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Buying a beginner's set on a budget

For the beginner that would like to start using straight razors but is on a tight budget, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to find shaving supplies that are lower in cost without the fear of getting near-worthless quality. We do believe you still "Get what you pay for", yet there are products out there with high enough quality to get a beginner started without breaking the bank or wasting money. This page is intended as a map to locate acceptable quality items with a reasonable price tag.

Contents

Razors

A common beginners' question is: "I would like to start shaving with a straight razor, but I'm on a budget. Where can I get a good razor that will not cost too much?" Unfortunately, the only correct answer to this is "it depends."

Asking someone to tell you what razor is best for you is as useful as calling a random stranger and asking them what you should wear tomorrow. There are just too many unknown variables to give a complete answer. The razor is the one piece of equipment that you will just have to do a little research to determine which one suits you best. Learning to shave with a straight razor requires patience; if you do not have the patience to research a little before purchasing the extremely sharp blade that you will be holding near that pretty face and neck of yours, then this method of shaving may not be for you.

As a word of caution one of the major pitfalls is buying a "razor shaped object" instead of a razor. Unfortunately the moment some of those brands become somewhat recognizable as inadequate the unscrupulous sellers just come with a new brand for the same subpar junk. Here is our list of some past ones to be avoided: Brands of Straight Razors to avoid.


Start with the Beginner's Guide. You should also visit the SRP Forums. The members are very helpful and will help you narrow down your choices once you have a few in mind. However, if you ask a question similar to the sample questions above, you will likely get an answer similar to the one you just read.

The SRP Classifieds is also a good place to find good deals from Straight Razor enthusiasts. Most of the sellers on this site are very reputable within the community.

Strops

Commonly recommended lower cos strops by reputable vendors include, but are not necessarily limited to:


Preparing your face

Main article: Get a better shaving result by improving your preparation

Soap

Commonly recommended soaps:

Cream

There are several alternatives that are reasonably inexpensive. The most often acquired cream is Proraso. It is from Italy and can be found at Target stores. It is not sold in the shaving section, but near the cosmetics. Thus we often have members that go to Target, look for Proraso and then complain that they do not carry it. It runs about $5 to $6 for a tube. The "soap" that Proraso carries is actually just a dried version of the cream and not a soap at all. Those little pucks usually run about $3.50.

Bath & Body Works carries C.O. Bigelow cream in a tube, which is just rebranded Proraso. The Body Shop carries a maca root shaving cream which lathers quite well.

Some older Pharmacies, in small towns, carry some of the popular old brands, many of which never raised their prices. These include Colgate, Williams, and Musgo Real. These often run under $4.00 depending on the local economy.

Some Natural and Health food style markets carry "Kiss My Face" shave creams at reasonable prices, which is made specifically for sensitive skin and actually lathers quite well

At the upper end of frugal, in the mid-price cost bracket is Taylor's creams. They offer a large tub for $14.00. This is still a pretty good bargain.

Brush

Commonly recommended brush:

The cost of a brush will run the gamut of price ranges. A good mid-priced brush, as long as it is badger hair, is usually a great investment. Spending over $70 is pushing the value vs. price issue. A brush is a tool that you will probably use as long as you are a wet shaver. It is usually money well spent to get a decent, mid-priced brush. The quality of the hair and the size of the brush are also considerations. With the purchase of a brush, like with many razors, taking a middle-road approach is probably a good bet. The quality of your shave will not be enhanced very much by a slightly larger brush or a slightly higher bristle quality, although the cost will easily run very high. A very low quality brush, on the other hand, can be a detriment to your shaving pleasure.

This page:

Heinrich L. Thäter Brushes

has several brushes that are "fine badger" and would be considered an excellent, if not outright the best, value.

Post Shave

Plain witch hazel can be purchased almost anywhere and can be used after shaving. If you want a good, scented witch hazel then look for Thayer's brand. Thayer's is usually found in health food markets and you can use their store locator to find a store near you.

Honing

Beginners on a budget should not hone their own razor. The idea of a huge investment in tools and time for achieving subpar results is contrary to being on a budget. Keeping an already well-honed razor sharp is vastly easier and cheaper than honing it in the first place.

Other

Lather bowls on a budget, use your imagination here, and shop the Kitchen, Bath, and even the Candle sections of Wal-Mart and other Dept. Stores you would be surprised what you can find there... My personal favorite is the Large Sundae Bowl at Wal-mart for $3.97

The alternative approach: DIY

Some members of SRP have produced tutorials on how to make, or build, your own equipment. Not only is this fun, it can also help you save some serious money. You can find examples of how to make your own soap, or build your own strop, in the Do It Yourself category of this Wiki.

See also

Beginners are strongly encouraged to visit the following other areas of Straight Razor Place (SRP):

References

  1. Some users of this soap have suggested it is a poor choice for sensitive skin.
  2. Some users of this soap have suggested it is a poor choice for sensitive skin.

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