Double Edge Razor Starter Kit Manual ver .72 (beta, not finished) (June 11, 2006)
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Stuff Not Covered
Part III: Kit Contents and Item Descriptions
Part IV: Care of items
Part V: Actually Shaving
Part VI: That Ultra Close Shave
Part VII: Alternative Versions of Items and Other Things You May Want
Part VIII: Web Sites
Part IX: Some Problems and Sometimes Solutions
Part X: Epilogue
Part I: Introduction
I've set out to write a manual for someone who is just starting to shave or someone who is using a Double Edge Razor for the first time. It was originally meant to be very short, pamphlet like, but it turned out that even the "basics" needed more space. A common name for this type of shaving is "Wet Shaving" for obvious reasons.
It is VERY important that you read this manual *completely* before you start using a double edge razor for the first time. If you are use to using an electric razor it's obvious that this is very different. But you may not be aware of how different it is going to a double edge razor if you are familiar with using a "normal" disposable no matter how many blades it's made with. In other words DO NOT say to yourself that you already shave so you don't need to read this.
This manual is made from a combination of many sources both written and spoken, and of course from personal experience... you know... research. I don't claim to be an expert, just someone who can pass on some information to someone just starting off (and I'm glad to say that none of this manual is cut and paste, which probably means I'm more likely to get something wrong (I even created my own graphics)).
It may sound like I'm stating the obvious but I need to mention that you must be careful with your new razor. The individual double edge razor blade is extremely sharp and since you may be handling the blade directly it is easy for an accident to happen. The blade is much thinner than any box cutter blade ("razor cutter") you may be familiar with and is much more exposed than any disposable or cartridge you mat have used. So be careful.
There are many sources for information on the use of double edge "safety" razors on the internet and you're encouraged to seek them out and read up some more. You'll find many people that will have had experience with other equipment and other types of soaps, lotions and techniques.
** It is important to know that EVERYONE is different and what works perfect for one person may need tweaking or may not work at all for the next. Everybody has different textures of hair, different textures of skin, different angles of the face, and hair growing in different directions. **
You'll see the letters YMMV often in this document. For those that don't know, that means "Your Mileage May Vary".
Part II: Stuff Not Covered
There are so many things that are NOT going to be covered in this manual, mainly because they would be items of interest to "advanced" users and left to personal preference. The emphasis here is to get you started with the basics so that you can end up doing a competent "normal" shave. There are a lot of tweaks that can be done by using different types of lotions, soaps, oils. You can use pre-shaving creams and probably pre-pre-shaving lotions. Nothing fancy here though. You'll notice that step one is simply washing the face followed up by soaping up, no pre anything (nor am I going to try and teach HOW to wash your face... come on... You don't need me for that... do you? <ha ha>).
I've also tried to stay away from pastes vs. creams vs. cake soap and other product comparisons. That is something for you to decide for yourself as time goes on. Certain little differences such as lathering in the mug vs. in you hand vs. on your face go the same route. This probably lets you know however that there are many subtleties for you to deal with and I'm certainly not going to tell you which one to use (unless I actually DO tell you somewhere inadvertently... or deliberately <G>).
Part III: Kit Contents and Item Descriptions
I'm not going to pretend that the items in the starter kit are top shelf items but that are more than sufficient to get you started. You may find that you never need anything more or (more likely) it will wet your appetite for something more. Let's go over what's here...
One-piece Double Edge Safety Razor - This is the type of razor that has the opening doors on the top to insert the blade. The doors are usually referred to as butterfly doors or silo doors. I guess I should mention that you'll see the razor referred to as a "double edge", a "DE razor" or a "safety razor". In context of this document they all mean the same thing. A "safety razor" can mean other things in different places though.
These types of razors have been around for a very long time and have changed very little. If you were to compare a current production 3-piece DE razor to one from the 1920's there would be little difference other than the metal. The one-piece style came about in the 1930's (I think) and this one is very similar to that (Actually it looks more like a 1950's Gillette). Even current production razors would be hard pressed to beat the quality of the Gillette razors made from the 1950's through the 1970's. I get them when ever possible and make them available to others.
