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Safety Razor Shave

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    Safety Razor Shave

    I've found shaving to be a hassle and look for anyway to prolong the time between shaves so I can save myself from the irritating procedure. Realizing that I cannot actually grow a respectable beard nor can I allow for my facial hair grow freely anymore now that I'm out of college, I'm looking for ways to make shaving less bothersome and, dare I say, pleasureful. In my search for answers I saw the a video on Put This On (a great site) that described using a safety razor and badger brush. The option looks enticing, but before I commit to what can be costly equipment I was hoping that I could ask you all for your advice, not just with a safety razor (although that would be helpful) but with your stories of making shaving less burdensome.

    Here's the video for those of you who are interested:


    These folks:



      All the razors there just have Gillette heads. FWIW OP, that's the brand I've had the best luck with.



        You've come to the right place, my friend. I have been wet shaving for about two months now and it is way better (and cheaper) than shaving with my old Mach 3 turbo. I started out buying an old Gilette safety razor at an antique store for $15, blades on, 200 Derby blades for $18.66. I then bought a Tweezerman badger brush, Colonel Conk shave soap (Bay Rum, mmmmm), and Colonel Conk razor/brush stand all on Amazon (free shipping and no taxes, wooo!). Links to everything are below. Unless you enjoy pissing away money, don't buy from the site that Jessie recommends in that PTO video. I'm sure they sell great stuff, but is it really worth THAT price? I got an old coffee mug to put my shave soap in. There's no need to buy a mug for soap when I'm sure your parents have two dozen old mugs lying around.

        As far as the process goes, shave WITH THE GRAIN of your beard for the first pass and then DIAGONALLY ACROSS THE GRAIN for the second. Do this for at least a month. Do not try to shave against the grain (pass #3) until you feel your face can handle it and you have the right touch.

        Wet shaving is done in passes, to get a closer shave. Shave with short strokes and move slowly. The key to the wet shave is the correct blade angle, slow movement and a light touch. You WILL cut yourself, it happens, it's part of the learning process. Just move slowly with a light touch to minimize this. My mug has been prize winning since I started wet shaving and yours can be too. It just takes time and the right touch.

        Good luck!



          Watch everything on this guys Youtube channel if you want to learn how to wet shave safely and properly. Lots of good info on there.



            I was wondering when wet shaving would come up here. I have been using a double edged safety razor and brush for about a year now. I too was tired of the sandpaper feeling from the Gillette 'systems'. I would never change back. There was a period of slight adjustment while I found the right blade angle and learned not to press down. Now I get great shaves with no irritation.

            To start off you do need to make a little investment. If you get semi-decent equipment right away you are going to get a hassle-free shave from the get-go.

            I would recommend:

            Razor - Merkur 180 Safety Razor


            I started out using a cheaper Razor but this is the way to go. The weight, balance and finish on this are perfect.

            Blades - 25 Blade sampler pack


            This lets you try out some different blades, and contains a three to six month supply depending on how much you change blades. I prefer the Feathers, but you should find out which blade it right for you.

            Brush - Tweezerman Badger brush


            You can't go wrong with a Badger brush for $11. You can get a shaving brush stand for about $5, this will extend the life of your brush.

            Shave Cream - Proraso


            I have tried many different creams and soaps and this beats them all. Proraso makes a great smooth lather and I like the menthol too. Before branching out I would try this stuff.

            You could also use:

            A small bowl to make lather in

            Some hand towels to apply hot water to your face.

            I realize that there is an outlay of cash here. There is a cheaper option:

            Van der Hagen shave set:


            Just over $10 for a brush, soap, and bowl. This is what I started out with. I still use the bowl. The soap and brush are decent.

            I would suggest a Lord razor for $12:


            Plus 10 Feather blades for $7.50:


            That is under $30 for everything you need, and ships free from Amazon.

