01-05-2017, 07:02 AM
#1
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I have been wet shaving for almost 2 years and generally getting decent shaves. since my skin is very sensitive i experienced  with different soaps ,creams, blades, brushes and post shave products.
in my journey i have found that playing with all these items did not make a big impact on my shave. i can get as good shave with proraso soap,2$ as with MDC 40$ or proraso s-brush 5$ leathers better than any badger brush worth 50$. the only item i did not experience with is my razor. i used only muhle r89. can it be that the razor is the item that can take you to the "next level"?
does shaving with 200$ razor like ATT would be that better than r89? i want to invest "big money" on one item that will make me enjoy shaving even more. any suggestions?

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 01-05-2017, 07:29 AM
#2
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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Razors for me. Some expensive razors deserve the money, at least based on my experience. There is a difference between an EJ and a BBS-1 for example. As there is a difference between an Ever Ready and the OneBlade. About the other shaving stuff, my opinion is that there are no such differences between them. I can get a great shave from a Smooth Operator soap that cost me 5 euros and an equally good shave from a Nuavia that cost me 40( now costs 55) euros. Omega S-brushes are the absolute vfm products in this hobby, but no one seems to talk about them. If their price was above 20 euros, then we would read more things about them. Most people think that if a brush is expensive, then it must be good. This is wrong. As I see it, there is no reason to spend some serious money on badgers. Also, there are wet shavers who believe that a good soap which most of the times must be an expensive one, gives close shaves. Nope. Try shaving with a Nuavia for example, using a Merkur razor and the next time using a more efficient razor like the OneBlade or a BBS-1 or any other and you'll see that what makes the difference is the razor-blade combo, not the soap, whichever the cost of it is. Then you have the technique. Another very important thing, if not the most. I don't know why, but new wet shavers think that if they spend some serious money on shave gear, then their shaves will be excellent. Biggest myth in wet shaving. If you have a good technique, you can get good shaves even when using the most inexpensive products.

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 01-05-2017, 07:54 AM
#3
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Thanks Nick
As a newbie  i was made to believe that the soap/cream has the biggest impact on the shave quality. i experimented with about 20 soaps, hoping the new more expensive soap will give me better shave.
i could justify the expense since they are not that expensive and if i am not satisfied i can use them for body wash. i was sure that my r89 is one of the best razors out there, and there is no need to  invest in more expensive razors. i now understand that instead of buying tens of soaps, its probably better to make a one time purchase of high quality( and expensive) razor.
recommendations will be highly appreciated.

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 01-05-2017, 08:05 AM
#4
  • ARGH
  • Senior Member
  • Boston, MA
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an excellent question! as long as your goal is only a cleanly shaven face - there is no need for fancy gear. However, the moment your objective changes from just the final result to the entire process you start growing your appreciation of fine soaps, brushes razors, hones, aftershaves, etc...

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 01-05-2017, 01:37 PM
#5
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The most important "item" for me is the mindset of the shave. I got a fair selection of razors; new and vintage, SE and DE, open comb and safety bar. I got a decent selection of brushes; horse, boar, synth and entry-level badger. I got plenty of soap; factory and artisan, hard and soft, american and european. I got a small but decent selection of aftershaves; big names and artisan. And I can mix and match and get Damn Fine Shaves every time, provided I take the time to get into the mindset. The tool matters less than learning to use the tools.

Shaving time is - at least to me - a quiet, reflective moment. It's me-time; the time when I can close the door and just enjoy myself without a worry in the world. It's  the time each morning I can 'let go' of everyday worries and simply enjoy the 'now' - a perfect moment caught between lather and blade as it were. It's a moment that flushes the system, in a manner of speaking, and lets me put things in perspective. I think that traditional wetshaving have helped making me a better man, as well as a better looking man. In short shaving for me is less about the gear and more about that perfect moment caught between lather and blade - those precious minutes every time you shave that lets your worries and concerns simply drain away. The little breathing space where it's you, your razor and perfection.

And as with everything regarding shavings; Your Mileage May Vary.

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 01-05-2017, 01:58 PM
#6
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(01-05-2017, 08:05 AM)ARGH Wrote: an excellent question! as long as your goal is only a cleanly shaven face - there is no need for fancy gear. However, the moment your objective changes from just the final result to the entire process you start growing your appreciation of fine soaps, brushes razors, hones, aftershaves, etc...

For sure the process of experimenting different shaving products is interesting and exciting and you learn to appreciate better products. my  reasoning is that i did not find any product that i can say WOW, this is a game changer. changing a soap, brush, blade etc gave minor impact on shave quality. my question is whether  a razor can be this product? i can buy fatip for 10$ or ATT for 250$. would i get much better shave with the expensive razor to justify the price difference? if the answer is yes i will be glad to get suggestions for excellent razors.

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 01-05-2017, 02:40 PM
#7
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In all honesty, IMHO, price has nothing to do with anything. Its all about what fits your face, your style, your whiskers....what fits you.

For some ppl a de razor is the way to go, for others its a straight, for others its a se. Some ppl prefer synthetics, some prefers badgers(I'd take a $40 stirling finest fan over a synthetic anyday, I really just prefer a 2 band badger and the characteristics of the hair).

