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Hello from Florida!

tl;dr: 30 year cartridge shaver until a few months ago. Using Henson AL-13 now. Still figuring things out.

Hello from Jacksonville, Florida, USA. I'm turning 50 soon but just started wet shaving a few months ago. Most of the last 30 or so years, I used a Gillette Sensor Excel twin blade. I used 2 different electrics at times, then when they broke, went back to my Sensor. I got what I think would be called a SAS, and that was fine. Then in August, I started looking into services like Harry's and Dollar, partly to upgrade my shave, but mostly to have blades delivered regularly. It had become impossible to find my blades in a supermarket or drug store anymore, so I'd end up having to order them.

While considering my options, I'm suddenly bombarded with all these online ads for safety razors. LOL, no thanks, those things are impossible to use without totally slicing up your face, right? But a couple of ads mentioned no plastic waste, which got my attention. So did cheap blades - no need for a shave club when a year+ supply of blades costs $10 and takes up hardly any drawer space. So I went down the rabbit hole of reviews and articles, looking for something easy for a cartridge user to transition to without doing too much damage to my face while learning, or adding too much time to my morning. I seriously considered Leaf and OneBlade, but settled on the jet black Henson AL-13.

I'm amazed at the difference - so much closer than the cartridge! I didn't dislike shaving before, but now I actually look forward to it. It feels great getting a smooth shave every time. I'm still using Gillette shave gel for the first pass - I can't bring myself to just pitch it, but it's the last can I'll ever buy. For XTG/ATG, I have some Van Der Hagen shave butter, which is better. Gonna try Cremo when that runs out, it seems very highly regarded for a brushless cream. (I'd rather not invest in a brush, bowl, and expensive cream, or the extra time it'd take to use them, but I suppose that could change - I never saw myself using a DE either.) For blades, I'm working through a sampler, but the early favorites are Voskhod and Shark. Whatever blade wins out, I plan to buy a few months supply and work on my technique without that variable. I still get tons of weepers, mostly in the moustache and chin, and occasional nicks. And I want to get better at areas I tend to miss - usually the same part of my neck but occasionally a couple other spots too. I want every shave to be BBS!!

Anyway, enough about me. Googling various razors/blades/creams invariably leads me here, so I figured I'd sign up and introduce myself, and thank everyone for the wealth of reviews and info I've already read.

My very humble set of supplies right now (go ahead and laugh at the canned gel 😆):
IMG_1254.jpeg
 
Hello from the other coast (Sarasota). I was in basically the same boat as you with using Mach3 razors forever and really not necessarily hating it but certainly not enjoying it. At best, I wouldn't cut myself and would have a reasonable shave. At worst, well, you know how that story ends. I didn't know what a close shave was until I started with DE and SE razors. It's great to hear you have found your way here. You certainly picked a great first razor from what I've been told. I haven't had the fortune of trying one myself yet but many people absolutely swear by the Hensons.

One last thing, don't shy away from trying a brush and some decent cream/soap. Using a brush to apply an appropriately slick lather will take your shaves to another level. It's the action of the brush lifting and separating the hairs, allowing the lather to penetrate and soften the stubble that makes such a difference. I used to think the same as you and just thought it was too much hassle. I usually skip the bowl and face lather with a good brush. It really takes all of 2-3 minutes to get an excellent lather going and you are set from there. Shave a pass, re-lather with what's in the brush, rinse and repeat. The razor will glide better, you'll get a closer shave, and your skin will feel super smooth.
 
tl;dr: 30 year cartridge shaver until a few months ago. Using Henson AL-13 now. Still figuring things out.

Hello from Jacksonville, Florida, USA. I'm turning 50 soon but just started wet shaving a few months ago. Most of the last 30 or so years, I used a Gillette Sensor Excel twin blade. I used 2 different electrics at times, then when they broke, went back to my Sensor. I got what I think would be called a SAS, and that was fine. Then in August, I started looking into services like Harry's and Dollar, partly to upgrade my shave, but mostly to have blades delivered regularly. It had become impossible to find my blades in a supermarket or drug store anymore, so I'd end up having to order them.

While considering my options, I'm suddenly bombarded with all these online ads for safety razors. LOL, no thanks, those things are impossible to use without totally slicing up your face, right? But a couple of ads mentioned no plastic waste, which got my attention. So did cheap blades - no need for a shave club when a year+ supply of blades costs $10 and takes up hardly any drawer space. So I went down the rabbit hole of reviews and articles, looking for something easy for a cartridge user to transition to without doing too much damage to my face while learning, or adding too much time to my morning. I seriously considered Leaf and OneBlade, but settled on the jet black Henson AL-13.

