Although the VDH boar brush and deluxe soap have been reviewed elsewhere in the review section, I decided to review the VDH starter kit as a whole because I believe it is an excellent choice for a beginner.
I picked up this kit at the local Walmart for under $8. All I need to add was a razor, blades, and a mug to work the lather in.
I found the boar brush to be very well made for the price. While some have mentioned an odor problem with the new brush, particularly when wet, mine was almost completely odor free. The brush did shed some bristles initially and continued for the first few shaves, but the shedding did taper off relatively quickly and eventually (about 2 weeks) stopped entirely. The boar bristles were very comfortable and worked well with the soap.
The deluxe soap is very easy to work with and together with the boar brush produces a very nice lather. A beginner following the tutorials in the forum for working up a later with soap should get excellent results using this combination with some practice and a bit of experimentation with water quantity. I personally like the scent of the soap, I find it pleasant and clean without an overpowering perfumey smell. No nonsense but not completely vacant. I compared it to Williams in the store and was completely turned off by the Williams scent.
The kit also comes with a ceramic bowl which works very nicely with the soap. When I got it home, after washing out the bowl, I opened the soap puck packaging placed it in the bowl and popped it in the microwave. I ran it on high for about 5-10 seconds at a time checking it after each. It took about three 5-10 second rounds to melt the soap. Then I just set it out on the counter and let it cool. The soap solidified and it has worked great for loading up the brush.
I have seen the VDH brush in stores for more than what I paid for the whole kit. I'm planning to pick up another brush just to add to the rotation and I seriously think I'll just get another starter kit since I'd get a replacement puck of soap along with it. I may try the extra bowl for lathering although it may prove to be too small.
All in all, this is an excellent value. A fantastic way for a beginner to ease into the world of wet shaving and at the same time an inexpensive product that you can keep on using even after you gain experience. I read some advice today from one of our more seasoned shavers who pointed out that you can use the most expensive equipment and get a lousy shave and use the least expensive equipment and get the best shave of your life. As he said, technique is more important that equipment. This is a great product to use to get started on your technique.
Van Der Hagen Starter Kit
- Average User Rating:
Recent User Reviews
"What's there to say? Can you really beat the pric"
Pros - Price
Cons - Small bowl, soap scent
What's there to say? Can you really beat the price?
The brush is good (cheap plastic handle & all). There is nice depth & girth to the bristles.
I took out the small smell it had by soaking it first in shampoo & hot water, rinsing well, and then in conditioner & hot water, rinsing again and shaking it out well. I let it dry overnight. Took any smell right out of it.
Yes... some bristles fell out. It's going to happen. But by the time I used it for my first shave no more bristles fell out.
It did a good job lathering the Proraso Green cream.
The bowl is a little small but so what? It did the job. Do you really need a bigger bowl?
I did not use the soap that came with it. I may in the future. I'm not crazy about the soap scent.
Overall, it is what it is: A great starter lathering set that anyone could use. Can't beat the price. We'll see how long the brush lasts.
"I found this to be a good little set. I picked it"
Pros - Complete set, good for a second set or starter, or travel set
Cons - Soap is unscented
I found this to be a good little set. I picked it up only two weeks into my wetshaving journey in order to have a break from the Proraso that I was gifted to start wetshaving. Based upon what I was reading on the threads, I expected a boar brush to be like running steel wool on my face (my first brush was a gift, a badger brush). The brush feels stiff and harsh when dry, but is nice when warm, wet, and lathered. I have used the brush several times and it is shedding a bit, so I knocked of a few points for durability and performance. The bowl fits nicely in the palm of my hand. The soap lathers just fine, but is unscented. I find the unscented soap to be a bit of a disappointment because I consider the scents to be a bit of aromatherapy that is part of the wetshaving experience.
"I picked a couple of these up under the CVS label "
I picked a couple of these up under the CVS label being cleared out for $3.50. I gave one to a friend I'm trying to convert and kept the other. I've bought these for more in the past to pass along to possible converts and they're great kits for that purpost.
I broke the brush in last night and the smell was far less offensive. This is in comparisoon to a Shaving Factory XS Boar that took 3 nights of break-in and 2 weeks use before it was mostly de-funked. No major shedding during the break-in, maybe 2 or 3 hairs. This morning I used it to lather up the included VDH soap (which I've tried in the past with the Shaving Factory XS) and it lathered up quite well. Heat retention was minimal, but the brush held enough water to create a nice thick lather with minimal water (maybe 1 tsp) from the tap. Not all that soft on the face but, if it's anything like the Shavign Factory XS, the tips should split and soften over a few weeks regular use. Haven't tried it with a cream yet.
This probably won't stay in my regular rotation but I'm thinking it will replace the Shaving Factory XS as my travel brush, mainly because it has a longer handle and I won't think much about it if I leave it behind at a hotel or in a TSA bin. Well worth
The bowl is a bit small in diameter but perfectly servicable and heavier than you would expect for the price. I melted the included VDH Deluxe soap into the bowl to make soaking and pickup easier. I'll probably end up lathering right on the soap in the bowl... I know it's a bit wasteful, but when a puck costs less than $1.50 anyway, it's hard to argue with convinience.
The VDH soap has been reviewed to no end, so I don't have anything to add. I have no problem getting good lather from it and the price can't be beat. I splashed a little Clubman in the soap while it was melted, making for a stronger scent that lingers a bit longer, not that I have anything against the scent as-is, it just fades completely almost as soon as you lather.
For any price under $10 this kit is an excellent value. For $3.50 for the CVS branded kit it's an absolute steal and everyone should buy as many as they can find to help convert their friends and keep one on-hand in a safe place in case you're robbed or you wife gets mad and throws your den in the dumpster.