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Getting Started Wetshaving ~ Tutorial

Let me start out by saying I don't intend to sound like I'm some sort of Shaving Samurai... I think rather you've been shaving 1 day or 20 years you can still learn something new every day. While I'm not a shaving master, I do adapt and learn things VERY quickly. I tend to get fantastic shaves (when I’m not wildly experimenting) and feel I can pass on a lot of my knowledge to others… Hopefully saving them from going through some of the same trials and tribulations that I myself went through to get where I am. I've obviously made a LOT of mistakes along the way. I originally posted this info about a year or so ago. After finding it in a search one day I decided to update it with more recent information, as well as add some pictures. Since many others liked my first post, hopefully this updated one will be worthy of being made a sticky. So without further ado, on to the show!

A quick note about the pics. One of my struggles when first learning to shave was how to get a proper lather. Even with the many tutorials, one of my problems was I never found any good images of a "good" lather. So in this post I tried to capture some pictures of lather "up close and personal" and will try to help explain what you're looking for. Because of the extreme detail required for this, I've decided to link the pictures included in this post to the original full resolution pictures. So click on any picture to see it in full resolution to get a better, "closer" look.

Section 1: Razors
When it comes to razors (I'm speaking of DE razors here, since I have little experience with straights), every razor has a different feel. Heavy, light, big, small, short, long, rounded, flat, open, closed, so on and so on... While ALL of these things can make a difference to your overall shave in the end, as a new shaver they won't make a bit of difference at all. Sure a superspeed might be gentler than a slant, but if your technique is right it really won't make any difference when you’re learning. What I'm trying to say here is, while the superspeed might be a lot more forgiving of your technique, it ALSO won't TEACH you to have better technique since you'll have no way to know what is or isn't right. With that said, my absolute advice for any new shaver, if you haven't already bought the equipment is to buy a Merkur HD. Not as forgiving as a superspeed, not as aggressive as a slant... It's forgiving enough, but will still let you know how well you’re doing. It's simple, no adjustments to worry about, etc... It's PERFECT for learning on. Many others recommend this as a good starting razor as well, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s what I started with, and I STILL go back to it often. In fact, I use it often as a “benchmark” when testing blades, creams, new techniques, etc… If you don't have one, or don't want one, fine... get whatever you want... but know that the HD will suit you just fine for a long time to come (it's still one of my favorite razors despite the now huge size of my arsenal...)
Now a lot of gents seem to want to start out with an adjustable. In my opinion that’s just not a good idea. When you’re first learning to wet shave, you’re most likely going to be getting some terrible shaves. This is a result of all sorts of variables… Did you have the right amount of water in the soap or cream? Did you have you’re angle correct? Do you need to try a different blade? Etc..etc..etc… The last thing you need is ONE MORE VARIABLE… and with an adjustable, that’s exactly what you’ll have. Eliminate as many variables as possible when you’re first learning, that will help keep the focus of your attention on the technique. If however, I haven’t convinced you, and your razor of choice is an adjustable, DON'T adjust it... Just keep it on a somewhat mild setting (i.e. 1.5 on the Futur) and leave it there. You can "play" with it later when you get more accustomed to things.

Section 2: Blades
Blades are another important decision you'll need to make. You'll find lots of different answers when you ask which blade people prefer. Merkurs, Feathers, Derbys, IPs, Gillettes, etc... Some are ultra sharp and unforgiving, while others are so forgiving they'll even forgive the hair. Different blades will also react differently in different razors. You'll eventually find certain combinations that work better then others. But for now just choose one! If you’re looking for a suggestion, I'd say the Derby Extras. They're a great "blend" of smoothness and sharpness and work really well in almost any razor. Forgiving yet you can get a BBS shave with no problem. After you’ve got your wetshaving technique down, you’ll definitely want to pick up a sample pack from somewhere so you can try different blades. I also like to keep an assortment of blades on hand for when I get a new razor, since as stated, different razors react differently with different blades.

