What Razor To Try After DE89

#1
After a bit of advice please. . . Been using the DE89 razor for over half a year now. Its way better than the starter WS Classic plastic razor I began with and the carts I used prior to that. Obviously my technique has improved over time, I feel I've mapped my beard pretty well and am learning all the time what does and doesn't work for my face. I've been testing blades recently, ruled out a couple that are simply too harsh for me but have several that I like. My problem is this - whilst I appreciate that good prep & technique play a big part in a shave, I have a nagging feeling that a change in hardware could be good for me for reasons I will explain.

My problem comes in after my second pass (an XTG one). At this point I am often in two minds as to whether to do an ATG pass or not. What happens when I shave ATG, specifically on the area under the jawline, either side of the chin (the lower cheeks really), is that it feels like the blade is skipping, dragging or scraping, despite me trying my best to apply minimal pressure. "How is your prep?" I hear you ask. . . well I shower / bathe etc first, only shave ATG after going WTG & XTG first, I get a good slick lather, use a blade no more than 3 times, mostly cold water shave, I bowl lather but swirl the lather round on the face with the brush, especially onto the problem area, to try and hydrate & lift the hairs ready to cut. But I still encounter so much resistance ATG on the lower cheeks that it ends up hurting and leaving my face red. The stubble grows almost flat against the skin and out sideways there, which I guess is why I feel that scraping when going ATG (ear to nose). Occasionally I get ingrowers there but nowhere near as many as when I used carts (strangely, my ingrowers with carts were always on the neck, even though I never went ATG there with carts, now I do at times go ATG on the neck but don't get ingrowers there, go figure!)

"Why do you shave ATG then?" you may well ask. . . Well, because if I don't, it looks, and feels, like I've barely shaved. For the sake of my skin, I consider cutting out the ATG pass totally. But if I do, I currently don't get anywhere near a close enough shave with 2 (a WTG & a XTG) passes with the DE89. I am hoping that there is a razor out there which can mow down enough in the first 2 passes for me to feel I don't even need an ATG pass. Of course, I am open to technique tips and realise it is not the razor alone, but I really feel that prep & technique is decent, and that exploring one of a few options may help. I've been reading up on whats out there and referring to a razor aggressiveness chart guide I found online. What do you think of the following options:

  1. Stay with DE closed comb / solid bar, but move up the aggressiveness (efficiency) scale. The DE89 is ranked as 2.5/10 on the scale, I could move to something like an ATT R1, which comes in at 6.5/10.
  2. Similarly, I could buy an R41 head to try on my EJ handle. Not sure going from one extreme to the other is wise though (9.5/10 !)
  3. Try an Open Comb DE, perhaps a Fatip Piccolo / Grande would be a good cheap way in (5/10).
  4. Try an SE, I believe the blades are more rigid (& last longer) and thus can help those with sensitive skin. Razorock Hawk would be a good cheap way in, the ATT SE1 Calypso looks great but maybe silly to spend that much just yet if I'm not sure! (Don't know about efficiency levels, not on that chart)
  5. Try an adjustable, like a Rockwell 6C or Parker Variant. Just concerned that I'd be forever fiddling with it, using it as an excuse etc!
  6. Try shimming the DE89 some more. . . I tried it with one shim (never shimmed before) last night, it seemed to help a little, but I believe even a few shims in it won't really replicate what other razors are like, and I read that if you need to shim a razor than its probably not the best razor for you anyway.
Thoughts? Thanks for your help
Dave
 
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#3
Merkur Progress is a superb shaver. Once you find the setting that suits you maybe fine with it as is. It has a great voice, feels good in the hand and offers a superb shave. For not much money the MingShi 2000 is also a great shaver and worth a punt anyway. R41 really is a must have I think. It may take a while to nail the sweet spot and blade that suits for daily shaving but even as a once or twice a week shaver still great. Many of the classic DE razors are worth a go (Fatip OC, Parker OC & Variant, Merkur (Progress & Slant), Muhle R41 etc). You will not beat giving these razors a go yourself and finding your own preferences. Although the above razors get much love, rightly so IMO, many do not share the love. Finally really worth giving an SE a go, 1912 or GEM, preferaably both...nearly forgot a good value option is a couple of Razorock head clones (German 37 and Old Type), they will fit your EJ handle and the German 37 head is superb and better than the current version of Merkur's 37c. It is a journey worth travelling...some good choices ahead of you...
 
#6
Hi Dave, I started with the Edwin J which broke so have been using my Mùhle Rocca for the last few weeks. Withva good lather and using short strokes, it is as comfortable as the milder EJ. However, the shaves are superior in every way. Great skin and after 2 passes, super smooth. I was thinking of the Mùhle r41 next. Aggressive, yes, but proper prep etc think it will give great shaves. Do you think We are led to believe that milder razors are best for a sensitive skin? Not so sure!
 