So if I were you, I wouldn't focus on $$$, I would focus on what style razor you may enjoy and start experimenting.

I can tell you, if your interested in trying a Single Edge razor, at $30 for the head or $50 for the whole razor you really can't go wrong with a colonial general. I have tried wolfmans, weber pH and dlc, vintage Gillette's , mongoose, alumigoose, ikons. Some I liked more than others, but I learned that not everything comes down to how much something costs. 

with the whole soap thing, some soaps for me perform better and some have better post shave feel, but proraso is a damn good soap that is very adequate to use as a daily driver. Some may prefer the scent of other soaps, or some may have more slickness or cushion, and some may cost quite a bit more but may be a bad formulation like some penhaligons stuff over the years. 

Brushes really come down to just enjoying the equipment your using. love my 2 band badgers But i don't require one for a good shave. I use a synthetic grooming club quite a bit just because I have a beard, its fairly small and easy to lather without soaking.

YMMV, Good luck!

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 01-05-2017, 04:39 PM
#8
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Phil Mickelson can get more out of a $50 top flight driver than I can get out of an $800 taylormade M1. That doesn't mean that there isn't a difference, but rather that as your expertise increases - so does your ability to get the most out of your equipment.

IMHO the most important aspects of my shave are patience, developing expertise, and enjoying the process.

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 01-05-2017, 06:24 PM
#9
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For me, it's the blade. A $10 Tech with a Voskhod will out-perform a $300 toggle loaded with a Rainbow every time.

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 01-05-2017, 06:31 PM
#10
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Agree with Mike, the most important item is experience and expertise. 

That said, I agree that there are inexpensive razors that work very well, and I don't think there is any DE razor that will WOW you at being remarkably different.  I have a Wolfman, and a Muhle R89 and both give me great shaves.  

Same is true for soaps.  I have SMN which retails in the US for $70.  It's great but so is Barrister and Mann at $16.

A good synthetic brush at $12 will generate lather more efficiently and easily than a badger brush.  Companies like Stirling sell high quality badger brushes for $30 that compare with $150 brushes.  I know, I've bought them all.

Razor Blades are one area to spend a little more money IMHO.  Buy the best -- Feathers, Gillette Platinums or Silver Blues -- and use for 3 shaves or less.  A sharp blade is the sine qua non of a comfortable shave and there is no need to scrimp here.

In general, people who spend more money on their gear -- especially brushes and razors -- are doing so because they appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship, not because they perform remarkably differently.

If you're looking for advice on how to improve you shaves, I'd say simplify.  Get a good razor, brush, and soap and stick with the same combo for a while.  That way you can focus on technique.

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 01-05-2017, 06:33 PM
#11
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Razor and blade make the shave , followed by soap and then brush.

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 01-05-2017, 07:25 PM
#12
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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 01-05-2017, 07:29 PM
#13
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(01-05-2017, 06:31 PM)surfshaver Wrote: Agree with Mike, the most important item is experience and expertise. 

That said, I agree that there are inexpensive razors that work very well, and I don't think there is any DE razor that will WOW you at being remarkably different.  I have a Wolfman, and a Muhle R89 and both give me great shaves.  

Same is true for soaps.  I have SMN which retails in the US for $70.  It's great but so is Barrister and Mann at $16.

A good synthetic brush at $12 will generate lather more efficiently and easily than a badger brush.  Companies like Stirling sell high quality badger brushes for $30 that compare with $150 brushes.  I know, I've bought them all.

Razor Blades are one area to spend a little more money IMHO.  Buy the best -- Feathers, Gillette Platinums or Silver Blues -- and use for 3 shaves or less.  A sharp blade is the sine qua non of a comfortable shave and there is no need to scrimp here.

In general, people who spend more money on their gear -- especially brushes and razors -- are doing so because they appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship, not because they perform remarkably differently.

If you're looking for advice on how to improve you shaves, I'd say simplify.  Get a good razor, brush, and soap and stick with the same combo for a while.  That way you can focus on technique.

^^^ this indeed!

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 01-05-2017, 09:22 PM
#14
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I would say razor and also throw in that while price may not reflect quality, I think there is a lot to be said for machined razors vs cast. The increased control over tolerance that machining affords seems to make a big difference to me. For example ATT vs Merkur ( I know, vastly different prices )

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 01-05-2017, 11:00 PM
#15
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This thread may push my razor purchase to be my next purchase.

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 01-06-2017, 05:13 AM
#16
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Probably the razor blade for me. A full blade can really ruin a shave.

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 01-06-2017, 07:25 AM
#17
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(01-05-2017, 09:22 PM)NeekoC Wrote: I would say razor and also throw in that while price may not reflect quality, I think there is a lot to be said for machined razors vs cast. The increased control over tolerance that machining affords seems to make a big difference to me. For example ATT vs Merkur ( I know, vastly different prices )

Strongly disagree.  Modern casting techniques can yield just as tight tolerances and high precision as any machine shop can achieve; it is all in the quality control and rejection rate of the manufacturer.  Secondarily, the material that is cast or machined comes into play.  Brass, for instance, is relatively soft, and no matter how precisely machined, after manufacture and in use, it will wear down more rapidly, and thus get out of tolerance in a shorter time, than chromium plated Zamak, or, for that matter, chromium-plated brass.  Every time you fly in an airplane, your life depends on components inside the jet engine (or the blades of a propeller aircraft) that have been cast and must be in perfect balance lest the rotational speeds rip the engine apart; the impeller blades in jet engines have been cast.

