11-28-2012, 09:24 AM
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I recently wrote an email to iKon Razors asking for advice on the above topic for someone in my particular situation and they kindy directed me here. Seeing no need to try and reword what I wrote to them, i will just copy and paste the enail I sent:
"I don't really know how to begin this letter, I have never written an email to any customer service department, but at any rate:
   To whom it may concern,
  I am trying to get into classic shaving, as it is something that has always appealed to meI wanted to start out with a classic straight blade, but due to the fact that i was born with cerebral palsy that affects the left side, and i was a involved in a very serious ATV accident that further debilitated me when I was in high school, my ability to stretch the skin with my left hand while shaving with my right is impractical and presents an unnecessary risk.
   I was recommended to check out your safety razor line, and I have to say that I am impressed with what I see. I am in the process of writing a motivational book about accomplishing things that I have always wanted to do, despite the fact that I am disabled. This, classic shaving, though it may seem insignificant to some, is something that I have always wanted to get involved in since I was a little kid, seeing my dad use an old double edged safety razor, and a brush and shaving mirror. It's what I long considered the real passage into manhood. So, at 25 and writing this book, I must try.
    Seeing that it is not exactly a cheap hobby or interest, I want make sure that for the amount of money I am going to have to invest, I am going to have the best experience possible to document in my book. This is after all,  a motivational book, not an "I tried a childhood dream and it totally sucked" book. So after at least having a good outside reference that you are the best, if not at least numbered among the best for safety razors; my question for you is: what is the best model or kit to start out with the will offer the most pleasant experience. As far as my facial hair status, it's not overly thick, in fact i would say it is the epitome of "average." I really know nothing, so I will trust any advice you give me.

Thank you for your time and consideration,"

I must also clarify, that I am not against attenpting to use a straight razor (some day i hope to be ale to), it is just that with prices of getting into this culture being what they are, it seems to be an unnecessary risk given, the odds being stacked against me enough as they are.

I look forward to what recommendations come from you who (from what I have been reading) know so much about this culture.

0 2
 11-28-2012, 09:45 AM
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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Other than not being able to stretch the skin with your left hand do you feel your disabilities may limit you in any other way. I must admit I am embarrassingly ignorant of the effect of cerebral palsy so perhaps you could explain your limitations with more details so that we can make helpful suggestions. I applaud your effort and goals thus far and you are indeed in the right place for advice and encouragement.

121 2,242
 11-28-2012, 09:48 AM
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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Welcome to the show! You are in the right place, you will get all your questions answered and meet good people along the way. Happy to see you here Smile

88 4,233
 11-28-2012, 09:56 AM
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
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I don't know you but from your letter, I would bet that you would have no problem doing *ANYTHING* that you set your mind to. Smile

I shave with DE and SE razors and I don't really stretch my skin so I do not feel that needs to be a consideration. Some here do it and some don't. Some mix it up. IMO, this would absolutely NOT be a deal breaker for you.

I would read up here and on other net forums as well as watch all of the incredible shaving videos on Youtube by Mantic59, Geofatboy as well as several other terrific tutorials available on Youtube, here and the other forums.

There are starter kits available for DE shaving. Our amazing "enabler", Phil from Bullgoose has put together some fantastic kits.

Ikons are FANTASTIC razors and of course, there are many other amazing alternatives and these are expanding rather quickly. There is also the whole vintage route on that auction site as well as the BST forums here and elsewhere. Lots to look at and learn and lots to develop "addiction disorders" from, easily parting you from your lovely cash!!!
Ikons are toward the higher end of the price spectrum and for good reason. You may want to start off with something a bit less pricey to see how you like it. There are razors that perhaps require less of a learning curve than others. A quick scan around these parts will give you loads of information on this info. Lots of blades, soaps, creams, brushes, etc. too!

Just have a great time with and enjoy it as we all do. In the end, aside from a great shave, that's all that matters! Biggrin


6 905
 11-28-2012, 10:18 AM
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Welcome! The gentlemen here won't steer you wrong. And classic wet shaving doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive; in fact it can be quite economical compared to some of the alternative.

The real costs only add up when everyone starts showing off their new acquisitions and it sparks the capitalist desires in all the rest of us Wink

For example I started out with a starter kit worth about $65 and if I stuck to that I'd still be set right now. After reading all the reviews and discussion on this site it made go out and get another 10 soap types and 2 more brushes. And I'm on the low end! But if you find equipment that works for you and stick to that it's not so bad.