#7
Do you think We are led to believe that milder razors are best for a sensitive skin? Not so sure!
Good point. I’ve read a few topics from various sites recently where guys with sensitive skin have said that a more efficient razor has been better for them than a mild one, despite as you say, the fact that conventional wisdom may state the opposite.

I suppose, with a mild razor, the chances are you’ll have to do more passes AND more touch ups, so perhaps the end result could be as much (or more) irritation than less passes & touch ups with a more efficient razor. Which is what I was getting at really, where to go from the DE89.

Thanks for the tips so far, please keep them coming !
 
#8
Personally I would buy a Timeless and have done with. Brilliant, secure, confidence inspiring and one hell of a shave. I find it a hard razor to go wrong with. Function with form and beauty. Impeccably manufactured.

My other recommendation comes in the form of the Ikon SB. These can be picked up relatively cheap. Slap a decent handle on the end and as much as I mentioned the Timeless this babe gives me the closest shaves I can ever recall. It just takes care and attention whereas the Timeless is more forgiving.

Either I find gives an irritation free shave and like yourself I do have sensitive skin. Certainly as I have stepped away from the class of 89's and more towards the aggressive side of the flock I have found I am enjoying more comfortable and rewarding results.

If you want I would be more than happy to loan either or both so you can trial for yourself. I also have a Seygus which is very nice or an ATT M2 OC and again both I would be happy to loan. I have various handles including a few I have turned myself.

PM me if you are interested.

I can't speak for SE razors as to date I haven't experienced one. That will change next week when I arrive home as a Hawk V2 is awaiting my return. I am expecting greatness.
 
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#9
Personally I would buy a Timeless and have done with. Brilliant, secure, confidence inspiring and one hell of a shave. I find it a hard razor to go wrong with. Function with form and beauty. Impeccably manufactured.

My other recommendation comes in the form of the Ikon SB. These can be picked up relatively cheap. Slap a decent handle on the end and as much as I mentioned the Timeless this babe gives me the closest shaves I can ever recall. It just takes care and attention whereas the Timeless is more forgiving.

Either I find gives an irritation free shave and like yourself I do have sensitive skin. Certainly as I have stepped away from the class of 89's and more towards the aggressive side of the flock I have found I am enjoying more comfortable and rewarding results.

If you want I would be more than happy to loan either or both so you can trial for yourself. I also have a Seygus which is very nice or an ATT M2 OC and again both I would be happy to loan. I have various handles including a few I have turned myself.

PM me if you are interested.

I can't speak for SE razors as to date I haven't experienced one. That will change next week when I arrive home as a Hawk V2 is awaiting my return. I am expecting greatness.
If I recall you were a fan of the Braveheart, have you gone off that?

Also I can't see an Ikon SB, is it the SBS or am I not looking in the right places?
 
#13
It sounds to me like you aren't getting close enough with your WTG / XTG passes. If you have to do too much work on the ATG pass it can result in tugging and biting and therefore irritation or ingrowns. You need to get to a DFS by the end of the XTG and shouldn't feel you need that ATG. The ATG should be a very smooth pass.

To address this you can do several things:
1) Improve your prep. In my experience good prep / lathering can reduce the number of passes by a whole pass.
Apply heat - hot flannel or towel
Apply preshave cream, oil, or just lather. Leave to soak for a few minutes. You can shower in this time if you like.
Apply heat - flannel or towel again to lift the preshave product.
Lather directly to the face not in a bowl, building the lather on your face itself.
Shave.
2) Add a second XTG pass in the opposite direction. This works, but you may find that 4 passes is too much if your skin is sensitive.
3) Upgrade to a more aggressive razor. This is tricky and may not work at first. You have to be absolutely spot on with your technique. The ES Braveheart and Muhle Rocca are a midway aggressive and could be a good step up. A slant razor can be an efficient but not too aggressive approach - you could consider that. The Muhle R41 is similar to the 89 in that it has a good tolerance for different angles. It is a big leap in terms of aggressiveness.
4) Shave with a more aggressive razor WTG / XTG and use the DE89 For the ATG pass. This is a nice approach. I use it on days when my skin is particularly sensitive. It works really well because you get to remove hair with the minimum fuss on the initial passes and still have a light touch for the ATG. An adjustable is an even easier razor for this, and provides the most flexibility - the Parker Variant or Merkue Progress. Start high and adjust the settings down with each pass.
 
