03-23-2012, 08:57 AM
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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I am frequently asked what is the best razor for a new wet shaver and am also asked by those a few months into wet shaving what would be the best choice for their 2nd razor. For years Michael Ham recommended the Merkur 34C for a first razor (since revised to the Edwin Jagger DE8x) and a Merkur Slant for a 2nd razor.

I agree with the new recommendation of the Edwin Jagger razor as a first razor...it is a bit less aggressive and more forgiving than the 34C and the price point is good. However, I think a great choice for the 2nd razor is an adjustable...specifically the Merkur Futur. Perhaps this is based on my own experience...slants just do not seem to work that well for me while with the Futur, you can dial it in to the perfect amount of aggressiveness for your face, technique and skill level.

If a new wet shaver or a prospective wet shaver were to ask you this question, what would you tell them? In other words, in your opinion what would be the best 1st razor and the best 2nd razor for a new convert?

54 22,449
 03-23-2012, 09:10 AM
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I look forward to these responses as I'm still shaving with the razor I started with a few years ago, a Merkur 33C. I guess I never got RAD. Biggrin I'm at the point now, though, where I'd consider trying out another.

4 124
 03-23-2012, 09:57 AM
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I agree with you Phil, the EJ DE8x line is a great place for a noob to start this journey. The price point is great, the razors look fantastic, quality is very good, and are just in the right place in terms of mildness/aggressiveness.

I also agree that an adjustable would make a really good 2nd razor, and the futur is indeed a good one. However, I think an old gillette adjustable would be an even better idea, specifically the slim. The slim can be bought for a decent price, and it also allows you to try out a twist-to-open type razor. Plus every wet shave enthusiast should try out a vintage razor at one point or another.

15 222
 03-23-2012, 10:42 AM
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I'm outside the box on this one.

for a first razor I'm going to go with the Parker 22r. Mild enough to hook them, not aggressive enough to scare them off by slicing their face open. They don't have to fiddle with a three piece. They can just twist, load the blade, twist again and you're shaving. Has a nice mix of affordability and quality craftsmanship.

Second razor I'd suggest the Muhle r89 or Baxter of California (which is literally the same razor but with a different name on the handle).

then third would be a vintage adjustable
fourth would be futur or mergress.

I really don't like suggesting the edwin jagger 89 because I hate the handle.

4 309
 03-23-2012, 10:44 AM
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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I agree with Phil's recommendations and can vouch for them with my own personal experience.

My first DE was the Merkur HD. While I was able to get some great shaves with it, if my technique wasn't spot on, lather just right, I could occasionally have a rough shave. Perhaps the frequency with which I change products has something to do with my rough shaves.

But when I switched to an Edwin Jagger DE, the quality of my shaves significantly improved. I found the EJ easier to use, more comfortable, and less likely to do damage. The new EJ line is quite classy, the price is competitive, and the fit and finish are superb.

At some point I picked up a Futur. I think this razor really taught me how to shave. Feeling pretty confident with it, I started on the lowest setting and advanced a setting with each subsequent shave. On day 6, with the Futur fully open, I was getting some of my smoothest, most comfortable shaves. I have since tried a number of other purportedly aggressive razors, like the new Muhle R41, with no problems.

I would, however, add some vintage razors to the list. As a first razor, I would recommend a Gillette Tech or a 1940s Superspeed. Second razor - adjustable Slim or Fatboy. So a newbie has both a vintage option and a new production option.

43 1,714
 03-23-2012, 11:03 AM
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IMO if the new wetshaver has never shaved before, Merkur HD is a better first choice. If the new convert has used carts already then EJ is a better first razor. Any adjustable razor should be a natural candidate as a second razor.

2 180
 03-23-2012, 12:05 PM
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I still think it is the 34C, because at least for me, it will give a good shave with most blades.
I get great shaves from a nice mild Red IP, all the way up to a super sharp Feather in the 34C.
I adapted to it quickly and was able to get good shaves after just a few attempts.
If it would've went poorly at the outset, I may have dropped the DE and went back to carts.

The EJ DE8x, at least with my beard, requires a sharper blade to perform well.
Newbies and Feathers don't often make for a good combo.

