01-23-2015, 06:47 PM
#1
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When I first started to wet shave, I had a very limited knowledge of products to use. I feel like this cost me money and lead to mistakes on some products. I don't want to name the certain products, but I had no idea there were so many places to shop. Since learning more about the community I get frustrated with the late start to the great products that I don't have the money for now.  I think it's just something that takes time to really figure out what you like. So my questions is,  when everyone was just starting out was it a trial and error like in my case? Or was there tons of research before purchasing?

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 01-23-2015, 06:57 PM
#2
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tons of research + trial and error here  Wink

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 01-23-2015, 09:18 PM
#3
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(01-23-2015, 06:57 PM)tonsorius Wrote: tons of research + trial and error here  Wink

+1    Now, it is trial and error because no matter how good I say a brush, soap, razor, etcetera is, until you try it, you will never know! YMMV, as they say! Biggrin

I would recommend enjoying your shaves and every thing else in your life, right now, and not regretting anything that has happened! Life's too short!  Thumbup

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 01-23-2015, 11:53 PM
#4
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(01-23-2015, 09:18 PM)celestino Wrote:
(01-23-2015, 06:57 PM)tonsorius Wrote: tons of research + trial and error here  Wink

+1    Now, it is trial and error because no matter how good I say a brush, soap, razor, etcetera is, until you try it, you will never know! YMMV, as they say! Biggrin

I would recommend enjoying your shaves and every thing else in your life, right now, and not regretting anything that has happened! Life's too short! 
Amen!

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 01-24-2015, 01:39 AM
#5
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(01-23-2015, 06:47 PM)migs32 Wrote: So my questions is,  when everyone was just starting out was it a trial and error like in my case? Or was there tons of research before purchasing?

Yes and yes.  (In my case.)

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 01-24-2015, 02:42 AM
#6
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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It was simpler when I started what is now called "wet shaving" as it was the norm. You used used what Dad used and made it work. Ignorance is indeed bliss. There was no net and the choices were very limited to whatever the stores carried. Fast forward 40 odd years and you now have a what might be termed overabundance of choices and the places to buy them. Today even with researching products I have made a few mistakes as you really don't know if a product is for you till you have tried it. After trying quite a few new razors, brushes, after shaves, soaps and creams these last few years I have found there was not much wrong with the Gillette DE, Palmolive shave cream, boar brush and Aqua Velva AS that I started with. No need to be frustrated just enjoy what you have and learn to make it work. 

Bob

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 01-24-2015, 06:54 AM
#7
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I got back into DE shaving from the Microtouch One razor commercial with Rick Harrison (Pawn Stars). Not much research involved (that came later). It was definitely an impulse move on my part. That razor (and some other products) have since moved on to other dens. Now, I learn a lot form this forum, but more importantly, I know what I like, what works well, etc., so my purchases are much more informed.

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 01-24-2015, 08:08 AM
#8
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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Plenty of experimentation with gear. Some I've liked, some not. No regrets with anything yet. I find that my tastes change periodically, and expect that will continue for a while.

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 01-24-2015, 08:28 AM
#9
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Tons of research and trial and error, same as the majority. I did have a few razors that I had acquired here and there over the years before jumping into the deep end of the pool. I think I found 4 razors and I have no idea where I acquired them. But when I got to diggin' there they were.

You'll definitely make some errors no matter how careful you are, but those can be minimized by carefully reading reviews. Those errors can sometimes be used in the shower in the case of soaps, or sold on the b/s/t, or PIFed.

Probably the costliest part of shaving, at least in time if not cash, is finding the right blade(s). Early on I figured out that I liked smooth and sharp in a blade, but calibrate my face to someone elses in order to get something out of a review... not easy. I still had approx' 1 1/2 years of testing to go through 30 some odd blades to find a selection of possibly 1/2 a dozen that would work for me.

One way to lessen the expense of testing is to keep an eye on the b/s/t or just ask if someone has a few of "blade x" laying around that you can try. I suspect lots of us do; I know I did (and pretty much don't anymore). Another way is to take part in all the PIFs you can. Someone will win every PIF, and sometimes not a lot of people participate, so your chances are often excellent. Another way is to use vintage gear. Many times vintage gear is in excellent condition and available for little more than the cost of the shipping.

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 01-24-2015, 11:29 AM
#10
  • Jovan
  • Banned
  • Traveling USA
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Every trial and error is a learning experience.  No matter how much research you do in advance you will never discover your perfect razor, soap, brush without being able to compare it to something.  So enjoy your 'education and learning curve' and if you ever do reach that mystical pinnacle of the perfect razor, soap, brush remember there will always be the need to tweak it.  Therefore the hunt will continue.  Good luck.

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 01-24-2015, 10:48 PM
#11
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(01-23-2015, 06:47 PM)migs32 Wrote: So my questions is,  when everyone was just starting out was it a trial and error like in my case? Or was there tons of research before purchasing?

Even with a ton of research, I think it will always be trial and error since there is so much personal taste that goes into all wet shaving products. Just because a bunch of people have favorable opinions about a given product that doea not mean it will work for you.

If you a fortunate, you might find others with the same tastes, which will help give you an idea of what you might like, or even what products to try or avoid.

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 01-25-2015, 05:00 PM
#12
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There's no way around it, man! This is a trial and error hobby but that's part of the enjoyment. Truth be told much of the debate about razors, blades, etc. are pretty subjective. Eventually you settle into a groove and you learn what YOU like and what feels and works best for YOU. Also, there's nothing like a great location like TSN to do a quick search and see what others are saying about a menagerie of topics. Case in point ... so, I am at the local grocery store and happen to look at their shaving section (a habit of mine now because I want to see what they might be selling that's worth buying!) and I see AQUA VELVA. I think, "That crap! You gotta be kidding me! Who's gonna buy that? Its dinosaur aftershave!" Right? Uh, WRONG! You'll find quite a few brethren here on TSN that love that stuff. Also, it's been around for like 50+ years and is still selling strong. So, my point is that ... I check this website on everything I am considering buying just to see what others are saying. You learn a lot from the mistakes and success stories you read about here. Okay, this is way too verbose! By the way, I'm planning on buying a bottle of Aqua Velva the next time I hit the grocery store! Ha!