The blades are just average normal blades and should be replaced when they are no longer working well. Vague enough? OK, more specifics... blades should be replaced as soon as you feel the first tug of a blade pulling a hair instead of slicing it. Some people get 10 shaves out of a blade, some get three (remember that part about everyone is different). I replace my blade each Thursday morning, that's my routine, you have to decide on your own.
Boar Hair Shaving Brush - This is a basic shaving brush that will work fine. Traditionally the best brushes are made of badger hair because of their superior ability to hold water and someday you may want to go and purchase one. Keep in mind that it will be difficult to find a badger hair brush for under $25 and they can easily cost over $100 (if you have that kind of money to throw around). Boar hair is the other common type of brush available and some people actually prefer it when using a hard soap in their mug (like the one that is included) because of the stiffer bristles that allows you to suds up the soap easier. New brushes are often a little smelly (animal hair); just wash it out a few times with mild soap (or shampoo).
Cake of Shaving Soap - A normal everyday cake of shaving soap. Some people use paste, some use paste in a tube. The main thing is that it NOT an aerosol foam or gel, neither of which work as well and they cost much more in the long run.
Styptic Pencil - Stops the bleeding of a shaving nick on contact. AKA Alum. Just wet the tip with cold water and touch/rub on nick and the bleeding will stop. Eventually you'll get to the point where it will rarely ever get used.
Part IV: Care of items
The Razor - Main thing is to keep it clean. Usually all you have to do is make sure you rinse it off in hot water and shake all the water out before putting it away. Loosen the razor doors before shaking it out to allow the water to leave it easier, but not so loose as to shake the blade out of course. Let it air dry, don't let it stay enclosed in a damp area, it is metal after all. When you want to do some heavier cleaning just use some dish washing liquid and a toothbrush. You can also boil it if you need to and just use some plain old mineral oil if you feel that you have to lubricate it. You may end up with a layer of soap scum now and then on the top, you'll want to clean that off good so the razor doesn't catch / drag / stick when shaving. BE SURE TO REMOVE THE BLADE BEFORE ANY CLEANING. Note on something that I do: after shaving when I'm rinsing it under running water I actually open up the doors all the way and take out the blade and rinse the bottom of that as well so soap doesn't gunk up under it. This of course would not be practical with a 3-piece razor.
The Brush - Make sure you rinse it out good after use, squeeze out extra soap and rinse again. Dry out by squeezing out the water and giving it a good shake. Then store it upright on its base or hang from a stand. It's said that hanging from the stand prevents water from seeping into or settling in the base. Don't store it in the mug or on its side.
Styptic Pencil - Just rinse off and dry after use.
The Blades - Keep them in an area where they won't rust. Make sure you have something to store used blades in, you do NOT want to just throw them in the garbage alone. Many store bought blades that come in a dispenser have a storage bin on the back to put the used blades, use it. If you buy your blades in a way that doesn't come with that then make your own and be sure to label it properly. My preference would be to use a container that the lid is glued shut or otherwise can not be opened and a thin slot that blades can slip in easily but won't come out easily. Small enough to fit on the HIGH shelf on the medicine cabinet. Then again you may have a house old enough to have a built in slot for blades. This is in the section "Care of Items", but be sure to do "Care of Self and Others", these blades are extremely sharp and potentially dangerous.
A long time ago people would actually re-sharpen DE razors with glass or something (one of the times had to do with a serious shortage of blades during WW2). I wouldn't recommend that now, not when you can get them as low as 20 cents each. Also do not try to eek out more shaves than you should from a blade, replace it with a fresh one. A sharp blade is important to a good shave.
