Newbie figuring out what to buy

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by Skijumper, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Skijumper

    Skijumper New Member

    Hey Guys,
    I'm going to give wet shaving a go and I'm trying to figure out what all I need to get started.
    I'm a student so I'm trying to keep this as economical as possible. I've been putting together a list of what I'm thinking about getting and any input would be awesome

    Razor-Trying to decide between a Lord Premium, A Merkur, a parker or a Weishi, the weishi is priced well but I think I'd like something more European. I'd like to spend less than $25 dollars preferably, which would you guys recommend?

    Brush: Omega Marshmallow Pure Badger Brush $14.95
    Escali Pure Badger Brush $13.95
    Based on your experiences would I be better off getting a boar hair brush for this price? It seems like both of these are on the cheap side for Badger brushes.

    Shaving Cream: Proraso (which would you recommend for a beginner, cream or soap?)

    What is a good beginner sample pack of blades to get?

    Should I also get some pre/post shave cream now as well or is that something I can wait to spend money on later?

    Aftershave: is it just for the scent or is it also essential in getting a good shave?

    I've also been reading that I should get a styptic pen and alum block, thoughts?
  2. Regan

    Regan Well-Known Member

    I would recommend he Omega just because of how many people love their brushes.

    It would be tough to get a new Merkur for less than 25. Try the ebays might be able to find one there.
    For finding a razor this thread is great to help you choose what you want.

    I would recomend a cream to start. For the blade sampler many sites offer them. TSD has one that is somewhat smaller than others but it is great and cheap as well.

    You do not need to use Preshave, you can use hair conditioner if you would like. However many users here do not use any at all. Many find it useless i personally enjoy it and think it might help.

    Aftershave is important for a shave. It adds back oils, nutrients, moisturizes as well as other goodies from before. The scent also will linger longer than a sc... in most cases

    I would recommend a styptic pen because you might get some nicks or cuts, however i dont use one because im not a bleeder most stop after a couple min.
    Think that covered it... :D
  3. Griff76

    Griff76 Member

    +10 to the Styptic pen, with it you can get almost all cuts sealed up.
    I have been using that brush since February, I always thought it was Boar. Bu you can pick that up in the store for About the same amount as what you have listed.

    Also read some of the links for prep in here, it maybe your one of the lucky ones that doesn't need it, but I can feel the difference shaving before to shaving after the shower.
  4. Nairb

    Nairb Active Member

    Definitely a styptic pencil. It's a couple of bucks and you'll have it for life.

    If you want to keep track of your progress and it also has anti bacterial properties, the alum block. It won't take the place of the Styptic pencil though. It also is great for keeping underarm odor at bay. One block will last a year with everyday use.

    Good aftershave is nice, but most today are formulated for scent alone IMO. Just go to the Dollar Store and buy some generic Witch Hazel. It's good stuff. If you don't like the scent, just wait a second and it's gone. Lots of us like it though, you may too. If you don't like it just add a few drops of cologne or essential oil to mask the scent.
  5. tomnat

    tomnat accepting applications

    Welcome to The Shave Den! I hope you enjoy your stay.

    I agree.

    You can get a nice blade sampler pack, and some great smelling and performing creams and soaps as well as many other items right here at the TSD store. You should check it out.
  6. ChemErik

    ChemErik Mr. Personality

    My advice by item:

    Razor: If you're budget is $25, I'd personally get a vintage model. A decent Super Speed should be no more than $20 and a Tech even less. Or take the savings on the brush by getting the one I recommend below and use it to afford an Edwin Jagger DE86/DE87.

    Brush: An Omega boar would work nicely, but I'd give a slight edge to the Shea Moisture Shave brush that can be found in some Target stores for about $9. I currently use one as my travel brush. You won't go wrong with either of these choices (or I'm sure several others that will be recommended).

    Soap/Cream: Typically a cream is easier, but I wouldn't rule out Van Der Hagen Deluxe which is a cheap and easy to use soap that can be found locally. If you live near a Rite-Aid, The Real Shave Company Shave Cream is made by the same company that makes creams for Trumper's, Truefitt & Hill, and Taylor's (but it costs far less - ~$5). You might also consider Kiss My Face or C.O. Bigalow creams.

