08-08-2016, 06:24 PM
#1
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I went into The Art of Shaving store the other day at my local mall and received some great information from an employee as to why shaving with an electric blade and a triple blade razor are bad for the skin. So I am very intrigued to start shaving with a safety blade, but I don't want to spend an arm and a leg to start. I know that with most things you pay for quality and some day I'll get there but right now I'm just looking for some advice on a good inexpensive way to start this hobby. So having said that, what is a necessity and what don't I have to purchase and what inexpensive products would you recommend?


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 08-08-2016, 07:05 PM
#2
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Welcome to the forum. If you embrace this onetime chore into the full out hobby or just settle into a superior regimen there is a learning curve as with everything. Contrary to our own enthusiasm there is utterly no reason modest kit cannot give pleasure and performance. I would pm Phil ( Bullgoose Shaving) here or register on the shop website and ask his advise. He has some perfectly acceptable entry level razors and brushes and can advise based on your beard type, pocketbook etc. People get almost religous fervor over certain product, but there are some pretty established parameters on 'the good, the bad and the ugly'. If you should stumble, and we all do: there is a ready market of kit people sell or trade with great enthusiasm.

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 08-08-2016, 07:32 PM
#3
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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Hi, welcome to TSN.

Many folks start with an inexpensive razor from Merkur, Edwin Jagger or Muhle. They're inexpensive, quality razors that are more than capable of providing a smooth, close, comfortable shave. When you finally (and soon!) buy your razor, stick with it for a month or two. Really learn how to make it work for you. Get yourself a blade sampler, 2 decent and inexpensive brushes, boar, badger and synthetic are the most popular. Horse is an option, too. Try a cream and a soap. Alum for post shave is my personal M.O., but there are a gazillion and twelve options. Have fun perfecting your technique, and enjoy your shaves!

Btw, kav was right, ask Phil for his recommendations. He will steer you in the right direction.

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 08-08-2016, 07:45 PM
#4
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(08-08-2016, 06:24 PM)ns1189 Wrote: I went into The Art of Shaving store the other day at my local mall and received some great information from an employee as to why shaving with an electric blade and a triple blade razor are bad for the skin. So I am very intrigued to start shaving with a safety blade, but I don't want to spend an arm and a leg to start. I know that with most things you pay for quality and some day I'll get there but right now I'm just looking for some advice on a good inexpensive way to start this hobby. So having said that, what is a necessity and what don't I have to purchase and what inexpensive products would you recommend?

The easiest place to overspend as a beginner is on brushes.  As recently as 30 (or so) months ago, the Conventional Wisdom (orthodoxy) was that one never was going to get a seriously good shave unless one used either a badger hair brush or some exceptional (e.g., Semogue Owners Club) boar bristle or even more exceptional (e.g., Vie-Long)) horse hair brushes to generate the lather for your shave prep.  And not just any old badger, either:  one was supposed to go above the “pure” and “finest” grades of badger (generally harvested from the stomach area of the badger) to the “super” and “silvertip” grades of badger, harvested from the throat area of the badger, which usually would get one into the $80 to $90 bracket.  Early in 2014, the bubble burst like the Dutch Black Tulip market when, first, Mühle with its “Silvertip Fibre” synthetic, then Plisson synthetics, hit the market, and now there are really quite excellent synthetic brushes from the likes of Bull Goose, or Stirling and Maggard and Italian Barber, that — while not exactly replicating Silvertip badger — are comparably good in their own right, and sell in the +/- $20 range.  Someday, you may want to venture into high-end badger territory, but, for now, the affordable synthetics provide a more-than-acceptable substitute.  

Second, for the razor itself, look for so-called “mild” geometry to start, for two reasons:  (1) less blood in the sink while you are learning, and (2) the better to learn technique until the technique becomes second nature.  You will see some posts — braggadocio, really — even on this very polite forum posted by shavers who claim that they are such Arnold Schwartzenegger manly men that mild razors cannot handle their testosterone-infused beards, and that they cannot cut their stubble with anything less than a very “aggressive” razor that would intimidate anyone less manly than they are.  Fact is, razors do not cut whiskers; blades do, and even the mildest razors can cut any whisker just as close to the skin as an aggressive razor can, if the user is patient enough to learn the correct technique to get the edge of the blade where it needs to go to cut the whisker.

Third — personal opinion alert — some of us who have tried a wide range of razor blades have reached a tentative conclusion that a grouping of blades by nation of manufacture will provide a rough-and-ready, but yet fairly reliable, guide to blade quality.  I personally find that the Japanese-made blades (there are only two brands — KAI and Feather — with one product line per brand, of Japanese DE blades) are superior to the best of the best from any other nation where DE blades are manufactured.  That said, there are many lines of Russian-made DE blades that are undeniably excellent, with most made in one of two factories, one of them in St. Petersburg majority owned by Procter & Gamble, parent of Gillette (where Gillette “white box” Platinum, Gillette Platinum, Gillette Platinum Rubie, Polsilver Super Iridium, Gillette Silver Blue, Astra, and many other brands of blades are manufactured); and the other in Moscow (where Rapira, Voshkod, and Ladas blades are manufactured).  As a group, and on average, German blades are inferior to the better Russian blades, and blades made in India, Korea, Brazil, Egypt, and Turkey generally trail behind the German blades in the hierarchy, allowing for exceptions either way.  