            Happy Shaving



              Thank you so much to everyone for your valued input! I really feel like I have a better perspective on the wet shave situation going forward and will be able to make informed decisions while embarking on this challenge. I think I will take the advice given by ChrisW and start with a relatively inexpensive razor like the Lords to see if wet shaving is for me. Badger brushes are flat out cool so I will be going with the Tweezerman brush that was recommended twice and I haven't decided on a shave cream yet because the different varieties all seem so interesting.

              Thanks again to all and I hope that it is a success.



                I've been shaving with a double edge safety razor for about 9 months now, after a Mach 3 and then whatever their 5 blade thing was. I got sick of paying for the blades, and wanted something a little more interesting. Some observations

                1. I'm not sure that you really save anything except over the long haul. Yes, modern blades are stupid expensive, but you are looking at a fairly large investment up front. And the savings tend to be offset by wanting to try 10 different soaps, 20 blades, a second brush, etc.

                2. Some people claim to get a better shave with a safety than with a Mach 3, but I find them about the same. I guess my beard isn't that tricky.

                3. I actually look forward to shaving with a safety razor and badger brush in a way that I didn't before.

       is a great source of information. Try not to get overwhelmed. Some folks over there get a little obsessive. I wouldn't buy much of anything from art of shaving. All their hardware is rebranded from other companies, and has a ridiculous mark up (50-100%). is a great vendor, as are a few others. Equipment wise, to get started you need

                A Razor- Pretty much anything Merkur is going to be good, and the Edward Jagger 89 has a great reputation as well. There are some good vintage pieces out there too. The Gillete Tech is a nice beginner razor, and can be had for around 10 bucks on ebay. Look for a straight bar rather than slant bar or open comb for your first razor, they are more forgiving

                Blades- Experiences are all over the map here. I've tried a bunch, and really like Personna Preps, which are actually a medical blade, and I think only come in boxes of 100. The regular personnas are good too, as are many others. I've had bad luck with Debry. Get a sampler, there are plenty.

                Brush- There are so many options here. For a first, best bet is something kind of average size (20-22mm knot). Boar is a decent place to start (I don't own one, but have been to a barber that used one). Omegas makes a decent boar, and they can be had for around 10 bucks. In badger, there are lots of options, and lots of hair grades and whatnot, but even the less fancy ones will do a decent job.

                Bowl- doesn't matter. Just steal one from the kitchen, or don't. I face lather, so I don't need one for building lather, but I use one to soak the brush while I shower.

                Soap- there are tons of options. It goes a long way, so don't be put off by initial purchase price of most (and steer clear of the really cheap stuff). I personally really like 2 soaps above all others- Cella and Arko (in shave stick form). All the shaving vendors sell Cella. It has a mild almond scent, lathers easily, and is really slick. Arko is a little harder to come by, but can be found on Amazon. I'm not sure if anybody there sells single sticks or not, but it is pretty cheap stuff.It just kind of smells like soap. is fun too. I don't think her soaps shave quite as well as Cella or Arko, but they shave well, and she has close to 100 scents, which is fun.

                Alum block or styptic pencil- for cuts

                Aftershave- depending on season and skin type- I use a lotion style from MamaBear in the winter, and Ogallala bay rum in the summer, which has witch hazel, alcohol, and clove oil, and burns bad, but smells nice and leaves the skin feeling nice.


                1. Put some warm water in a bowl, soak your brush. For hard soaps, put a little water on top of soap to soften.

                2. Take a shower, and be sure to get your beard wet and soapy. I leave soap on my face for a couple minutes while I wash the rest of myself. This is really important to hydrate the hairs and make them easy to cut.

                3. Get out, leave face wet, make lather- wring out your brush so it is just damp. Lather on your soap for longer than you think. I usually count to about 100 swirls, which gives plenty of lather. If you bowl lather, start working the soap in a bowl, and gradually add water as you mix. You want a nice foam that is cushiony and slick. This is kind of an artform.

                4. Lather your face. I start on the neck as that is my problem area, and it is good to let the lather further soften this hair.

