Back to Part 1
For my first single blade shave, I started out very carefully. I didn't get a very good lather. I shaved my face twice going downwards, applying the soap lather before each pass. It wasn't a close shave, but there were no cuts or irritation afterwards, so it was an OK start.
I went and bought a $5 porcelain bowl from a homewares store and used it to make the lather for my second shave. It was much better. I did it by starting before my shower, filling the bowl with hot water, putting the brush in the bowl, and putting a tiny bit of hot water on top of the soap. When I got out of the shower, I emptied the bowl into the sink (with the plug in), tipped the soapy water into the bowl, squeezed the brush dry, pushed it firmly into the soap and did a few circles, then started whisking it with the soapy water in the bowl. Got a really good result in about a minute.
The shave itself was good. I did three downward passes. Probably as close as an average cartridge razor, but not especially close. Still, I had no irritation and I was presentable.
Third shave was quite good. A little better than the second. This time I focussed more on the angle. I tried about 30 degrees for the first pass and about 40 degrees for the second pass. Inspite of most of the tutorials saying 30 degrees is the correct angle, I found that with my razor, something closer to 40 was the best. It gave the closest shave. You could also hear it was cutting more hair, as the razor makes a subtle rumbling sound as you shave.
My fourth shave wasn't so good. I had to do four passes to get the same effect and it left my face stinging slightly. I think it was because the blade was getting blunt, so I changed it.
My fifth shave was as good as the third.
And today, I had my best shave yet. I did three downward passes, keeping the angle at about 40 degrees. It produced no irritation, and a nice smooth face, but only in the downward direction. If I put my hand against my face and run it upward, I can feel some stubble.
Tomorrow I'm going to be brave and gently try an upward (against the grain) third pass. This is what mantic's original videos recommended (see my original post), but I was too scared to try it because it always gave me ingrown hairs when using a cartridge razor.
Wish me luck!
(Also, thanks to all the guys who gave me good advice on the Badger and Blade forums.)