Not too experienced with vintage Gillette DEs. I've used a few SS and a Fatboy, and didn't care for the thickness of the heads.
I do have a Red Tip, but I don't love it, or use it much.


1 77
 03-23-2012, 12:11 PM
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An Edwin Jagger is a great first razor. An adjustable as a second razor is good but I think the Futur is too big. I would recommend a short or long handle Progress.

149 14,461
 03-23-2012, 12:13 PM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(03-23-2012, 08:57 AM)bullgoose Wrote: I agree with the new recommendation of the Edwin Jagger razor as a first razor...

Hi Phil

I totally agree on the Edwin Jagger being an excellent first DE razor.

Honestly I think someone's second DE razor should be whatever appeals to them the most after mastering their first DE razor.

Example, I have absolutely zero interest in getting myself an adjustable. For me personally an Open Comb or Slant was a lot! more appealing, though I ended up going with a Weber (various reasons lead to that choice, 100% stainless steel, price point, support a local company, etc).

Thanks to itsmedave I now have an Open Comb on its way Smile

So the only other DE razor on my wetshaving wish list is a slant bar, once I get that I can't see the need to get another (type of) DE razor, unless of course something comes along that blows me out of the water, or is priced too good to pass up (eg Weber), or is a gift...

Take care, Mike

23 1,872
 03-23-2012, 12:24 PM
  • R0B
  • Member
  • The Netherlands
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The DE8x series of EJ are indeed the best razors to start with. These razors give you a smooth razor and they are not expensive. Personally I really like the look and feel of the Barley edition.

If the new wet shaver is getting addicted and he has enough budget, the iKon SK9 would be a nice choice. Because of the dual head, the user can get used to the OC.

0 114
 03-23-2012, 02:12 PM
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(03-23-2012, 12:11 PM)slantman Wrote: An Edwin Jagger is a great first razor. An adjustable as a second razor is good but I think the Futur is too big. I would recommend a short or long handle Progress.

I don't have a Futur, but I started on a Progress. Dialed all the way down it is plenty mild as a first razor. Of course, the desire to tinker and adjust are impossible to resist, so I had some bad shaves by getting too aggressive. The upside was that it forced me to really consider my prep and technique. I bought several razors pretty soon after, including a travel Merkur with safety bar. I still haven't gone back to try it again, but I wasn't impressed. I haven't sold or traded it either, though, so... I bought several vintage Gillettes, but the shaves they give can be inconsistent. They are highly blade sensitive. I also regularly use the 37C and a DE89 on an iKon bulldog handle.

For a first razor, the DE8X seems to be pretty great, but it could just as easily be a Progress. For a second razor, I would actually suggest an SE like the G-Bar, but eventually vintage supply will dry up. The 37C is always a treat.

3 195
 03-23-2012, 04:43 PM
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(03-23-2012, 09:57 AM)reyrascon Wrote: I also agree that an adjustable would make a really good 2nd razor, and the futur is indeed a good one. However, I think an old gillette adjustable would be an even better idea, specifically the slim. The slim can be bought for a decent price, and it also allows you to try out a twist-to-open type razor.

That is true and I do like the slim but feel as if the Futur or Progress give a greater range of aggressiveness from mild to wild. The Slim and Fatboy seem fairly mild even at higher settings.

54 22,449
 03-23-2012, 05:31 PM
  • ridgerunner
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Southern Appalachian Mountains
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Like many others I agree with recommendation for the EJ 8x razor. The second razor I would suggest would be a vintage Gillette such as a 40's Super Speed. The EJ and 40's Super Speed provide are a mild razor.

The Gillette Slim was recommended above and would be a good choice and generally at a lower price than a Fatboy.

34 1,760
 03-23-2012, 06:05 PM
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1. DE89x

Second choice is hard because the DE89 is such a jack of all trades and can handle any situation.

Slant - OK razor. Not good for trim work around the sideburns etc. It asymmetry is it's best feature and worse flaw in this regard.

Futur - Adjustable, great razor but personally I don't use the adjustability on it much. It is fire and forget for me. As a note I love this razor

Merkur 3-piece and 2-piece - nothing beyond the EJ

Muhle R41 - To aggressive for most gents new to razors and works best if your lather is good.