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#15
Try an Open Comb DE, perhaps a Fatip Piccolo / Grande would be a good cheap way in (5/10).
I would suggest 1 x WTG and 2 x XTG passes for a closer shave in the first instance. If you cannot get the results you are seeking the Fatip Picccolo is worth a try but it much more aggressive than the DE89, good technique will get you good results. The Piccolo is an all brass razor, an added advantage.
 
#16
Merkur 37C or 39C could be a good move
They are efficient, safe to use and you might pick up a used one relatively cheap.
Alternatively, Rockwell 6C, Parker Variant or Merkur Progress/Futur would see you right
Thanks. For some reason slants just don't sit well with my eyes. They just look wrong. I suppose I won't know unless I try one though. The Rockwells seem popular, but to me they look somewhat chunky, are they ok to get in areas like under the nose? I do kind of like the idea of doing 2 passes on the 4 plate then flipping it and doing an ATG on the 2 plate.

It sounds to me like you aren't getting close enough with your WTG / XTG passes. If you have to do too much work on the ATG pass it can result in tugging and biting and therefore irritation or ingrowns. You need to get to a DFS by the end of the XTG and shouldn't feel you need that ATG. The ATG should be a very smooth pass.

To address this you can do several things:
1) Improve your prep. In my experience good prep / lathering can reduce the number of passes by a whole pass.
Apply heat - hot flannel or towel
Apply preshave cream, oil, or just lather. Leave to soak for a few minutes. You can shower in this time if you like.
Apply heat - flannel or towel again to lift the preshave product.
Lather directly to the face not in a bowl, building the lather on your face itself.
Shave.
2) Add a second XTG pass in the opposite direction. This works, but you may find that 4 passes is too much if your skin is sensitive.
3) Upgrade to a more aggressive razor. This is tricky and may not work at first. You have to be absolutely spot on with your technique. The ES Braveheart and Muhle Rocca are a midway aggressive and could be a good step up. A slant razor can be an efficient but not too aggressive approach - you could consider that. The Muhle R41 is similar to the 89 in that it has a good tolerance for different angles. It is a big leap in terms of aggressiveness.
4) Shave with a more aggressive razor WTG / XTG and use the DE89 For the ATG pass. This is a nice approach. I use it on days when my skin is particularly sensitive. It works really well because you get to remove hair with the minimum fuss on the initial passes and still have a light touch for the ATG. An adjustable is an even easier razor for this, and provides the most flexibility - the Parker Variant or Merkue Progress. Start high and adjust the settings down with each pass.
Thanks for this detailed reply. Lots for me to chew on here. Something like a midway DE such as a Rocca would interest me.

Be aware that what ever razor you choose, you will probably not get a better shave than what you are getting now. The DE89, Muhle R89, and Merkur 37c or 39c are three of the best affordable razors on the market. They've been in production for decades.
I was half expecting this comment from someone. . . Buy a ton of razors only to find down the line that your favourite was there all along!

I agree to getting a good lather and would suggest a quality soap. Ok, some guys swear by a soap stick like Pamolive, but to me these are hard work. Get a good cream or soap and do not skimp as soaps last ages anyway.
Just started a tub of Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort cream. Really really nice, easily my favourite cream to date. Labelled as 'Unscented' but has a mild lavender scent in fact. 190g tub will last ages!

I would suggest 1 x WTG and 2 x XTG passes for a closer shave in the first instance. If you cannot get the results you are seeking the Fatip Picccolo is worth a try but it much more aggressive than the DE89, good technique will get you good results. The Piccolo is an all brass razor, an added advantage.
Thanks, I actually tried a WTG / XTG / XTG other direction shave today. It was pretty good. I resisited the temptation to still go ATG afterwards, I just did a little buffing / J-hooking with the leftover lather instead. It feels like having a little left on the trouble areas is a good trade-off for getting close but having the razor biting during ATG and my face being red raw after shaving. Nicely finished off with Barts Balm Peppermint Oil balm. For a minute it feels like you've crushed a 4 pack of extra strong mint tubes, made it into a paste and slapped it onto your face, then it feels nice and refreshing!

About to loan an ATT M2 OC from Chris @Satanfriendly, look forward to trying my first OC !
 
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#17
Thanks. For some reason slants just don't sit well with my eyes. They just look wrong. I suppose I won't know unless I try one though. The Rockwells seem popular, but to me they look somewhat chunky, are they ok to get in areas like under the nose? I do kind of like the idea of doing 2 passes on the 4 plate then flipping it and doing an ATG on the 2 plate.



Thanks for this detailed reply. Lots for me to chew on here. Something like a midway DE such as a Rocca would interest me.



I was half expecting this comment from someone. . . Buy a ton of razors only to find down the line that your favourite was there all along!