Merkur is probably not the best example of the good and the bad of casting.  Some reports have it that the reason that Mühle and Edwin Jagger, both of which formerly purchased their head assemblies from Dovo (Merkur), struck out on their own joint development project to make the heads found in their current models was that Dovo/Merkur was stretching the replacement cycle of the molds used for their cast heads too far, and thus the finished castings no longer were reliably in tolerance.  (Dovo/Merkur may have cleaned up its act after it lost the Mühle and Jagger business.)  

I agree with others here that the correlation between the price and the quality of shaving products is very loose, but one driver of price is how tightly the manufacturer specifies tolerances, and what proportion of production units the manufacturer is willing to reject because the units do not meet those tolerances.  

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 01-06-2017, 07:31 AM
#18
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(01-06-2017, 07:25 AM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(01-05-2017, 09:22 PM)NeekoC Wrote: I would say razor and also throw in that while price may not reflect quality, I think there is a lot to be said for machined razors vs cast. The increased control over tolerance that machining affords seems to make a big difference to me. For example ATT vs Merkur ( I know, vastly different prices )

Strongly disagree.  Modern casting techniques can yield just as tight tolerances and high precision as any machine shop can achieve; it is all in the quality control and rejection rate of the manufacturer.  Secondarily, the material that is cast or machined comes into play.  Brass, for instance, is relatively soft, and no matter how precisely machined, after manufacture and in iuse, it will wear down more rapidly, and thus get out of tolerance in a shorter time, than chromium plated Zamak, or, for that matter, chromium-plated brass.  Every time you fly in an airplane, your life depends on components inside the jet engine (or the blades of a propeller aircraft) that have been cast and must be in perfect balance lest the rotational speeds rip the engine apart; jet engines are made made with impeller blades that have been cast.

Merkur is probably not the best example of the good and the bad of casting.  Some reports have it that the reason that Mühle and Edwin Jagger, both ow which formerly purchased their head assemblies from Dovo (Merkur), struck out on their own joint development project to make the heads found in their current models was that Dovo/Merkur was stretching the replacement cycle of the molds used for their cast heads too far, and that the the finished castings no longer were reliably in tolerance.  (Dovo/Merkur may have cleaned up its act after it lost the Mühle and Jagger business.)  

I agree with others here that the correlation between the price and the quality of shaving products is very loose, but one driver of price is how tightly the manufacturer specifies tolerances, and what proportion of production units the manufacturer is willing to reject because the units do not meet those tolerances.  

My apologies, I didn't realize casting could produce similar tolerances.

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 01-06-2017, 07:42 AM
#19
  • ARGH
  • Senior Member
  • Boston, MA
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(01-05-2017, 01:58 PM)damonhill Wrote:
(01-05-2017, 08:05 AM)ARGH Wrote: an excellent question! as long as your goal is only a cleanly shaven face - there is no need for fancy gear. However, the moment your objective changes from just the final result to the entire process you start growing your appreciation of fine soaps, brushes razors, hones, aftershaves, etc...

For sure the process of experimenting different shaving products is interesting and exciting and you learn to appreciate better products. my  reasoning is that i did not find any product that i can say WOW, this is a game changer. changing a soap, brush, blade etc gave minor impact on shave quality. my question is whether  a razor can be this product? i can buy fatip for 10$ or ATT for 250$. would i get much better shave with the expensive razor to justify the price difference? if the answer is yes i will be glad to get suggestions for excellent razors.

I actually did not refer to the process of experimenting with different gear, but to the process of shaving itself. Achieving the best possible results with whatever implements you use at any given moment. To me shaving helps calm my mind after long working hours, which has many unexpected benefits. Even my SWMBO notices some improvements Smile

Before switching to DEs and SEs, I learned to shave with straights. I then learned how to sharpen and hone them; what hones work best for me; what "hollowness" I would preferrer; etc. I then realized that I have a better handle on my emotions and I appreciate smaller things, which I did not even notice before. Traditional wet-shaving has suddenly become some sort of meditation for me , with many more elements to look forward to than removing my stubble...

With the safety razors there are also many factors that keep me interested - from the material to the design to the quality of finish to the historical value. One day you feel like using a contemporary stainless steel razor made with mind-boggling precision. The next day you reach for a 60-year old Gillette or Hoffritz razor. In the winter you like spices in your shaving soap, in the summer - menthol... And so on and so forth...

If you are certain that you are not going to give into any "acquisition disorders" as many of us did, than I would suggest to decide what budget you are willing to allocate for your shaving needs and go with it. After all you get what you pay for...

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 01-06-2017, 10:16 AM
#20
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Thanks for that post.  I learned something today.  Very interesting context on casting tolerances.

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