                5. Start shaving. For your first few times, only shave with the grain. You won't get a close shave, but you won't exanguinate.Keep your blade at the correct angle (about 60 degrees to face) so it cuts. Do not apply any pressure to your face, just gently drag the blade. Otherwise you get razor burn. Once you get the hang of it, add additional passes as you see fit. I do one with the grain, one perpendicular to the grain, one against the grain, and then some blade buffing under my chin (Check the mantic videos above).Lather between each pass

                6. I hop back into the shower for 2 seconds to get rid of the soap. Wash out the bowl, wash the brush, and gently wring out the water (then fluff it so it dries).

                7. Rub any cuts with Alum or Styptic. I just rub the alum block over my whole face.

                8. Apply aftershave.




                  @Albert That is a great recommendation! I couldn't remember his name, but that guy came to mind when I saw this thread. He is definitely a good guy to listen to if you want to enjoy shaving.



                    For beginners in this realm, it should be noted that the art of shaving has a decent starter kit with a badger brush, pre-shave oil, shaving cream, and a post-shave lotion or something to that effect. I got mine as a gift and it came with a bunch of free blades too. I got those supplies about 9 months ago and still have them all (so they all last a long time). The oil, cream, and lotion seem quality, as does the brush.

                    I will agree with bassopotamus that the razors they sell there are absurdly expensive compared to online or other retailers.

                    "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano



                      Ditto to the Merkur 180 that ChrisW posted. It's the one I have and it's perfect. Merkur Razors are great quality, (but their blades aren't).

                      If you're worried about cost, you don't need that huge set-up everyone is posting. All you need is the razor, some blades, any shaving cream, and some aftershave if you need it. Then just practice for a while. If you find you love it, invest in the rest of the gear. You don't want to end up spending a fortune on the whole sh'bang and find you really don't like it.

                      BTW you will like it... heheh...



                        +1 on Merkur razors and proraso shave soap. thats my combo too. Its not only cheaper, its 100 times better for your skin.



                          I use a safety razor and badger brush for shaving and while upfront it might seem costy, in reality it saves a ton of money. I use Proraso shave creme which costs about 10 bucks for a tube that lasts over a year. My razor is a Merkur HD which is $50 but I also have other Gillette safety razors I've purchased on eBay for under $10 and work flawlessly, maybe even better than the Merkur. The blades cost me $20 for 100 blades. I use one blade per week. My brush is a Kent badger brush which I was lucky to win, but a $30 brush will serve you fine. The razor should last indefinitely, and the brush for many many years. You're looking at about 30 bucks a year in shave supply. A lot cheaper the Gillette Fusion refills and shave cream in a can.

                          The reason I do it is because I find the ritual of lathering the creme with the brush relaxing, and enjoy the process of shaving with safety razor more rewarding, and a great way to start the day. I used to suffer from terrible razor burn and ingrown hairs, since I started tis process, they've almost completely vanished. I've been doing it for about 3 years now, and have no intention of ever going back to the "modern" process.

                          The downside is that it takes a bit to learn how to use the safety razor properly and your shaves will suck for a while and your face will hate you. You'll also need to try various creams and blades to find a combination that suits your skin and habits but fortunately most vendors offer sampler packs. Once you iron out the kinks, you'll love it.

                          This youtube account will offer all the tips and advice you'll need from how to make lather to how to use the razor properly.


                          To add to what I was saying about having to try different combinations, someone mentioned having bad luck with Derby blades and likes the Personnas. I'm the opposite, I have terrible luck with the Personnas and love my Derby blades. Everyone's face is different.




                            Agreed, I have not seen anything with a greater potential for YMMV than razor blades. The only consensus I've seen is that almost nobody likes Merkur blades. The good news is, blades are cheap (even the most expensive ones) and the sampler packs are great.



                              I heard Feathers are supposed to be "Ninja" sharp and are highly regarded by the DE shave community.