04-04-2020, 11:35 PM
#1
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I wonder why you do not see many recommendations for adjustables as a first razor. The most common recommendations seem to the a EJ DE89, Merkur 34C. My first razor was a EJ DE89, which I never use now. I think for me, the best recommendation would have been an adjustable and I would have been willing to spend the money on a Parker Variant or a Merkur Progress. About 3 months ago, I met a young fella who had been wet shaving for a few weeks and was getting some rough shaves with nicks and razor burn. He and was thinking of going back to cartridges. We had a conversation about all things shaving and when I asked him what he was using, it was a cheap $20 DE razor with omega shaving cream applied by hand. I suggested he get a better razor and at the very least, a shaving brush. I told him that there are several high quality DE razors he could buy for a reasonable price, but suggested that if he was willing to spend a little more money, I would recommend a parker variant or a merkur progress. The adjustable would give him the chance to figure out what setting works best for him. A few weeks later, he sent me a message that he had bought and used the parker variant for the first time and was thrilled at how much better the shave was. He has since added a Semogue SOC 2 band badger at my recommendation and is very happy with the shaves he has been getting and is now a firm convert to DE wet shaving.

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 04-05-2020, 06:40 AM
#2
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I don't understand either. I've always recommended some kind of adjustable to newbies, usually a 6S or 6C.

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 04-05-2020, 10:31 AM
#3
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Imho an Adjustable lets a beginner play around too much instead of improving technique.
An exception is the Rockwell 6c or 6s as u can Set uo different levels but usually not change while shaving.

Meanwhile the Rockwell is my usual recommendation fir beginners

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 04-05-2020, 05:26 PM
#4
  • ischiapp
  • Senior Member
  • Forio d'Ischia, Naples, Italy
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(04-05-2020, 10:31 AM)Flash75 Wrote: Imho an Adjustable lets a beginner play around too much instead of improving technique.
+1

Here more details, IMHO.
http://shavenook.com/showthread.php?tid=57375

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 04-06-2020, 02:46 AM
#5
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It's part of the KISS principle for me... I conscientiously recommend a razor that is inexpensive, easy to learn and don't introduce too many variables. It's easier to get people hooked if they don't feel like they have to shell out a large pile of cash (even if they are likely to do so later Wink)

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 04-06-2020, 05:37 AM
#6
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I wouldn't recommend a cheap 15-20 $ razor or any other accessory to a beginner. We, through our indulgence and experience have so far understood the joys of wet shaving. Once you are hooked, you are hooked for life.

Initial investment may be moderate if not very high. Why let a rookie get in with a 50-50 chance of liking it or dropping the idea altogether...

If I had to guide someone for a starter kit, I would recommend the below :

Razor : Rockwell 6S or 6C.
Brush : A Semogue in Badger or boar. Software : Proraso green or Sandalwood.
Blades : Astra, Permasharp.


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 04-06-2020, 05:49 AM
#7
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To clarify; when I say inexpensive, I mean sub 50$. Perhaps 'affordable' would have been a better term.

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 04-06-2020, 05:52 AM
#8
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(04-06-2020, 05:37 AM)Jags009 Wrote: If I had to guide someone for a starter kit, I would recommend the below :

Razor : Rockwell 6S or 6C.
Brush : A Semogue in Badger or boar.
Software : Proraso green or Sandalwood.
Blades : Astra, Permasharp.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Nice suggestion. I would suggest similar.
Rockwell, a Yaqi Synthetic brush, blades are ok, but after several years i found Tiger and Voskhod to fit better for me. Maybe a blade Sampler could do a good Job too. Proraso is a good choice.

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 04-06-2020, 05:54 AM
#9
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(04-06-2020, 05:49 AM)WegianWarrior Wrote: To clarify; when I say inexpensive, I mean sub 50$. Perhaps 'affordable' would have been a better term.


Ha ha....I was referring to OP's post.


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 04-06-2020, 02:27 PM
#10
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Start ‘em off with an old Tech or Super Speed. That’s all the hook anyone needs.

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 04-06-2020, 03:36 PM
#11
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A Super Speed or Merkur 34C are excellent first razors.  Simple, quality, and inexpensive.  An adjustable introduces too many variables for a new user.

