jonnyofthea asked: so after our convo and using my mach whatever, which was an ok shave. little to no irritation, but i want something closer. so ive been looking into a safety razor. after looking around a ton, ive come to the conclusion the razors are basically the same, unless its adjustable, and how you change the blade, 2 piece, 3 piece or butterfly. i was wondering what experience youve had, ive also found some proraso ill be getting too, when i start my safety razor adventures.
(Sorry for the grimmace, I couldn’t find a better picture of my shaven face.)
So, the first thing you want to make sure of is that you’re getting a new DE (for double-edged) safety razor that is modelled off the models from the 50s and 60s. You don’t want to use one that’s actually from that era because it probably wasn’t made with stainless steel, and will likely have rust and particulates all over it. A quick eBay search nets a couple examples of what you want to look for. I prefer the Merkur Heavy. While some prefer a longer handle, I like the shorter handle for better handling and more compact travel.
The next thing you need is shaving cream, and you’re getting great value in Proraso. Smells great, feels awesome on your face, lathers nicely, and will leave a clean scent.
You’ll also need a badger hair brush and a shaving mug, in order to use that Proraso. Don’t feel the need to go out and buy a mug though, any shallow mug with a little texture on the inside will work just fine - just make sure it’s thoroughly clean first.
Finally, you need blades. Personally, I prefer Feather blades, I have fairly coarse hair and they tend to be the sharpest. Derby Blades are a good middle ground to start with, as they’re more forgiving than Feathers, but still sharp enough to deal with thicker beards. I’ve tended to stay away from Gillette blades, they’ve seemed low-quality to me, and I’ve often cut myself with them.
You’ll notice that the initial setup for this style of shaving is relatively expensive. Up to 50 bucks for the actual handle, an additional 10-15 for a decent badger hair brush, and specialty shaving cream plus maybe a mug can put you over $80, without even having bought blades yet. The blades, however, are where this style pays for itself. Go look at those blade links - those prices haven’t changed since I started shaving like this in college, 8 years ago. I haven’t bought a single $20 Mach 3 cartridge pack since then, and each Feather blade lasts 5-6 shaves because there are two sides to each blade. If you want to get really economical, you can flip the blades over and get another 1-2 shaves out of them. Shaving in this way, while it requires high initial investment, will save you a ton of money in under a year. In addition, it will give you a closer shave, you’ll better get to know every contour of your face, and you’ll find you can be much more precise with this razor than any crappy, mass-produced Mach 3 variant.
One last note - you’re going to need some good aftershave - dragging a sharp object across your skin repeatedly tends to injure it, even if you’re not bleeding at the end. Generally, if you’re having problems with ingrown hairs (as I was), you’ll want to stay away from alcohol or water-based aftershaves, because this will only dry your skin out and make the irritation worse. I swear by Anthony Logistics for Men Aftershave Balm. It feels awesome, smells great, doesn’t clash with the Proraso’s nice clean scent, and will moisturize your face too.
I hope this gets you started on the path. If you need more information, I did a full length post a couple years ago that can give you some more tips on actually shaving. Here’s one - don’t press down on your face. Just angle the blade to your skin, and drag it across your skin. Don’t press, just make contact and drag in short strokes. Finally, if I’ve completely lost you, check out BadgerandBlade.com. Real geniuses live in that forum, and they’d be glad to help you.
Good luck, my friend.