I've heard that following your shave with ice cold water splashed on to "close" everything up helps, but I honestly can't tell a difference.

    I follow up with Nivea "for men" moisturizing aftershave lotion.

    //edit: I said "Mach 5" but I meant "Gillette Fusion"
  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    Safety razor + shaving soap + badger hair brush + alcohol-free after-shave balm FTW
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    What Seth said.

    Or, in long form:

    My current typical shave includes a safety razor, a badger brush, and glycerin shave soap, followed by a splash of Witch Hazel then a moisturizing lotion after the face air dries. I've found this to be a great balance of quality vs. cost of the shave.

    There are several critical factors that lead to a good shave: face prep, lather quality, and razor technique.

    Face prep is essentially the softening of the facial hairs. There are many theories of face prep, some of them quite time consuming, but on a typical work day I can get away with using a hot shower as face prep.

    Lather quality is also critical. The canned goo or foam isn't all that great. Proper hydration of your face is the best protector. I use glycerin soap due to glycerin's lubricity. That, coupled with the hydrating ability of real water, gives me a pretty comfortable shave. Lathering with a soap can be difficult, but I used this guide with really good results.

    Finally, razor techique is important. The swivel head on a Mach 3 isn't going to grant good technique - it's going to pivot to the contours of your face and you can drive it around your cheeks like a zamboni. You want a single blade, with multiple passes. Yes, I realize that's counter to Gilette's marketing game. But keep in mind that what the average guy wants is a decent shave that's convenient and fast. Multiblade razors and canned goo give you that, but not much else. What you're looking for it comfort. Essentially what you want is to perform mutliple passes with a single-blade razor, using short, even strokes and re-lathering your face for each pass. Ideally, you can work up to a 3 pass shave that leaves your face smooth, with the hairs cut right at the skin's surface.

    In your specific case, here are my recommendations:
    First, ditch the multi-blade razor. These razors work by a principle called hysteresis, which is similar to a Norelco "lift and cut" system. It also irritates the face. What happens with, for instance, a Mach 3 is that the rubber blade leader lifts the hairs of your face. The first blade pulls and cuts the hair near your face while you're decently lubricated with shave cream lather. The second blade cuts the lifted hair near the surface of your skin with even less lather. The third blade actually cuts the hair under the surface of the skin, but you're not protected by lather at this point. The Fusion, with five blades, gives an even more exaggerated version of this (but a really close and fast shave). The cutting of the hair under the skin's surface also leads to ingrown hairs in some people. This is why the classic safety razor is making such a comeback. The single blade, applied with proper technique, shaves only the hair to the surface of the skin. This leaves you with a close shave that, when carefully performed, doesn't irritate the face. If you want to test a single-blade shave without dropping the coin on a safety razor, try to find either the Bic Metal (preferred but hard to find) or the Bic Sensitive in a local store. These are disposables that come in packs of either five or twelve, and they have a decent reputation for a good single-blade shave.

    The irritation you experience is coming from direct blade-on-skin contact. What you really want to accomplish is multiple passes (try two at first) with a well-lathered and protected face, paying careful attention to the angle of the blade compared to your skin so as not to get direct blade-on-face contact. You're shaving your beard, not your face.

    (Dang, I was going to make a Life Post about this but you saved me the trouble!)
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    It needs to be a Life post anyways. Well done GH!
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    Thanks Buddy J, I'll flesh it out some more and post it on Life this week.

    Thanks for the impetus, Lynx! ;)
  • QCHQCH Ancient Guru Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    THANK you guys. My dad never taught me the proper techniques. I just learned them while bleeding a lot.
  • ZuntarZuntar North Carolina Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    I can only shave after a shower (face prep). I use a mach3 with regular canned foam and I shave once with the growth, then once or twice against the growth.

    Don't push hard, several gentle strokes give you a better result!

