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A Very Truly Really Stupid Question

@Mike the Beginner that is not a dumb question at all. What is wrong with the canned foam and the cans of gel? Nothing at all really. First of all, if they work for you, you should do that. That is the main objective, to get great shaves. The world of wet shaving is a world of YMMV (your milage may vary). Everyone will have a different experience when it comes to this.

Now I would still try a soap and brush and see if it makes your shave better or not. If there is no improvement for you, I would say stick with what you are doing. Second and this is a loaded one, soap and a brush will save you money, if that is your objective. I say loaded because of course if you go down the artisan soap direction and brushes etc etc you could argue that you do not save anything. However, if you have a brush like the Plissoft one like you ordered and a stick of Arko or another affordable soap, you definitely would save money in the long run. One stick of Arko will last you probably 70-100 days depending on how much you use each shave.

Learning to wet shave is a lot about experimentation and finding out what works for each person. It will vary what razor, blade, soap/lather works for you. I think the most important thing though is to get something that works in the beginning and really not change too much, too quickly and nail down the technique to get comfortable shaves. Once you have a bit of skills under your belt try some new things, especially where you see that it needs improving.
Long ago (pre-internet), I used to shave with a DE in combination with the long-discontinued but beloved by me (and many others) Barbasol Yellow Can (which had a very mild fragrance and was enriched with lanolin). That was "good goo" IMO. But the Yellow Barbasol is extinct. I have not tried the Purple Barbasol, which I believe is the closest replacement (but seems like a unicorn and/or absurdly priced).

Once I discovered Cella Extra Extra Purissima, no canned goo maintained any appeal for me. But once-upon-a-time I did enjoy the old Barbasol Yellow.


The point is more control, getting better results and using a bit of skill. Making lather is easy and doesn't take long. If you want something quick, you can use a tube of shaving cream and face lather it. Takes maybe 30 seconds or so.

The stuff in a can I use for trimming the hairline after a haircut. It works OK.
If canned shave cream works for you, that's great - you're not alone. It is more convenient if you are in a hurry (as are cartridge or disposable razors) or just don't want to bother with soap and brush.

However, I find using soap (or cream) and a brush to be the most indulgent aspect of the shave. Using only generic, bland canned foam may work fine but your missing out on seemingly infinite selection of the wonderful scents available from a variety of makers.
I've got lots of shaving soaps, bowls, and brushes that I use whenever possible, but I still use shaving creams, gels, and foams occasionally when I am traveling or in a hurry. No matter how I shave, I always work up a layer of soapy water on my face and neck to moisten the area. This is the most important step in shaving from my experience. After I have the shaving area slathered with soapy water, then I apply my shaving soap lather, shaving cream, foam, or whatever I'm using.
Most canned foam dries my skin. It is also available in very few scents. A look at Stirling's or Captain's Choice website and you will find many scents with soaps that moisturize the face. I also enjoy the process of making a lather, but that could just be me.
I used to use Nivea gel, that was a very long time ago. It’s been so long ago I don’t remember if making the switch to cream/soap and brush is better. Sure the brush and lather is a bit more time and step, but there is something more enjoyable about it rather than just slathering something on your face.
I can not tell the difference in slickness between one shave soap and the next. However, even I can tell that any shave soap I have used is better than the Gillette or Edge gels I used before (and for a short time after) switching to a DE. I resisted getting a brush and soap for quite awhile, but I'm glad I finally did.

This is just 1 person's observation though. There are those here that are fine with canned stuff. And there are many, many who will argue that soap A is slicker than soap B.

@kaufdrop27, you're a good man!
I've had better results with the canned gels than canned shaving soaps, but .... I've also found using a brush and shaving soap creates a significantly better foam for the face. It's also magnitudes cheaper than buying shaving cream in a can. I've never used shaving creams with a brush, but I understand that it is much easier to produce a good lather than one can with shaving soaps -- not necessarily better, but easier.

Because I, and others, might prefer to create a luxurious lather from soap or a cream, in no way diminishes the fact that canned gels and shaving creams are a perfectly acceptable manner for shaving with a razor blade. If you're happy with your results, by all means, continue on with what works.