For soaps, there are numerous artisan soap makers right here in the United States, some of them producing shaving soaps equal to the best shaving soaps made anywhere in the world.  Spend some time in the Soaps & Creams sub-forum here, and you will get a feel for which ones consistently get the best reviews.  At the start, rather than swinging for the fences for a shaving soap that commends itself through its high (>$25) price point, instead get two or three sub-$12/puck soaps and experiment, to inform yourself on further avenues to pursue.

Hope this helps.

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 08-08-2016, 08:03 PM
#5
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Wecome to TSN!

I started with AoS and their stuff (except their brand of brushes) are all very good in fact, but way expensive - mine was a gift but in hindsight my wife could have saved hundreds of dollars. I like the scents and creams and balms, but find pre-shave to be a waste of money.

But I think the best place to start is http://www.maggardrazors.com and buy one of their $30 starter kits.

The Maggard razor is nice with a stainless steel handle, the synthetic brush does a great job (I own one), their home-brand shaving soap which is well regarded and lathers nice.

I think it comes with some razor blades too, but from Maggard or tryablade.com, get a half dozen different popular brands of blades. Blades are very specific to your skin and hair - what works for me might not work for you.

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 08-09-2016, 05:50 AM
#6
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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Mel S Meles makes good points to which I'd like to add this, the U.S.A. makes some excellent blades too. Look for Personna Med Preps (very pricy but worth the cost, imo) and Personna Lab Blues (very inexpensive but worth it, imo). Also try Israeli made blades such as Crystal and Personna Red pack (5 in a pkg, or the same blade packaged in 10s with blue pkg insert). Many folks really like them as well.

Really though, get a sampler. Different blades work better for different beards in different razors. There are countless combinations. Enjoy exploring!

"Map" your beard growth. Shave with 2-3 passes. With the grain (WTG), across the grain (XTG), and if you're looking for a super close shave, against the grain (ATG).

Oh, and The Most Important Thing Of All... Use No Pressure When Shaving. Let the blade do the work.

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 08-09-2016, 06:34 AM
#7
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Starting in shaving needn't be expensive. Don't forget vintage razors either, or single edge. Many times one can get a vintage razor for just a few dollars or even free. You might ask family and friends for what they have tucked away. My first few razors were obtained that way.

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 08-09-2016, 07:10 AM
#8
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Walmart, Amazon and EBAY are veritable goldmines of consumer information. All new shavers should indeed pick clean the accumulated experience found on shaving forums and then run, not walk to save a few dollars at the above mentioned captains of Industry. Why, just the other day Jeff Bezos and one of the Waltons helped me choose a scuttle.

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 08-09-2016, 08:57 AM
#9
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I bought my first kit from an online dealer specialising in shaving supplies; paid a little bit more than I would from eBay, but I was buying with confidence. Everything I gotten since has been through the 'Nook or a vendor/artisan recommended on the 'Nook.

I see Phil (BullGoose) have the Feather Popular in stock for a little less than 20$ - it's a razor I really liked before PIFing it to a newly converted wetshaver, and is in my opinion a good razor for a beginner.

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 08-09-2016, 01:28 PM
#10
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(08-09-2016, 08:57 AM)WegianWarrior Wrote: I see Phil (BullGoose) have the Feather Popular in stock for a little less than 20$ - it's a razor I really liked before PIFing it to a newly converted wetshaver, and is in my opinion a good razor for a beginner.

The Feather Popular is indeed an excellent piece to start with in DE shaving; it has high precision manufacturing tolerances (low chance of buying a “lemon”), and it also meets the “mild” criterion I suggested above (keeps the lather white).

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 08-09-2016, 06:13 PM
#11
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I would agree with starting out using an inexpensive synthetic brush (E.G., $10-15). I feel that after a few months under your belt, you'd be better prepared to choose your next brush. Start simple: One soap. One razor. One brush.

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 08-09-2016, 11:43 PM
#12
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Welcome to the forum.

Ok, well, you're going to need a few things to get you set up. The products I'm recommending are inexpensive, good quality, and should last you a very long time.

Brush- I would choose an Omega boar brush. the 100049 and the 100066 are both $9. I use one daily.

Soap- Palmolive shave stick for $2.99 at The Italian Barber website

Safety Razor- The BR123 can be had at Bullgooseshaving for a measly $15

DE Blades- Bullgooseshaving also has a nice sampler pack for $9.50

$34.50 not including shipping charges


Also, westcoastshaving has a nice starter kit including everything you need for $39.98 (not including shipping), or you can build your own kit at Italianbarber

Good luck!

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 08-10-2016, 05:51 AM
#13
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Lots of great resources to research. Thanks guys for the input. Can't wait to get started.


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 08-10-2016, 08:39 AM
#14
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Check out Maggard Razors. They offer great value kits including their branded razors and synthetic brushes. Terrific customer service, you can't go wrong.

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