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Thread: What to buy: Shaving necessities vs. shaving luxuries

  1. #1
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    Default What to buy: Shaving necessities vs. shaving luxuries

    On YouTube you'll see a lot of How To videos that tell you to empty your bank account to buy a million things to start wet shaving. They imply that should you neglect even one of these purchases your entire shave will be ruined.

    Necessities:
    -Straight Razor
    -Shaving cream or soap
    -Strop
    -Whetstone
    -Shaving Brush*
    The razor, strop, and whetstone do seem like a lot, but you need all three if you plan to keep your razor for a long time. You don't want to cheap out too much on these because remember, they are an investment. Buy one once and use it for 50 years rather than have it break or wear out and buy a new one in two years.

    A decent Dovo blade will cost around $80. Avoid Art of Shaving stores, as they are ridiculously overpriced. You're honestly better off using Amazon or the vendors on this site. A strop will cost about $20-30, and a whetstone can cost upwards of $50 or more. Soaps and creams are much cheaper. I'd recommend using a soap over a cream, as they cost less and last longer. Edge Shave Gel and Barbasol are not great, but they fall under the category of "good enough" if you're looking for a low maintenance shave.

    *Shaving brushes are not technically a necessity (unless you're using a soap instead of a cream) but I highly recommend getting one. It helps a little bit of product go a long way. You can use a dime-sized amount of cream with a brush and get enough lather for 2-3 passes, easily. It's also part of the classic shaving experience. But if you're using a cream, you technically don't need a brush.

    Luxuries:
    -Aftershave lotion/pre-shave oil.
    -Alum block/styptic pen
    -Hot water

    These oils are nice and may make your skin and shave smoother, but they're not really necessary for a good shave. To be honest they're expensive and in my experience don't work that well. Some people swear by them but whatever.

    You may nick yourself a few times, but I doubt you will need a styptic. The worst bleeders will stop after a minute or two.

    A lot of shavers also swear by hot water, but for many (including myself) it only irritates the skin, especially if the blade is dull. You're perfectly fine shaving with lukewarm or cold tap water.

    Useless buys
    -Shaving mug
    -Razor stand
    -Brush hanger

    Why use a shaving mug to hold your soap or mix your lather when you already have a perfectly good coffee cup in your kitchen? Shaving mugs are a waste of money. Anyone who buys one has too much cash to burn.

    Razor stands are also useless. Straight razors fold into their own handles and can be stored that way. Even safety razors can be laid on their sides and be just fine.

    While you should hang your brushes to dry them out, don't waste money on a brush stand. Take a paper clip or wire coat hanger, depending on the size of the brush, and twist it around the handle of your brush. Then hang it on a hook on the wall. You've saved yourself $45.

    I hope this helps you spend wisely and save money. Above all, don't listen to the hyperbole about wet shaving where "you must do X, Y, and Z exactly or you'll have a terrible shave!" Don't listen to the "it took me a year just to be able to shave my cheeks with a straight razor" nonsense. With some practice you'll be shaving your whole face without cuts in a week. And speaking of cuts, I never got anything that hurt worse than a bad papercut. Doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful though.
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    Senior Member Butzy's Avatar
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    I take some issue with all three of those "useless buys"
    a shaving mug and especially a scuttle can lead to a far more luxurious shaving experience
    razor stands are good because razors have a tenancy to get bumped to fall and don't weigh much. you don't want the sharpest thing in your house falling on your toes...
    brush hangers are a superior way to dry a valuable brush so that you get the most use out of it. while that's probably not a necessity since there are other means to accomplish this as you noted, i'd put it in the "luxuries" category.

    While a lot of people in wet shaving are willing to spend a lot of money on things, they are rarely willing to just throw money away like anyone else. each instrument has its purpose

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    There is a long stretch between a minimalist shave and a luxury shave. If all you are trying to do is improve the chore of shaving to be wet shaving, you can save big money for sure. A mug can be a recycled coffee mug from the second hand store, boar brushes can be bought at a lot of drug stores for cheap. Arko will give a great shave and is probably the best performing soap for under $5, which leaves you with a strop and a razor. You can strop on newspaper or make a strop with a piece of wood and the cardboard from a cereal box. It can be done on a shoestring for sure.
    The big however is that most of us here are interested in the luxury end. Which is where the trap is for those looking in from the outside. They see the luxury and think it is needed.
    I have many razors, strops, brushes, soaps and other items. Hardly any of it is needed. I am just into the luxury and collecting/restoring having fun part. If you can do it for little to know money and still have fun . . . we all have our own paths to walk.
    It's not what you know, it's who you take fishing!

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    Senior Member markbignosekelly's Avatar
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    ^ + 1

    Shaun is 100% right, yes you can do this on a shoe string, but for most here this is a hobby. I could easily shave the rest of my life with one razor that I brought for 5 but wheres the fun in that?
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I hate to see beginners think that you need to spend lots of money in order to get an excellent shave.

    The physical necessities are a "shave ready" razor regardless of what it costs but you need to know how to use it. A good soap/cream and brush regardless of cost but you need to know how to make a lather. A decent strop regardless of cost but you need to know how to strop. You can probably get all those for $100 - $150. What you can't buy is the skill to use them properly in a sort period of time. That only is bought through patience and lots of time actually learning while shaving.

    Once you are getting excellent shaves from basic gear you can decide if you want to go down the various rabbit holes acquiring expensive luxury gear.

    If you can't get an excellent shave with an inexpensive vintage shave ready razor, a well broke in inexpensive boar brush and a stick of Arko the problem is likely looking at you from the mirror you are staring into while shaving. Is it as enjoyable or as much fun as using expensive gear? Maybe not, but for all intents and purposes the shaves should be damn near the same.

    There is room for everyone in this game no matter how you want to roll.

    Bob
    After listening to someone talk ever wonder who ties their shoe laces?

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    Moderator Hirlau's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard,,,,,,,,,

    Wow,,, what a first post.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth tcrideshd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hirlau View Post
    Welcome aboard,,,,,,,,,

    Wow,,, what a first post.
    yes it was, and some of it is even correct Tc
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    Junior Member DouglasTJS's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed this post as I can really relate to being frugal. However, I think just the morning ritual itself is a luxury. The time and patience needed to get a clean shave is the most valuable commodity in my opinion.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    Luxury is sitting in a leather barber's chair, classical music, hot towels, a snifter of cognac and a fine cigar, and a buxom lass with with a wicked sharp straight razor ready to do business.

    Having a quality razor and the means to care for and store it, and then several other necessary accoutrements to perform a clean and comfortable shave is just common sense.

    If you like cheap, go cheap.

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  12. #10
    Junior Member DouglasTJS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWiedner View Post
    Luxury is sitting in a leather barber's chair, classical music, hot towels, a snifter of cognac and a fine cigar, and a buxom lass with with a wicked sharp straight razor ready to do business.

    Having a quality razor and the means to care for and store it, and then several other necessary accoutrements to perform a clean and comfortable shave is just common sense.

    If you like cheap, go cheap.

    Well said!


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