    I however only shave every two to three days due to the fact the my face shreds and more importantly my wife like the rough look...... a lot.;) :bigggrin:
    I also have a neatly trimmed beard.
  • sharkydartsharkydart KY Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    Prime's shaving method is what I would recommend too. My skin is very susceptible to drying, and while I have used the Nivea "for men" shaving cream (compared to plenty of other products that just plain sucked, it wasn't bad), I've found that the Edge ActiveCare Deep Hydrating Shave Cream has been the nicest. I cannot attest to the Nivea "for men" aftershave, but I am definitely going to try it.

    Just as important as what you are using to shave is how are you are actually shaving. For example, some say to shave the neck using upward strokes, however, this is not with the grain of my beard! Bad times were had the first few times I shaved, as I can still vividly remember performing microsurgery on each of the many ingrown hair nodules that resulted. Lesson learned; I make sure not to shave too close for my particular skin/hair. A perfectly smooth neck is not worth ingrown hairs, pimples, and possible scarring/keloids in my opinion. I've come to find out that for me, dry shaving my neck with a trimmer is the safest way to go.

    //edit: I've also found single blade razors to be just fine.
  • NomadNomad A Small Piece of Hell Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    My skin is very sensitive so I'll pipe in.

    A Mach3 isn't a real DE safety razor, it's just a regular razor with blades. Mach3's aren't bad though, Sensor Excels are better. Safety razor's are nice but have a steep learning curve (i.e., you're going to cut your face so buy a septic stick first).

    Anyhow, since you've never been taught to shave with a razor, your need to reconsider your approach to shaving first and foremost. Shaving is about reduction of facial hair, not removal. A proper shave will require one to three passes to achieve a good, close, shave (which I'll explain in a bit). Foremost though, shave with the grain of your facial hair and do not press too hair. Going against the grain cuts hair too short, causes ingrown hairs, and can lead to bleeding.

    So I'll go through the methodology I go through:

    1) Take a shower, your loosens your facial hair up. Don't shave before you shower

    2) Make your cream, I do it the traditional way with a badger hair brush and traditional creme. For the brush, badger hair is best, boar hair second, synthetic last--and bad. Get a bowl and put hot tap water into, let your brush soak in the bowl for a bit.

    Pull the brush out, dump the water out of the bowl, and shake off a bit of the excess water from the brush.

    Put a daub of cream into the bowl (roughly the size of a quarter and as thick as your finger, depends on brand and weather it's soap, squeeze, or cream, but you really don't need that much of it) and whip it with the brush. It may take about a minute, but do so until the tips of the brush are covered in cream, there aren't air holes, and there's no bubbles in the shaving cream. Add a bit of water if needed.

    3) Warm the face, At this point you'll want to put warm to hot water over the shaving area, this keeps your face lubricated and protects it further from the brush.

    4) Apply the cream, grab the base of the brush (holding the part that attaches to the hair in the tips of your fingers) then brush in a circular motion onto your face enough so the brushes tips spread apart. Coat the shaving area, then smooth it out a bit with the brush to even it out.

    5) Shaving, I usually do this in three passes. Dip the brush in hot water--some even let it soak for a bit. The first I shave in a north to south motion (south being your feet), no need to press hard or be too concerned, I do it rather lackadaisically. Afterwards rinse your face with warm to hot water, but do not dry off.

    Apply shaving cream again in the same manner (You will have more than enough left from the first batch you made). When you shave now, pay a bit more attention to the trick spots on your face and shave them in a cross-the-face motion. For example I swipe from my jaw to my chin one pass. All other areas get the same north to south treatment, but just pay a bit more attention now. Rinse your face again.

    At this point, there should be very little facial hair left, but if there are some stubborn spots left, reapply cream. You can do the same north to south motion again, but if your face can tolerate it, now is an appropriate time to cut against the grain (south to north). Do so lightly and only where necessary--typically on the neck near the jaw. To me though, it seems like you should stay far away from cutting against the grain.

    Rinse face with warm water to get rid of the cream, then immediately rinse with COLD water. It will close your pores, reduce irritation, and also stop any cuts as it constricts blood vessels. Pat dry your face, pressing lightly to absorb water (also, do not scrub at your face in the shower, all irritation is exacerbated when shaving).