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 04-06-2020, 07:57 PM
#12
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(04-05-2020, 10:31 AM)Flash75 Wrote: Imho an Adjustable lets a beginner play around too much instead of improving technique.
An exception is the Rockwell 6c or 6s as u can Set uo different levels but usually not change while shaving.

Meanwhile the Rockwell is my usual recommendation fir beginners

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I agree with you on the playing around too much. I did tell the fella when I recommended the adjustable, to start with the mildest setting and to stick with a setting for several days before trying another setting. I've always tended to try a product for several days before passing judgement on it and still do that with anything new. But I can see how someone starting wet shaving may find it tempting to change the razor setting too much. 

I would agree that the Rockwell 6c is a good razor for beginners. I personally don't think the 6s is a good choice for the first razor because of its price. It costs more than a gillette slim or a parker variant or merker progress. The 6s was my first adjustable razor and I like it, but I regret buying it because I prefer the on the fly adjustability of the gillette slim and the rockwell hasn't seen any use for more than a year. I am going to give the 6s a good run in May to see if I still want to hang on to it.

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 04-06-2020, 08:55 PM
#13
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I really don't understand the disdain for adjustables.  I don't.
I get the impression some wouldn't recommend them because "newbies" would just wantonly, continuously fiddle with the infinitude of settings and somehow never "learn" how to shave properly. 
Well, I guess I just can't agree with that premise.  We were all "newbies" at one point - I don't see all of us being that persistently... inept?
But maybe that's just me.  One of my first razors (and still one of my favorites) being the Merkur Progress - it's not like that ever prevented me from learning how to shave though; in fact, quite the contrary.

For me, an adjustable is a philosophical preference.  I like options.  I especially like options that don't cost an arm and a leg to get right.  ...like - oh, I don't know - BLADE GAP.

There's not a wet shaver here who isn't keen on blade gap.  Not one.  Thread after thread here discusses blade gap and our individual preferences and needs.

The problem with fixed blade gap razors is - at least for me - a pointedly obvious and academic one.  Which blade gap is right for you?  For your skin, your technique, your beard. 
There are CHARTS that list blade gaps for all the various fixed blade gap razors - gap options which are truly legion!  From .43mm all the way up to 1.75mm - a delta of over 4x with over 30 different gaps in between!

So, you're a newbie, or giving advice to a newbie - what blade gap do YOU recommend they buy in a fixed razor?  Remember, it's FIXED.  You can't change it (ignoring shims for the moment).  You bought it, now you're stuck with it.

So you buy an "affordable" razor at say, $50.  Not a huge investment.  Chrome plated Zamac.  But not the right blade gap.
So you try another "affordable" razor at say, another $50.  Again, not a huge investment.  And again, chrome plated Zamac.  And again, just not quite the right blade gap.
But hey, you're "learning."  (You've also shelled out $100 for two razors that just aren't quite right).
So you read more posts, look at more razors, and you try another "affordable" razor.  Your first was perhaps too aggressive.  Your second perhaps too mild.  So you try something somewhere "in between."
Remember, your choices, depending on brand, looks, etc. can range from .43mm to over 4 times that gap at 1.75mm.  Pick one.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make an accusation - because admittedly, I'm guilty of it myself.  Most of us who've purchased 1, 2, 3, 4 or more fixed blade gap razors have "settled" on a particular blade gap - in part because the razor "works" for us; in part because we can't afford, or don't want to waste any more money trying to find the "perfect" blade gap for us.  Right?

Newbies - go for a Merkur Progress.  Hands down the best first razor you could ever possibly own.  ~$70  Or Rockwell 6S ($50) or 6C ($100) - I really don't care.  Get one, use it, learn with it.  It's ridiculously easy.
When you're ready, and can afford a little more, maybe try the Mergress (an upgraded version of the Progress) - ~$125; or if you really want to splurge and go all stainless steel - the "holy grail" of quality for us "seasoned shaving snobs" - try the REX AMBASSADOR - ~$250.

And if you've got a stash of disposable cash to try out on various fixed blade gap razors - pick something you think might work well for you, something that looks cool, that has at least some rave ratings and want to join that particular razor's fan club - go for it. 