Vintage DE - I have used them for many years. There is nothing there you can't get from modern razors except nostalgia.

Schick Injectors or SE's - This would be my pick because they have a different face feel. With the expense and dwindling supply of blades they have sadly become a side note in shaving history. This makes me sad because they are such great razors

So the winner is ...Futur or Progress. Brings new fiddle bits to the game.

4 854
 03-23-2012, 06:21 PM
  • Sully
  • Super Moderator
  • Cedar Park, Texas
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For the first razor I would recommend the Muhle r89. I found the Muhle to be milder then the Merkur HD, and provide a smoother shave.

For the second razor I'd recommend an SE, maybe a GEM 1912 or something like that. The first time I tried an SE it was a revelation. Actually, this might be a great first razor, it's dead easy to get the correct blade angle and the blades last for about 7 shaves.

For the third razor I'd recommend the Cobra Classic with a pack of Kai Mild blades.

13 2,541
 03-23-2012, 06:41 PM
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I assume you mean DE. I've always suggested to noobs a vintage Tech or SS. They are plentiful, inexpensive, and mild.

For a second razor one would be hard pressed to find a better one than a Slim Adjustable. It can be dialed from mild all the way up to magical 9. A slim set somewhere near 1-3 would also make a great first razor.

In SE, the beginner razors are a GEM Featherweight or the Heavy Flat Top or G-bar (same razor). Or a closed comb 1912 Damaskeene.

The 2nd SE razor is impossible to suggest, there are so many really good ones that are more efficient shavers than the others I suggested, yet not so aggressive as to be difficult to use effectively w/o needing a transfusion.

But I think the key to a successful transition to a 2nd more aggressive razor, no matter which is chosen, is that the noob stay with the 1st razor for quite some time to perfect all of the parts of the shave.

32 6,609
 03-23-2012, 07:50 PM
  • wingdo
  • The Dude Abides
  • Florida
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Well this is interesting as I used to be a DE shaver (although with canned foam) and then somewhere along the way dropped out for the lure of fast shaves. So my first razor was really a blacktip but I digress.

My first razor upon returning to DE shaving was a 34C. I still think this is a great first shaver. Not too mild, but not chop your lips off aggressive either. I have over time picked up a Muhle R89 (I just do not like the EJ handles either) and I can see that also being a great first razor but I would personally still suggest the 34C.

For a second razor ...... wow, that is an interesting question. I am not sure I would recommend the Futur as the next razor up. The first question I would ask is what kind of price range they are looking for. I've got about a dozen razors and one of my favorites is still the iKon S3S. I think any of the dual head iKons would be a nice second razor. You can use it open comb or closed comb. It's like a mini adjustable. If price is an object, perhaps a Weber DLC.

129 4,001
 03-23-2012, 08:00 PM
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I started wet shaving in January with a EJ89 and I have to agree that it is a great starter. Mild and forgiving but capable of great shaves. I'm interested in something adjustable but after hearing good reviews of the Weber DLC I bought one of those as my second and love it. The heavier yet similar razor was a nice next step.

I plan on passing my EJ on to my high school aged son since he's expressed an interest in it and I will likely buy an adjustable soon just to see what that is about. Eventually I plan to venture over and try a straight razor but that can wait until my grandfather passes his father's straight down to me (I can't wait!)

I know many of you have multiple razors, do you use them in a rotation or do you have a favorite "go to" daily razor? I can easily see myself gathering a collection.

2 43
 03-23-2012, 09:27 PM
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I can't speak for any of the other modern razors mentioned above, I don't own one of those. But a Gillette SS is a good first choice, or a Adjustable (FB or Slim) would be a great choice because they are 9 razors in 1. You don't like one setting you can change it. If a 89 is too mild you are stuck with it. But with a vintage adjustable just turn the dial.

2 807
 03-24-2012, 04:35 AM
  • PDB
  • Junior Member
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I can't say much about new razors since I do not have any yet, other than straights. Me first DE was a Tech and it was enough to get me hooked. It was mild but did a great job. My thought was "Why did they stop making these?" My second was a Gillette Adjustable. My first new DE is in the mail right now, a 34C and I am anxious to try it out.

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