    Use a good aftershave, something without alcohol in it. I second Prime's endorsement of Nivea products, I use their aftershave. It works well and is not ridiculously strong scented. About ten minutes later, after all the aftershave residue has dried, I'll put on a light moisturizer (again Nivea just because that's worked).

    For some people who shave with this method, they may not need to shave every day because it is so good. Not all people use the brush or special creams either (which are overall, cheaper than buying Gillette or what have you), but it's about loosening the hair so it cuts more easily and does not hurt your face.

    Shaving is something that should be enjoyable. Men used to wait to get their face shaved at the barber shop it was so relaxing. Our society has pushed further away from these kinds of rituals, more bluntly, harmless masculinity. Rediscover the art of shaving.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    ITT: StainMeNow masturbates to shaving posts.
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    I can't add much to this thread, but I will share a link. I've found that the Badger & Blade forum is a great resource for those interested in the Art of Shaving.

    A photo guide:
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    Yes I learned that using all the new razors with pivot heads are nice if you are in a hurry but its also an easy way to miss places around the backside of your jaw and just under where you get that kind of pocket, assuming a not round face. I used to shave everyday until i got lazier but I learned that if you want a good close shave buy a bag of those travel razors and if you are going to use the can cream use very small amounts and just spend time on each stroke looking for proper angle of blade face to your face and also just the right amount of pressure to get a close shave to your face. Don't be afraid to make several passes but add lube as needed when you feel the friction adding up.

    Its kind of creepy how close you can get using the 25 cent razor and just some soap, thats how I shave when I am stuck in barracks or traveling.
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited June 2008

    I'm very happy to see such a positive response. Shaving is an art, and it seems the classic wetshave is definitely :life:

    A few extra details about my shaving technique:

    I'm using regular Edge gel shaving cream

    I shave just a few minutes after getting out of the shower

    I tried just shaving with the grain, but it never seems to accomplish much. I think it's because my facial hair grows pretty flat to my face. Am I fighting the correct way regardless?

    Regarding in-shower shaving: do you use shaving cream or not?

    I do splash my face with cold water post-shave. Once I do that, any bleeding will cease.

    The saftey razor and badger brush is what I want to start using. The current Mach 3 use was just sort of "blade practice" for me before moving big time. I'm not a fan of it, and I know from reading that double edge saftey razors are where it's at.

    I'm just about ready to make the jump to classic saftey razor shaving. Thanks for all the advice, keep it coming everyone!

    And also:
    StainMeNow wrote:
    I just came. HAWT.

    Gentlemen, are you taking notes? :D
  • airbornflghtairbornflght Houston, TX Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    errrrrr..... I use a norelco?
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    As do I, but not for long. I went to the store today to inquire about supplies for this venture. They had a wide selection of toiletries, but their brushes were around $100 and their basic DE was $40. So I hopped on B&B and found a local barber supply that stocks quality stuff with prices that compete with online. I'll try there tomorrow. The barber supply is supposedly super old school and a real learning experience to visit.
  • tmh88tmh88 Pittsburgh / Athens, OH
    edited June 2008
    I barely grow any facial hair :(. Basically i get the rat-stache going on, some on my chin/neck area, and a little bit on the sideburns. I have to shave like once every 4 days before it's even noticible without getting close to my face.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    What I look like before shaving :p

  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    grizzled prime is grizzled.
  • GnomeQueenGnomeQueen The Lulz Queen Mountain Dew Mouth Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    I like how there's now a shaving add at the bottom of this page.

    There was a guy in high school that I knew that came into class one day with these weird wounds on his face. He didn't want to talk about them, but eventually confessed the truth- he, apparently, also had terribly fast hair growth- he got a five o'clock shadow at noon. So, one day he decided to try Nair on his face...and I guess it gave him chemical burns.

    SOOO, I guess my piece of advice is...don't use nair!

