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New to DE

Discussion in 'Razors, Scissors, & Personal Grooming' started by CMooreBLKSMK, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. CMooreBLKSMK


    May 28, 2009
    After stumbling across this portion of the forum, I found DE razor shaving to be very interesting. So I think I am going to take the plunge and give it a try. I am in the military so shaving every day is a must. I've been using an electric razor for a couple years because I refuse to buy expensive disposable ones, but I am never satisfied with the closeness of the shave. So this sounds like it can be very economical after the initial purchase of the razor and brush, and also provide an excellent shave.

    I've been keeping up with some of the threads about soaps, different razors, and brushes, so I think I have decent idea of what to start with. My wife wants me to wait so she or somebody else can give it to me as a Christmas gift, but I don't think I can wait that long. I may go ahead and make a trip to The Art of Shaving, or make online purchases within a week or two.

    Just thought I would share you guys have potentially hooked another DE shaver. Thanks for all the info.
  2. Gollnick

    Gollnick Musical Director

    Mar 22, 1999
    The up-front investment can seem stiff. Razor, brush, bowl, soap, blades, it can be $100 easily. But it pays for itself quickly because you do save about a dollar per day over what cartridges and cans would cost. Your shave will be 10 to 100 times better than cartridge and can, and that shave would be 100 times better than electric. So, if you're going from electric to DE, get ready for a vast improvement. Just keep in mind that it does take a month or two to get -- as I love to say -- "dialed in" on any new shaving approach.
  3. Magnaminous_G


    Jul 13, 2011
    +1 to what Gollnick said. You are going to enjoy it! Welcome to the wet shaving community. :D It sounds like you did your research and are going about it the right way, so I'm sure you will be fine. I always offer the following three tips to anyone getting into wet shaving, and I would humbly provide them here just for your reference:

    1. A small percentage of people who get into DE shaving will develop an AD and compulsively purchase shaving gear and soaps/creams/after-shaves, etc. If you are cool with that, then do what floats your boat, but if you know now that you do not want to spend all that money, then fight the urge. For whatever reason, wet shaving lends itself to AD.

    2. The other number one problem new wet shavers encounter is the desire to immediately start with a three (or even four) pass shave, going for BBS on the first try, resulting in blood, rawness, and frustration. Starting slow with just one or two WTG passes at first until your wrist develops the knack (and unlearns years or decades of cartridge shaving habits), and gradually adding XTG and then finally ATG passes will save the new shaver a lot of blood and irritation (of the skin and emotion variety).

    3. Practice makes perfect, and there are three main skills: the beard prep, the lather building, and the shaving. They all require practice and trial-and-error, and you will mess them all up at the beginning, I guarantee. Practice makes perfect.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  4. jkarp_53

    jkarp_53 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 25, 2006
    Welcome. If you're going to the AOS store I recommend two items of purchase: An adjustable Merkur razor like the Progress, and get a sample of their shaving cream, which is really good stuff. When it's time to try old Gillettes out, among the best are the 'Slim' adjustables, which deliver a superb shave and are worth seeking. As said above, take your time; there's no shortage of DE razor's to try, it's all about earning yourself a good close shave with a minimum of effort. :)
  5. Suveges


    Feb 19, 1999
    I would also suggest trying a sampler pack when you first get blades. It'll come with a bunch of different brands that you can try out. I personally like Feather but everyone is different.
  6. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    Quality of shave will be in another league from that electric thing.... This will satisfy military requirements! It will also improve the texture and health of your skin.

    You may have to be patient and pace yourself. DE razors are much heavier than throwaways so the weight helps you get a close shave but you don't need the degree of pressure/pressing as for a chuckaway razor. Angle is key so take it easy at first.