    Styptic: It's cheap insurance for cuts, so get a stick. The ones that leave white residue are about $1 at Walmart and most drug stores. The clear ones are a little more and might be worth it too you, but that's your call. I personally don't keep one any more, but was glad to have one starting out.

    Alum: If you have oily skin and are acne prone, I'd highly recommend one. Otherwise it's just an optional thing to try. Being on a budget, you might leave this to later.

    Aftershave: I personally think it's important, but you don't need an expensive one. Just try to match your skin type. Oily skin = splash. Dry Skin = Balm. "Normal" skin = whatever you like better.

    Preshave: If you shave after a shower and don't have a particularly tough beard I think it's a waste. But, some people have really tough beards or don't shave right after a shower and they sometimes find these products helpful. You'll just have to apply discretion.

    Blades: You're on the right track with a sample pack. Since blade opinions vary so much it's hard to recommend one. If you get 6 or more blade types you're almost certain to like at least one of them so don't over-think it and just get one. If you really need a specific recommendation, go to the store link at the top of the page and order a sampler from The Shave Den store as it helps support this site.
  7. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    First, Hi! Welcome to the Den.

    Second, what Erik said below saves me a lot of typing...

  8. Skijumper

    Skijumper New Member

    Awesome guys, thanks for the replies!
    Another question, has anyone used the Gilette 7 o'clock razor? seems like its an awesome value if its decent.
    Also if I were using a post shave cream like the proraso would you recommend using aftershave in addition to that or is would that be overkill?
  9. SharpSpine

    SharpSpine Well-Known Member

    I'll follow ChemErik's format with my advice...

    Razor: I agree with your budget that a vintage razor might be ideal. I'll suggest what most others won't and that would be to pick up a 1912 Gem or Ever Ready SE (single edge) razor. They are actually easier to learn to shave with than a DE and have less variables when it comes to blade angle and blade choice for that matter.

    Brush: This one really depends on what you can find locally and what you want to order online. If your Target has the Shea Moisture brush, then I'd go with that. If not you can start with an Omega Boar or even a Frank Shaving Finest from Star Shaving or even directly from China via Ian Tang.

    Soap/Cream: I have common and locally available soaps/creams. I have the aforementioned VDH deluxe and it's quite good for the money. I also have a puck of Colonel Conk Lime which I don't like at all. Then I have C.O. Bigelow for my cream and it is excellent. I love the menthol and eucalyptus.

    Styptic: Definitely a must. I have the skinny one. The fat one I see in some stores I feel like I'd be going to the ER before needing to use that big of a styptic.

    Alum: Here's a $ saver as well if you already have it. Alum is an ingredient used in cooking and as a powder can be found at your local grocery store. I picked some up (enough to last for 5-10 years probably) and I just add it to my witch hazel (which I use as an aftershave, see below)

    Aftershave: This is extremely important for me as I have oily skin. I use witch hazel (with alum occasionally) after a cold water rinse. Once this dries I use an aftershave splash. Again because I can find it locally and I just love it, I use Aqua Velva Classic Ice Blue. If you have dry skin though stay away from the alcohol based splashes and look more for a moisturizing balm.

    Preshave: I've tried a few different things for preshave. I almost always shave after my shower. If I don't shower then I use a hot wet towel for at least a couple minutes. I've done a little bit of the Bigelow cream rubbed in while I mix my lather. I've also used Noxema Deep Cleansing Cream as a preshave too.

    Blades: If you go for the SE, then your blade selection is decidedly easier. Most local drug stores carry some and you'll pay about $.50 per blade. I get at least a weeks worth of shaves out of a single blade even with my coarse beard so this is quite cheap IMO. When buying the blades online you can get them in lots of 100 or 200 and less than $.25 per blade.
  10. SharpSpine

    SharpSpine Well-Known Member

    This most likely depends more on what type of skin you have... oily, dry, combination, or normal.
  11. Sodapopjones

    Sodapopjones Well-Known Member

    Do not buy a pure badger brush as your first brush, you're going to be disappointed. I second the notion for an Omega boar however.
  12. Skijumper

