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Hello from newbie in Phoenix

I've been lurking in B & B for a couple of days and thought it was time to join in the fun.

This is a great sight - thanks to everyone who makes it go.

I have a few newbie questions for you experienced shavmeisters. If a thread exists, please point me in the right direction.

  • Can you recommend a set up for a beginner? I can spend around $60 -$65

  • Since I’m just getting started, should I purchase a better razor or better brush, if I have to choose?

  • I see that Merker HDs are popular, so are Gillette adjustables (especially the Fat Boy) – is one better than the other to start with?

  • Shaving soap vs. shaving cream - is one better?

Thanks for the feedback
You have asked questions that constitute the touchstone of this strange confraternity of wetshaver relationships.
If you are asking about 60 to 65 for the tools and not the consumables, that will definitely yield a different set of solutions. While it is wise to limit an initial investment to determine if this wetshaving thing is really for you, don't join the perenially proposed race to the bottom. There is a price point where efficacy suffers, particuarly in brushes, and you are throwing money into the trash.
As to razors, while there are fanatical devotees of the antique Gillette double edged razor, there is probably an equal number who will chant that the Merkur Classic Heavy Duty is the only true double edge razor for beginners and lifers and that one brand or another is the only correct blade to use.
While I did not answer your questions, I hope the foregoing prepares you for the heaps and gobs of expert advice you will be receiving shortly. If, for some strange reason, you fail to receive the benefit of the purchasing options proposed by the minions frequenting B&B, I'll propose my owe unique solution to Wet Shaving Nirvana!:001_smile

Once again, WELCOME!

I too am relatively new at this, but I can echo the advice given about - get a decent brush. When I started a little while ago I had a very inexpensive and absolutely useless synthetic bristle brush and it was frustrating. Was the shave with a bad brush better than the shave using a can of gel? Well, yes it was but not by much. My frustration grew, but rather than throwing in the towel, so to speak, I picked up a half decent (though overpriced) brush. What can I say, I am an overly dedicated/stubborn person and I don't like to quit until I feel that I've exhausted all other options. The difference between my old synthetic brush and my decent (but low-end) badger brush is beyond any description. As for which brush will give you the most bang for your buck (or in this case the best lather for your buck, I guess), that I cannot say. I have no experience with any brushes other than those mentioned above... but if you check around the forum you will undoubtedly find many reviews and suggestions of places that are selling these brushes.

Should you buy a DE? Yes (I love mine, and I've only used it a few times)... but in my opinion the importance of a DE is not nearly as great as the importance of a decent brush. As to which DE one should start with... well, I've used only my HD, so I'm no expert. I selected the HD as my introduction to DEs since it is NOT adjustable; this way I can learn technique but not be tempted to play with variable settings (such is the nature of man it would appear - if it can be tampered with then it must be tampered with).

Should you use a soap or a cream? I think that's a personal preference issue... get both... A (small) tube of some variety of Truefitt & Hill (or other quality cream) and a bowl of Proraso soap (inexpensive, but wonderful) should provide a cost-effective introduction, I would think... and being able to try both will give you a better indication as to whether you are a soap-aphile or a cream-aphile. Proceed from there.

You should be warned that the world of classic wet shaving can become expensive (as I am learning) and it is very possible that you may actually learn to enjoy shaving and become somewhat addicted (really, I've had dreams about having a shave). This is a wild ride - hang on and enjoy the scenery.

I'm in agreement with Ron: there's a minimum amount to spend in order best to see the benefits of wet shaving. Here's my set of suggestions:

Merkur HD Classic: $29.99
Merkur Blades: $4.59
Vulfix #2234 brush: $59.99
Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream, any scent: $13.49, *or*
Proraso shaving cream: $9.99, possibly cheaper at your local Target

That means you're looking at just into three figures to get started, but bear in mind that the razor and brush will last for more than a decade, and the creams tend to last for months. This is my minimum suggested investment, but I'm sure we'll see several differing opinions in this thread that will cost a lot less.

Good advice so far. I would advise you to up your initial investment slightly. Going from ~$60 to ~$100 will get you significantly better equipment that will last a good long while. For a brush, talk to Charles at QED and pick up a Savile Row SR208. A wonderful brush at a great price (~$60). From there, a Merkur Progress or HD and a cream or two, and you are set for a long while.

Rich has listed a top notch kit. I would follow Scotto's further advice to call Charles at QED and consider substituting the brush for a Savile Row.

This setup is a little bit more $ than your initial budget allowed for, but these are some VERY quality choices. In the end, if you decide that wet shaving is not for you, you should be able to get quite a bit of your money back selling these items here in the Shaving Mall forum.

Best of luck.

There's not much to add here because you've already gotten great advice. I second, or third, the suggestion of calling Charles, picking up a Savile Row brush and a good soap or cream. If you spend $60.00 total, there's a good chance you won't be satisfied. If you push it to $100.00 like Scotto suggested, you end up with a set of tools that will last for years. The additional investment will pay big dividends long term.

As for the razor, like Ron said, you'll find those singing the praises of both Gillette and Merkurs. I have several varieties of both and it really comes down to personal preference.

Good luck and keep us informed!
Welcome the the B&B Michael.

Follow the wisdom of the sages above. Read past posts, do the research, then jump in and try what makes sense to you.

The good news is that no matter what you start out with (aside from a Fusion razor and a can of Gillette Foamy) you can probably unload anything you buy and don't like very easily with the membership here on the http://badgerandblade.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=11 link.
Thanks for the great advice/direction everyone. I appreciate the suggestions on the shaving tools and look forward to maybe someday dreaming about shaving rather than my current "ho-hum" ritual.

Sounds like I'll be happier scraping together a few more dollars and calling Charles @QED.

I'm headed for the couch to look for change under the cushions...

I'll keep ya posted. :smile:
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