In our Essentials series, we like to feature things that may seem difficult at first but are rewarding once you get into them. And as always, we weren't paid to feature any of these items - they're the products we personally use and have found to be the best. Today, we’re going to take a look at what you need to get started with shaving like your grandpa.
Being a guy means that I have some pretty strict requirements for my day to day activities. We already covered the shower protocol in a previous article, but now I want to move on to the second most important part of my morning routine: the shave. Real shaving has become nearly extinct. We can thank the same thing that brought us Valentine's Day and "Greeting Cards" - marketing. Nothing beats a wet shave with a safety razor, but unfortunately thanks to the big razor companies we think that the more blades a cheap plastic throwaway has, the better it is. And because we're suckers, we'll keep shelling out $4 a cartridge for a horrible shave and razor burn. But first things first; what exactly is a safety razor?
What Should You Know?
A safety razor is a better, cheaper, and more relaxing way to shave. There are many reasons you should switch to the old school way of shaving, not the least of which is that it's the only way of shaving (shaving with a straight edge is awesome too, but just a little too jugular-slicing prone for an official approval). Let me break down the three main reasons you should switch:
- It's a better shave.
- It's cheaper.
- It's cooler, and you'll feel like a stud when you use it.
Alright, now let's break these down individually...
It's A Better Shave
First off, let's give you a list of what I use as a reference point. Each one of these link to Amazon.com if you want to read reviews or buy them. I actually bought everything I have there since it was the cheapest place I could find. The razor I use is the "long" version Merkur 38HD because I'm 6'4 and I need something bigger. The shaving kit is a Van Der Hagen with badger hair brush, and the shaving cream is my favorite part, either our own Rugged Face Shaving Soap or Proraso "Sapone de Barba".
All of these add up to a better shave, and it's more relaxing too. Instead of trying to rush through with cheap shaving cream and a 5 blade razor that clogs up after two passes through your 5 o'clock shadow, you have a smooth shave that actually makes you feel better when you're done. You can check out our basics of shaving in our video above. Basically, it's a closer shave, your razor won't clog as much, and your skin is less irritated.
And again; for those who have been wet-shaving for a long time, the video is merely an introduction. You can get a lot more detailed with the shave as you learn.
An 8 pack of razors for the big brands are usually around $20...or about $2.50 per cartridge. You can get various types, but my razor blades cost $18 for 100 of them. Yep...you read that right, 100 razors for $18. That would cost you $250 with the normal blades you're probably already buying. The initial investment will run you around $100 total if you go middle of the road (which is what I did) and you'll save yourself that $100 and more over the course of the first 6 months. No brainer? Yep. That shave gel that you paid $4-$5 for and lasted a month? I'm still using the original shaving cream from more than 3 months ago and that cost me $11. Plus, I smell like eucalyptus when I'm done. Women love it.
Your grandpa did it, his grandpa probably did it, and all of the great heroes of our past have done it. It's a ritual that every man should experience once...and when he does he'll never go back. Plus, the razor itself is so much more hardcore than those big brand models. Solid steel and chrome? That's a man's razor.
What You Need
There's lots of places and types you can buy, but I like the Merkur and I'm going to stick with them for this article. Did you know that they only produce 150 razors per day? Yea, that's pretty awesome. You'll be part of the elite with these. If you don't buy one of the two we recommend, just make sure you look for one that has some weight to it. The razor should be doing the work...not you. Let the weight naturally take off the hair.
- Merkur 38H - For larger hands (Around $53 at Amazon)
- Merkur 33C - For smaller hands (Around $33 at Amazon)
There are a bunch of different blades you can choose from. They're cheap, so feel free to try different ones to see what you like.
- Wilkinson Sword (100 Pack) - it's what I use, but you may not want to buy 100 (Around $23 at Amazon)
- Merkur Blades (30 Pack) - Always a trusty brand.
There are two main types of brushes: badger hair and boar's hair. Don't even think about the boar's hair...just do it right and get a good brush.
- Van Der Hagen Men's Luxury Shave Set - A complete kit with everything you need to get started (Brush, dish, and stand - Around $33 at Amazon)
- Silverhair Brush - Want to be a real baller? Get this...it's a higher end brush. (Around $79 at Amazon)
Soap or Cream
If you get the Van Der Hagen kit, you get a soap puck to try out. But if you really want to go high-class, check out our very own Rugged Face shaving soaps:
Yeah, we have the best shaving soaps you can buy: Bacon, Beer, Mint, Lemon, Dirt, Grass, Coffee, and more! Check them out at our store.
If you don't like soaps, go with the Proraso. It's the best cream you can buy.
- Rugged Face Shaving Soap - $6 (The best you can buy)
- Proraso Shaving Cream 5.2 oz - The best cream around (Around $11 at Amazon)
Don't be intimidated by safety razor shaving...it's awesome, cheap, and the best shave you can get. And it's Bro Council Approved. Go get started, men!