I have been using a DE safety razor for about 3 years. In 2017 I took the next step up the shaving ladder and started using a straight razor.
Back in February I received my "Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Straight Razor". It was part of a set with soap, brush, and strop. The soap (THE BLADES GRIM SHAVING SOAP - "SMOLDER") and brush (SATIN TIP - THE PUREST - LUXURY SYNTHETIC SHAVING BRUSH) are great but it a cheap synthetic strop. I plan on replacing it with a good bridle leather one made by Tony Miller at The Well Shaved Gentleman
My hand was literally shaking at first when I put the blade to my face. Some what out of fear and out of excitement.
At first I only did the sides of my face and finished the rest with my regular DE safety razor.
I ended up with a little irritation as I was trying to get the correct angle and pressure but other than that it went great. No major nicks or cut jugulars.
Until I got more proficient I designated my Saturdays "Straight Razor Saturdays" since it is the usually the only day I can dedicate to time to my SR shaving ritual.
On my second shave I gave myself a pretty good nick. It was not a mortal wound but nice to get one and get it over with. As mentioned earlier, the first time I was pretty shaky and nervous.
I after several shaves I had gotten better at the sideboards and neck below my jaw/chin. I found that if I reach from the top half way down my cheek I can stretch the skin up over my jawbone then I don't have to shave over the curve of my jaw.
My next dilemma was my cowlick...all my whiskers on the right side of my neck (under my jaw) grow in a circular pattern.
Over the several weeks since I started using a straight razor I have discovered a few things the hard way. Maybe others have figured these things out also or if not could learn from my lessons.
1- Don't place the blade on your face at too steep of an angle. I did not realize how "razor sharp" they could be until I put the blade to my lip, cheek, and chin at a 90 degree angle. The cuts kept me aware for several days after.
2- Rubbing an alum block on my mug after shaving lets me know where I used too much pressure...instant feedback.
3- To control the amount of pressure I put on the blade I use my arm, not my hand. If I maintain the angle with my wrist and move the razor using my arm I tend to put very light pressure on it. Before I was trying to use my hand and wrist for the whole process and tended to apply too much pressure (see #2).
4- I figured out how to attack my neck 'cowlick' area. Kind of like the "Gillette slide" but more of a curving or swooping action. It takes the whiskers and leaves the skin. Hard to explain but it works for me.
I can pretty well shave most of my face now with the grain and across the grain but I still have issues with my upper lip and chin.
- Along the way I have learned a lot from Badger & Blade.