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Completely green to the world of non mass market razors, and I want something better

Hi!

Very brief introduction, I'm Michael, 25, from Ohio. I've worked in a retail store since I was 17 and have been using what's cheap and available to me, but now that I've got a little bit of disposable income, I'd like to venture off into the world of being good to one's skin.

I poured over some of the information and felt a tad overwhelmed, but optimistic, about transitioning to a new way of shaving life.

My biggest pet peeve so far: bumps/ingrown hairs. I think there's nothing more disgusting looking or irritating to the skin than razor burn and bumps.
 
Let me recommend you get a Gillette blue tip razor . These usually go for a decent price on eBay and elsewhere. A good starting point for DE shaving, IMHO.

As for a blade, Shark SS would be a good one.

Welcome to a new world of shaving.
 
Cheapest, easily available, biggest improvement: Bic Sensitive single blade disposables. You should be able to find them locally with a little leg work. I paid $4 CDN for a pack of 10. You will notice an improvement over other modern-style razors in terms of irritation. They are less forgiving of excessive pressure than multi-blade razors, but this is actually a good thing if you plan on switching to a Double Edged safety razor. They're somewhere in between idiot proof and unforgiving, making them a nice stepping stone. They're also shaped like something you're familiar with, making them less of a jump all at once.

If you've been using canned Gillette or Edge gunk, you can do much better than that also. Nivea For Men and Kiss My Face shave creams are pretty common and well liked. I'm a big fan of Proraso soap, which is also pretty common. If you don't like the extra work of soaps but you like Proraso's menthol kick, there's Proraso cream too.

Omega brushes are reasonably common, and all of their models are reportedly very useable. I'm quite happy with my 66. DO NOT BUY A WILKINSON BRUSH. I wish I hadn't.

Once you get the hang of building lather and shaving with a single blade, you can look at DEs or straights. I ended up buying an Edwin Jagger DE89L. I've seen it recommended a lot to newbies, and speaking as a newbie, I think I second those recommendations. There's also a huge (read: bewildering) variety of vintage Gillette (and other) razors on eBay or the BST section here.
 
A quick Q: How aggressive of a razor should I start with? Any suggestions on it/them?

Being completely new, I can see that technique is extremely important, but I want to make sure I'm using a decent implement to get a good shave.
 
There are many choices, and it's largely a matter of personal taste. The classic starter razor is the Merkur 34c, but I would also consider the Mühle R89. If a vintage razor appeals to you, then something like a Tech or Super Speed would be a good start. You might also consider the new starter kit from Gentlemen's Best.

Check the B/S/T forum here and the vendor corner too.
 
Hi Margs! Welcome.

The somewhat standard answer here would be to find a Gillette Tech...the king of mild shavers. A Superspeed would work well, too. You just mind your pressure and angles, make short deliberate strokes, and keep your face wet and lubricated and you'll do well.

A decent brush can be had for less than $20. Tweezerman Badger or Omega Boar are both quite good...I'm partial to the Omega brushes.

You can pick up a tube of Proraso or Speick cream for short change, or you can grab a shave stick for cheap. I love shave sticks. They're shave soap in stick form. You wet your face, rub the soap all around the area to be shaved. Grab your brush and work up a good lather right on your face. I love Speick and Arko shave sticks and they're obscenely cheap...like less than $5.

Blades...Either buy a sample set from one of the many great vendors around here. Or buy a couple of packs each of several different brands of blades. If you ask, one of us will happily guide you through which blades to try in what order. It's very true that finding the right blade is a journey. Some blades really work great on some faces and not so great on others. Finding the blades that work best is just part of the fun!

Oh yeah...get some Nivea aftershave balm and/or a nice aftershave splash. Aqua Velva is readily available and a big hit around here, same goes for Skin Bracer. While I use both of those regularly. I am a huge fan of Speick Aftershave Lotion and Proraso Splash. Both are a bit more expensive than the drugstore brands, but both are quite good.

Have fun!
 
There are many choices, and it's largely a matter of personal taste. The classic starter razor is the Merkur 34c, but I would also consider the Mühle R89. If a vintage razor appeals to you, then something like a Tech or Super Speed would be a good start. You might also consider the new starter kit from Gentlemen's Best.

Check the B/S/T forum here and the vendor corner too.

Oh YeaH! I forgot. That's a good kit. Order a couple of different packs of blades at the same time, and some aftershave splash and you've got an instant, one stop shopping, kit to work with. Nice!
 
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Welcome to B&B. you have already been given some good advice, the only thing I would add is "watch Mantic's videos on shaving".
 
There are many choices, and it's largely a matter of personal taste. The classic starter razor is the Merkur 34c, but I would also consider the Mühle R89. If a vintage razor appeals to you, then something like a Tech or Super Speed would be a good start. You might also consider the new starter kit from Gentlemen's Besthttp://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=145791.

Check the B/S/T forum here and the vendor corner too.

+1
Ray is a great guy and he has some fantastic stuff in his shop.
 
Welcome to B&B! I was in your shoes once and I'm going to echo some of the above since it's good advice.

Gillette Techs are an excellent starter razor, and in fact it's pretty much my all time favorite. They're pretty gentle, but they still give me a great shave. They can be found on the buy/sell/trade forum if you keep your eyes open, they usually go pretty fast.

The Feather 'Portable' included in the starter kit looks very similar, but it's extremely aggressive. I bought one, shaved with it less than a dozen times, and haven't touched it since.

As for blades, my favorites include Personnas (The ones in the red cardboard packs - 'Red packs'), Lord 'Platinum Class', Trig, Dorco, and the Wilkinson Sword blades. There's an expression around here that Your Mileage May Vary and it's ESPECIALLY true of blades. It seems that people generally agree when a blade is honestly horrible, but it's hard to find common ground beyond that.

The Tweezerman Badger brush was my first brush, and it performs pretty darn well, and I would recommend it to anyone. I have an Omega boar brush I'm a little less fond of, and a brand new Sabi badger brush I really can't say much about yet. shaveabuck.com is selling the Sabi badger brush bundled with a tube of Arko shaving cream.

Shaving soaps, creams, and sticks are as varied as blades. Col. Conk soap is cheap and good stuff. Wilkinson Sword shave soap, Godrej, and the Arko shave stick all lather up pretty nice for me. Ingram shaving cream is probably my favorite cream right now. It has so much menthol in it that it feels like you've got your face stuck in a pile of snow, awesome stuff!
 
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