Section 3: Brushes
Boar, Badger, Pure, Best, Silvertip / Super... shapes, sizes, knots... It never seems to end does it? The truth is, I don't care if you have a $12 boar brush from target, or a $400 Rooney's Finest... It's going make lather, and it's going to get it on your face. Now that's not to say the $12 brush is every bit as good as the Rooney... There IS a difference in brushes, but AGAIN it mostly has to do with feel. Sure a badger holds more water than a boar... Water you’re likely going to shake out anyway... Sure a soft silvertip feels great on your face but are you shaving or getting a facial? Sure it feels great to have a nice big brush that’s ultra soft applying that warm wonderful lather, but again, rather you fly first class or coach, you’re still going to arrive at the same time. The point is, once again, don't think you have to spend a fortune to get a superior shave.
That’s also not to say all brushes are created equal. Soaps for instance usually tend to work a little better with a slightly stiffer brush, while creams tend to work a little better with a nice floppy one. Still though, soap can be lathered up just as well with a floppy brush as a stiff one, it just might require a little more work.
If you haven't purchased yet, and are looking for a recommendation, it all depends on how much you want to spend... I'd personally recommend the C&E Best or the Omega 6215 for about $35 and $55 respectively... I started with a Vulfix, and it was great, but the C&E would have been a better value. Likewise, you’ll not hear many arguments if I say that you’ll not likely find a better brush for the money than an Omega… The 6215 will run you around $60 and I like it better than some of my $200 brushes. If you really want to save money, get the $12 target brush... For that matter just about any department store is likely to have SOME sort of shaving brush if you look hard enough. On the other hand, if you want to blow a load of cash, get a shavemac, or rooney, simpson, etc... Just remember, it's NOT going to affect the quality of your shave, or even the quality of your lather for that matter, only the “luxury” of applying it.

Section 4: Soap/Cream
The first decision you'll have to make is Soap or Cream (unless you go with Mark's approach and use both at the same time... ) I've heard a lot of straight razor users say they love their soaps... A lot of DE users say they love their creams... Plenty of others are vice versa... Much like anything else, you’ll develop your own preference over time, and in fact may even flip flop back and forth. I personally fall into the first group, I love creams... Still I have several soaps that I use frequently, just depends on my mood. What's the difference? A soap tends to make a fairly slick lather, but is often thinner than a cream. Usually somewhat airy, and can sometimes dry out quicker, etc... On the other hand, a cream will not be as "slick" as a soap, but it makes a very thick and "cushioning" lather. Mark (or Mantic) creates his "super lather" by using both. In my opinion it is great stuff, but as a newbie just stick with one or the other. Again remember, too many variables is a BAD thing...
You'll need to resist the urge to "stock up" on various scents, brands, etc... Let's say you decide to stick with creams... Don't go buy 5 tubs of various brands, or scents just yet... Instead, buy ONE.. The reason you want to stick with ONE cream is again variables... Different creams, (YES, even different SCENTS of the same brand/type) react differently. They require different water/cream ratios, etc. One of the first things you'll need to focus your attention on is getting a proper lather, and that's going to be almost impossible if the "formula" for getting it is constantly changing on you. There is always the option of stocking up and then just choosing one to use until you learn it the art. In truth though, this stuff is worse than Lay’s… Nobody can use just one… If it’s sitting on the shelf, you’re going to end up using it. Therefore it’s best just to have one initially. Don’t worry, you’re SCAD (Shaving Cream Acquisition Disorder) will set in soon enough and you’ll have so many creams you’ll have to not only install additional shelving, but additional cabinet space too! Just choose something… If you go with soap, I’d probably recommend a good triple milled like D.R. Harris, or Mitchell’s Woolfat. If you decide on a cream, my recommendation would be Taylor's Avocado... It's gentle on your skin, easy to get a TERRIFIC lather from, and very lubricating... Not to mention it will leave your skin silky smooth and feeling refreshed. If you have ultra sensitive skin, then go for the Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort.

Section 5: Pre-Shave
The pre-shave is by far one of the most important parts of wetshaving. The shame is, often times it’s one of the most overlooked by the new shaver. A whisker in its normal dry state can actually be harder than a copper wire of the same diameter. The purpose of the pre-shave is to soften that whisker. The softer the whisker, the easier the razor will cut it, which means less irritation.
I personally don’t recommend oil; many of them are designed for use with brushless creams, and therefore can gum up your brush. Stick with something like Proraso (one of my personal favorites), or for that matter just plain old hair conditioner (I steal my wife's)...
If you’re on a budget, or just want to keep things as simple as possible, you can also just use your lather. Just scrub some on your face and let it sit (or cover with a hot towel). My favorite trick is with Proraso. If you massage this into your beard before jumping in the shower, the steam combined with the Proraso will really soften the beard. The same trick can be used with a small bit of your shaving cream. Whatever you use, test your whiskers by rubbing the back of your hand against the grain. If it feels very sharp and wiry then you probably didn’t do a good pre-shave.
Another great trick that I've picked up is a spin-off from Kyle's post. If I'm shaving without a shower I'll often massage straight cream into my beard and then apply a hot towel for a few minutes. This also does an excellent job of prepping.
Regardless of WHAT you choose to use as a pre-shave, AGAIN, CHOOSE ONE and stick with it for a while. Once again, it can’t be repeated enough, the goal is to eliminate as MANY variables as possible. That way each time you shave you can evaluate things without having to wonder if it was because you switched blades, creams, pre-shaves, etc...