Part V: Actually Shaving
Remember this is a beginner's guide (and you're a beginner) so don't expect miracles out of the gate. There will be a period of time where your face is getting use to a new type of razor, and your hand will learn a new way of holding and using a razor. If you shave everyday, give yourself at least two weeks before making any judgments on anything, a month even better. One or two shaves will more likely give you the impression that the DE is worse in all aspects but it's a case of your face and technique needing to adapt. Also note that there are a couple of ways to shave that will give you varying levels of closeness. Here I'm just covering a "basic" shave. It's very likely that it won't seem any closer than any other razor that you've used. But again, it's only meant to be a basic simple safe version, we'll shave closer in a different section (not to mention that you'll also be able to shave closer when you get better at controlling the razor). Also in regards to giving it time to make a decision on something, this is true also for any soaps or lotions that you may be starting off with. If you're making a change from alcohol based to something else based, your skin needs to get use to that.
Washing - Washing your face before shaving is very important. There's a lot of oils and dead skin there that should be taken away before attempting to run any kind of blade over it. Does it make a little more sense to hear it put in those terms? Give it a good cleaning, sometimes the problems that some people have has to do with clogged up pores more than anything else. Their skin gets irritated due to a razor scraping away said layer of oils and skin and not doing as good a job at the actual cutting of hair.
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Heat - You've seen it in cartoons and old movies, a guy in a barber chair leaning back with a hot towel just sitting on their face. There was a reason for that which applies today. The moist heat opens up the pores, and softens up the beard to make it easy to cut. That simple. I'm sure you don't plan on sitting around with a hot towel on your face, but I'm sure it's nice if you have the luxury of time to do so. Best thing to do is simply do your shaving after a hot shower, or bath. NOT BEFORE! Or once you're comfortable with using your new razor, shave WHILE taking your shower.
This is of course assuming you've taken a hot shower otherwise you'll have to heat up your face a bit separately. This is also true if you're shaving without taking a shower. Wash your face well then hold a hot wet wash cloth against your face for about a half minute or so, that should do it. This is the mini version of the guy in the barber chair.
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Soaping Up - You have your brush, you have your mug with soap in it. Soak your brush in hot water or run some hot water over it to allow it to absorb water (when I say soak, I'm only talking long enough for it to get wet all the way through). Then swirl away in your mug and make lather. That simple.
Now how long you swirl is up to several factors; how much water you had on the brush, if there was any water in the mug already (better to start off with too little water and have to add some then to have too much and need to start over), if you have hard or soft water in your area, how hot the water was, how stiff the bristles of the brush you have, how large the brush is, and the type of soap. So as you can see it's not something you can just put a time factor on. Not only is every face different but the combination of tools make situations different YMMV. As for a warmer lather (nothing wrong with that), some people put hot water in their mug and let it sit for a minute, then pour it out before swirling their brush (this feels good), and I've read of some that go as far as using a conventional mug warmer (my own opinion is that's a little over kill and potentially dangerous in the bathroom (I'm putting things in writing so I have to be a little conservative <ha ha>)).
Look at all that's written just about swirling a brush around, we haven't even gotten any to the face yet. There are many things that make a brush and soap/cream superior to an aerosol foam or gel, here's only a few; The brush acts as a final exfoliate to get rid of loose dead skin. The act of brushing also helps stand the hair up. The soaps are generally slipperier which is very important with these types of blades.
Now you gotten to where you can actually lather up your face. If your face has dried off while swirling your brush, splash some hot water on it to wet it down and then start painting away. Brush up, down, left, right, swirl, spin and whatever else you feel like doing. The important thing is to get it worked in well and cover all the areas that will be shaved. All the gymnastics of brushing in all possible directions are to help get all the hairs standing up.
Using the Razor - LIGHT and EASY. You may have heard the term "Let the weight of the tool do the job", well that applies here as well. If you've never shaved before keep in mind that this is a razor blade you are about to glide across your face. If you have shaved before but all you've ever used have been disposable or cartridge razors with multiple blades then you have to understand that a DE razor does NOT work the same way. If you've used multi-blade disposables then you are use to the fact that you can almost press as hard as you want and not cut yourself. You may also be use to having to press hard to get the results that you want. Not the case here.