I'm amazed at the difference - so much closer than the cartridge! I didn't dislike shaving before, but now I actually look forward to it. It feels great getting a smooth shave every time. I'm still using Gillette shave gel for the first pass - I can't bring myself to just pitch it, but it's the last can I'll ever buy. For XTG/ATG, I have some Van Der Hagen shave butter, which is better. Gonna try Cremo when that runs out, it seems very highly regarded for a brushless cream. (I'd rather not invest in a brush, bowl, and expensive cream, or the extra time it'd take to use them, but I suppose that could change - I never saw myself using a DE either.) For blades, I'm working through a sampler, but the early favorites are Voskhod and Shark. Whatever blade wins out, I plan to buy a few months supply and work on my technique without that variable. I still get tons of weepers, mostly in the moustache and chin, and occasional nicks. And I want to get better at areas I tend to miss - usually the same part of my neck but occasionally a couple other spots too. I want every shave to be BBS!!

Anyway, enough about me. Googling various razors/blades/creams invariably leads me here, so I figured I'd sign up and introduce myself, and thank everyone for the wealth of reviews and info I've already read.

My very humble set of supplies right now (go ahead and laugh at the canned gel 😆):
View attachment 1357585
Welcome to B&B from another Floridian! Your story will resinate with a lot of members here as many of us started late getting into traditional wetshaving for various reasons and found that this chore can be turned into a hobby.

I'd still suggest getting a brush and soap. A Synthetic plissoft is a simple, well rounded, inexpensive brush to start with. There are so many great soaps to try out there. Just look through these forums and B&B won't lead you astray. There really os no better source of shaving info.

Best of luck and happy shaves.
 
@T Bone, welcome to B&B. As others have said, try a brush and soap. If on a budget, a brush to get is:

For a soap, face lather with a stick of ARKO. Cost should be under $5 and will last you about 150 or more shaves.
 

Rhody

I'm a Lumberjack.
Hi and welcome. I was a cart user for a long time and would hardly change the cart because of the expense and probably because I’m a little lazy. There is the plastic waste issue. If you transition to soaps or creams there is also much less waste (no empty cans to bin) shaving with carts was a chore for me something I rushed through in the shower now I enjoy my shaves and hope you will too.
 
I usually skip the bowl and face lather with a good brush. It really takes all of 2-3 minutes to get an excellent lather going and you are set from there. Shave a pass, re-lather with what's in the brush, rinse and repeat.
Hmm, I didn't know you could do that. I could see getting used to that.

For a soap, face lather with a stick of ARKO. Cost should be under $5 and will last you about 150 or more shaves.
My main reason for avoiding a brush and cream/soap was the time (well, that and changing too many things at once, going from a cartridge to a DE was a big change by itself), but I have to admit I was also scared away by these little jars costing $18 or $20 on up, not knowing how many shaves each one is good for. So this is good to know too!

I could see going to a brush as I get more used to this. Feel like I need to settle on a favorite blade or 2 and go through what I have already first, but I could do this... 👍🏻
 
Hi and welcome. I was a cart user for a long time and would hardly change the cart because of the expense and probably because I’m a little lazy. There is the plastic waste issue. If you transition to soaps or creams there is also much less waste (no empty cans to bin) shaving with carts was a chore for me something I rushed through in the shower now I enjoy my shaves and hope you will too.
I'd only change the cartridge about once a month for the same reason. That's still $1.50/month, or $5/month if I'd gone with Harry's, vs. about $.50/month for DE blades. I never tried Harry's in the end, but the DE is 20 times better than my old cartridge!

I'd never honestly thought about the plastic waste until a couple of the ads brought it up, so good marketing on their part. (Not sure Henson was one of them though, so maybe not, lol.) I may come around to using a brush and soap or cream, but the can I'm using now is definitely my last one.
 
Welcome to B&B, born in Jax, moved away for about 30 years, returned in 05 and still here. Amazing how much Jacksonville has changed since the 70's.
Thanks! I've only been here 2 years myself, moved here from Kansas City just before the world turned upside down. I was in KC for 9 years, which is the longest I've lived anywhere.
 
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