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6 months in - my experience so far.

I’m about 6 months in to wet shaving. There are just so many options out there with razors, soaps, blades and pre- and post-shave options; it has been a bit overwhelming.

Razors - I have used/purchased:
Gillette Guard
Schick Quattro
Disposable twin blade
Gillette Presidential
Schick Krona
Schick Type M adjustable injector

I started with the Krona and the Presidential but due to my lack of experience I cut myself up badly and put them down for a few months and tried the various cartridge razors and the Guard. I noticed I was experiencing some irritation with the cartridges - less with the twin blades and zero with the Guard. I decided to try the DEs and the injector again and have enjoyed irritation free shaves with far fewer nicks and cuts than I originally had with them. For me it’s a toss up between the Presidential and the Krona. The injector is ok but I recently discovered it has a bit of a defect which results it the blade being crooked and that kind of turned me off to it. I am interested in trying out an adjustable DE.

Soaps/creams - I have tried:
Arko stick
Derby stick
TOBS Sandalwood
TOBS Eton College
Proraso red soap
Captain’s Choice 45th Parallel
Presidential samplers from Strike Gold

I still want to try more soaps and creams but I am finding I prefer creams a bit more. I have hard water which makes soaps a bit more challenging. I had good performance with Arko one of the first times I used it but not really since then. Derby hasn’t worked well for me at all. The one soap that I have liked is Proraso. I absolutely love the smell of Proraso red. It was the first shaving soap I purchased and I’m almost out of it. I like it so much I will sometimes just pop the lid off just to take a whiff. I had challenges lathering it up but once I discovered the idea of putting a little water on it to help it “bloom”, I started getting some great lathers. I want to get the cream and the aftershave. How is the scent of the cream and aftershave compared to the soap? Stronger? Weaker?

The TOBS creams are great performers. However I cannot stand TOBS sandalwood. I expected it to smell like Proraso and was very disappointed to find that it didn’t. It is way too perfume-like for me, although oddly enough the scent reminds me of someone in my family; I believe it is a dearly beloved great uncle who is now deceased. I do enjoy the scent of Eton College. I would like to try some other TOBS creams, particularly the almond.

I am still working my way through the Strike Gold samplers and have been impressed with those.

Barbasol was fun to try.

I would like to try the other Proraso soaps and creams, some Stirling soaps and Cella.

Echolly Synthetic
Perfecto Badger
Unbranded boar
Omega 10098 boar
DSCosmetic synthetic

I started with the Echolly synthetic then got the badger and then the unbranded boar (picked up at a farmers market). The unbranded boar, although I enjoyed it, was poorly made and it fell apart. Because I liked it so much I decided to buy the Omega. It is nice but a little big. I have been using the Echolly synthetic and the badger more. I am still not sure what my preference is yet.

Blades-I have tried:
Astra Platinum
Gillette Wilkinson Sword
Wilkinson Sword
“Chick” Schick injector blades

I purchased a DE blade sample pack when I first started wet shaving and had tried an Astra blade from it and wasn’t impressed. But I decided to give it another shot in my Krona today and I liked it. Of all the ones I have tried I have 4 that I prefer - Feather, Nacet, Gillette Wilkinson, and now the Astra. The Wilkinson Sword and Derby do not work for me. I think it might be the coatings on those blades. I still have some other blades to try from the sampler pack - Dorco and SuperMax. I would also like to try Gillette Silver Blue and maybe some of their other blades.

My poor early experiences with DE shaving led me to wonder if a pre-shave oil would be a good idea. I feel they have helped. The first couple of oils I used had an eye dropper which wasn’t user friendly. Then someone PIFed me some Pete & Pedro which has a spray applicator and I much prefer that. My last couple of shaves I have used the Derby as a preshave and/or the bloom water from the Proraso and those seem to be better. I am going to keep tinkering with that.

I needed an alum stick for sure and I won’t ever go without one. I had also used witch hazel, witch hazel mixed with tea tree oil, and some aftershave lotion. I have had the best results with the witch hazel/tea tree oil mix. I recently bought Aqua Velva musk and have been using that and it’s been about as good as the witch hazel/tea tree. I would like to try the Proraso aftershaves, as well as Clubman.

It’s been a fun ride so far. I am really glad that I decided to give the DEs a try again and I will definitely continue to use them. Part of me wants to try everything and part of me is afraid to spend money on things only to find I wouldn’t like them. I also like to keep things simple; I don’t want a million different razors and creams and soaps and blades. I don’t have room or budget for it all. I would eventually like to narrow things down to a couple of types of blades and maybe 2-3 soaps or creams.

Thanks too to all of you who have offered encouragement along the way. You all are just a great, friendly group of people. I also want to give a special shout out to KenSurfs. I don’t know if he comes to these forums. But it turns out he and I work for the same government agency and our paths had crossed before and we were recently able to connect again once I learned we worked at the same agency. He was excited to learn there was another wet shaver in our organization. He PIFed me a few items including the DSCosmetic brush, the Nacet and Gillette Wilkinson Sword blades, and the Pete & Pedro preshave oil.