Section 6: Aftershaves
Aftershave offers another huge confusing mass of choices... Splashes, Balms, Scents, etc... It may seem that the aftershave wouldn't be that important a part of the shaving experience, but its importance is tremendous. Once again the same theme rings true, get one and stick with it for a while. You want to try different scents? Use cologne. You can experiment with different aftershaves later when your technique (and hence other variables) has settled and become solid. These can generally be classified into two categories, splash or balm. A splash is usually alcohol based. In general a lot of people tend to like splashes during the summer months and balms during the winter when extra moisturizing is needed. If you’re looking for a recommendation to start out with, Neutrogena Razor Defense Post Shave Lotion is a good choice. The Proraso balm is also a great one. Both are terrific moisturizers for winter, but go on thin and light enough to be perfect for summer. Both are very lightly scented, and won't interfere with colognes. They also seem to really help with irritation (which you'll have a LOT of at first), and just overall seems to do a great job. The Proraso you’ll most likely have to order, but the Neutrogena you can pick it up in just about any supermarket or drug store.

Section 7: Alum (optional)
To Alum or not to Alum? Alum, or aluminum potassium sulfate, is a crystal which actually has many uses. In the case of shaving, it’s used as an antibacterial and astringent. When applied it has a terrific cooling effect, stops any weepers, and in my opinion soothes and eliminates any razor burn, irritation, etc. All these are especially important when you’re a new shaver. With that said, it should also be noted that since it’s an astringent, if you have acne or similar skin conditions, it’s probably best avoided since it can clog pores. Also keep in mind that this can interfere with some balms. I’ve found certain types of balms applied after Alum will actually “clump up” and feel rather “icky” for lack of a better term. One reason I do really recommend it for beginning shavers is because it is a wonderful critique of technique. When applying it, any areas you irritated with bad technique will quickly be “revealed” by a fair amount of stinging. This let’s you know which areas you need to focus more on next time you shave. If you do decided to use Alum, remember this simple thing… Alum is Alum... Get a block of whatever you can find cheap. I like the Classic brand one since it comes with a travel case.

Section 8: Electric Kettle (optional)
A kettle is one of those things you may not need, but may find really helps. For me I found it an absolute must. My water heater is cut back quite a bit to conserve energy. Plenty hot enough for showers, etc, but far from hot enough to get a nice rich warm lather that stays warm all the way through to the last pass. If your water heater is set to a high point, then you may not need this. Basically I would judge it like this. If you can draw a bowl of water out of your tap, then stick your hand in it and keep it there, then your tap water isn't hot enough. Go pick up a cordless electric kettle (paid $20 for mine in target, and they can be had cheaper). I pop this thing on and in about two minutes I’ve got nice boiling hot water. I pour this in my bowl and let it sit while I’m in the shower. My bowl is very heavy and soaks up a lot of heat making it perfect for lather once I’m out. As soon as I get out I pop my brush in and it’s ready to go as soon as I am. Do you need one? Nope… But the overwhelming response I've heard from people who have purchased these and use them is "Wow!". So it's certainly something to consider.

Section 9: Lather Bowl (optional)
Sure you can whip up lather in your hand, or right on your face. I do this once in a while myself, but the results just NEVER seem to be as good as when I whip in a bowl. The other advantage to a bowl is that if you use a good thick heavy one, and use it to soak your brush, it will retain a LOT of heat (if you’re using REALLY hot water from an electric kettle), so it will keep your 4th or 5th pass of lather every bit as warm and terrific as the first. That's a huge plus... I picked mine up from Wal-Mart. It's a rice bowl, and it's VERY heavy and thick, so it REALLY holds the heat great. I find the important properties of a bowl are its weight (for heat retention) and its sides. A shallow bowl is no fun when whipping up lather.


