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Greetings and salamanders!

I am a 40-something father of 4, interested in converting over to a DE safety razor and dumping the cartridge. Price of entry to this seems high, but costs of complementary products seem low compared to the silly multiblade cartridges, and have come to enjoy “the old ways” of doing things. In many cases, the new things are merely different, not better.

What I didn’t expect was the mind boggling variety of products and the accompanying indecision paralysis! I have other interests with their attendant rabbitholes and should have expected this.

I’m hoping to learn enough here to get started, and I don’t know if this will be purely utilitarian for me (which I expected) or if it will grow into something more. With 2 sets of twins ages 6 and 10, you can reasonably assume my disposable cash and time are largely spoken for. As such, I will not be looking at the top or maybe even medium tiers. At the same time I don’t want to buy something cheap and regret it, having to replace it with a more expensive tool. Buy enough tool the first time.

I like the idea of vintage things. They are often better made than new and there is a reason they are still around. But there is much to learn before pursuing vintage pieces. I also like solid machined things, be they aluminum, stainless steel, and of course Ti but that’s largely too expensive. I haven’t yet seen any razors made of damasteel, though they surely must exist. I’m not really interested in brass, or chromed brass. I tend to like machine marks on well machined things, and despise the rounding of corners and edges and loss of precision that comes with aggressive polishing. Many a vintage watch or firearm has been ruined by amateur polishing.

Two of the 3 razors that have been recommended to me by the person who referred me to this forum are the Game Changer .68p and the Hensen AL13. I am intrigued by both, they check the manufacturing boxes. They both are described as mild or even “brainless”. I do have a soft spot for aerospace grade machined and anodized aluminum. The Hensen seems like a really fantastic entry razor for a newbie like me, as even experienced users are pleased with their results. The GC is well received too. Unless further reading suggests a better first razor, I will likely try one of these first. But what plates?!? :facep: The Hensen has fewer choices…

But the journey doesn’t end there, it is merely begun! I must also choose a brush and some soap and/or cream. Maybe an after shave as well, the last one of those I used was Old Spice years and years ago.

Brush choices are wildly varied, and I don’t even know how to talk about them, nor do I know what I will come to like in a brush. Natural and synthetic bristles, length, bundle diameter, knotting? I’m going to have to do some deep reading on brushes, and would dearly appreciate some advice. I can imagine having to buy and try several to get the right feel.

So down the rabbit hole I go, where it leads no one knows…
 
Welcome aboard!

I suggest you read through the WiKi which has a ton of useful information and watch a few videos.

A few suggestions:

Razor: In addition to the ones you are looking at you might also consider the FaTip options which may meet your manufacturing requirements at a reasonable price.

Brush: Pick an appealing boar or synthetic which are more reasonably priced than quality badger options.

Soap: You could start with a soap stick, perhaps La Toja or Speick, which are easier to lather than many of the hard soaps.

AS: Definitely optional.

The main thing is to get started and have fun!!
 
Welcome! I entered the rabbit hole about 4 months ago with the purchase of a Henson mild after 30 years using cartridges myself. Feel free to ask questions, I can give you a fellow noob's perspective on the Henson, and there are lots of helpful people here who are far more knowledgeable than me as well.
 
Look at the Wet Shaving Club "Winning" razor. I think it will tick all your boxes quite well. Try it with a good sharp blade. The Yaqi Sagrada Familia brush can be bought for a very little coin on Amazon and is a great value and very comfortable and good lathering brush. Proraso shave soap is very good and cost effective and Cella (which I haven't tried yet) is also very affordable and comes highly recommended. This is a very affordable entry, though you can certainly go cheaper on the razor and still get a good experience if you aren't sure how much you want to commit. The real cost issue you need to watch is suffering an acquisition disorder where you just have to try everything and, as a result, start buying everything to try and have way more than you need. Though, that is also part of the fun.
 
Welcome!

Vintage Gillette razors are almost universally excellent and not expensive. A 1930’s - 60’s Tech, SuperSpeed or Slim adjustable can be had for $20-50. I have found them for $5-10 at antique stores and flea markets. The Game Changer is also an excellent choice as is the Rockwell 6C/6S. The Rockwell includes 6 levels of aggressiveness (3 plates) which should cover just about every shaver.

