Suggested shaving equipment?

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CarefulBuilder14
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Suggested shaving equipment?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:30 am

I'm a male with fairly thin, wiry facial hair that becomes ingrown sometimes. My skin is pretty sensitive.

I've used a variety of multi-blade safety razors before, as well as electric razors, dry and wet.

Shaving gently in a hot shower with a Philips Norelco Powertouch and Gillette Comfort Advantage gel does a lot to keep irritation down and provides a pretty close shave. It helps a bit in reducing the frequency of ingrown hairs, but not as well as I would like. It also fails to shave a lot of thin, wispy hair on my upper neck.

I've always used my hands to apply gel or cream, and haven't tried a badger hair brush. I have a little bit of a hard time imagining that it will make a real difference, but I'm up for trying it.

I want to try some different options, including high-quality single-blade safety razors and potentially a straight razor. Does anyone have any favorite equipment to suggest - blades, creams, etc? The fact that I can't seem to get a perfect shave really bothers me, and I am prepared to spend a lot on a solution that works.

I've been looking around online, but so many of the 'unbiased' reviews I've found are little more than corporate press releases.
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Postby lobbythis » Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:35 am

Look up "geofatboy" on youtube. His site is ShaveNation.com

I have a $120 Parker safety razor kit with stand and brush from him. I use Dreadnought cream (http://www.dreadnought-shaving.com) which he also sells.

Everything you mentioned will completely change. Anything you buy in stores is absolute garbage. If you are not shaving with a double-edge single blade or straight blade, you're missing out on life my friend. Your face will feel a million times better. All that crap in the store used to tear my face apart.

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Postby djrez4 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:57 am

My general solution is to avoid shaving. I grow a beard, keep it trimmed for a few months, and then sheer it off with a clipper. Then, the cycle starts over.

Yet, for some reason, I find the process, history, and art of old-school shaving to be fascinating. When I do shave, it's so infrequent that I don't need to do much for my face to handle it. In the past, however, I had the full complement of gear - badger bristles, mug, and bar. If I were to start again, I'd re-up my gear.

The Brush

I think the brush is the most important part when it comes to preventing razor burn. It's the tool you use to get the lather up, under, and around each individual hair to prevent snagging and pulling. Badger is the only way to go. Badger fur comes in four grades. From ok to best (and cheapest to most expensive) - pure, best, super, and silvertip. Pure will get the job done, but can be a bit scratchy if your face is sensitive. Best eliminates some, if not most, of the scratchiness. Super is soft and fluffy and will feel like a cloud on your face. Silvertip is stupid expensive and, for most people, not worth the premium. It's also pretty delicate and requires special care. If you want your brush to last a long time, you must rinse it out thoroughly and leave it out to dry completely. The easiest way is to place it in a stand where you can hang it to dry.

The Handle

Safety razors are a nice compromise between the bad-assedness of a straight blade and the convenience (and stupidity) of the multi-blade contraptions they sell these days. Blades are cheap, which inspires one to replace them more frequently. There are three types of safety razor handles - 1-, 2-, and 3-piece. Stay away from 1-piece. They have a hinge mechanism that can get clogged with hair and debris and lose function if not meticulously cared-for. Between 2- and 3-piece, personal preference reigns. Me? I'd get a 3-piece.

You'll have to experiment with handles. They come in different lengths, thicknesses, and weights to suit personal preference. I like a short, heavy handle because it inspires me to let the razor do the work all by itself instead of me using the length of the handle as a lever to press the blade against my face.

Handles also offer different aggression levels - mild to aggressive. Think of it like peppers: depending on your sensitivity, you may find a jalapeño to add a delicious amount of heat to a meal or it may be intolerably hot. I suggest you start with a milder handle, although you may discover that the sensitivity you've experienced comes from your equipment and not your face. In that case, you can step up the aggression. Some handles offer the ability to adjust blade gap. If you want that, best to start with a small gap and slowly expand as you become more comfortable with the process. You'll find the perfect gap eventually.

Again, cleaning is important. It's best to disassemble the handle and rinse it thoroughly after every shave. If razor burn is an issue, you may even want to use isopropyl alcohol to disinfect it after use. If you have hard water that leaves mineral residue as it dries, vinegar is a great, mild way to keep your razor shiny and smooth.

The Blade

Again, you'll have to experiment with blades to find the right one for you. It's not a case of the sharpest always being the best. If the blade is too sharp, it can scratch and irritate your skin, which you obviously want to avoid. Derby makes a good beginner blade. You can pick up a variety pack from some retailers that lets you try out different blades to find the right one for you.

The Lather

I can't cover this here - It's way too personal and differs too greatly between faces. Cream or bar, ingredients...all depends on your face. All I can say is try things out.

More Resources

http://www.shaving101.com/
http://www.artofmanliness.com/category/dress-grooming/shaving/
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Postby FastSRT8 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:13 am

Thanks for the nice write up. A good read.
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:42 pm

Thanks, djrez4 and lobbythis. I'll check out those resources and try a variety of equipment and methods.

I like the feel of hot shaving, but I'll have to try cold shaving again with good equipment to be objective.

And it will also be a good incentive to keep the sink area cleaner than I've been leaving it, lately.
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:04 pm

Here's what I'm thinking for the first set. The prices are mostly from Amazon.

A Merkur 34c. I was a little suspicious of this at first. Several 5-star Amazon reviews were by people who had written long reviews on dozens of random items - highly suspicious. But, having looked around more, it does seem be a decent razor for people new to traditional shaving. $43

Parker Silvertip brush. It might not be the best silvertip there is, and a lot of other people have mentioned how delicate it is, but it seems worth trying. $60

Escali Pure brush. Mostly for comparison purposes. $13

A 4-prong stand. Room for 2 brushes and 2 razors. $27

I have a lot of big old mugs and a stainless steel bowl. I think I can save money there.

Proraso shave soap for sensitive skin. $10

Proraso aloe and vitamin E cream. $10

Shavenation sample pack of 65 DE blades 9 varieties. $40


Does 'open' comb mean a handle is 2 or 3 piece? Does 'closed' mean it is 1 piece? I'm not sure what the Merkur is.

Edit: I'll look at aftershave options, too.
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Postby djrez4 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:53 pm

The 34c is 2-piece. Open comb describes the shape of the blade housing. If you look, it has a sort of ripple shape to it. The "comb" allows the blade to get closer to the skin.
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Postby lobbythis » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:53 pm

Merkur is highly regarded and if you get a chance to check out ShaveNation's youtube channel, he does a review on it.

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Postby OldMan » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:21 am

One thing about straight razors, it takes time and practice to keep them sharp. It's also not something you ever want to rush, or to do when hung over. Always be careful around your nose, a man looks mighty funny without his nose. :)
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:06 am

OldMan wrote:One thing about straight razors, it takes time and practice to keep them sharp. It's also not something you ever want to rush, or to do when hung over. Always be careful around your nose, a man looks mighty funny without his nose. :)


I think I'll try high-quality double-edged safety razors for several months before trying a straight razor, just for that reason!
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
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