    I never used to look forward to having a shave but I do now.
  7. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Good luck man! you'll love it. Being in the "must shave for work" catagory, I have found that a work passable shave with the DE and prep is still quicker and easier than it was with my cartridge and goop. one pass will usually do it. once you get used to it, you'll get what all the cartridge ads claim, the "touchable smooth" as they call it, and you'll get it without all the hassle and trash of a mach-onmi-quatro cheese grater!
  8. CMooreBLKSMK


    May 28, 2009
    Awesome guys, I appreciate the advise. I don't plan on making a hobby of it, so I want to buy one razor and stick with it. I plan on getting the Merkur Futur, and I really don't have a brush or bowl picked out yet. I like the idea of the old Gillette razors, because I like vintage things, so I may pick one of those up as my first razor. And if I like it, just keep it to use and not buy a Merkur at all. So we'll see, I'm still in the research phase.
  9. lwt210


    Mar 21, 2007
    I have to shave daily as well as I am in LE and subject to uniform inspections.

    I can tell you that my absolute favorite razor has turned out to be the Gillette Fatboy. With a three pass shave using hot and cold water at the end, I can get very smooth results nearly every time using Feather blades.

    I found that my favorite lather process involves VDH luxury soap mixed with Kiss My Face Pomegranate. Together, those two make a dandy superlather. I also use Shave Secret as a pre-oil and that stuff is great.

    Good luck on it. The biggest tip is "use no pressure" and let the blade do the work. Keep the razor burn to a minimum.
  10. db


    Oct 3, 1998
    For a Merkur ajustable I'd suggest looking at the Progress. It has a very forgiving angle window and is very easy to learn with. It also has a very wide range of ajustment. My favorite razor currently. I've used a Fatboy and a Slim and both are also great ajustable razors.
  11. yoda4561


    May 28, 1999
    Start simple. Switch to a DE razor of good repute, grab a couple different blades to see which ones agree with your face (astras feathers and derbys would be a good start), and use your favorite shaving cream/goo. Once you get the hang of the new razor then you can play with brushes and soaps and creams, etc. Spending more on a DE razor won't necessarily get you a better shave, the more expensive razors also tend to be more "aggressive" and less forgiving to first time DE shavers. I recommend picking up a Gilette Superspeed to start with, you can find them on ebay used for less than 10 dollars shipped, new for around 20-30, and they've been giving folks great shaves for over 60 years.
  12. CMooreBLKSMK


    May 28, 2009
    I decided to make an online order, because that was the most cost effective as opposed to driving all the way to the AOS store when I pretty much already knew what razor I wanted. I ordered the Merkur Futur, and a blade variety pack from West Coast Shaving. I found a brush, bowl, soap, and stand package from Target for $20. The razor showed up today, so I will have my first test run with it tomorrow. I've been practicing with the soap using a throw away razor for the past couple days. The stand that came with the package I got from Target also fits my Futur, so that was a plus. I'll give another update to let you guys how it works for me after a shave or two.
  13. yoda4561


    May 28, 1999
    That's most likely a van der hagen luxury kit. The soap and bowl are excellent, the brush tends to be hit and miss, and is a "pure badger" with clipped ends so it's a bit scrubby compared to the uncut finest/silvertip badger brushes. It'll either start shedding pretty soon or work well for a few years, either way don't make too many generalizations about shaving brushes from that one. (It's normal to lose a few hairs when it's brand new)
  14. ChrisJS1


    Feb 23, 2012
    I use the luxury kit from Van Der Hagen. The brush lost some hairs initially but much less now. I enjoy the bowl and the soap as well. But will probably try a different brand when I run out.
  15. CMooreBLKSMK


    May 28, 2009
    Well, after a week of shaving with my new razor (Merkur Futur), I have to say it is awesome. The Van Der Hagen shaving kit I got is OK, I really like the bowl, the brush is softening up a little and not shedding too bad at this point, and the soap is OK because I don't really have anything else to compare it to right now. I feel like it's going to take just a little bit more time to get the soap "dialed in." The first shave I did get a little bit of razor burn, I blame that on my shaving soap being a little on the dry side, and also the crap blade that came with the razor. One side of the Merkur blade was really sharp, the other side, not so much. So I tossed out that blade, and loaded an Astra for the next day. I really like the Astra's so far, I used the first blade for 4 shaves, then swapped it out for another Astra. When this one dulls, I think I am going to either give the Derby or the Feather blade a try.

