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Hello all

My name's Chris, and first off, I'd like to offer my compliments on this excellent forum. I just found this site a few days ago and I've already increased my shaving knowledge tenfold (at least!). Yes!

My shaving history:
I got an Norelco electric for Christmas during high school and I liked it for the convenience. Frankly, I wasn't very hairy then, and I was hesitant about putting a blade directly on my face. So, I remained electric for some years, later upgrading to a high-end Braun.

Some years later, a friend of mine was dating an Englishman, and when I extolled the virtues of a quick convenient buzz in the morning, he gave me warm, slightly patronizing smile and said, "Yeah, but there's nothing like a hot, wet shave with a sharp blade."

This bounced around in my mind for awhile, and memories surfaced of my Dad taking me into the bathroom and giving me a toy plastic DE so I could "shave" along with him. When my Braun's foil needed replacing, I decided to try wet shaving. Double edged razors seemed a relic of the past (and the drugstore didn't carry them anyway), so I picked up a Mach3 and some canned goo and loved it. My first shave left my face much smoother than my electrics ever did, and (not for the first time), I couldn't keep my hands off my face all day!

Of course, the next shave wasn't quite as good, and the third and fourth left me red and spotty, but I figured it was just my lack of experience. I tried most of the regular drugstore products but the results were consistent - each fresh cartridge would give a good shave, followed one or two mediocre shaves, and a bad, sometimes nightmarish slashing.

For about a year, I knew my cartridge razor experience was like a lingering, withering relationship - occasional moments of brightness amidst drudgery, punctuated with pain - it was time for a change, but I held out in the hopes of recapturing that first sweet moment.

My real education began when the Fusion came out last month. I looked around the net for reviews of this new, glorious product, and discovered that people actually still use those shaving brushes I've seen in old movies. I was too curious about the Fusion not to try it, but I also ordered an Art of Shaving starter kit, complete with badger brush, and lo! I had another epiphany. Using pre-shave oil, lather whipped by a brush, and balm gave me the best shave of my life.

Nevertheless, the Fusion blades continued the "proud" tradition of the Mach3 - good, OK, not so good, bloody. I couldn't see throwing out a $3 cartridge after only one use, but how else could I get a consistently good shave?

Fortunately, I found this forum, and began my indoctrination, and I come before you now, a neophyte convert.

So... I suppose this has been a bit long-winded for an introductory post, but what can I say? It's been a sort of cathartic release for me.

I'm looking for a good DE razor. I am entranced by the Merkur Vision, but if I'm going to spend $100, it'll be for a silvertip brush first. Some members here recommend the Merkur HD for newbies, but I like the idea of an adjustable head and TTO, so I'm grabbing a Gillette adjustable off ebay. Any thoughts on this?

Anyway, hello again, and happy shaving!

Welcome to B&B! It's a great place to be, and lot's of guys will offer up lot's of opinions. The adjustable Gillette with the TTO is a great way to go. My preference is either the Merkur HD Classic or the Merkur Progress. Just my opinion. My first DE was the HD, and I've never been able to achieve as good a shave with the Gillettes. YMMV! Just remember, there is a learning curve regardless of the razor you start with, so if your initial shaves are not up to par, they will be.


Welcome to B&B. The Merkur Vision is indeed an excellent razor, but does have a large pricetag. I'm not sure I'd recommend that to start off with for a few reasons:

First and foremost, you really want to see if you're going to like a DE razor and you shouldn't have to spend a lot of money to find that out. A Merkur HD or Progress is a great suggestion and they're priced to be affordable. Secondly, the Vision is quite an aggressive razor if you're not used to shaving with a DE. It takes some getting used to and if it's the first razor you're buying, it could discourage you somewhat. It's very heavy and if you open it up (meaning you widen the space between the blade and the safety bar) you increase the liklihood of cutting yourself fairly efficiently if you aren't used to a DE. Unlike the cartridge razors that make it almost impossible to cut yourself, a DE (and especially the Vision) has no problem layin' into ya. Now don't let that bother you, because cutting yourself is all part of learning. Soon enough, you'll learn the dos & donts as well as learning your face and how the hair grows..and off to the races you'll go shaving like a veteran and having no irritation.