That's the basics, that's ALL you really need to get a proper wetshave; a brush, a razor, some cream or soap, a pre-shave and aftershave. But of course there are plenty of other "optional" items you can stock up on... Now let’s move on you USING the stuff…

Section 10: Let's Prep
You need to prep, this gets the whiskers soft. Use your pre-shave, take a shower, steam towels, whatever... Just make sure your whiskers are soft before you start to shave (using the back of your hand to run against the grain is a great way to check for softness. If it feels "sharp" your prep needs work). No matter what your prep routine is the most important thing when you’re starting out is consistency. Unless your prep just doesn't seem to be working at all, don't change it!

This is also the point where you want to begin soaking your brush and heating your bowl if you have one.
Once you’re prepped, your ready to begin making your lather... I'm going to go into a LOT of detail here. The reason being, this is one area I and many other new shavers seem to struggle with.

Section 11: Lather
It's important to note here that one thing you've probably already read a lot about is "WATER WATER WATER". This is one of the traps I fell into when I first started to wet shave. My lather was not lubricating at all. It was thick, and seemed rich, but wasn't slick at all, the razor would stick and skip, etc. Turns out I was getting WAY too much water. Because getting ENOUGH water is stressed so much, I unknowingly ended up with WAY too much every time. Remember this simple rule of thumb... You can ALWAYS add more water... but it's much harder to take it away. Here's what I suggest you do BEFORE you ever even go for your first shave. Whip up SEVERAL bowls of lather... Start with a VERY dry mixture. Shake the brush real good 4 or 5 times. Get an almond size dollop (a snurdle) of cream and wipe it in the breech. Dump the water out of your bowl and then begin whipping. Whip for at least 30-45 seconds (like you’re beating eggs) and see what the lather looks and feels like. Take a little between two fingers and feel it. Now add about half a teaspoon of water and whip another 30 seconds or so. Continue doing this over and over, feeling the cream each time and paying attention to what it looks like and feels like when you’re whipping it. Continue doing this until the lather is obviously WAY oversaturated (very thin, large bubbles, won't support itself in a peak, etc...)
Now repeat the whole procedure... Since you only have one cream, the ratio will stay the same, and after a few bowls you'll very quickly recognize just by the "looks" of the cream rather it's at that "sweet" spot where the cream is at its most lubricating point. After 5 or 6 bowls you shouldn't have any problem getting it "sweet" without much hassle. It’s also worth noting at this point that many soaps and creams don’t like too much water too soon. In other words, they NEED a lot of water to get that perfect lather, but you can’t just add it all at once, rather you have to add it gradually. By doing this, you’ll find you can get a much thicker and richer lather.
Okay, back to our shave... Let's walk through this together...

Your brush has been soaking, it and the bowl are nice and hot, and you’re ready to begin. Pull the brush out, give it a couple of good shakes to get a lot of the water out and set it to the side. Load it with a snurdle of cream. What's a snurdle? :lol: About an almond size dollop.

Load it in the breach of the brush.

Now dump out your bowl and begin whipping the brush in it. After about 10 seconds or so you'll see something similar to this.

After another 15 or 20 seconds you'll see the lather starting to pull together a bit more.

Notice it still looks very dry in the bowl.

And even a look at the brush shows that it's also still very dry looking.

Adding a teaspon of water and giving another good 30-40 seconds of whipping starts to yield more and much better looking lather. A little hint I've started doing recently... Instead of adding water to the bowl, add the water right into the breach of the brush... I've found this helps in several different ways... First, it keeps the brush warmer during the lather making process... Second, it's easy to get carried away and add more water to the bowl than you think, whereas adding to the brush it's easier to make sure it's a small amount. Lastly, I can't explain it, but I consistantly seem to get a better quality lather when I do this versus adding it to the bowl. I also add a few drops to the brush between each pass... Since I'm using very hot water, a small amount will evaporate out while I'm shaving... Adding this small amount back in not only keeps the lather from drying out, but also keeps the brush and therefore lather piping hot!

A look at the brush still shows it to look at little dry, not shiny at all.

Adding another teaspoon of water and more whipping now shows lots of very rich lather building.

My lighting doesn't show it very well, but at this point it also looks much more shiny. Giving it a feel between your fingers also shows it to be very slick.

