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1st Year Shaving PIF

Greetings Gents and Ladies,

I began this sojourn one year ago. My son gifted me my first Van Der Hagen TTO and a gift set of Cremo Reserve Blend with a horsehair brush.


To this day when I open that Cremo tin and inhale I am immediately transported back to that 2018 Christmas morning—scent is a powerful thing. My son played his cards right when he not only expressed his satisfaction with his own DE experience, but he slyly mentioned a couple times how much less expensive it was than the ‘old’ way. If not for the scents of Reserve Blend and West Coast Shaving’s Gatsby drifting about my cranium I might have taken issue with the implication of ‘old’, but I was already riding the tasty waves of finally getting to use a brush and soap and not dropping a wad of cash on replacement cartridges. It moistens my eyes a bit to know the frugal apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

He offered to show me how he shaves but I couldn’t at that time. So later that Christmas morning we adjourned to his bathroom where he showed me the couple soaps he brought with him (he was on leave for Christmas). He showed me how to carefully load the blade and how his Tech came apart and loaded. I don’t remember which brush he was using at the time but I was raring to go . . . except for that whole sharp steel against the face thing—I was a little disconcerted about that.

“So, how do you use this without self-inflicted lacerations?” I asked.

“It’s not that bad,” he began, “the most important thing is not to use pressure. Let the weight of the razor to the work.” Some of the best advice I’ve ever received, of any sort.

“You make it sound easy,” I said.

“It is. You’re going to like the soap and brush. Just go slow and remember not to apply any pressure.” Clearly this was a key to success.

“But how do you do it? Where do you start?” In true Millennial fashion he suggested I “watch some videos.”

Eventually I got down to finding some a few days later. I think the first one I watched was the aptly titled Tutorial: Learn to shave with a safety razor posted by Executive Shaving. It was a little like watching (or at least listening to) James Bond shave. If Bond uses a safety razor then I was damn sure going to learn to use it lest they rescind my Man Card.

Good son that he is, he gave me a couple other blades, a GSB and an Astra SP. Also had a tuck of the VDH blades that came with the razor. Since I didn’t know any better, and this was my first ever go with a safety razor, I didn’t have any point of reference regarding good or bad blades, much less how to achieve a good shave. I was something of a blissful idiot at that point, which in retrospect was for the best I suppose. Those VDH blades were a lot more Krampus than Santa Claus. But once I started I knew I wouldn’t go back. A few nicks and weepers—and a little irritation—was the early price of admission for a much more enjoyable process.

About mid-February I bought my Merkur 38C and had a couple new soaps to work with. I distinctly remember a distinguished looking rabbit welcoming me when I entered the place. At the time I was puzzled about that, but now I get it . . . boy, do I get it.

I happened upon this forum mostly through my initial searches on different DE topics—Badger & Blade most always came up near the top of the results. I found I was becoming more and more intrigued (and sucked in) to all the opinions and sheer volume of information—and desire to help—by the denizens of these forums. So, I joined in early February.

Seasons and dinero have come and gone but in their place I now have a richer, more textured pallet of experiences, and a much more positive attitude about my daily shave; my sole regret being I didn’t learn about this sooner. I can only imagine all the other soaps I could have tried.

This budding affair with ‘traditional’ wet shaving is easily one of the most positive watershed events of my life, ranking up there with the birth of my son and living long enough to see all nine Star Wars installments. I would hope perhaps this small PIF might bring someone new the same kind of intrigue and pleasure most of us enjoy.

I add my voice to the chorus of those grateful for what the B&B community provides. It has helped me tremendously, and not unsurprisingly enabled my nascent Acquisition Disorders. Sure, at the start I have spent more than I would have on cartridges, but my enjoyment of the process is exponentially greater than before. I know I’m not alone in this regard.

In the spirit of shave anniversaries I offer the following:
  • 1 RazoRock DE1 . . . brand spankin’ new, in the box
  • 1 pure badger brush . . . brand new
  • 1 puck of RazoRock What the Puck shave soap—Lime Burst . . . yes, also brand new
  • 1 small (travel size) wooden bowl for lathering, if you roll that way.

2 of each of the following blades (because I’m heading into my second year!):
  • Astra SP
  • Battle Brothers
  • Derby Premium
  • Shark Super Chrome
  • Voskhod
  • Gillette Wilkinson Sword (India) — although I do truly like the German blades, too.
  • Lord Super Stainless

The Razor — The DE1 isn’t anything fancy or exotic, but looks to be a pretty solid razor for the beginner. Lots of positive reviews, and for a PIF the price couldn’t be beat!

The Brush — Again, by no means is this the gold standard of pure badger brushes. Not even sure it would be the bronze standard. Pretty inexpensive brush, but again I would think it perfect for someone starting out. Not as stiff as a boar . . . which come to think of it might have been a better choice given the puck included . . .

The Soap — Surprise! . . . not an expensive soap. I have not used this soap before but have seen both pro and con written about them. I surmise it may take a little work to lather it up as it’s triple milled—might want to blossom it while showering, etc. I thought it fitting to include some kind of soap in a PIF starter kit.

The Blades — Very early on I started with the Astra SP’s and kind of use them as my baseline for performance and overall feel. They get lots of love here and it helped that my son liked them. I hope the blade offerings give enough range/latitude for a beginner to explore.
  • I would prefer the recipient of this PIF to be someone new to the ‘hobby’ like I was one year ago. Would be awesome to bring another member into our community, to expose someone to the feelings that a great shave brings.
  • Must be in the CONUS; I would love to be able to open it up to our brothers across the pond or above the border, but I have a hunch shipping would be hefty.
  • Perhaps most importantly, state “I’m in!”
I'm thinking I'll give this about a week or so before choosing a winner at random using an online generator.

Thank you all for reading, and for a most enjoyable first year of 'traditional' shaving :001_smile
Wonderful PIF, but I will leave it for others. Not in. Someone is going to be very happy.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
Thanks for sharing not only the shave gear, but the story as well. I have my favorites, so not in, but absolutely lovely PIF.
I just gave my youngest son a "kit" to get him started, or else I would enter on his behalf. Respectfully, not in.
Great PIF man, respectfully not in but someone is gonna get a fantastic starter kit! I urge you noobs to try and get in on this!
Ok I'm revising to in, for only the chance to get my friend who is talking about buying a Target DE razor some nice kit before they make a mistake, since yeah....

May I be in as their stand in? lol
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Love the back story! But I'm no newbie so not in, but someone going to get a great starter kit. Maybe they'll be able to practice better restraint than myself.🤣
Great story and great PIF! I had the same setup when I started.

Respectfully not in because I'm not new. Also, I'm in restraint.
Wonderful story. Great PIF. Someone is going to enjoy it. NOT IN but I wanted to commend you on the PIF and I really enjoyed reading the story with it.
the brush looks like a synthetic, not a pure badger.

I agree, it does, but I understand there are more warm fuzzies when getting something like this sealed than opened. I will say that it could honestly be either given the price paid (less than $5) so all I really have to go on is what the website stated.

Pattorashu, I certainly believe that is fitting since it would be going to someone new . . . so you're in :thumbup:
Great story and equally great PIF. I'll respectfully bow out as I think this is great for as a starter kit for someone. I hope it finds a good home.
great PIF, i would love it when i first started. but now i have got some products so im not in.

i hope this helps new comer
Great PIF for a newbie. Respectfully not in as I'm no longer a new to this (though my face sometimes reminds I'm still learning). Your PIF does remind me that I need to set one up myself to give back as I started just about 1.5 years ago. I love the generosity of the members in this community!
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