04-27-2012, 11:39 PM
#1
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Hi There,

Been researching and planning my new shaving strategy. Budget is an issue, so I'm being methodical. I have used various products, but never a DE razor. Closest comparison was an older Penhaligons 2 blade cartridge with Kiehls brushless. Also used various shave oils, including dermologica and other natural ones I can't remember. The cartridge escalation wars and inverse shaving quality has been a ongoing source of frustration for me.

The plan, thus far, is to get an Edwin Jagger D89 with shave oil and various blades to try over time.

I tend shave after I shower and exfoliate with a scrub. My hope is I that can avoid the whole brush/cream combo, or use a brushless. My question is this:

Is it naive to expect to use this combo; will I have to be more involved in my regimen? Can I do okay with a scrub, brushless cream or is it necessary to go the whole hog? (no boar pun intended)

Any feedback on first time razor choice also welcomed.

Thanks,

Peter

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 04-28-2012, 05:13 AM
#2
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Many people use safety razors with canned goo. You can do it cheaply, but honestly that kind of cheap is only considering initial investment. When you look at cost per shave you will be saving significantly more by using a quality soap/cream. I believe there are quite a few non-lathering (or brushless creams) than can work so you don't have to buy a brush. But honestly for $10-20 you can get a high quality boar brush. I've used a non-lathering gel before that worked well as it was super slick. I got it at the Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, a dollar. It's called Rise Shave Gel. They also make a cream, but I haven't tried that one. I think you can possibly eliminate shave oils by having a good lather with a quality soap/cream. That said there are still many who enjoy what the oil adds to their experience. I find that it's unnecessary for me.

Razor choice is tough and can depend on you style & technique of shaving as well as the type of facial hair you have. I personally can't get good shaves from a DE unless it's a slant bar. I primarily shave with SEs & injectors which can typically be found in good condition fr very little $ at a local antique store. Just clean it up & sterilize it, add a blade, & you're set.

Get a basic and quality setup which will last awhile. Avoid the ADs & you'll be saving a ton very quickly. Hope that helps.

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 04-28-2012, 07:13 AM
#3
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Peter,
The one brush-less cream I recommend is St. James of London. This is good stuff and you don't need much of it per shave. For a DE razor, I can't say enough good things about Edwin Jagger. I have all of their models and like each for what it is. Take your pick, because all are silky shavers.
Stay well,
Obie

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 04-28-2012, 08:11 AM
#4
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Peter, all good questions. I can't help you with the cream/gel situation as in over 50 years of shaving, I never used any. I've always used a brush with either lathering soaps or creams.

As for the razor, as Teiste said, you would be hard pressed to beat one of the DE series razors. When I use a DE, I use my DE87. As for as blades, we all have our favoirtes and you might be best served by buying a sample pack from one of the vendors. I personally use the Gillette 7 O'Clock Blue Blades.

But, like Brian, I use my old Schick Injectors for most of my shaves. You can pick up a good one on eBay for not much money if you know what you are looking for, and the blades can be had cheap enough.

If you want to try the brush route, I would recommend starting out with a Semogue 1460. Great all around brush that works well with soaps or creams (the lathering kind). And since you're new at this, I would recommend you start out with a good cream, like Proraso Green. It is easy to lather and give good protection while you shave.

Good luck to you sir.

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 04-28-2012, 12:28 PM
#5
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Good advice from Johnny and Brian. I too, have used DE, SE and Injector razors to good effect. However, the Schick injector is my razor of choice. Also, the transition from cartridge razors is probably easiest with injector razors. You can get a decent boar bristle brush for $10 to $15, and is highly recommended. Good luck with your new experience in wet shaving.

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 04-28-2012, 12:54 PM
#6
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(04-28-2012, 08:11 AM)Johnny Wrote: Peter, all good questions. I can't help you with the cream/gel situation as in over 50 years of shaving, I never used any. I've always used a brush with either lathering soaps or creams.

As for the razor, as Teiste said, you would be hard pressed to beat one of the DE series razors. When I use a DE, I use my DE87. As for as blades, we all have our favoirtes and you might be best served by buying a sample pack from one of the vendors. I personally use the Gillette 7 O'Clock Blue Blades.

But, like Brian, I use my old Schick Injectors for most of my shaves. You can pick up a good one on eBay for not much money if you know what you are looking for, and the blades can be had cheap enough.