You'll hear some people talk about shaving North to South or Top to Bottom and in many cases that's fine but remember what I said earlier about everyone is different. Here I will only use the terms with or against the grain since that is more accurate and applies to everyone. What is with and against the grain? When you have a couple of days growth of beard on your face, rub your hand across it in different directions. In one direction, whether it's up, down, left or right (maybe even diagonal), it's going to feel smooth, in the opposite direction it will be difficult to rub your hand. In the direction that it feels smooth is with the grain, the other way is against. For many people with the grain IS top to bottom, then of course there are those (like myself) that has the grain going in different directions on different parts of my face. Go ahead, feel all around your face and get the hang of which direction your beard is growing, you'll need to know this to shave easily.
So you now know which direction your beard grows. And I'll leave out the suspense by saying that for at least a couple of weeks you are going to do nothing but shave with the grain. You'll be running the razor in the same direction as the grain. In the direction that is smooth. Yes I know I just said the same thing three times in a row. Remember that this manual is made for those new at this, there's a reason to start off slow. Repetition makes things easy, not trying to do difficult things early on makes them easier to do later. This first couple of weeks is for getting your skin use to shaving like this and for you to learn to control the razor. And this brings us to...
Holding the razor is not the same with a DE as it is with a modern disposable. I know I mention people using disposables a lot in a manual meant for beginners but sometimes is more difficult to teach something to someone who is already use to a particular method then it is to teach someone from scratch. Anyway...
Hold the razor lightly between a couple of fingers and let it glide lightly on your face/neck in the direction of the grain. Don't grip the handle hard and don't press down with the razor. And really really don't accidentally or deliberately go sideways with the blade. You haven't started yet I hope, like you're not reading this WHILE shaving for the first time, right? 'Cause there's still another thing to go over, the angle at which the razor will be used against the skin.
One of the (many) major differences between DE razors and most modern disposables is that the disposables often have rotating and swivel heads to ride up and down the curves of your face, a DE razor has no such thing, you have to steer it on your own. You'll get the hang of it, it will probably only cause missed spots for a while. I don't care what the commercials say though, all the swiveling and rotating in the world will not replace paying attention to what you are doing.
You may hear or read about which angle to use and such but it's probably easier to just show you. Just like everyone has a different face, most razors have their blades at different angles, so what's 30 degrees for one razor would not be appropriate for a different razor. There are some pictures below:
So now the recap of above: You hold the razor light, you only let it rest on the skin and glide over it, stretching the skin if you need to, and shave with the grain at the proper angle. You do this consistently and you'll be shaving easily in no time. Before shaving run hot water over the blades in your shaver and while shaving rinse your razor frequently in hot water and keep in mind that since you have two sides with blades available, go ahead and try to use them evenly. During this time of learning it's best to simply do a one-pass shaving, meaning you shave all the areas only one time. Some people do lots of little strokes, some do looooong strokes. I guess I'm somewhere in the middle.
As to the rinsing the razor while shaving part... Some people use running water, some prefer the sink already full with hot water to shake the razor in. WARNING: Personal preference content coming up <G>: I use the sink of hot water version for several reasons; Top reason is because you can actually hear the hair being cut off while shaving, you can use light strokes until you hear it no more and know the area is smooth. You generally don't hear this if the water is running. I also find that (and this may be illusion) I can rinse off the razor quicker and more completely by a quick shake in the sink of water and that it holds more water when I bring it back up to my face for the next stroke. And lastly you use less water.
Notice in the recap I threw in "stretching the skin if you need to". This is in reference to if you have to stretch out parts of your face or neck with one hand while shaving with the other. This provides a smoother surface to shave over and will then give a closer shave with less chance of damage. Not all people need to do this and not all parts of the face need this. The ol' mantra of "every face is different" (and YMMV) applies.
As I said, don't expect a real close shave right away. You'll find that you have to practice at keeping the correct angle, keeping the correct pressure, keeping the correct direction and even not missing any spots. Just shave like this each day for a couple of weeks and you'll get a little better each day.
If you are using an adjustable DE razor then see the extra notes in the "Alternative Versions of Items" section.
