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Recommend a Starter Kit for someone with acne prone, ultra sensitive skin.(r/wicked_edge)
Do you live in the US? It helps to know country of residence.
I recommend the MaggardRazors.com starter set, assuming you do live in the US. For the brush, get their 22mm synthetic, which is soft and gentle on the skin. I find the Maggard V2 open-comb head the most comfortable and most efficient, but the Maggard V3 is also good. I would not recommend the V3A at the outset.
Their soaps are good, and they do sell a range of samples. You might also take a look at Mystic Water Sensitive Skin (scroll down at the link — you can see a complete list of ingredients in this post).
Here’s how I make lather, and I recommend that you make a series of practice lathers using the technique to gain experience quickly. Play with brush speed, brush pressure (firm is good), and how long you continue loading once the bubbles are too small to see individually. But do try the exact procedure before trying modifications.
I find that it helps to wash my beard at the sink following the shower. I use a high-glycerin soap and my hands, rinse partially with a splash, and then apply lather to my washed, wet beard. Some soaps good for this are Musgo Real Glyce Lime Oil soap (MR GLO), or Whole Foods 365 brand glycerin soap, or Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, or Clearly Natural glycerin soap. Some shaving vendors also offer a high-glycerin pre-shave soap—for example, this RazoRock pre-shave soap is available from several vendors. (I use MR GLO, but that’s a personal preference.) Use this pre-shave wash routine a week, skip it a week, then use it another week to see whether it in fact helps your shave. Nothing in shaving works for everyone, so you do have to experiment.
You’ll also have to experiment a bit to find the brand of blade that works best for you. I recommend trying 3-4 brands of blades and then sticking with the best of those for two months so you can master technique without being distracted by blade variability. The try one blade of a new brand once a month. If it’s better, switch to that as your regular brand; if it’s not, then stick with your old regular brand. Then a month later try a blade of another new brand and make teh same decision. After a year, you might return to the early rejects: with improved technique, they may turn out to be good after all.
If you use an exfoliating scrub, avoid using it on areas you shave, since shaving itself is quite exfoliating and the scrub in addition may well cause too much trauma to the skin. Restrict the scrub to areas not shaved: forehead and nose.
When you start, be careful to avoid the four most common mistakes cartridge shavers make when switching to a DE razor.
For acne, I recommend:
a. Check the ingredients in your shaving products and know which to avoid—menthol, for example, is not a good idea. Until your acne’s in remission, you can favor unscented shaving creams and soaps, though some fragrance is probably not going to cause problems.
b. Use a high-glycerin soap such as Whole Foods 365 glycerin soap with vitamin E (that’s one of several glycerin soaps they offer), $2/bar, as a pre-shave beard wash. Wash beard at the sink using your hands, then rinse partially with a splash and apply lather.
c. Rinse razor head in high-proof rubbing alcohol before and after each shave.
d. After the final rinse ending the shave, glide a dry alum block over your wet skin, then set block aside and clean up around the sink, put stuff away, etc., with the alum on your face. After a minute or two, rinse the alum off, dry, and do your usual aftershave. This step is particularly helpful: alum is a mild antiseptic. You may need to wet the block in colder climes during the winter, when indoor relatively humidity plummets. Since a few men have skin sensitive to alum (their skin turns red and hot for a few minutes after they use it), you may want to test the block on the crease of your elbow joint: wet block, rub it gently on the skin there, and wait 10 minutes. If you have no reaction, use it as advised. (Alum also makes a great styptic if you get a cut: for that use, wet a corner of the block and press it firmly against the cut or nick for 20-40 seconds.)
e. Use a fresh towel for every shave. You can buy thin, 100% cotton, lint-free towels called “barber towels” or “bar towels” for under $20/dozen. They’re easy to launder and a fresh one for each shave helps a lot. Here’s an example. You can also use surgical towels, like these. Also, these towels from Ikea are said to be good. A wet towel is a microbe incubator. I will add that I have found that using a special towel for the shave adds a pleasant note to the experience: I do not suffer from acne, but even so I use a barber towel when I shave, just for the enjoyment.
f. Shave daily. Use very light pressure Think of your skin as being badly sunburned and the razor is an uncomfortably hot bar, but the razor still must touch the skin—but barely. That kind of light pressure. Daily shaving probably helps by being exfoliating and by the daily alum block and good aftershave—try one of the Thayers witch hazels with aloe vera or one of the witch-hazel-based aftershaves by ProspectorCo.com or StirlingSoap.com. Since the shave itself is exfoliating, I suggest restricting exfoliating scrubs to the forehead and nose and not use them where you shave—this is to minimize skin damage.
g. Buy a bunch of pillowcases from a hotel supply house and use a fresh pillowcase every night.
h. If you have choices on how you eat, try observing this diet (but without the dairy) for a month and see what happens. It works for some. Here’s another description of the same diet. And here’s the reason the diet is recommended.
Hope this helps.