Edit: Here's one of the starter kits mentioned above that's a great bang-for-your-buck value: http://www.bullgooseshaving.net/stdestset.html

10 2,062
 11-28-2012, 10:28 AM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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I'm not sure how to ask this delicately, so please excuse the bluntness
Do you have any issues at all with head or neck movement? Or is it really isolated just to your left arm? I've known only a couple of people with that condition and both of them had issues with, and this is the part I'm not sure how to word, but they both had constant head movement they couldn't control.

The reason I ask is that you can get away without using your other hand to stretch, if you get creative with facial expressions and neck stretches. It may not be as smooth of a shave, but it's certainly passable. And plenty of people shave single handed with a straight.

However, if there is any chance of an unintentional movement of your head, I'd stick with the safety razors. They'll still cut you, but at least the depth of the cut will be limited by the guard

People can certainly spend thousands on this hobby, but you don't have to. You can find yourself a good vintage straight that's already shave ready for under $50, beginner strops can be had for around $30, as long as you don't damage the edge you can get by with a chinese 12k hone for touch ups for around $30.....and if you stick with it long enough to get into honing, lapping films are a great, cheap alternative to stones

10 411
 11-28-2012, 10:34 AM
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Welcome to The Shave Nook.
If you want an inexpensive introduction to classic wet shaving, then the Feather Popular razor with a shave-less cream and a sample pack of blades might just be your cheapest way to go. Another option would be to pick up a vintage Gillette DE here on the BST and pick up the shave-less cream at a local health food store and order a sample of blades. It should not run you more than $40.
Good luck.

74 20,778
 11-28-2012, 01:07 PM
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Wow, such quick and helpful replies! What a cool place, and cool people. This forum is definately going in the book. To answer some of the questions:

I am EXTREMELY fortunate when it comes to the cerebral palsy and the accident. The CP is hemiplegic cerebral palsy, meaning that it nly affects the left side, and compared to others i have met, very mildly so. There IS sometimes involuntary movement in my hand, but it is mild and i typically can feel it coming.
As for the accident: the ATV in essence cut me in half, and I basically drained the Las Vegas blood bank when I was life flighted there. They took out two thirds of my liver, patched up my inferior vena cava, and patched my diaphram as well. I spent several months in the hospital, learning to eat, speak, and walk again. However, other than some scars from the incisions, and scars from the 300+ staples, the only lingering problem to speak of is my leg. Because of an issue that developed while in the hospital, the muscle in my lower left leg died, deteriorated, and essentially liquified. The leg is now basically paralyzed from the knee down. But I don't think that should be an issue while shaving. Though the accident did set back some of the progress I made in occupational therapy, that has never been regained.
Once again though, thank you all very much for the advice you have given. So just to recap and clarify: there is no involuntary head or neck movement, and only mild (or what i consider mild) involuntary movment in the hand. The biggest problem with the hand is that there just isn't much coordination to speak of, so I mostly work with my right.

0 2
 11-28-2012, 01:12 PM
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Washington State
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Wow, well are sure glad you are still with us t that accident, for it to have damaged the vena cava and you to still survive is amazing. As for shaving, I generally only use one hand anyways and just make faces to stretch my skin, so I'm sure you can manage it easily.

35 1,726
 11-28-2012, 01:41 PM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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Yeah, you certainly are lucky from the sounds of it!
From what you've said, sounds to me like you could do alright with wet shaving

just stand in front of the mirror for a bit and make some of the stupidest faces you can, don't forget to blow up your cheeks like a bullfrog, and eventually you'll figure out how to make smooth, tight spots out of just about any part of your face Biggrin

10 411
 11-28-2012, 02:04 PM
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Amax, very glad you joined us and thanks for sharing your story.

I think the easiest way for us to advise you on shaving kit is to understand how much you want to spend to get started. One can spend less than $30-50 all included and have more than decent kit or easily spend more than that just on the razor or brush. Our Selling and Trading section is a great place to find a bargain, as well.

47 1,270
 11-28-2012, 02:18 PM
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
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I would love to have an Ikon, but unfortunately, I just can't afford to spend it right now. I got started in DE shaving for under 100 dollars. I started with a Edwin Jagger DE86, a blade sample pack, a pure badger brush, and a tube of CO Bigelow from Bath and Body Works. Had I known, I probably would have started with a Cadet, or a Matador (both of which were placed on my Christmas list this year) and started even cheaper. In all reality "Traditional Shaving" is more cost effective than buying disposable cartridges. Which was probably the biggest reason I got into it. Had I been warned I would have dropped hundreds months later acquiring different soaps, blades, razors and brushes I probably...well I still would have jumped in with both feet.