Now that I'm near the end of this section I will say again since I can't say it enough; It is very important that you shave lightly. You will get a better shave in the end and you face will thank you for it. And to be clear, to me shaving lightly means that the razor is only gliding across the skin cutting off the hairs. Do NOT push the razor against your face, only allow it to rest against it.
Cleaning up - Your face is as clean as it's going to get at this point, you just want to rinse it off with cold water (using wash cloth if you want) to close the pores back up. You'll find that good shaving soap rinses off easier that you may think without the use of hot water. If you're using a soap that doesn't rinse off easily with cold water, then just rinse off with warm water then follow up with cold water. Pat dry with a clean towel (don't rub, just pat).
After Shave - NOT STARTED YET
After You Are Use To Shaving - Right after you've finished the shaving portion and before you've rinsed off the rest of the soap you can lightly rub your hand over portions of the face and see if there are any areas that really need another pass and lightly shave that spot a second time. This is not the same thing as going for the ultra-close shave, it's just hitting some bad spots. There's usually enough of the soap on the face to allow you to do this safely. Some people even simply soap up again and shave the whole face a second time (with the grain).
Part VI: That Ultra Close Shave
I probably wouldn't even bother adding this section other than a person may be very disappointed with a DE razor if all they ever did was a normal with the grain shave. You shouldn't try this until you are completely sure your skin is ready for this and you know you have that steady hand from weeks of practice doing a normal shave described above. Assuming your skin is now accustom to being shaved with a razor and the various lotions that you are using are doing their job, you are about to subject your skin to something new.
I usually only do this once a week, sometimes twice if there's a reason. Weekdays I do a "normal" one pass shave, not the closest thing in the world but it "looks" OK although by the end of the day I could probably light a match off it.
There are several different ways to get that ultra-close shave and I won't try to cover them all, I'll just do two. Even with just these two some may (will) argue whether they are needed or "should be" or "shouldn't be" used. Right back to that "Everyone is Different" saying. Also everyone has an opinion. So here's mine, don't take it as fact, what works for me might not work for you and I'm giving these as just an example. So read on even though I've seen it written elsewhere: "Do Not Do This"
MY ultra-close shave is quite simple. I shave twice. Once with the grain, then I lather up again and shave again against the grain. I run my hand over my face to feel the spots that I need to redo (almost like a third pass). In the end my face feels impossibly smooth. Keep in mind that some people's faces simply can't handle having a shave against the grain so there is the next version below.
The second method I've heard about is similar to what I do above, only instead of that second shave being against the grain, you go sideways through it. This is more aggressive than the normal method of with the grain but not as aggressive as simply going against it and will give the combination of closeness without irritation that some people can withstand.
One of the pluses of using a DE razor is that because of the light touch and the fact that you are only cutting hair (when you are doing it right) you are more likely to be able to do such things as shaving against the grain without irritation because you are not digging into the skin at all (again, my opinion).
Here is where you should go out and do research of your own, or even experiment on your own. Keep in mind that just like when you first started and needed a time to get use to shaving in the first place, you'll need time to work on various methods of shaving.
Part VII: Alternative Versions of Items and Other Things You May Want
I was originally going to write down "Other Things You May Need" but of course none of this falls under the category of "need" unless you're the type that goes to a store and sees something and thinks to themselves that they just "need" this or that.
Razor - There are a few other main types of DE razors, one is similar in looks to the one-piece you have here but it also has an adjustment ring that changes the angle of the blade to suite individuals better. The other common style of DE (double edge) razor is a "3 piece" razor. This is the type where the handle unscrews from the top part, the top part comes apart into two parts and the blade is put in at that point. You'll also find one where the area near where the blade comes out is in the form of a comb, this is generally referred to as one for when your beard is longer or described as use for a closer shave YMMV. The other "type" is known as a slant bar. These are better left to those that are already experienced and comfortable using a DE razor. The basis of a slant bar razor is that the entire top part is twisted a tad so that the blade comes across the skin in a slight slicing motion, a little diagonal instead of the perpendicular placement of the blade as you're use to. A search on the internet will come up with many razors both new and used. As mentioned earlier, it's hard to beat the mid-late-20th century Gillettes (or is that late-mid?). I usually have several available.