Just started a tub of Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort cream. Really really nice, easily my favourite cream to date. Labelled as 'Unscented' but has a mild lavender scent in fact.



Thanks, I actually tried a WTG / XTG / XTG other direction shave today. It was pretty good. I resisited the temptation to still go ATG afterwards, I just did a little buffing / J-hooking with the leftover lather instead. It feels like having a little left on the trouble areas is a good trade-off for getting close but having the razor biting during ATG and my face being red raw after shaving. Nicely finished off with Barts Balm Peppermint Oil balm. For a minute it feels like you've crushed a 4 pack of extra strong mints, made it into a paste and slapped it onto your face, then it feels nice and refreshing!

About to loan an ATT M2 OC from Chris @Satanfriendly, look forward to trying my first OC !
The Rockwell may seem a bit on the chunky side but I find I can shave ATG under my nose with it no problem at all, and I have annoying growth right in the crease of the flares of my nostrils.
I usually use mine on plates 3&4 and it's without doubt the smoothest razor I have used.
Slant razors aren't scary to use at all. A little more care is needed at first while you get used to the increased blade exposure but they're intuitive and do a good job.
 
#18
I think after 6 months with one razor you owe it to yourself to buy another razor, go on treat yourself. Laffin!:D

Before I recommend buying anything new. I’d recommend buffing around the chin area and also go from East to West (as you face the mirror) and back again a few times to see if you can get a closer shave. It’s one of a few places were I struggle to get a close finish after 3 passes.

OK onto hardware. It’s difficult to recommend anything but I’ll give you a few to look out for and a few I wouldn’t recommend.

First the ones I wouldn’t recommend:

The R41. Too aggressive and no fun to use.

Steer well clear of any Futur copies or the Futur for that matter. The copies are cheap and nasty. A number of them have alinement issues which can prove dangerous. The original Futur is very aggressive and may not the best to go for just yet.

Don’t buy a Timeless until you can borrow one first. Yes they look nice but a number of others, including myself have find them rough and aggressive. I really, really wanted one but a number of members suggested in their strongest possible terms not to buy one until I try one on loan. I tried different blade gaps, different configurations and I didn’t like any of them.

Ones I’d recommend:

The Fatip Piccolo. Cheap but a great shaver. Very efficient and smooth. I don’t find it aggressive at all.

The Parker Variant or Progress. I’ve tried both and preferred the Variant. I nearly bought one myself but it the handle was a little too long for me.

Above The Tie: They are more expensive but very well made. One of my favourites is the S2 (Open Comb Slate).

SE (Artist Club) style razors are worth a go. The Razorock Hawk is OK (for the money) but I much preferred (Aluminium) The General by Colonial Razors.

I would highly recommend you give the GEM SE Style razors a go. You can pick up an Ever Ready 1912 for under £15.00. It’s a fantastic shaver and the best ‘bang for buck’ in shaving (IMHO). Put a Wanted AD in BST and you'll get a number of offers and no doubt the seller will include a few blades to start you off.
 
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#19
Yes they look nice but myself and a number of others have find them rough and aggressive. I really, really wanted one but a number of members suggested in their strongest possible terms not to buy one until I have one on loan. I’ve tried the different blade gaps and the different configurations of base plates and top caps and I didn’t like any of them.
One man's meat is another man's poison.

Certainly for me the Timeless is a step above the ATT M2 which out of the two I would describe as the rough and the aggressive. But then again this shaving thing is like most hobbies (or hobbies which are not quite hobbies?). It is all down to personal taste and and an awful lot of other factors which can dictate how items perform.

I will agree Timeless are not cheap but I did buy mine used for a great price which made a lot of sense. And glad I did.

As it is I am loaning a few razors to Dave so he can (As rightfully mentioned) trial for himself. I hope it helps in his quest.
 
#20
One man's meat is another man's poison.

Certainly for me the Timeless is a step above the ATT M2 which out of the two I would describe as the rough and the aggressive. But then again this shaving thing is like most hobbies (or hobbies which are not quite hobbies?). It is all down to personal taste and and an awful lot of other factors which can dictate how items perform.

I will agree Timeless are not cheap but I did buy mine used for a great price which made a lot of sense. And glad I did.

As it is I am loaning a few razors to Dave so he can (As rightfully mentioned) trial for himself. I hope it helps in his quest.
Totally agree with you. The Timeless wasn't for me but many love it. My advice was to try before you buy. Not always possible I know. Great to hear you're helping Dave out.

I think you can get away with buying cheaper razors like the Fatip or Parker. You can pick them up on the BST threads and if they aren't for you you can sell them on for very little to no loss.
 
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