    Also, this is probably barely relevant at all, but I find that using hair conditioner is gentler on my legs to shave with than shaving cream. I don't think I've ever heard of any guys using it on their face though. Useless point is useless.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    not no mo!
  • LincLinc Owner Detroit Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    I have found that Nivea makes this line of "for men" products that seems to help a LOT. Also, I've been using the Fusion which is the most comfortable razor I've ever used. [...] The single most important thing is this: prepare for shaving with the hottest water you can stand.
    It's actually a little creepy that Brian said all 3 things that I was going to :range:

    I typically look like a hobo because I still can **** my face up a bit even if I do all those things and no one cares how fresh mah shave is. I actually have a partial beard right now explicitly because I don't feel like torturing my face needlessly.
  • rolleggrollrolleggroll Next to a bowl of rice
    edited June 2008
    I doubt I could ever grow a beard nor am I a hairy guy, but I do know for a fact that the Gillette Fusion (battery hybrid razor) sucks large monkey testicles. Do you not buy it. It really really sucks. It cuts you all over the place and it does not even give a close babies bottom shave.
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    UPSLynx wrote:
    I tried just shaving with the grain, but it never seems to accomplish much. I think it's because my facial hair grows pretty flat to my face. Am I fighting the correct way regardless?

    I think you'll have more luck on a WTG shave using a single-blade razor. As Nomad mentioned, a multi-pass shave is about gradual beard reduction rather than elimination. You won't notice too much after pass #1. Try two with the grain passes at first. You'll look like crap for a week or so, but then move up to a third pass that's across the grain as your face gets used to it. I usually go for a single WTG pass, then an XTG (across the grain) pass at one angle, then an XTG pass at the opposite angle. These three passes usually suffice for general use. If I'm going on a date and want baby-butt smooth, I'll go ATG (against the grain) on the third pass, but even now I usually can't shave the next day without irritiation after one of those.

    You'll want to carefully pay attention to your beard's grain pattern for this, though. If you have places where it changes direction you'll want to change your razor direction or you'll nearly always suffer irritation after using an against the grain motion on the first pass.

    I think that switching between blade and electric shaving might be causing you some problems, because blade shaving is something your face needs to get used to. I am not sure it has the full opportunity to do so by going back and forth.

    As for the conditioner as shave cream idea, a lot of women use it on their legs with great results. Conventional wisdom (by the shave pros on Badger & Blade) says not to apply conditioner to the face though because it does have some properties that strengthen the hair (hence the reason they use it on head hair that they want to keep) so traditional methods are preferred for the face.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    I've always had a problem with shaving. My facial hair comes in so thick (not that there are a lot of hairs, but that the hairs themselves are like little trees), that it takes sometimes a half-hour or more to shave with an electric shaver. Also, my skin is so sensitive that shaving with a multi-blade (like the Mach3) causes me a lot of irritation and ingrown hairs (which are particularly bad for me because of the thick hairs. :o

    I started using a double-sided safety razor last year when Zan and GH got me a traditional wet-shaving kit for my birthday. They had both just gotten into it, and knew about my shaving issues.

    I don't use the brush very much, since I usually shave in the shower, and the brush and bowl don't work too well away from the sink, but I use the razor everyday. I just use a can of Barbasol in the shower. If I have the time, I'll shave at the sink, but that doesn't happen often. My beard grows too fast to shave the night before :/
    So for the last 9 months I've had fewer ingrown hair, less irritation, and much, much cheaper blades (wal-mart has a really good brand of blades (better than the German ones that came in my kit) called Persona for about $.15/blade (I was payinh almost $2/cartridge for the Mach 3, which I think was a big reason I got hurt so much (I would use one cartridge for almost a month)).

    I don't know if it's that I replace my blades more often, that I took the time to learn proper wet-shaving methods, or the razor itself, but whatever it is, I wont be going back to a multi-blade any time soon. (although: when I travel, I use single-blade disposables for convenience).
  • NomadNomad A Small Piece of Hell Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    errrrrr..... I use a norelco?

    report back to thread when you've hit puberty
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited June 2008

    Okay guys, for building a wet shaving kit, what would you recommend as a DE razor? I've heard good things about Merkurs...
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited June 2008
    Merkur HD or Long Handle Classic (The #23C at Lee's I linked in my prior post) are usually recommended as good starter razors. Many people swear by the HD, but I have the 23C and love the long handle aspect of it.
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