Because guess what?  Having successfully owned and learned how to shave with an adjustable, now you know what blade gap works best for you.

Remember though - YMMV

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 04-07-2020, 05:30 AM
#14
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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A well stated post, Niemander. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree, but well stated nonetheless.

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 04-07-2020, 05:10 PM
#15
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(04-06-2020, 08:55 PM)Niemander Wrote: I really don't understand the disdain for adjustables.  I don't.
I get the impression some wouldn't recommend them because "newbies" would just wantonly, continuously fiddle with the infinitude of settings and somehow never "learn" how to shave properly. 
Well, I guess I just can't agree with that premise.  We were all "newbies" at one point - I don't see all of us being that persistently... inept?
But maybe that's just me.  One of my first razors (and still one of my favorites) being the Merkur Progress - it's not like that ever prevented me from learning how to shave though; in fact, quite the contrary.

For me, an adjustable is a philosophical preference.  I like options.  I especially like options that don't cost an arm and a leg to get right.  ...like - oh, I don't know - BLADE GAP.

There's not a wet shaver here who isn't keen on blade gap.  Not one.  Thread after thread here discusses blade gap and our individual preferences and needs.

The problem with fixed blade gap razors is - at least for me - a pointedly obvious and academic one.  Which blade gap is right for you?  For your skin, your technique, your beard. 
There are CHARTS that list blade gaps for all the various fixed blade gap razors - gap options which are truly legion!  From .43mm all the way up to 1.75mm - a delta of over 4x with over 30 different gaps in between!

So, you're a newbie, or giving advice to a newbie - what blade gap do YOU recommend they buy in a fixed razor?  Remember, it's FIXED.  You can't change it (ignoring shims for the moment).  You bought it, now you're stuck with it.

So you buy an "affordable" razor at say, $50.  Not a huge investment.  Chrome plated Zamac.  But not the right blade gap.
So you try another "affordable" razor at say, another $50.  Again, not a huge investment.  And again, chrome plated Zamac.  And again, just not quite the right blade gap.
But hey, you're "learning."  (You've also shelled out $100 for two razors that just aren't quite right).
So you read more posts, look at more razors, and you try another "affordable" razor.  Your first was perhaps too aggressive.  Your second perhaps too mild.  So you try something somewhere "in between."
Remember, your choices, depending on brand, looks, etc. can range from .43mm to over 4 times that gap at 1.75mm.  Pick one.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make an accusation - because admittedly, I'm guilty of it myself.  Most of us who've purchased 1, 2, 3, 4 or more fixed blade gap razors have "settled" on a particular blade gap - in part because the razor "works" for us; in part because we can't afford, or don't want to waste any more money trying to find the "perfect" blade gap for us.  Right?

Newbies - go for a Merkur Progress.  Hands down the best first razor you could ever possibly own.  ~$70  Or Rockwell 6S ($50) or 6C ($100) - I really don't care.  Get one, use it, learn with it.  It's ridiculously easy.
When you're ready, and can afford a little more, maybe try the Mergress (an upgraded version of the Progress) - ~$125; or if you really want to splurge and go all stainless steel - the "holy grail" of quality for us "seasoned shaving snobs" - try the REX AMBASSADOR - ~$250.

And if you've got a stash of disposable cash to try out on various fixed blade gap razors - pick something you think might work well for you, something that looks cool, that has at least some rave ratings and want to join that particular razor's fan club - go for it. 

Because guess what?  Having successfully owned and learned how to shave with an adjustable, now you know what blade gap works best for you.

Remember though - YMMV

Well said. My experience was very much along the lines of what you described. Started with a EJ DE89. Used it for about 6 months and got decent shaves with it, but kept thinking, "how can I get a better shave?". Then I bought a Merkur 38C. Found that to be better than the EJ DE89 and used it for a few months, but still felt the same, "how can I make it better?". After wet shaving with these 2 razors for about 2 years, I finally bought my first adjustable, rockwell 6s and only after using the 6s and playing with it did I realize that a razor with mild exposure works best for my beard. So, it took me investing ~$200 to learn that. That is where I think a Merkur progress or a Parker Variant would have been ideal for me as a first razor. I could continue to use one of those 2 in the long term and also figure out what exposure works for me at a lower cost. I haven't used the EJ DE89 or the Merkur 38C in more than 2 years now. Starting to think maybe its time to let them go. 