    If anybody is trying to decide whether to make the switch to DE yet, I would highly recommend it. It only took me a shave or two to get passed the razor burn and nicks. I bought a nick stick after my second shave, and haven't even got to use it. I actually look forward to shaving in the morning, maybe because it's new, but I think I just enjoy it more. The shave is 100 times closer than my old electric razor could ever get, and much closer than any cartridge razor I have ever used, and I've used them all, from cheap throw away Bics, to Mach 3 and the Fusions.

    So now I think I will start experimenting with some different soaps and creams, once I find the blades I will be using all the time. I may give a pre shave oil a shot just to see if it is worth using to me or not. I talked to a gentlemen yesterday who really recommended it, and a cream instead of a soap puck. I just feel like the soap I currently have doesn't have enough lubricating properties, though that could be me whipping it up wrong. So, at this point I will just keep using what I have, fine tuning it all.

    Thanks for all the recommendations.
  16. CMooreBLKSMK


    May 28, 2009
    Oh and just to share the way I have been shaving. The first few shaves I was doing two passes, one with the grain and one across the grain. Now I mix it up a bit, I go with the grain for the first, then against on certain parts of my face and across on others. Learning your facial hair, and knowing which direction it grows on ALL parts of your face seems to be one of the most important things, along with knowing which parts of your face are the more sensitive areas. Some areas I can go with, then immediately against, while other parts of my face I go with, then across, and don't even go against at all.
  17. Gollnick

    Gollnick Musical Director

    Mar 22, 1999
    The VDH soap is one of the worst, IMHO. So, you have nowhere to go but up. You can expect 30 shaves or so from a cake of VDH, so now is the time to order in some soap. I suggest DR Harris, Taylor of Old Bond Street, and Geo. F. Trumpers. These are all around $15 a cake. $15 for a piece of soap! But you will get 120-150 shaves out of one cake of any of these soaps. So, they end up actually being very inexpensive to use.

    While you are ordering your soap, I suggest getting a blade bank. This is a little metal box with a slot in the top. It costs $1-2. You put your used blades in it. When it's full (my first one collected three years of blades) you just put a piece of tape over the slot and toss the whole thing into your recycle bin. At the recycling center, the material first passes under large magnets which pull out iron and steel which are highly recyclable. Those magnets will pull that box of high-grade steel out easily and it's off to make new stuff. Perfect! And safe too since a razor blade that is too dull to shave is still plenty sharp to give someone a very nasty cut so sequestering used blades safely is important.

    As to the "learn your face" thing, don't worry about it. A lot of people obsess about it, but it's just something you'll figure out as you go. You will find that there are some areas of you face that grow different ways and you'll figure it out. I have two patches, one on each side of my face, each about the size of a quarter, each right over the joint of my jaw, wherein the hair grows in odd, random directions. I suspect that this due to the underlying skeletal structure. Decades of shaving with Sensor cartridges had failed to reveal this. But DE shaves close enough to reveal this and show that I need to make a few quick strokes at odd angles over these two areas to get what is impossible with cartridges, i.e. a perfectly-smooth shave. DE takes shaving to a whole new level and so you do have to get down to this level of detail. But don't worry too much about it; you will figure it out as you go.

    It sounds as if you're doing great.
  18. CMooreBLKSMK


    May 28, 2009
    I haven't thrown away any of my old blades due to the worry of somebody getting cut on them. I didn't realize they even made a blade bank. I was saving mine for an old Altoids tin or another metal can. But for a dollar, I may pick up the blade bank from westcoastshaving.com since it doesn't open, and seems to safe around the house if nieces or nephews come to visit.

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