    Skijumper New Member

    Good to know. I found a cheapo Hurban Cowboy brush and some williams mug shave soap at the local drug store today, tried them out with my normal cartridge razor and was amazed at how much better it felt than the crap ive been using! Now I really can't wait to get a real razor

    Does anyone know of any stores where you can buy DE razors in person? I saw mention of being able to buy re-labled proraso at bed bath and beyond, would they carry the other stuff I need too?
  13. Sodapopjones

    Sodapopjones Well-Known Member

    Most likely no, but you might get lucky, you'll have to search. I know in CA, AZ and NY of places to go, other than that not so much personally.

    Just wait till you get a real soap, you'll enjoy the shave even more *runs* :whacky025:
  14. SharpSpine

    SharpSpine Well-Known Member

    I was able to pick up my Merkur 33C at a tobacco shop. The kind of place that sells cigars, humidors, and fine cigarettes. That the only place locally that carries DE razors near me. Other than the antique stores and flea markets that is!
  15. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    For about $25 from Amazon, you can get a VDH luxury kit which comes with a nice apothecary mug, a puck of the luxury soap, and their good badger brush. For AS lots of stuff will work, but I suggest the after shave splashes from TSD.

    Razor? Vintage tech, Lord Premium, or other typical suggestions from the link above.

    If you have a bath and body works, try picking up a tube of C.O. Bigelow shave cream.
  16. Sodapopjones

    Sodapopjones Well-Known Member

    I like the milk better, its top-shelf goodness. Ironically I think they absorb better than the splashes.
  17. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    Lot's of great suggestions thus far! I started with the VDH boar and soap, along with a Big Roc / Ming Shi. Then I went on to spend thousands more! Help Me!
  18. Will

    Will Nevermind

    Can’t miss starter kits/gear even for experienced wet shaves:

    • Razors: Merkur Hefty Classic, Gillette Super Speed, Gillette Tech, and for straights a new PRE-HONED Dovo 5/8 Round Point, remember you will need a strop too. The reason I say new is that you may not know what to look for on Ebay or Flea markets yet until you get some learning under your belt. You can also visit the Shopping forum and ask/browse for a shave ready straight, I am sure one of our many members can hook you up and you will get a fair shake.

    • Go for the sample pack of blades to find the blade that works for you. Examples:,, and

    • The Crabtree and Evelyn Best Badger Brush ($35 Dollar) is a great starter but be warned the drawing power to acquire more brushes is strong as with razors.

    • The Shave Den Soaps, cheapest on the market and arguably the best for homemade soap. Not that I intend to advertise the Shave Den’s store but well it is my opinion either way. Other soap makers I recommend, QED, Olivia, Soapbuddy, Suzie's Bubbles, Mama Bear, Honey Bee Spa, Saint Charles Shave, The Gentleman's Quarter, Pirates Cove, and Tryphon all site links can be found here.

    • Cheap and good creams would be... Proraso, Musgo Real, Erasmic, Kiss My Face, Tom's of Maine, and JM Fraser. All are highly recommended by me.

    • Aftershave, go to the drug store (yes I said that).

    Aqua Velva
    Skin Bracer
    Old Spice
    Pinaud Clubman
    Nivea Aftershave Balm
    Masters Bay Rum (Sally’s Beauty Supply)

    • If you feel like moving up I would suggest the following.

    Tabac Shaving Soap
    De Vergulde Hand Shaving Soap
    Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream
    Salter’s Shaving Cream
    ...............We could be here a while
  19. Will

    Will Nevermind

    I wrote this a while back and still stick with it! :)

    I may need to edit it, not sure what is still around anymore. The shaving world is a beast of new stuff and old stuff going away, some of my suggestions may now be obsolete.
  20. Mechguy

    Mechguy Well-Known Member

    I think the recomendations above are excellent.
    For a very good and cheap razor, the lord tech is great, and I have heard good things about the lord smart.
    The omega boar brush's can't be beat for their price, and they work great. I have two.
    A good affordable soap is proraso white (green tea and aloe vera), and its easy to learn with.
    Nothing fancy or too expensive.

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