Check out the Vendor section as one of the vendors posted a topic about some new kits they had put together. The kits looked great from what I can remember..

At any rate, you've jumped into the right pool and Ikon steered you to the right forum. You will learn a lot on your visits here. Welcome to the club.

14 1,177
 11-28-2012, 02:29 PM
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Welcome to the forum!

I have no doubt that you can enter the world of traditional shaving with a DE or Single Edge (SE) razor, and do it day in and day out successfully. I don't stretch my facial skin with my hand, only by making faces, using my tongue, and inflating the cheeks (not often with the inflating bit). I get a BBS every day. You can too.

Cost can be extremely reasonable, to the sky is the limit, it all depends on you. Certainly you can get started for much less than I think you envision.

Assuming absolutely no left side control, I see no reason you can't soap up with a stick and face lather; all using the right hand. But I'm just guessing, no doubt you'll be able to compensate and do things in ways that I can't conceive. My point is that I have no doubt you can enter this world and be quite successful with it.

There is absolutely no reason to buy modern manufactured gear. IMO the vintage gear is better (while still being affordable) than the affordable razors made today. But either way, we can help guide you from noob gear acquisition right through to your dissertation.

32 6,301
 11-28-2012, 03:46 PM
  • gzp
  • Member
  • Queens, NY
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Welcome to the Nook! Kudos to Ikon for suggesting you come here.

I'm working towards my first straight razor shave and I suspect that while stretching is important and helpful, you probably shouldn't view it as absolutely necessary. Stretching also helps with DE shaving but if you check this thread, http://shavenook.com/thread-you-gotta-stretch , you'll get a sense of the various possibilities. I think you're right to start with DE shaving, you can then consider whether you want to try straights.
Regarding razors, you should look at the different types, there are the three piece, where you unscrew the head, put the blade between the two head pieces and screw the head back onto the handle. There is also the "TTO", "twist to open" type where you twist part of the handle and the little doors open and you insert the blade. I have no physical limitations and I think the three piece is a bit of a pain. I have not used any Ikons but I do have an Edwin Jagger DE8 series, as mentioned above, and can confirm it is an excellent choice for a beginner. It is a three piece design. I recently got a vintage Shick Krona (based on positive things I read here), it is a TTO type and I would highly recommend it. The Feather Popular mentioned above is also a TTO type and I've read very good things about it.
There's a lot of good products out there, it would be hard to go completely wrong with any choices you make. The best part about it is the fun you're going to have learning.

0 62
 11-28-2012, 04:07 PM
  • Johnny
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Welcome to The Shave Nook and thank you for sharing your story with us.

Another alternative would be a Schick Injector Razor. That is what I and several others use everyday and they give close comfortable shaves. They no longer make the razors but they are not hard to find. Sometime you will find one listed on our B/S/T section or you can search on eBay, just type in Schick Injector Razor. The Schick blades are still readily available and can be purchased at several locations. I actually think with your situation, one of these would be a good investment.

173 23,285
 11-28-2012, 04:09 PM
  • Grumpy
  • Senior Member
  • DisneyLand
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IKon is a Great Razor and I have two.

I also like the Vintage Gillettes and have several of them.

Well maybe more than several.

So the Sky is the Limit with how much you can pay but, the decision is up to you.

But, I do like the Vintage Gillettes especially when I can get them cheap.

But, the point is to go slow and have fun.

1 819
 11-28-2012, 08:23 PM
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You're in good company here. You are essentially at the same beginning point as most of the rest of us were before we found ourselves here. Pick your starting point and act on it. If you're seeing the same products mentioned more frequently, it means those products are considered workable by more than a few other guys, and you probably won't go too far wrong if you check out those products for yourself. Keep your eye on the BST and check out the starter kits offered by Bullgoose and RazoRock, just to name two. If there's a Bath and Body Works near your home, get a tube of the COBigelow shaving cream. It's relabeled Proraso, mentholated, and a great many of us have very fond memories of how that first tube of shaving cream started a fire we still haven't put out. Get a vintage Gillette and you'll be sharing that experience with literally millions of guys going back over a hundred years. You're on the right track. Post here as often as the mood strikes you. Good luck!

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