A little extra on the adjustable razors. If you can get an old Gillette adjustable than do so. It's very handy to have a razor where you can adjust the angle of the blade to fit your face. For instance I have a line/crease near the bottom of my neck that is way more sensitive than the rest of my face. I set the dial for 7 for my face, under chin/jaw and upper neck, then dial it down to 3 for the sensitive area. Works great that way. When you first get an adjustable, set it all the way down to 1 and work your way up day by day. If you start getting any nicks, rash or other irritation then dial it back down to the last working setting. Here is another area where the adjustable is great, you're not forced to use the "average" setting that a fixed DE razor is set at. I've used several of the vintage Gillette adjustables (always keeping the best looking one for myself when I get new ones), and I can confirm that the setting of "7" on one is not always exactly a "7" on another. All that really means is that you just have to find the right setting for the combination of your face and that particular razor.
Blades - The blades that are included with the razor are just run of the mill blades, I really can't comment on the quality of them since I've never used them myself. You can pick up "Personna" brand blades at the local whatever store for under two bucks for a ten pack and they'll probably serve you fine. You can find blades that cost anywhere up to a whopping 88 cents each and for some people it won't make any difference. I'm sure companies such as Gillette don't see a big profit in the selling of DE Blades when compared to cartridges and disposables. A quick sample at the time of this writing: Gillette DE 88 cents each, Gillette Sensor 3 Cartridge $2.00 each, Gillette Fusion Cartridge $3.25 each. You can do research to find the different brands of blades available, some are considered more premium than others.
Brush - As mentioned earlier there are different versions of brushes. There's synthetic, "natural" hair, boar and badger. I won't bother with synthetic, there, that was easy. I won't bother with "natural" hair brushes either, keep in mind I'm talking about brushes that describe themselves simply as "natural" hair. I won't bother with them simply because I don't know which "natural" hair they're using!!! That leaves us with the two traditional type, boar and badger. Boar hair brushes are very common in the stores and you don't usually see many expensive versions of them. Over at one national retailer department store you can find a Proraso chrome handle boar brush for about thirteen bucks and that's about as expensive as you need to go.
Badger brushes on the other hand end up much more complicated in your choices. Add to that there are many different "grades" of badger brush to choose from and you are now looking at anywhere between $25 and $300. Mine is closer to the $25 to $50 mark and works fine so I would be one of the last ones to recommend spending a large amount of money on one. It wouldn't surprise me if $300 brush is not much better than a $100 brush assuming the handle itself is comparable. Once you move up to a badger brush, the choice is almost limitless. Small, medium, gigantic and travel brushes. Wood, plastic, stone, ceramic, bone, metal and other handle materials. Badger, pure badger, best badger, silver-tip badger, Leave It To Badger.... OK I'll stop now. Yes they can get expensive, but let's take a $70 brush that will last decades with proper care then compare it to the money saved not using aerosol foams and gels. Similar to spending $50 for the razor and 20 cent blades vs. a free razor and $3 blades (for life).
Shaving Soap - I decided I won't even get into this. Start off with a simple puck of Williams/Colgate/Burma-Shave and then try different things from there and find what you like. There's too many to choose from once you find sources.
Mugs - Yes you can use an old coffee mug, I use to and my son currently does. But you can get fancy with them as well. You can get the dual layer ones that allow you to fill the bottom with hot water to warm up the soap, has drains for the soap, places to hold the brush etc etc. There are also simple shaving bowls made from any material from wood to marble.
After Shave - Pretty much the same answer as the Shaving Soap. Just try to stay away from those that have alcohol in them. It dries out your face at a time when you want to moisturize it. Like the shaving soap, there are tons of choices out there once you find the places that deal with them. If you really really want that smell of your traditional aftershave that has alcohol in it, then just splash some on somewhere you haven't shaved after you've used a proper lotion or balm. Yes I keep a bottle of Old Spice around.
