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Is This the Golden Age of Wet Shaving?

I would posit that it is.

Yes, we descended into the dark ages of multi-blade cartridges (not to mention electrics, so I won't) for a few decades, but we eventually emerged, and look where we find ourselves today. I see it as a renaissance for wet shaving.

On the safety razor front, I would argue that today there are more and better razors available than ever before. Literally, dozens, if not hundreds, of different choices, and most of them are at least pretty darn good; many are truly superb. At the high end, historically there has never been anything in the market to even approach the craftsmanship and quality of today's artisan CNC razors. Heck, we even have folks producing excellent new injector and Gem-style razors with a precision that in some cases surpasses the originals.

As for software, the global economy and the internet has made a practically limitless array of the highest quality soaps, creams, and after shaves accessible to us all. You want a fine European soap or AS? It's only a click away. High quality artisan soaps and balms from local, small-batch producers? At your fingertips.

In brushes, more of the same: Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have come across a few vintage brushes in pristine condition. They are very cool, and I enjoy nostalgia of using them, but you know what? For performance, those old knots don't hold a candle to what the market is delivering today.

I love the great and fascinating history of wet shaving. But when I find myself pining for the "good old days" I try to take stock and realize that, really, we've never had it so good. This is the Golden Age of wet shaving.
 
Very well said I've been thinking the same thing. Another aspect I find remarkable is how knowledge that was passed down from father to son almost disappeared in the "dark age of cartridges" but only to resurface on the internet. Making tips that only were talked about face to face in a barbershop easily accessible one click away.
 
Yes. So many choices of both high values and budget prices. Now that budget shaving products are widely available, I feel that the barrier to entry is lowering. People don't have to go to AOS stores and spend a fortune; just get a starter kit from Maggards and a Yaqi synthetic for what you'd spend in cartridges in couple months. It's a great time to be alive and shaving! :)
 
It's a shame that many do not know about it and still choose cartridges. Or to rock a beard. I myself still use a cartridge to shave my head but for my face nothing comes close to a DE. I won't use a cartridge on my face again. For almost 4 years I have enjoyed very good shaves or even dream shaves.
Wish more knew about this hobby.
 
For those who are into this big time, big enough to search for forums, yes this is a golden age of wetshaving. For folks who are just starting or already shaving with carts we are not. There is no advertising and REALLY limited shelf space. Out of sight out of mind
 
Great write up. It certainly is a wonderful time to be getting into wet shaving. I would note that while the internet has been a major catalyst for sharing knowledge and making people aware of the existence of many great products, it has also come at a price to traditional retail.

The lack of availability of high end products in retail outlets has meant that most of us are forced to buy blind on the internet. Quite often these are fairly expensive products that we are buying from nothing more than pictures and word of mouth.

It is disappointing that in a capital city (Melbourne) there is only one shop I know of that stocks any of this shaving gear. That shop, Menz Biz on the Royal Arcade, is only 15 sqm and while they have a pretty good selection there is of course a lot that they don’t have in stock.

There is a lot to be said for smelling a soap, holding a razor and feeling a brush before you buy it. Unfortunately these days seem to be coming to an end. I would like to see these products become mainstream again so that we do start to see them in regular shops. Of course that may take away some of the appeal and could drive the price of Badger hair even higher. Be careful what you wish for I suppose!
 
I agree it is a great time to for enthusiasts. It seems like over the last decade, the amount of products available have grown exponentially. Candidly, I wonder how much that has to do with and increase in demand and furthermore I wonder how much of that has be driven by art of shaving stores. I’m 30 and a decade ago when art of shaving opened in the local mall, I didn’t even know what people used before carts. I know that’s silly, but it’s all I had seen in my generation. I also would rely on videos from the likes of nick shaves to explore technique and products. Several other youtubers have come to my attention over the last decade as well which have further educated me on new offerings. There is one aspect from yesteryear that really helped me get into the hobby. B&B used to have much more product specific dialogue prior to the consolidation of these threads. These really helped me when trying to find the best products to experiment with in a college students budget. I feel the consolidation of those threads and the lack of an alternative does a slight bit of harm, but what do I know I’m just a doctor.
 
It is disappointing that in a capital city (Melbourne) there is only one shop I know of that stocks any of this shaving gear. That shop, Menz Biz on the Royal Arcade, is only 15 sqm and while they have a pretty good selection there is of course a lot that they don’t have in stock.
The one in the Strand in Sydney has a tiny glass cabinet, with a few TOBS products in it from memory. Looks like a great place to get a hair cut though.

Don't forget the Shaver Shop. They have a reasonable selection for a mainstream store, but nowhere near the variety that an enthusiast would demand.
 