Most creams are somewhat forgiving. For example, adding yet another teaspoon of water followed by more whipping yields this result. Notice how you can start to see the "bubbles" in the lather? It's still a very usable lather, and still very slick and lubricating, but at this point is getting too much water and too much air... You certainly would never want to go further than this, and preferably catch it before this point. Even if worse comes to worse, this lather will still give a great shave.

Up close we can see how saturated the brush has become. Again it's still peaking and still slick, but notice those bubbles really showing up.

Now just for fun I've added about two more teaspoons of water to the bowl and whipped again. Notice now how we've lost the peaks? Also we now have very large and noticable air bubbles. Feeling the cream at this point results in an almost "sticky" feeling, not slick at all. At this point it's almost all air and water.

Another close up of the brush... The lather isn't even staying in the brush at this point, it's just running right down through and out.

Okay, so hopefully you've caught your lather way before this point and have a nice rich, thick, and lubricating lather. So go ahead and begin lathering up your face. Some people prefer rubbing it on in circles, others prefer painting it on. I think it mostly depends on your brush. Stiffer brushes lend themselves more to circles, while softer ones seem better apt to paint... Whatever technique you use, spend more time applying the lather than you think you should. Doing so results in better saturation and also helps work on getting the whiskers stood up better.

Section 12: The Angle of the Dangle :w00t:
The ideal angle for cutting whiskers is about 30 degrees. That means, if your face and whisker form a 90 degree angle, the razor BLADE would be raised 30 degrees off your face. This allows the blade to easily slice through the hair, rather then raking or dragging across it. Keep in mind this is the angle of the BLADE, not the angle of the handle. All razors are built differently, so the angle of the handle will vary greatly. The best way to observe this is to place the razor against a flat surface (a piece of cardboard works well) and “roll” the razor while watching the blade. Once you have the blade at a good angle then observe the handle in relation to the surface. That’s the same angle from your face you’ll be shooting for. Another easy way to find this is by using the head of the razor. They're designed so that the right angle is achieved if the head and blade are both resting on your face (with no pressure distorting the skin of course). So if you hold the razor parallel, put the head against your face, and slowly lower the angle of the handle / blade until it starts to cut (you’ll hear it when it does), then you've got a good angle. With time and practice you'll come to recognize the right angle by sound and feel.

Section 13: Pressure
Pressure is one of the most difficult things to deal with. If you’re switching from some sort of cartridge razor you have to realize something. That cartridge razor was designed to work best when it’s “mashed” into your face. A DE is designed to be used with almost no pressure at all. If you “mash” a DE into your face in the same way you would a cartridge razor you’ll shave half your face off along with the whiskers. In the same respect, it’s important to note this doesn’t mean NO pressure. It’s just very difficult to say “very light” pressure because if you’re used to mashing a razor into your face, your idea of NO pressure is probably still WAY too much pressure. If you’re using a razor like the HD, then you’ll be best off by holding it near the end of the handle and allowing just the weight of the razor itself to generate the pressure. If you’re using a heavier razor, you may have to apply some negative pressure to ease off it a bit. The truth is, no matter how “light” you try to be, chances are your first DE shave will be way too much, and you’ll end up with lots of irritation. Just practice and it’ll come within a shave or two.

Section 14: Passes
WTG, XTG, ATG, HUH?!? Okay, remember that with an M3 style razor you’re making multiple passes in one... This seems like a good thing till you realize that ONE of those passes is with a lubricant and the other two would be like having no cream at all. That's why an M3 can be so irritating, especially against the grain... Now you've only got a single blade, so you’re going to have to make additional passes. That's a good thing though, because we can re-lubricate with cream between each one. We can also vary the direction of each to make things more efficient.
Now as a new shaver there is one thing you need to realize. Your face is going to need time to adjust!!! The moment you finish your first shave the most likely reaction will be one of disbelief in just how bad of a shave you had! At least my first shave was. My face was RAW and as RED as could be... Partly because I had crappy lather and partly because I decided to go for 4 passes and get a BBS shave. Sure it was BBS smooth alright... Unfortunately that's because half my face was sitting somewhere in the wastewater treatment facility.
When you first start out I recommend only doing a single or at most two passes. One WTG (With the Grain) pass and if your bold, follow that with a XTG (Across The Grain) pass... I know it's tempting to go for the BBS shave by adding in multiple XTG passes or even an ATG (Against The Grain) passes, but BELIEVE me it's not worth it. You’re going to look a little ragged for a few days, but trust me; it'll be worth it in the end. Give your face at LEAST a week before changing ANYTHING except razor technique... Focus on keeping a very light touch, and keeping the angle just right. After a week or more, then you can add another cross grain pass, this time in the opposite direction. When you feel like your technique is good, your face has adjusted, and you’re ready to venture forth then you can do an against the grain pass to get that BBS shave you've always wanted but could never get.
An important thing to remember here is that the grain will NOT be the same on your entire face. MOST of the time your cheeks will run N-S, but often the jaw and neck area can get crazy. The best thing you can do is take time to study the terrian. If your using the "massage some cream into your beard" trick, then you'll have plenty of time feeling every nook and cranny and getting a better idea of exactly how your grain runs in various areas. Some even find it helpful to make a "map" showing the grain in various areas so they won't forget.
Remember to rinse with warm water between each pass. This will help wet the face with a little additional water before adding more lather. Some prefer to add something to their face between passes as well. Some for example use Skin Food or just pure glycerin massaged in between each pass. I’m a fan of the former, but I’m still not convinced it makes a huge difference if everything else is right.