The other thing is that for me, shaving with a cartridge razor is simply awful. I would wait till I absolutely had to shave and the after effect of the shave on my skin would linger for atleast 2 days. That is why even though the EJ DE89 was not a perfect shave for me, it was improvement enough for me to stick with it. As you mentioned, I might have "settled" on the EJ DE 89 or the Merkur 38C if I didn't want to spend any more money. 

For someone, for whom using a cartridge is not an awful, but simply an uncomfortable experience, their first fixed head DE razor my not be too much of an improvement and they may return to using cartridges. This is where an adjustable would be useful. One can change the setting without spending any more money. 

The way I see it, with an adjustable, the razor would allow for finding out the perfect blade exposure for the user and can also be used for years in the long run. The key is to be patient, use a setting for a while (3-4 weeks) before moving on to another setting, work on improving technique and identifying other aspects of the shave (preparation, blades, etc..) and look for improvement over a longer period of time and not expect a miracle instant cure for bad shaves. 

As always, to each their own.

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 04-08-2020, 12:44 AM
#16
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(04-06-2020, 05:37 AM)Jags009 Wrote: I wouldn't recommend a cheap 15-20 $ razor or any other accessory to a beginner. We, through our indulgence and experience have so far understood the joys of wet shaving. Once you are hooked, you are hooked for life.

I can attest to a quality razor in the sub $15 range. I speak of the Feather Popular which retails for $12
on Amazon. The Popular is basically a plastic handle version of stainless-steel AS-D2 at a fraction of the price.

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 04-08-2020, 02:17 AM
#17
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I got an Feather Popular early on, and PIFed it to a new shaver a couple of years later; it's a nice, mild razor suitable for those used to carts.
I also had a Wilkinson Sword Classic, which got PIFed away on the 'Nook a while ago; it is also suitable as a first safety razor for a shaver used to carts.

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 04-08-2020, 07:08 AM
#18
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Millions of men learned to shave with a Gillette Tech. I think it’s still a perfect starter and lifetime razor!

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 04-08-2020, 11:02 AM
#19
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(04-07-2020, 05:10 PM)meshave Wrote:
(04-06-2020, 08:55 PM)Niemander Wrote: I really don't understand the disdain for adjustables.  I don't.
I get the impression some wouldn't recommend them because "newbies" would just wantonly, continuously fiddle with the infinitude of settings and somehow never "learn" how to shave properly. 
Well, I guess I just can't agree with that premise.  We were all "newbies" at one point - I don't see all of us being that persistently... inept?
But maybe that's just me.  One of my first razors (and still one of my favorites) being the Merkur Progress - it's not like that ever prevented me from learning how to shave though; in fact, quite the contrary.

For me, an adjustable is a philosophical preference.  I like options.  I especially like options that don't cost an arm and a leg to get right.  ...like - oh, I don't know - BLADE GAP.

There's not a wet shaver here who isn't keen on blade gap.  Not one.  Thread after thread here discusses blade gap and our individual preferences and needs.

The problem with fixed blade gap razors is - at least for me - a pointedly obvious and academic one.  Which blade gap is right for you?  For your skin, your technique, your beard. 
There are CHARTS that list blade gaps for all the various fixed blade gap razors - gap options which are truly legion!  From .43mm all the way up to 1.75mm - a delta of over 4x with over 30 different gaps in between!

So, you're a newbie, or giving advice to a newbie - what blade gap do YOU recommend they buy in a fixed razor?  Remember, it's FIXED.  You can't change it (ignoring shims for the moment).  You bought it, now you're stuck with it.

So you buy an "affordable" razor at say, $50.  Not a huge investment.  Chrome plated Zamac.  But not the right blade gap.
So you try another "affordable" razor at say, another $50.  Again, not a huge investment.  And again, chrome plated Zamac.  And again, just not quite the right blade gap.
But hey, you're "learning."  (You've also shelled out $100 for two razors that just aren't quite right).
So you read more posts, look at more razors, and you try another "affordable" razor.  Your first was perhaps too aggressive.  Your second perhaps too mild.  So you try something somewhere "in between."
Remember, your choices, depending on brand, looks, etc. can range from .43mm to over 4 times that gap at 1.75mm.  Pick one.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make an accusation - because admittedly, I'm guilty of it myself.  Most of us who've purchased 1, 2, 3, 4 or more fixed blade gap razors have "settled" on a particular blade gap - in part because the razor "works" for us; in part because we can't afford, or don't want to waste any more money trying to find the "perfect" blade gap for us.  Right?