Styptic Pencil - You can go as far as getting a full alum block. Basically it will do the same thing as the little stick but can also be used as a form of aftershave and rub the block across the whole face. While you're at it, you should keep a little tube of Neosporin or Polysporin around to heal up nicks and cuts quickly. The styptic pencil or alum only stops the bleeding, it doesn't speed the healing.
Shower Mirror - You can get cheap ones and expensive ones. I have a cheap one from the department store that works fine. Sure it fogs up at the beginning, I just splash some water on it and it's all clear. There are some models that hook right up to the shower head so that water runs to the back of the mirror to keep it the same temperature as the water so it doesn't fog up. YMMV
Razor / Brush / Etc Stand - Yep, you can just place your stuff in the cabinet or you can get a nice gold stand to hang everything out in plain site. I made a simple hanging rack out of some plastic and stuck it to the side of my medicine cabinet.
There's more, you'll find them.
Part VIII: Web Sites (June 2006)
Badger & Blade - http://www.badgerandblade.com/
ShaveMyFace.com - http://www.shavemyface.com/
The Wet Shavers Group - http://groups.msn.com/thewetshaversgroup
Straight Razor Place - http://www.straightrazorplace.com
Where I keep the latest version of this document:
(In MS DOC format and a simple html page)
Part IX: Some Problems and Sometimes Solutions
Razor bumps, razor rash, irritation, razor burn.
Many of these problems can be taken care of by properly washing your face before shaving. Obviously some people's skin just isn't up to it, but often there's ways around it. In the end it's possible that no matter what you will not be able to use a razor for shaving. Maybe it will just take some practice, some time for your skin to get use to it. Maybe you'll just need to wait a while and try again later.
Keeping your shaving angle correct is also important to protect your face. Remember to only allow the weight of the razor to do the work of pressing against your face, don't push any harder. If you have an adjustable DE razor then dial it down for areas that are sensitive (or dial it up if you find that you're trying to press too hard). You may also have to try different methods of preparing you beard and face, you may not be able to get away with simply washing well and lathering up.
Experiment with different types of aftershaves and balms, sometimes it's a reaction to ingredients. And of course here I will contradict something I've been going on about during most of this manual; If you have problems with rashes using a balm or lotion style aftershave, try going a week using none at all to see if you can rule that out. And then there are those that actually react better to an alcohol based aftershave (but save trying that for last).
Ingrown hairs - I mentioned in the shaving diagrams about the commercials where they show the hair being cut below the surface of the skin. OK, that is obviously closer than close but it is not always desirable. This can easily lead to ingrown hairs and they can become infected and cause problems.
Part X: Epilogue
In the end using a Double Edge razor is not for everyone. But there's a good chance that everything else here can be used to you benefit. The parts about washing, using a brush and soap, the aftershave etc. Most people will find a benefit even if it's nothing other than knowing to shave while your skin is still warm and wet, or moving away from an alcohol based aftershave.
Much of what is written here can be applied to women shaving their legs as well. I'm sure you can figure out what parts need to be adapted to your own needs.
When it comes to the cost of using a DE, there's two ways of looking at it. If you stick to the basics you will find:
1. Blades are as cheap as 15 cents each vs. the cost of disposables or cartridges.
2. A cake of Williams soap is 99 cents which lasts a very long time vs. the cost of an aerosol foam or gel (and environmentally friendlier too).
Even with the high original cost of the razor I'm sure you can see that you'll be saving money in no time.
On the other hand <ha ha>
1. You might end up addicted to purchasing old razors and cleaning them up to make available to others (he types while whistling innocently)
2. You might start searching around for all the high end European balms and lotions and soaps and stuff (nope, can't accuse me of that one).
3. You might get brave and want to move up to straight razors and really spend some money and time (remember you just change a DE blade, you don't have to maintain it yourself).
Either way your smug level goes up a notch using a DE razor (You can blame a certain late night cartoon and a "not news" website for that phrase).
Where did you want to be today?