If you want to try the brush route, I would recommend starting out with a Semogue 1460. Great all around brush that works well with soaps or creams (the lathering kind). And since you're new at this, I would recommend you start out with a good cream, like Proraso Green. It is easy to lather and give good protection while you shave.

Good luck to you sir.

Brian, Obie and Johnny, thanks for the response. When your refer to SE/injector razors, these are the little hinged jobs like the old Schick and possibly Gem ones I've seen around? Why do you use these on a more regular basis, as opposed to the older DE style? Also, when buying off ebay, you mention "knowing what you are looking for" Does this mean there are certain problems to look out for?

As to canned goo, I have never used this as I hate it and it rips up my skin. I've used various brushless creams and shave oils, just not with a more traditional razor.

Thanks again.

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 04-28-2012, 03:13 PM
#7
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Peter,
You idea is a good one. Obie and the other members would have a better idea of which brushless cream would be best.
However, a good, inexpensive boar brush coupled with a good tallow-base soap and face lathering will amaze you and you will wonder why you waited so long to try this!
Good luck to you, sir.

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 04-28-2012, 03:20 PM
#8
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Hi Peter,

Actually I think the SE razor is the older style, but you're still learnin'. Wink

Both SE and DE have their advantages and adherents, and lots of us use both.

You're beginning razor of choice is a good start, I have no doubt that it won't be your last, but at this point, well, you need to begin somewhere. You can do a lot worse. Be sure to get a blade sampler as well since no one can predict what blades you'll like and you need to decide that on your own. AFTER you get the basics down. Do NOT stock up on blades; get a sampler.

There are ways to speed the shave up, but if you're looking to get cartridge speed out of a blade shave, you'll need to teach us. I never heard of it. Myself I can get a BBS in 13 minutes. I prefer to take my time, but I can do it with the proper razor and blade. What you may find is that the morning shave (or evening shave) becomes the highlight of the day (I'm not joking) and you won't want to rush it. I never thought I would ever write that or even think it, but it just happens when someone get's it down. It's downright enjoyable.

I would get a brush and a decent but not expensive soap and get the advantages inherent in prepping the beard with a real lather. You don't need to learn this in the morning. It's perfectly acceptable to learn what you need to know at your leisure and incorporate parts of it, or all of it, when you wish to. Lathering is best learned without committing the lather you make to a shave. If you get a boar brush, even more important to use that brush for a time without a shave in the offing. Most require a break in to perform correctly and as a noob, you'll have your hands full with other things.

Lot's of folks can produce a shave so close in the evening that that's when they shave for the next day. I'm not saying you should, only that it's an option.

And yes, you can actually save $ while enjoying your shave by using a blade. We're going to try to hook you on acquisition disorder as soon as we can, but it is possible to resist it.

I never found a shave oil to help, only to get in the way of what's important, but I do find a few minutes in prepping the face and beard with water and soap to be a huge benefit. You can make your own shave oil, it's not magic. But I wouldn't unless you somehow find the shave lacking. But why needlessly complicate things unless the need arises?

Anyway, have fun on your new endevour, and we're here when you need us to be. Despite what you've heard, there are stupid questions, but not in shaving. So ask away.

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 04-28-2012, 05:44 PM
#9
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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I would probably stick to your choice of the DE89 for the first razor. Although you don't need to get a brush and soap I think you will find that it would give you a better shave and it will actually be cheaper. You could get a high quality Semogue or Omega boar brush for twenty dollars that will last you years. The list of cheap quality soaps is endless.

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 04-28-2012, 06:11 PM
#10
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Thanks folks for your responses. I will take them to heart and then update you once I have moved forward. I expect to be experimenting and learning for a little while before I get into my own groove (just like any other endeavor.)

P

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 04-28-2012, 06:19 PM
#11
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The DE89 with various blade types sounds like a great choice. The DE89 series are fine shavers and of outstanding quality construction. As for the blades, sampler packs are one way to go. Since sampler packs are really just collections of individual blade packs, you can also create your own custom sampler. Simply buy packs of the different blades you would like to try and there you have it.

If you favor brushless creams, Kiss My Face is a good option. If you decide to use a brush later on, it works even better with a brush than without. Kiss My Face is easy on the pocketbook, too. In my experience, it works much better than goo-in-a-can.

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 04-28-2012, 07:32 PM
#12
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Bah, you start this thing called traditional shaving with a minimalist attitude and the next thing you know you're running around like some obsessed maniac.