Head Cheese Head Chef
Welcome to B&B @Mike the Beginner ! I'm going to suggest a different phenomenon than my fellow B&Bers. I don't know how many members we have here but I would imagine it is only a small fraction of folks that shave with a de/se/sr. Hence the VAST majority of those folks could likely care less about a badger brush or an artisan shave soap. Nothing wrong with that. Heck, those are the folks that are saving money.

The rest of us fell into this rabbit hole and found different levels of their own rabbit holes.
But...with DE razors, why don't at least some people just use commercial shaving cream like Gillette Foamy? It's so...easy. And it seems to work fine with my Rockwell. I mean, just making ignorant assumptions, I would think there would at least be a subgroup that would be using DE or SE razors without all the rigamarole of the soaps and the bowls and the brushes and so forth. Wouldn't it simplify things?

Great question! I find that the lathering experience is one of the best parts of wet shaving. From the scents to the gentle massage of face lathering, it is a huge treat every shave! One doesn't get any of that from gels/foams. Give it a try, you too may find it the most pleasurable part.
@Mike the Beginner I think it's a great question and received with lots of thoughtful guidance provided above. I just might add another angle on this given your introductory description. I couldn't help notice the highlight of your coffee roasting experience (sounds wonderful by the way). I might ask, do you prefer your own home roasted Kona beans over something like freeze dried instant Folgers? Freeze dried coffee is really fast to make compared to home roasting and brewing through a more exotic method. (I am assuming that if you are at the stage of roasting your own beans you are equally well down the path of the various methods of extraction / brewing). And by some surveys freeze dried coffee has come a long way in terms of taste profile. I know some who swear by it and think it is as good or better than any fancy exotic coffee beans. Of course it also offers a comparable amount of caffeine and it travel and packs really well. Functionally, one could suggest instant Folgers is just as good as home roasted Kona beans.

But of course I don't really agree with that. :)

I would take a sample of your freshly brewed home roasted Kona beans any day of the week over Folgers instant. I might suggest that if you continue this journey you could find yourself in the same place with soaps (and brushes, and aftershaves, and ......) :)

The most important part I believe is the journey itself. Look forward to reading more of your explorations in this part of the wet shaving world.

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Functionally, one could suggest instant Folgers is just as good as home roasted Kona beans.

But of course I don't really agree with that. :)
Great point, yes. A comedian said, "I know, McDonald's is bad for me. But it's ready."

Of course that doesn't mean it's better than a home-cooked meal.

Sadly, I had to give up coffee in 2018--I had some a-fib, and did an A-B-A experiment; first I quit coffee, to see if my a-fib would improve, and it did; and then I reintroduced coffee, to see if my a-fib would get worse, and it did. So I gave up coffee. Now, every morning, I have white tea from China with fresh lemon juice and a bit of saffron ground with a mortar and pestle. Strangely, after drinking coffee virtually daily for 46 years, I like my tea every bit as much and maybe a little bit more. That was a big surprise, but a pleasant one.

I'm beginning to understand that I have very sensitive skin, which is probably why I never liked shaving. So now I'm learning more about that.

The brush and the bowl are ordered from Amazon and on the way!



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When I used less "aggressive" razors, canned goo was just fine. Similarly priced however, and bridging the gap, with a strong bias toward the quality soap end of spectrum, would be something like Palmolive cream (in a tube).

That said, will I replace my wonderfully scented, affordable, and hyper slick artisan tallow soaps with it? Likely not, but the gap isn't THAT big.

Can to decent cream in a tube is BIG
@Mike the Beginner Very sorry to hear of the a-fib but glad you were able to identify a coffee alternative. Have you ventured into Pu-erh ? It was the only style for me that provided something resembling the body of coffee. Unfortunately, it has become harder to find quality Pu-erh at a reasonable price.

Separately, lots of great resources here on sensitive skin and ways to manage that, along with specialty soaps that might help. I used to consider myself someone with sensitive skin, but I realized over time that better process (prep, lather, post shave care, etc) and skill were the main culprits. However, I still succumb to certain ingredients and their associated irritation.

P.S. A future update will have to include a shave of the day image with your incoming brush and bowl :)
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