Lot's of good, honest advice from the other members...

Elaborate pre-shave rituals and products mostly a waste of time - anything other than a hot shower before a shave seems a waste of either time or money in my experience. Human hair absorbs water, so hydrating it before a shave does make it a bit softer. That said, if you are having issues with irritation, as opposed to just nicks and cuts, you might try "cold shaving" (I think there is an article about it on the Sharpologist blog).

Poor lather quality can definitely be the source of nicks and cuts but, more often than not for new wet shavers, I think angle and pressure are more serious issues. Especially if one is coming over from cartridge razors where more pressure (within reason) usually equals a closer shave and the angle is pretty much fixed, one is likely to be using too much pressure even when it seems to them that they're using a light touch; similarly, the angle one holds the razor is likely to be too steep (handle too close to the face).... "Technique over Tools" as u/sgrdddy said.

Don't be afraid to try blades from your sampler pack from amazon. Most all of the popular modern DE blades fall within a fairly small window of performance and are capable of giving good shaves... and of biting you. Mostly when we have heated debates about blades on these forums we are arguing over minutiae which, until your technique improves a bit, will be lost on you. Try out the blades that you have and if one feels better than another, stick with that brand for at least a month and focus on technique.

Welcome again and happy shaving!