Know When To Hold ‘em, Know When To Fold ‘em

My neck after shaving. Not pretty.

After a year and a half, I’ve been having second thoughts about my commitment to wet shaving.

Yes, I enjoy it.

Yes, I think the hundreds of dollars I’ve dropped on new and vintage razors, creams, soaps, brushes, aftershaves and pre-shave oils are cool.

But no, this didn’t turn into a money-saving proposition from the days of the multi-blade cart razor and can of goo.

And no, at least right now, the shaves aren’t closer … and my neck irritation is as bad as ever.

It was getting better for a while, but then a few months ago, the persistent razor burn and ingrown hairs returned. On Mantic’s advice, I tweaked and tweaked.

Products. Blades. Razors. Techniques. Frequency. You name it, I tried it.

(Here’s a thread I started on Badger and Blade if you want more detail.)

Anyway, I seem to be on the road to improvement, but it’s been frustrating and embarrassing that I can’t get a BBS or DFS without bump city.

So, I’m kicking around the idea of going back to my Gillette Mach 20 Pro Glide Power Fusion (or whatever it’s called) until I can sort some of these problems out.

Please, Sharpologist community, talk me out of it.

Andy Tarnoff (43 Posts)

Sometimes snarky, occasionally suspicious, usually funny (at least in his own mind), Andy uses his blog space mostly as a written catharsis for the numerous, unrelated topics swirling around in his mildly OCD head. Andy is the publisher and co-founder of, a digital media company he started in 1998.

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  1. For me, the sharper the blade the less irritation. When I first started wet shaving I read all this nonsense about how this person or that one lived in fear of the Feather blade. Once I tried using one it changed the whole game for me. I get much less irritation using a sharp blade. I use a pre-shave oil and re-apply between passes in the problem areas. Using a post-shave product that contains witch hazel has helped too. As for the cost thing….well, just like anything else the more “into” it you get the more money you’re likely to dump into it. The only way to save money with DE shaving is to remain as indifferent as you probably were prior to making the switch. If I simply bought blades and cream and shaved every other day, changing my blade every dozen shaves, yeah I’d save a few bucks.

  2. It might sound weird, but it could even be the pillow you rest your head on at night. I experienced a problem with synthetics a couple of years ago.

  3. Yeah don’t do it mate, you’ll end up in hell if you do :P

  4. It’s amazing isn’t it?
    I’m new to DE traditional wet shaving. Before shaving this way I would only shave once per week with a disposable BIC razor and I had accepted that I would never get a good shave ever in my life. At 40 years old I’d never had a BBS shave or even a good shave. When I first started I was having problems in my chin area and neck. It got so bad I had to grow it out for almost a week. I was really unhappy being unshaven for so long and yet I had been happy to shave once a week at best, once per two weeks at worse for all those years.
    I like to shave everyday, sometimes the shave is good, sometimes it isn’t so good, but it’s getting better and I’m still figuring out the best use of passes. At the moment WTG, XTG and a cross between XTG and ATG seems to be working.
    I never get BBS, I could, but my face would burn so much it really isn’t worth it.
    I’m getting the best shaves of my shaving life at the moment and although not perfect shaves, they’re so much better than my hobo look days.

  5. It seems that many guys are reporting similar problems. The cause may be in aiming for a really close shave rather than a comfortable shave. Maybe it would be best to focus on a comfortable shave, even if it is not close, instead? When you are getting irritation-free shaves, then incrementally tweak the technique and equipment used to get closer shaves. Just a thought…

  6. GKChesterton says:

    I’m using the “Gillette slide” on my neck with my least aggressive razor and my least aggressive blades. I keep the blade horizontal and move the razor diagonally to the “southwest” as I view myself in the mirror. I’ve given up on getting BBS on my neck, but I’m making good progress toward a good compromise. Don’t forget that you can use different razors and different techniques on different parts of your face.

  7. I also have a sensitive next area, so I know exactly where you are coming from.

    My suggestions…

    1) Forget BBS on your neck! You are not rubbing your neck on anybody; most of the time, even if you are with a women it’s the cheeks that you want to be smooth, not the neck!

    2) I do either 1 or 2 passes on my neck, both with the grain, never ever against the grain. The closer the shave, the great chance of bump, ingrowns and irritation. On the neck area, it’s just not worth.

    3) Wash your neck (and face) thoroughly with a pre-shave soap; my favorite is the Sul Filo bar by Proraso. **Use a high quality pre-shave product on your next area; either an pre-post cream (and don’t skimp on the product) or a high quality pre-shave oil.

    4) Make sure you rinse the area very thoroughly after the shave with hot water (I repeat… hot water) and finish off with a very high quality aftershave lotion with great healing ingredients. Apply this aftershave directly after the hot water rinsing.

    5) Change your blade often. The duller the blade, the more chance at irritation. I generally change my blade every 2 shave (3 max).

    Kind regards,


  8. Try Cactus Gel. It’s wonderful. Great for razor burn,cuts, heals skin quickly.

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