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 01-25-2015, 05:02 PM
#13
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
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Research is a good thing.  It gives you a sense of the landscape, but trial and error are the only way to know what works for you.  The single most important thing to take account of is your beard and skin.  All other decisions should flow from that knowledge.  If you just try stuff blindly (like I did), the odds of finding the razor(s), soap(s) and brush(es) that you enjoy using are considerably lower.  Of course you can always get lucky and stumble upon something, but it's better to start from your individual shaving challenge.

It really doesn't matter what works for someone else, but at the same time opinions of other experienced shavers can give you ideas where to start.  For example,  I have a beard that is hard to cut, especially around my upper lip and chin.  The skin on my neck is sensitive and cannot take more than two passes without letting me know it's displeased.  The surface of my face is uneven because of scaring from acne, but the skin is not sensitive so I can make 3 or more passes without a problem.  Given all that, the standard recommendations for razors and blades where not going to work for me at all  and I spent a lot of money proving it.  In my case, razors with little or no blade gap work very well.  Open comb razors dominate my DE collection.  They give me a closer and milder shave than solid bar razors.  I can shave with a solid bar razor with a small gap, but the shave is never more than okay.  My top shaving razors are single edge.  I love Schick injectors and my top performing razor in every respect is the Cobra Classic.  I tried the King Cobra and didn't care for it as much and I bought a Mongoose which shaves very well, but not nearly as well as the Cobra.  So did I just give you the best possible advice as to where to start with razors, maybe if you have all the same issues I do.

So if your skin is smooth and not particularly sensitive and you beard is easy to cut, then you have a great deal of flexibility where to start, otherwise always consider your situation when evaluating any recommendation.  Remember, there is  great variety of razors, soaps, blades and brushes because whatever combination one puts together, there are shavers for whom it will work and shavers for whom it won't.  Still, finding your own best combination, I believe, is lot of fun.  Good shaving.  Sherlock

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 01-25-2015, 07:01 PM
#14
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Migs, I great question. Just set a course to your own adventure. No one can tell you what's right or wrong with wet shaving. Read, listen and buy with a path of your own. The more popular products that get good or great reviews may be a starting path. From that knowledge you will make your own rotation of products that make you smile when you wake up in the morning.  Smile

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 01-26-2015, 09:53 AM
#15
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Research is a good starting point for sure, but as many have stated above, trial and error is inevitable.  There are just so many differences in our beards, skin, and personal preferences to avoid it.  I think this sort of reality fuels B/S/T.  Even products that are highly regarded won't be right for everyone.  So I guess we start with what's working for the majority and dial things in from there.

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 01-26-2015, 10:17 AM
#16
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Something that I learned along the way (unrelated to product) is hydration is a key factor in nearly every aspect of shaving. You can use the same products day to day (which is very rare around here) or use varying products and get skewed results solely based on the condition/hydration of your skin the day you used them. So, a piece of advice that I would offer to avoid false positives or in a lot of cases, false negatives, DRINK THE SHIT OUT OF WATER!

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 01-26-2015, 06:27 PM
#17
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Thanks for the responses everyone. Im glad some people are in the same boat as me. I realized I'm in this for the long haul so over time I'm sure I'll figure things out. 

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 01-27-2015, 03:41 PM
#18
  • Teddyboy
  • Guilty, with an explanation
  • NYC
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Some research, but not tons.  As for trial and error, you cannot avoid making mistakes or improving some aspect of your process.  As Winston Churchill implied [see my signature] you must make some errors to make progress.  I have been doing traditional wetshaving for 8 years and I am still learning.  For example, I have just found my best preparation method.  Also, I still have to remind myself not to use too much pressure.  It's a fun journey, enjoy it.

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 01-27-2015, 05:01 PM
#19
  • Deuce
  • Just a guy
  • Cave Creek
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Great thread. My quest started with how to lather up a soap-thinking I was soap impaired, I found thru The Nook that the hard water here in my town really affected making a good lather. After that my time became more focused on checking things out, doing searches here. As an example, looking at brushes can make your head swim. But you start somewhere,read, and dabble, and trade, and pretty soon-you got it dialed in. The soap varieties are incredible, and I still have some I haven't opened yet! The blades that will work for you as mentioned by Brian does take time. 

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 01-28-2015, 08:47 AM
#20
  • TADIII
  • Gilletter from Home
  • FL & NC
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I very happily shaved with a Gillette Slim and Wilkinson Sword blades for more than 45 years.  I did NOT know the Slim was not the 195 I wanted in junior high school.  I did NOT know the Wilkinson blades I bought for all those years weren't always the same blade.  I did NOT know anything about hard and soft water.  And yet I shaved six or seven days a week most weeks on four continents and in a couple of dozen US states, very happily.   Somehow, it never occurred to me that shaving was an imposition.

What has happened since I discovered sites like TSN is that my prep has improved and my technique has improved.  My shaves are better, but not so dramatically better that I marvel in amazement.  But...but, but, but...I still make rookie mistakes - yes, I'll try that, or I should have bought that, or wouldn't that be nice; however, the most egregious rookie mistake for me is still impatience, resulting in inadequate prep, or sloppy technique, or both.  Those are the rookie mistakes I think of when I see a title like the one on this thread.

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