Also, as many will attest to here, a great shave starts with good prep work: Lots of hot hot water and working that lather into your face. I like hot wraps on my face. There are other options too. And for heaven's sake, make sure your blades are sharp. :thumbup1:

I encourage you to read the reviews on here on the Vision, Progress, HD,Slant Bar, etc.. You'll get a wide variety of opinions.

Again, welcome to the club and stick around!


Glad to see another New Yawker here, especially one from the area I was born.

Glad you found us, and feel free to ask questions. The Gillette should be a good starting point for you - they are not too aggressive on the face. I would hold off on the Vision if I were you.
Welcome aboard Chris,

It's definitely wise to get a good solid (but not too pricey) razor and spend that $100 on a quality brush instead of a Vision (the vision will wait for you).

Welcome Chris!

Give a Gillette "fat boy" adjustable a try. It should serve you well until you make the move to the Vision. I agree, a great brush makes a world of difference.
I agree, the brush is a wiser investment at this point. Based on personal and the experience of others, for your DE I would recommend a Merkur Futur; adjustability, weight, and quality in a new DE at a reasonable price.
Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm looking at the Fat Boy, and the similar Gillette with the longer, black handle. I'd like it to be a bit hefty, with good grip (I have large hands). Does anyone know the difference in weight between these two?

As for the Futur, it sure look cool, but I've read a couple complaints about its handle being too slippery. I think I'll shy away from that until I develop my technique.

How about a newbie blade recommendation? I was surprised to see Wilkenson Sword 5-packs at a local drugstore for 73 cents(!). Any good? A lot of people here seem to like Feathers or Swedish Gillettes...

Anyway, I expect I'll try lots of different products until I find what's best for me. So how many of you guys have some sort of acquisition addiction? Will I end up with fleets of razors and squadrons of brushes? Tubs and tubes taking over?
Hey Chris,

Welcome to B&B and to wet shaving. You have, indeed, stumbled on a fantastic resource in finding this message board.

I cannot comment on the Progress (not having used one) but I will forever sing the praises of the HD and the Gillette Fatboy Adjustable. Both of these are excellent razors and very affordable. If I were in your position, I would purchase the HD or Progress at this point. This will allow you to begin shaving while you watch ebay for the perfect deal on an adjustable Gillette.

Good luck, and have fun with it.
acb13013 said:
Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm looking at the Fat Boy, and the similar Gillette with the longer, black handle. I'd like it to be a bit hefty, with good grip (I have large hands). Does anyone know the difference in weight between these two?


I weighed the two razors on my postal scales and the long black handle MAY be a tenth of an ounce heaver. Negligible difference. The fat boy balances better in my opinion.
Thanks Jerry. I'm watching a couple fatboys on ebay, so wish me luck!

And Scotto - I love Brooklyn - I've been here 3+ years, so I wouldn't call myself a real New Yorker just yet, but I'm woking on it! What neighborhood are you from?

I'm Minneapolis born and raised and I still keep up with the happenings back home. Right now, unfortunately, we're flying the flags at half-staff...


RIP Kirby.
Chris, welcome aboard.

You're certainly in the right place, with many experienced folks that can offer you excellent counsel.

I've just started using a DE within the last 2 months. For about a year before that I had been using a brush with a cake of soap and a Sensor Excel. Once I got into using some of the better English & American creams, I decided to invest in a DE razor and opted for the Merkur HD.

Here's my reasoning; I'm going to be shaving for the next couple of decades at least. I've got plenty of time (I'm 46) to get it right, so rather than go ugly early with the monster of a razor (eg the Merkur Vision), it's worth starting out with the simpler HD to get it right. That way I've got something to look forward to and can perfect my own shave techniques/patterns.

I fight RAD (Razor Acquisition Disorder) one day at a time. :001_rolle
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