With that said, stick with your regular gel/cream because you honestly don't need anything special and you most certainly don't need a brush or mug. Just a good razor and a collection of different blades to test out.

I can send you blades to try out if you'd like, maybe a dozen different brands (commonly prefered brands). PM me your address and I can have them in the mail Monday.

I've never used an EJ razor, so I'm not sure how mild they are, maybe someone can tell you, but you should start off with a mild razor--IMO.
I've read nothing but great things about that razor, so it's probably a good choice.

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 04-29-2012, 12:56 AM
#13
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Out of curiosity, there are always old school Gem Juniors around. Are they a practical first SE choice, or too aggressive?

Tbone: Yes I am familiar with the KMF stuff and it is nice, affordable and easy to find. Thanks for the tip.

John: Thanks for the offer, but I have nothing to put them in yet! I wouldn't call myself a minimalist exactly... in my more affluent days, I have indulged in Cuban cigars, high end audio etc. So mildly obsessive hobby-ing is a natural state for me. Hey, we like what we like, right?

Brian: Lots of good advice, I appreciate it. I can see everyone has their style and it takes a while to get into it.

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 04-29-2012, 07:23 AM
#14
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A SE Gem would be a great stepping stone and even a great permanent stone. They're very good shavers and blades can be found at Walgreens. Of course, YMMV.

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 04-29-2012, 11:24 AM
#15
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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I find using a brush and lather a major incentive to switch to wet shaving. Brushless cremes may work, but cut out a great deal of enjoyment from the whole process. As was said before, a good quality boar brush will run you under $20. A very inexpensive and excellent Arko shaving stick will run you $2-$4 depending where you get it. You can even pick up a puck of VDH soap at Target or Walmart for a couple of bucks and from most accounts those get good reviews. Do yourself a favor and try a brush/soap/creme with your shaving. You will most likely love it once you figure it out.

As for a razor, I love my EJ DE89 Barley Chrome, but honestly, there is no need to spend $45 on a razor at the beginning. You can pick up an old Gillete in great working order for less than $20. Gillette Techs go for around $10 or so, Super Speeds for around $15. Both razors are very mild, but capable of producing absolutely wonderful results. I have a modern EJ DE89 and four vintage Gillettes. I Use Gillettes more. A 1965 flare tip Super Speed I picked up for $18 delivered on ebay is pretty much my daily driver. Really, if budget is an issue pick up one of these inexpensive Gillettes, a blade sampler pack, some soap and a brush and you'll be under $60 for a kit that will last you a while and capable of great results.

Good luck!

P.S. A good quality inexpensive boar brush I use is an Omega 10275. However a Semogue 1470 or 1438 is not that much more expensive (around $15) and are probably higher end products. Boar shaving brushes from either Omega or Semogue are an excellent inexpensive way to get into wet shaving. Badger brushes are expensive (good ones are) and are not necessarily better in performance. I have both kinds and I honestly like the boar just as much as my badgers.

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 04-29-2012, 12:46 PM
#16
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Hi Peter,

If you want brushless KMF is an excellent one! You'll give up some cushion but gain lubricity. I don't think I've ever used any canned goop that worked as nicely as even a non-brushed product like KMF. Another is Bigelow. Both are probably available locally for you.

BTW, both of these work better with a brush, but it's not mandatory. I highly suggest using a brush, but it can be done brushless. Both products even say you don't need to use a brush in the instructions. If you get a lot of irritation or razor burn, then definitely use a brush. The addition of microscopic bubbles adds cushion and that's a really good thing.

The GEM Jr. is, IMO, not a beginners SE razor, it's mid aggressive as far as SE razors go (ive read of one gent who claimed it was mild). That's slightly more than mid aggressive as far as DE razors go. The least aggressive SE is a step or two up from a DE beginners razor. The 3 SE razors that might be suitable for a beginner are all GEMs. The Featherweight, the G-Bar (or Heavy Flat Top [HFT]) or the Damaskeene closed comb. Be aware that the angle required for SE is different than the angle used for DE.

Why is angle important enough that I mention it?

As a beginner you'll have enough on your plate w/o inserting other variables chaotically. Sure, you can do that and if you have incredible perseverence you might succeed. But if you simplify for now, learn the basics to build a foundation, then slowly change one variable and see what happens you'll learn far faster than jumping around not knowing what change did what. Eventually, and it won't be long, you'll be able to make many changes per shave and know exactly what change affected what. But not yet, that comes later.

