Sophisticated Stooge
Corpus Christi, TX
I was perusing my collection yesterday when I realized I have quite a few razors that fall into that dreaded "aggressive" label in my collection. In my collection are the Micromatic OC, 2013 R41, Ikon Shavecraft Tech and the ATT H2 (honorable mention to my Slim Adjustable set at 9).

It got me to thinking. When I first started out on this journey, I purchased an EJ89 because of all the recommendations you read day in and day out. As much as I enjoyed moving into the world of wet shaving, I never got a truly close comfortable shave from the EJ89. My next razor was the R41 because I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about. What an eye opener! I honed (pun very much intended) my skills more in one week with the R41 then the months I struggled with the EJ89. The R41 taught me all about pressure and angle in a very short time. Since then, I've been able to apply that knowledge with every razor I've used with excellent shave results. It was great learning experience I can only equate to learning the art of driving a manual transmission and then being able to drive any car with ease.

Would we be serving our beginners better by recommending aggressive razors instead of the usual milder razors or is it better for them to crawl first and then run?

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New Jersey
My understanding based on two years of shaving:

An aggressive razor, in general offers two things (considering it is well built, no blade play, no blade alignment issues):

1. A wider effective angle: one can place the razor at different angles and yet the blade will be in contact with the skin such that it can cut whiskers.

2. the razor will get clogged slowly, so a longer pass might be available.

Point 2 might be beneficial for a newbie. But point 1 is, IMO, extremely bad. A wider angle allows shaving with non-ideal blade contact. it allows more scrapping of skin with the blade which is less comfortable as it tends to tug and pull the whiskers instead of slicing. A newbie will think he found a good angle which takes care of his whiskers but he/she will get uncomfortable shaves.

On the other extreme end, say with a Feather AS-D2, works with a small effective angle with relatively short passes. Any other angles, it won't shave at all.
A newbie will find it difficult to find and more importantly keep that angle constant. But he won't get uncomfortable shaves, he can't get uncomfortable shaves, he may not get a close shave. This can be discouraging as well as a newbie might think DE shaving is not for him/her.

So a well balanced, more mild than aggressive razor is what I have suggested to all friends whom I have converted so far.
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New Jersey
Just want to add:

Once someone learns how to shave, it can be really helpful to use an aggressive razor as I believe that will take his skill to the next level.
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Super Moderator
(This post was last modified: 12-06-2016, 08:34 PM by Marko.)
I would say it depends on the individual. When I first started out around 4 years back I had been using brush and soap with a cartridge razor. I bought a recommended Merkur razor - I don't recall which one. I persevered for about two weeks of really awful, painful, uncomfortable shaves before returning to the cartridge. About a year later my son picked up the razor and started using it. He shamed me into giving DE shaving another go. I did the same research and settled on the EJDE89. It was great. I learned a ton with that razor about angles ,pressure , blades etc. I used it happily for a couple of years before trying different razors and I still like the DE89. Many men use that razor frequently whether or not they're novices. What I've learned? Some guys just like aggressive flesh scrapers and some guys don't. I'll still recommend the DE89 as an ideal starter.
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Super Moderator
(12-06-2016, 08:26 PM)iamsms Wrote: Just want to add:

Once someone learns how to shave, it can be really helpful to use an aggressive razor as I believe that will take his skill to the next level.

I agree - if I'm using a very aggressive razor, my senses are focussed and I am paying very close attention.
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Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
I started with a cheap Weishi DE and it was an eye opener for me.  I realized I could shave quite successfully, and more importantly, safely, with a double edge razor and blade.  However, eventually I moved on once I started browsing the forums and learning more.  Today, some eleven years later, my razor du jour comes down to personal preference for the day.  We all have to start off somewhere and, once again, so many things come into it for a novice, not least skin type/sensitivity and hair type.  Generally, though, I would probably recommend a milder shaver to begin with.
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I started with a Merkur HD when it was THE razor along with old Superspeeds to start with. Some items become ikonic and if not actually the best choice hold a common familiarity.
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Vancouver, BC
Personally, I would still suggest a milder razor such as the EJ/Muhle DE89 or Merkur 34C as many newbies won't necessarily find them mild compared to what they were using.
Once they acquire proficiency or a good understanding of DE shaving, then they could progress to a more aggressive razor.
I know, for a fact, that I probably would have given up on DE shaving if I had been suggested to use a razor as aggressive as the R41 seeing as I still cannot use it to this day! Big Grin

However, YMMV.
Love, Laughter & Shaving  Heart
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One way an aggressive (efficient) razor can be of help is for those with sensitive skin. If the razor is wielded deftly, then fewer passes are needed to achieve the desired result. This was important for me. When I started the mantra was beard reduction via a 4 pass shave. This murdered my skin. A more aggressive razor was able to do in 2 passes what I was trying to accomplish in 4. Granted, I was at a higher risk for cuts, but my razor burn was immediately diminished.

I agree that an aggressive razor can force one to improve their technique in a shorter timeframe. This can be a blessing for some personalities and a curse for others. As SE razors are generally much more aggressive/efficient and they are my only way to shave I find myself recommending them regularly.

On a final note I do think that as technique improves through experience that you can get more out those milder razors. When I started I loved the most aggressive SEs; the OCMM. Now my favorite is a very mild razor; the OneBlade.
>>> Brian <<<
Happy beeps, buddy! Happy beeps!
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The best way to discourage a new shaver is numerous nicks/cuts and skin rash. Shave quality is also a factor, but most newbies would accept average quality at first knowing they can get better. i started with alternating days for cartridge and EJ86. I read some internet lists and purchased a Goodfella open comb. The EJ86 gave me no pressure, short strokes, etc and most importantly - enjoyment. The Goodfella OC aspect helped with shave angle and closer shaves. Sold the EJ86 and retired my cartridge.

Lewis Hamilton is talented enough where his first car could have been a Formula Vee racer. Most new drivers start in a Ford Focus to learn techniques.
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