My successful transition into DE wet shaving is largely due to all the great advice and resources I have obtained from Badger & Blade's forums and members. I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO CARTRIDGES OR ELECTRIC.
 
My successful transition into DE wet shaving is largely due to all the great advice and resources I have obtained from Badger & Blade's forums and members. I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO CARTRIDGES OR ELECTRIC.
That's a really good point - we're not just spoiled for choice when it comes to products, we also have access to a wealth of advice on platforms like this, Youtube, blogs etc.
 
I have to agree with this. By the time I started shaving in the early to mid-90s, it was a Mach 3. My dad didn't really need to teach me to shave because the cart was just going to take care of it. I didn't really have any mishaps with the Mach 3. There was no need for guidance at that point.

I'm lucky to have a forum like this to help me learn to shave again. DE shaving was intimidating to me and with the advice on this forum, it is almost as easy a cartridge shaving, only with a better shave.

Very well said I've been thinking the same thing. Another aspect I find remarkable is how the knowledge that was passed down from father to son almost disappeared in the "dark age of cartridges" but only to resurface on the internet. Making tips that only were talked about face to face in a barbershop easily accessible one click away.
 
I would posit that it is.

Yes, we descended into the dark ages of multi-blade cartridges (not to mention electrics, so I won't) for a few decades, but we eventually emerged, and look where we find ourselves today. I see it as a renaissance for wet shaving.

On the safety razor front, I would argue that today there are more and better razors available than ever before. Literally, dozens, if not hundreds, of different choices, and most of them are at least pretty darn good; many are truly superb. At the high end, historically there has never been anything in the market to even approach the craftsmanship and quality of today's artisan CNC razors. Heck, we even have folks producing excellent new injector and Gem-style razors with a precision that in some cases surpasses the originals.

As for software, the global economy and the internet has made a practically limitless array of the highest quality soaps, creams, and after shaves accessible to us all. You want a fine European soap or AS? It's only a click away. High quality artisan soaps and balms from local, small-batch producers? At your fingertips.

In brushes, more of the same: Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have come across a few vintage brushes in pristine condition. They are very cool, and I enjoy nostalgia of using them, but you know what? For performance, those old knots don't hold a candle to what the market is delivering today.

I love the great and fascinating history of wet shaving. But when I find myself pining for the "good old days" I try to take stock and realize that, really, we've never had it so good. This is the Golden Age of wet shaving.
Wet shaving never ended. Shaving with a cartridge is still wet shaving. If you really want the “good ole days”‘experience, learn to use a straight razor. More comfortable, closer shave without the nicks.
 

THall

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I have many more available options for DE than my father had in the 50s, 60s and 70s. More access to a large compliment of razors, soaps, creams, pre and post shave supplies, aftershave and scents.

Difference now is DE is taking little to no shelf space whatsoever. It is important to remember though that brick and mortar stores are losing all of their shelf space regardless to online sales. The big razor companies took a hit when they failed to adjust to online sales also. Online, DE is a force.

From 1990 until 2017 about, DE was non existent for the most part in the US brick and mortar stores outside of pharmacies. Only in the last couple of years, have I seen DE outside of pharmacies. That tells me that we got someone’s attention. Renaissance possibly. Gillette releasing a DE razor in the US for the first time since 1988, that was interesting.
 
Does choice equate to a Golden Age? A quick google tells me that a Golden Age ‘is a period in a field of endeavor when great tasks were accomplished.’ Right now, although there is a heap of choice, we’re tinkering around the edges; the innovations were made long ago.
I didn't mean to say that all our current choices are what make this a "golden age", but I guess I kind of did. I meant that this bounty in the market is an indicator of the interest in and increasing recognition of the advantages of traditional methods of shaving. I agree, this doesn't necessarily equate to innovation. I was thinking more of this description of "golden age": the period when a specified art, skill, or activity is at its peak.
 
Wet shaving never ended.
Agreed; I didn't mean to say that it did. Wet shaving did go down a different (and unfortunate, IMO) path when carts took over as pretty much the only game in town. After that long detour, the current robust resurgence back to "traditional" methods of shaving (meaning, in general, a single blade) certainly represents a significant change.
 
Agreed; I didn't mean to say that it did. Wet shaving did go down a different (and unfortunate, IMO) path when carts took over as pretty much the only game in town. After that long detour, the current robust resurgence back to "traditional" methods of shaving (meaning, in general, a single blade) certainly represents a significant change.
I do agree that carts really suck and are a total rip off.
 
Wet shaving never ended. Shaving with a cartridge is still wet shaving. If you really want the “good ole days”‘experience, learn to use a straight razor. More comfortable, closer shave without the nicks.
Not my case. I have 2 and I treasure them dearly, but I always reach for the wolfie. And it’s all about comfort. And the nicks. SRs are class, but not for everyone.


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