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Niche Fragrance Addict
San Antonio, Texas
Hello guys,

I was thinking earlier of what are the criteria or components that biuld up to get a great shave without irritation. I came to the conclusion, there are 3 general components:

1. Face Prep (Includes anything performed before the shave to hydrate the beard and soften the hairs, including shower before shave, hot towel, etc)

2. Technique (this involes a user that utilizes proper technique, including proper pressure and angle and face mapping)

3. Equipment (This relate to having good quality tools that perform the respective tasks as expected from each product). I didnt want to dissagregate this between item classifications, since I believe this a broader term. In this case it includes: Soap (or Cream), Razor, Brush, Blades, etc). It also does not mean a need to have expensive equipment either, but proper equipment, regardless of price (slick soap, etc)

I would like for you guys to present your assesment on the importance each of these 3 components has on a great shave.

In my case, I attribute my great shaves based on this weight:

1. Face Prep - 35%

2. Technique - 40%

3. Equipment - 25%

My assessment summary: I gave 35% weight to face prep since on my experience, even if I use the best soap, razor etc and my technique is great, I will never achieve a great shave without irritation, if no adequate face prep was performed. Technique received 40% since it really has great weight on the overall quality of the shave and even sometimes can mitigate the effects of using an inferior product. And finally, equipment received 25% weight. While its great to have quality equipment, it definitely has a lesser degree of impact than face prep and technique, in my opinion.

Please chime in with your weight distributions! It will be interesting to see everyone's responses!
I can't assign a percentage to them but all are important. I don't use pre-shave creams or oils though but did try them and they didn't do much for me. For prep I just wash my face and neck with hot water and homemade soap that I make. Technique and choosing the right hardware and software are all extremely important. Anymore I find that my shaves depend on having a good blade in my razor and a quality soap that is lathered properly.

herbert7890 likes this post
It is possible for a single common factor to be the reason for discomfort, assuming that one has a good razor, soap, and ability to prep. that being said ill try.

60- prep. it is most likely possible for discomfort if lather and go on a dry or semi dry face.

30-tec. I believe it is possible for a kid to get a comfortable shave if all the other factors are met.

10-If all other factors are met its hard to get a bad shave with a decent razor and soap.

This is a difficult question, but that is my guess.

herbert7890 likes this post
1. Face prep: 0% I think more harm than good is done through the common preshave methodologies of heat and other beard "softening" approaches.

2. Technique: 20% If I have the right equipment then most of the technique is built in already. Beard mapping is a one time thing if done properly but slight experimentation with passes and directions can further improve an already good shave. Give me poor equipment and even the best technique won't save the shave.

3. Equipment: 80% When I started out shaving it was with all of the wrong equipment; namely anything with a DE blade. They simply can't work for me as they are too flexible for my stubble. Once I tried a SE razor & blade, even with terrible technique, my shaves drastically improved.

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>>> Brian <<<
Happy beeps, buddy! Happy beeps!

Greenville, SC USA
As in all phases of wet shaving it is a case of YMMV! I wouldn't presume to assign weights to the categories put forth by Herb, except for myself. I'm of the opinion that technique trumps all, however. Look at the guys who can pull off a DFS with either nothing but a cheap DE razor or that same cheap razor and tepid tap water.

I speculate that the reason for the success of the SE razors in providing a shave to be raved about by most people is that they have a flat surface that 'sets the angle' for the shaver without him having to give it much attention. Keep the flat part of the razor flat against the skin and you will have the angle necessary for a good shave with only pressure as a variable. The head geometry of DE razors allows a plethora of angles which, even when correctly solved by the shaver, are nearly impossible to maintain throughout the shave what with the varying skin topography and shaver's skill in play. Herb, in previous posts, has mentioned his unusual skin sensitivities which probably make preparation a bigger item for him than others.

The simple fact is, that considering the almost incalculable combinations provided by the staggering number of choices of all the hardware and software available to us, we will never achieve the optimal combination for our 'Perfect Shave', but isn't it fun trying? Tongue

Freddy, Mickey Oberman and herbert7890 like this post
Does Mean I Must Buy High End Shaving Gear?

Prep for me is important. I find that if I don't prep properly before hand I'll end up with a very irritated face. A shower before hand is the best with either some Dreadnought Oil or Proraso before lathering up. If, for whatever reason, I don't shower before hand, I'll use some PAA preshave puck soap and then the Oil. But I need to be really careful, if I OVER prep(and for me that is a thing), I'll end up irritating my skin BEFORE I shave, and with raised bumps and such, well, that ends badly no matter the technique or gear I use.

As for technique, it's important, more so than my gear but not my prep work. I have to control myself from putting too much pressure on any given razor I might be using, and one of the first things I learned when starting to wet shave was to map my face properly. I don't chase the BBS, just the DFS. I CAN, if I want, get a BBS on my cheeks, since my grain goes from top down(so my Against pass would be up), but my throat is from left to right(so against pass is from right to left for me). I can't do an Against pass on my throat, it'll tear me apart, I've tried, I'm still dealing with bumps and crap like ache or something. I'll do a X pass down my entire throat and then an X pass going up, but just a light touch Against pass under my chin to blend that in(that make sense?). And, as I said, even if I have perfect technique for that shave, if I haven't prepared properly I'm SOL either way.

Lastly, with gear, well, if the soap lathers and I'm not allergic to it, and the I'm using a good blade for me in a razor that has no problems, I'm good to go. So gear for me the last thing that, for me, comes into play for what I really need to have a good shave. In all truth, now that I have learned proper prep work and techniques, I could possibly get a DFS from even a cart razor now, but I'm not going to go back anyway Tongue
Shawn, you sound like you would benefit immensely from cold water shaving. Everything you just said I have experienced. CWS made a huge difference for me on most of those things you mentioned.

herbert7890 likes this post
>>> Brian <<<
Happy beeps, buddy! Happy beeps!

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
herbert7890, I'd have to say that beamon hit the nail on the head. Brian's (SharpSpine) experience with his OneBlade and the two blades he used in it, along with his beard/skin problems, and your own skin/beard makeup tends to show that there certainly won't be a one size fits all answer, though I don't think that is what you had in mind.

In my case, I have been wet shaving long enough (10+ years) that I intuively know what the combination will be that works best. Ironically, that doesn't mean I always choose to go the "best" route. For example, today I used my D.R. Harris razor (which I believe has a Muhle head). It is far from my favorite razor and, indeed, it produced one small weeper. However, I was just in the mood to use that razor. Did that weeper come from preparation, technique, or tools? I honestly don't know. Therefore, for me at least, I couldn't begin to put percentage values on them.

Your question is an interesting one and it will be interesting to learn if many others are able to break down their shaves as Brian and you have. Smile

herbert7890, Mickey Oberman, kwsher and 1 others like this post

(01-23-2016, 05:03 PM)SharpSpine Wrote: Shawn, you sound like you would benefit immensely from cold water shaving. Everything you just said I have experienced. CWS made a huge difference for me on most of those things you mentioned.
I've tried it a few times and I very much enjoy it, and it does make a difference. But for some reason I either don't think of it, or am treating it like something special, Shaving Gods know why Mad But ya, I'll make more of an effort to do a cold water shave for a while and see if over a longer period of time that makes a large difference Smile

SharpSpine and herbert7890 like this post

Niche Fragrance Addict
San Antonio, Texas
Thanks all for the replies!! Awesome to read everyone's opinions on this matter.

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