Okay, I've adopted a new technique ... not a conventional wisdom technique, but it does provide the most comfortable shaves I've ever had.
- Heat the entire face with hot water as usual, leave lightly damp.
- Apply an even layer of lotion over entire shave area. Better lotion is better of course, I use the better half's Nivea, pretty good.
- Apply shave cream or gel directly over lotion. It's okay to mix them some.
- Shave as usual
I can shave faster, closer, without the slightest irritation, burn, nothing at all. Started using this process almost a year ago, and it's worked so well for me that if there's no lotion, I have to get some before I shave.
Lotion step might not seem revolutionary, after all some gels have lotion in them, but it seemed strange to me at first ... thought the lotion would slow the blades or something, but there's no problems.