Section 15: Finishing Up
To finish up, start with a cold water rinse. This helps close pores, and feels really refreshing. If you’re using Alum, rinse the block under the cold water and then rub it on your face and neck. Let the alum / water dry on your face a bit while you’re cleaning up your bowl, brush, etc. Once finished cleaning up, towel off the excess water on your face, spray on a toner if you want (DaVinci water from QEDman is great as is the hydrolast toner’s from Enchante Online), then apply the post shave lotion. SOME aftershave balms tend to react with the alum if you're using it. What I mean by react is that "icky clumpy mess" that sometimes happens. If you notice something seems strange when applying your aftershave, then you may find it helpful to rinse the remains of the alum off with a final cold water splash.

Section 16: Experiment
After you've got a month or so at least of shaving under your belt, you should be getting terrific shaves with little to no irritation, and you should be loving every moment of it. Once you've got everything down pat, now is the time when you can start to experiment. I'd recommend starting with trying various blades. By now you'll immediately be able to notice the differences in them, how much pressure they require, how sharp or smooth they are, etc... You can try out new razors, new creams, new pre-shave routines, etc... Most importantly though, only try one thing different at a time... That way you can be sure you can properly evaluate it against other alternatives. Once you get to this stage you've discovered one of the most fun and rewarding parts of wetshaving... Unfortunately you’re also likely to contract all sorts of various diseases such as SBAD, SRAD, SCAD, ASAD, etc...

Section 17: Summary
In summary, if you want to take the plunge into wetshaving and don't know where to begin, here are my personal recommendations for what you should get to start off with...

Merkur Classic HD
Derby Extra blades
Proraso Pre-Post Cream (or hair conditioner)
Taylor's Avocado Cream
C&E Best Badger Brush or Omega Silvertip
Thick Rice Bowl (and electric kettle if needed)
Alum Block
Neutrogena Razor Defense or Proraso Balm

If you're really on a budget, then you can get by with the following:
Merkur Classic HD
Derby Extra blades
Taylor's Avocado Cream
Boar Brush (available at Target, Walmart, some drug stores, etc)
Neutrogena Razor Defense

If you're not on a budget... Well then, you're going to have a blast in the wet shaving world!!!

If you've already been shopping, hopefully the guidelines (and they are just that, guidelines!) above will help you make the most of your venture into wetshaving! Enjoy!
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Thanks Jim... I know how much of a struggle it can be first starting out. Even though B&B has a TON of information, sorting through it can be a daunting task, especially when you don't know what you're looking for in the first place. I certainly haven't covered anything new, simply compiled the information I've learned myself (almost all of which came from B&B) into one source. Thanks for the kudos!
Very Nice!!!:thumbup: Pictures, pictures, pictures... they make all the difference.
Hope that some new wetshavers take notice, alot of information here, but well presented. I especially like the "optional" equipment added, because when I started I thought I had to get it all. I still try to keep it basic.
Where were you 2 months ago?
Now let me get this straight Greg- you think you aren't a "Shave Samurai?

After that welll executed post/tutorial methinks thou doth protest too much!

Welcome to the guru side of things. :thumbup:



Stjynnkii membörd dummpsjterd
Wowie zowie!