Newbies - go for a Merkur Progress.  Hands down the best first razor you could ever possibly own.  ~$70  Or Rockwell 6S ($50) or 6C ($100) - I really don't care.  Get one, use it, learn with it.  It's ridiculously easy.
When you're ready, and can afford a little more, maybe try the Mergress (an upgraded version of the Progress) - ~$125; or if you really want to splurge and go all stainless steel - the "holy grail" of quality for us "seasoned shaving snobs" - try the REX AMBASSADOR - ~$250.

And if you've got a stash of disposable cash to try out on various fixed blade gap razors - pick something you think might work well for you, something that looks cool, that has at least some rave ratings and want to join that particular razor's fan club - go for it. 

Because guess what?  Having successfully owned and learned how to shave with an adjustable, now you know what blade gap works best for you.

Remember though - YMMV

Well said. My experience was very much along the lines of what you described. Started with a EJ DE89. Used it for about 6 months and got decent shaves with it, but kept thinking, "how can I get a better shave?". Then I bought a Merkur 38C. Found that to be better than the EJ DE89 and used it for a few months, but still felt the same, "how can I make it better?". After wet shaving with these 2 razors for about 2 years, I finally bought my first adjustable, rockwell 6s and only after using the 6s and playing with it did I realize that a razor with mild exposure works best for my beard. So, it took me investing ~$200 to learn that. That is where I think a Merkur progress or a Parker Variant would have been ideal for me as a first razor. I could continue to use one of those 2 in the long term and also figure out what exposure works for me at a lower cost. I haven't used the EJ DE89 or the Merkur 38C in more than 2 years now. Starting to think maybe its time to let them go. 

The other thing is that for me, shaving with a cartridge razor is simply awful. I would wait till I absolutely had to shave and the after effect of the shave on my skin would linger for atleast 2 days. That is why even though the EJ DE89 was not a perfect shave for me, it was improvement enough for me to stick with it. As you mentioned, I might have "settled" on the EJ DE 89 or the Merkur 38C if I didn't want to spend any more money. 

For someone, for whom using a cartridge is not an awful, but simply an uncomfortable experience, their first fixed head DE razor my not be too much of an improvement and they may return to using cartridges. This is where an adjustable would be useful. One can change the setting without spending any more money. 

The way I see it, with an adjustable, the razor would allow for finding out the perfect blade exposure for the user and can also be used for years in the long run. The key is to be patient, use a setting for a while (3-4 weeks) before moving on to another setting, work on improving technique and identifying other aspects of the shave (preparation, blades, etc..) and look for improvement over a longer period of time and not expect a miracle instant cure for bad shaves. 

As always, to each their own.
Excellent post. Well thought out and it pretty much mirrors my opinion on the matter. I have a thing for adjustable.

I dont shave on a schedule. I may shave 2 or 3 consecutive days...or I might go a 7 days growth. My preferred tool for each scenario is wildly different. A good adjustable can handle both extremes and anything in between.

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 04-09-2020, 05:39 AM
#20
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On my side, I have started my wet shaving journey with shavette and straight razor when I was 17 years old. I discovered DE 2 years ago when I was 34. I have bought something like 20 DE since then because I could afford it.

But I have a friend of mine that his income is quite limited, so I suggested him to buy a Rockwell 6C and he fell in love with wet shaving after his 2nd-3rd shave. He his now at 2 month of experience and he is still enjoying his journey with the 6C and improving his skill. The 6c is his only variable so far as he always use the same brush, soap, splash, blade and bowl. So that way he can really focus on the basics like learning to create his lather, shaving technique and try different blade gap according to his growth and how his skin feel.

I understand why people don't recommend adjustable as a first razor, but like a lot of thing in life, I think that everybody is different and that there is no ONE right way to do things.

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