You can begin with one of the SE razors I mentioned and succeed. I learned this time around with a GEM Featherweight. One advantage to doing this is the blade selection is limited. The blades generally available (and that we'll suggest) are all very good. That removes one variable from the mix you'll have to contend with. That means you can concentrate on other things. If you have a Rite-Aid, Walgreens, or CVS you have shaving quality SE blades available and they're good blades. Do not use hardware store SE blades!

If you want to start with SE just put a WTB advert in the proper section and I have no doubt a few will show up. There are no new SE razors made today.

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 04-29-2012, 01:16 PM
#17
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Hey Peter, I'll just add to what others here have already said. When I decided I was tired of paying too much for disposables, the EJ D89 was my first razor. I bought the razor, an inexpensive brush, some Proraso shaving cream, and a blade sampler off the internet. I think I might have spent about $40, total. But, when you consider the price that cartridge razors are fetching, not too bad. The D89 is a great razor to start with. The price is right, and it is not aggressive. I highly recommend it. Just remember to lay off the pressure. Let the blade do the work. That was the hardest thing for me to stop doing. You are looking for a gradual reduction in your beard. Once you get the hang of DE shaving, you will wonder why you were wasting so much money. Good luck.

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 04-29-2012, 03:28 PM
#18
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If you want to go brushless, I'd suggest Nancy Boy's shave cream. You get a large amount and you use only a little per shave. You can paint it on with a brush if you want or just use your fingers. I think your EJ89 is a good choice for a smooth shaving razor. You can go cheaper with Feather Popular, though it is plastic and metal as opposed to the metal EJ89. The Feather is another very smooth shaving razor.

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 04-29-2012, 09:31 PM
#19
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Aubrey also do a brush less shave cream - it smells nice but don't work half as well as my lathered soaps. YMMV off course, so you might want to give it a try at some point.

The Feather Popular - while being mainly plastic - is not a bad little razor. It feels almost like a cartridge razor in my hands due to the low weight, downside is that you might be tempted to use too much pressure. I would suggest the Popular as a second or travel razor; not as the introduction to DE shaving. Again, YMMV as always.

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 04-30-2012, 12:38 AM
#20
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(04-29-2012, 12:46 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Hi Peter,

If you want brushless KMF is an excellent one! You'll give up some cushion but gain lubricity. I don't think I've ever used any canned goop that worked as nicely as even a non-brushed product like KMF. Another is Bigelow. Both are probably available locally for you.

BTW, both of these work better with a brush, but it's not mandatory. I highly suggest using a brush, but it can be done brushless. Both products even say you don't need to use a brush in the instructions. If you get a lot of irritation or razor burn, then definitely use a brush. The addition of microscopic bubbles adds cushion and that's a really good thing.

The GEM Jr. is, IMO, not a beginners SE razor, it's mid aggressive as far as SE razors go (ive read of one gent who claimed it was mild). That's slightly more than mid aggressive as far as DE razors go. The least aggressive SE is a step or two up from a DE beginners razor. The 3 SE razors that might be suitable for a beginner are all GEMs. The Featherweight, the G-Bar (or Heavy Flat Top [HFT]) or the Damaskeene closed comb. Be aware that the angle required for SE is different than the angle used for DE.

Why is angle important enough that I mention it?

As a beginner you'll have enough on your plate w/o inserting other variables chaotically. Sure, you can do that and if you have incredible perseverence you might succeed. But if you simplify for now, learn the basics to build a foundation, then slowly change one variable and see what happens you'll learn far faster than jumping around not knowing what change did what. Eventually, and it won't be long, you'll be able to make many changes per shave and know exactly what change affected what. But not yet, that comes later.

You can begin with one of the SE razors I mentioned and succeed. I learned this time around with a GEM Featherweight. One advantage to doing this is the blade selection is limited. The blades generally available (and that we'll suggest) are all very good. That removes one variable from the mix you'll have to contend with. That means you can concentrate on other things. If you have a Rite-Aid, Walgreens, or CVS you have shaving quality SE blades available and they're good blades. Do not use hardware store SE blades!

If you want to start with SE just put a WTB advert in the proper section and I have no doubt a few will show up. There are no new SE razors made today.

Very nice and detailed information. The point you make about limiting variables applies in many fields, so I will take your advice in applying it here. I have ordered a modest SE off of ebay and will see what eventuates. Update to come...

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