What a post! :thumbup1:

And you're wrong about just one little thing there.................

the shaving samurai part.
Excellent post Greg. Very well done. Very informative and the pictures are excellent. As a fairly new wet shaver I also agree with your blade recommendation. The Derby Extra's are an excellent starter blade and after a few months of wet shaving, they are still one of my favorite blades. Thanks for taking the time to put together such a great post. Your post provided me with alot of good info!:thumbup1:
This is a 'must read' for new DE shavers. And worthy of review by everyone else. Good Job!

I'll make a comment about brushes. The C&E BBB is a good intro to badger and is generally recommended because of its low entry price for a new shaver. It is a good product for someone who may be concerned that he doesn't want to spend a lot of money on wet shaving gear initially because he's not certain he'll stay with wet shaving. That's fair enough, and the C&E does fill that role very well.

I am in hearty agreement on your recommendation of the Omega brush though. While the Omega doesn't get the press of other brands, it is a terrific, luxurious brush and the price is excellent. IMO, a new shaver should go directly to the Omega 6215 or 6212 to begin with. It will serve a DE shaver well, whereas I long ago retired my C&E, and today use it only for travel. If a new wet shaver concludes that wet shaving is not for him, he can recoup some of the omega cost by selling it off here at B&B. IMO, a good brush goes a long way to making a wet shave enjoyable --probably more than any other item.

-- John Gehman
... The C&E BBB is a good intro to badger and is generally recommended because of its low entry price for a new shaver. ... While the Omega doesn't get the press of other brands, it is a terrific, luxurious brush and the price is excellent. IMO, a new shaver should go directly to the Omega 6215 or 6212 to begin with.

Absolutely, if you can afford it, an Omega is a great buy... and for those who are curious and didn't know, the brush in the pics is an Omega 6215.
Very Nice!!!:thumbup: Pictures, pictures, pictures... they make all the difference.
Hope that some new wetshavers take notice, alot of information here, but well presented. I especially like the "optional" equipment added, because when I started I thought I had to get it all. I still try to keep it basic.
Where were you 2 months ago?

Or 4 months ago. This post is great. Going to make my roommate look at it. He kind of wants to get into wet shaving, but I can't get him to browse B&B or watch all Mantic's videos by himself.... I told him I won't be held responsible if he cuts his face to pieces because of this.
In a word, Excellent!

This is very well thought out and very well written. Certainly there will be gents who will mildly disagree with one point or another, but there is no doubt that you know this art well. Thanks for the time and effort put into constructing this thread. It should/will be very helpful to newbies and veterans alike.
In a word, Excellent!

This is very well thought out and very well written. Certainly there will be gents who will mildly disagree with one point or another, but there is no doubt that you know this art well. Thanks for the time and effort put into constructing this thread. It should/will be very helpful to newbies and veterans alike.

Excellent point Kyle. It's important for anyone to understand, especially those first starting out, that everyone has different tastes... Usually the differences are minimal in terms of most things, but can be dramatic in others. Joel as I just found out, hates the Omega brushes. I love 'em. If everyone agreed on what went into the "perfect" shave, ALL our lives would be much easier. (and MUCH MUCH cheaper!) We could all just buy one blade, one razor, one brush, one cream/soap and be done with it. :lol:

That however just wouldn't be anywhere near as much fun! :w00t: The guildlines I've suggested above are just that, guidelines. In my opinion, any new person coming to the site should be able to follow them and get a fantastic shave. Will it be the best shave they'll ever have? Not likely! Over time they'll find things that work better, or worse.


Stjynnkii membörd dummpsjterd
I am in hearty agreement on your recommendation of the Omega brush though. While the Omega doesn't get the press of other brands, it is a terrific, luxurious brush and the price is excellent. IMO, a new shaver should go directly to the Omega 6215 or 6212 to begin with. -- John Gehman

Even the notoriously cheap Ouch has purchased one of these. :thumbup1:
Nice job! Might I tempt you to contribute to the wiki?

You know John, I hadn't even considered that... Much of this info here I'm guessing could be reformatted slightly and be added... Soon as I get a chance I'll have a look and see if we can't fill it out a bit more... :biggrin:
You know John, I hadn't even considered that... Much of this info here I'm guessing could be reformatted slightly and be added... Soon as I get a chance I'll have a look and see if we can't fill it out a bit more... :biggrin:

Great! Let me know if you need some help getting started.
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