You looked online for other options to try besides the expensive cartridges. You found two trains of thought. "Cheaper" and "Better Shave." So now you want to try wet shaving, and after a few months of reading up on the subject, decided to join our forum to ask a few questions of your own. The floodgates opened! Suddenly you were inundated with a torrent of advice, some of it contradictory. "try this", "no try this", "do this or that," Why is there so many different opinions? you wonder. Each and every shaver is different. Different skin, different hair growth, sensitivities, allergies, warts, moles, different directions of hair growth and different techniques for shaving that hair off. I haven't even gone into different pre-shave preperations, tools for shaving, or post shave care. What works for one person might not work for you. We say that a lot in the The Shave Den Forum, though we usually shorten it down to YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). Other things are good advice and should be followed by every new wet shaver. GDCarrington advises all new wetshavers to stick with one setup for 30 days. 1 razor 1 brand of blade 1 brush 1 type of soap or cream 1 aftershave At the end of that time, you change one thing and repeat the process. "Does this actually work?" You wonder. The answer to that is a shrug and "YMMV." Within a week, even new shavers can tell whether a blade is going to work for them or not. Within a few hours to a few days new shavers can tell if they are allergic to something in the soap or cream. The only addition I would make to the above advice is to have two of everything but the brush and razor (and maybe them as well). Not two of the same thing of course, but two different blade brands, two different brands of soap or creams, etc. Only because of the possibility of allergies or blade intolerance. So why the month restriction? It gives you time to learn technique before changing up stuff. For an analogy, imagine you just joined a football team. You know nothing about football. You struggle into your gear, ready for your first practice, only to be told there's a game tonight and you are part of the starting lineup. O.K., so that might be a little extreme. Football isn't like shaving. Much... Good results come from practice and repetition. Not changing your inital setup for thirty days and only changing it slowly after that is where the repetition comes in. I know you want to try new stuff. I've been there. luckily I was broke and unemployed so I was forced to use what I had and develop good technique. Now I switch razors, creams, soaps, blades and aftershaves on a daily basis. But, I shaved with a 60's Gillette super speed and the same type of cream with the same brush for over a year. I learned technique. More importantly I learned it to the bone. Muscle memory and all that. I can shave half asleep and with my eyes closed. (I don't recommend this, shaving should be fun!) When we throw out terms like WTG, XTG, ATG, you should know that we are talking about the direction of facial hair growth. "With the grain," "Across the grain," and finally "Against the grain." When you are just starting out, limit yourself to two passes with the grain. If your hair grows downward, only shave in a downward direction. Your shave might not look as good as you want it to at this point, but whats important is that you get a comfortable shave with no irritation. Let your face get used to this new method of shaving, then try across the grain. Don't feel bad if you can't handle against the grain shaving, many of us can't, including me. I've found that after wet shaving for years, I can do one against the grain pass once a week with only minor irritation and burning. Anything more than that and I start to get ingrown hairs and razor burn, which is why I started wet shaving in the first place. Neolithium uses the following technique that has worked well for some shavers. "I can't afford the good stuff." We know that. We also know that you may not continue to wet shave or continue contributing on this forum. This is why most of us make an effort to recommend to new shavers razors that are reasonably priced, creams and soaps that sell for no more than $15 and if you have the extra money to go with the better brush. "Why the Brush? Isn't the razor the important thing?" Well, frankly, no. The difference between an expensive razor and a cheap one is often miniscule. The blades are the most important part of the razor and they are dirt cheap. The difference between a good brush and a bad brush is huge. Notice that I said "good" and "bad" not "expensive" and "cheap." Good brushes can be had for under $20. Bad ones can be expensive. When it comes to brushes, research the brushes, ask questions, and read reviews before you purchase. Remember the price difference between an excellent top of the line boar brush and an average badger brush might be pennies. If you want to know more about the different types of shave brushes, this is a link to my brush sticky, "The Brush: Basic Information Everyone Should Know" in the "Brush" section of this forum. Here is a comprehensive guide to producing good lather. This is an excellent link that will get you started with your new brush. "Yes, the brush makes a difference in the quality of the SHAVE! The SHAVE is not just the sum of lather and blade. The SHAVE is comfort and meditation and scent and even sound. The SHAVE is not just a utilitarian beard reduction - it is a sensual ballet; a synergistic interaction of disparate components whose sum is so much greater than the parts. The SHAVE is meditative - and the brush is an indispensable part of this dance. The right brush is the one that appeals in the moment, and it will change over time, only to come full circle again. Some things are meant to be analyzed... some things are just meant to be experienced and appreciated. Never settle for thin and sufficient if your heart longs for abundance! Doubt me on this? Tell me - why do you own so many soaps and creams and aftershaves? For the shear innocent sensuality of it! Indulge your SHAVE!" -jeraldgordon Every razor has a blade that works best in it for you. Your combo may be different than mine. Every blade will give you a close shave, the difference that you are looking for is which will give you a comfortable shave. Your job is to find the sharpest blade that will give you the smoothest shave. It really is a trade off, the sharper a blade is, the more likely it is to give you irritation, weepers, and cuts. The duller a blade is, the more likely you are to get tugging, pulling and dragging. Most blades have some sort of coating to smooth out the edges of the blade. Usually a form of Teflon or a platinum coating. We can recommend blades until we are blue in the face, but that does not mean it is the best blade for you. I have found exactly one other person, out of the hundreds in this forum that I interact with on a regular basis, that has the exact same taste in blades as I do. We like the same blades and hate the same blades. Each person is different. At this point you are probably wondering what particular razor or brush or blade I recommend. You won't find that in this post. You have hundreds of threads in this forum that have many different shaver's answers to those questions. You also have a core group of hundreds of wet shavers in this forum who are willing and ready to answer questions. And no, there are no "Stupid" questions. Even if it's something blindingly obvious to most of us here, it may not be to you or other new wet shavers looking for help and advice in this forum. If you are wondering what the best way to ask questions and advice is, this thread is the most ideal newbie thread I have ever seen: http://theshaveden.com/forums/threads/another-noob-seeking-advice.29618/ If you are looking for a happy ending for him, you won't find it there. With luck he figured out what needs to change, but in the meantime, that thread has helped many other people. This is a perfect example of how advice given can give you the tools you need to become a better shaver, but in the end, only you can improve your shave. I wish you the best as you embark on a journey that will change your life, one shave at a time. Edit: It's been a little over 8 years since I wrote this, and since I stickied this in my signature, I figured I would revisit this topic and see what, if anything, I would add. The answer- not much. I can shave against the grain on a daily basis on my neck these days. On the flip side, I usually only do one pass, plus touchups, these days. I attribute this to my gradual gravitation towards open comb razors that tend to be more efficient (aggressive), rather than any significant change in my shaving technique. I continue to maintain that comfort is more important than results. If you focus on getting a comfortable shave, results will follow. If you prioritize results over comfort, you will extend the learning curve far beyond what it ought to be.