You can't go wrong with Stirling soaps as they are fairly inexpensive and have dozens of scents to choose from. Tabac, Arko and Speick sticks are excellent and super inexpensive as well. Pre de Provence Bergamot and Thyme or No. 63 are both excellent hard soaps (they last for ages) and are $10-15 on Amazon and other retailers.

Good luck and have fun!
 

FarmerTan

"Self appointed king of Arkoland"
The Gillette route mentioned by @SharpieB is the route I first chose, and I have stayed on it for the most part.

Gillette pretty much perfected the DE razor a century ago. In my not so humble opinion, there have been no "improvements" on those old razors, merely "variations on a theme."

And welcome to B and B my friend!

P.S.: save your money for the two sets of twins. Life is ALWAYS about priorities!
 
Greetings and salamanders!

I am a 40-something father of 4, interested in converting over to a DE safety razor and dumping the cartridge. Price of entry to this seems high, but costs of complementary products seem low compared to the silly multiblade cartridges, and have come to enjoy “the old ways” of doing things. In many cases, the new things are merely different, not better.

What I didn’t expect was the mind boggling variety of products and the accompanying indecision paralysis! I have other interests with their attendant rabbitholes and should have expected this.

I’m hoping to learn enough here to get started, and I don’t know if this will be purely utilitarian for me (which I expected) or if it will grow into something more. With 2 sets of twins ages 6 and 10, you can reasonably assume my disposable cash and time are largely spoken for. As such, I will not be looking at the top or maybe even medium tiers. At the same time I don’t want to buy something cheap and regret it, having to replace it with a more expensive tool. Buy enough tool the first time.

I like the idea of vintage things. They are often better made than new and there is a reason they are still around. But there is much to learn before pursuing vintage pieces. I also like solid machined things, be they aluminum, stainless steel, and of course Ti but that’s largely too expensive. I haven’t yet seen any razors made of damasteel, though they surely must exist. I’m not really interested in brass, or chromed brass. I tend to like machine marks on well machined things, and despise the rounding of corners and edges and loss of precision that comes with aggressive polishing. Many a vintage watch or firearm has been ruined by amateur polishing.

Two of the 3 razors that have been recommended to me by the person who referred me to this forum are the Game Changer .68p and the Hensen AL13. I am intrigued by both, they check the manufacturing boxes. They both are described as mild or even “brainless”. I do have a soft spot for aerospace grade machined and anodized aluminum. The Hensen seems like a really fantastic entry razor for a newbie like me, as even experienced users are pleased with their results. The GC is well received too. Unless further reading suggests a better first razor, I will likely try one of these first. But what plates?!? :facep: The Hensen has fewer choices…

But the journey doesn’t end there, it is merely begun! I must also choose a brush and some soap and/or cream. Maybe an after shave as well, the last one of those I used was Old Spice years and years ago.

Brush choices are wildly varied, and I don’t even know how to talk about them, nor do I know what I will come to like in a brush. Natural and synthetic bristles, length, bundle diameter, knotting? I’m going to have to do some deep reading on brushes, and would dearly appreciate some advice. I can imagine having to buy and try several to get the right feel.

So down the rabbit hole I go, where it leads no one knows…
Welcome aboard. Your friend recommended excellent razors. I have not used a Henson. I have owned and used GC’s. The 68p has the most options. You can get and try different heads such as the open combs etc. They are easily traded and sold on BST. Good luck on your exploration of the rabbit hole.
 
Based on you wanting something well made, I'm going to suggest considering a Rockwell 6S. It is a hunk of solid stainless steel and has interchangeable base plates to adjust the level of efficiency. I'm not going to use the word aggressive because I find that even on the most efficient setting, it is not aggressive. It provides a lot of utility by way of being adjustable, making it a razor that will grow with you so to speak.
 
Welcome. i can relate to the lack of disposable funds with four children. There are many options that are relatively cheap and still very effective. Check out the Buy, Sell, Trade section to see what folks are selling. There are currently older Gillettes for less than $20, and at least one for ten, plus a few dollars shipping. For new, you can look at places like West Coast Shaving, Fatip,Stirling, etc and find razors under $20, some even after shipping. These will be made with zamac, but not a bad way to start and should last for at least a few years. If you want to start off with stainless steel or aluminum, I think the lowest end is around $50, the Rockwell S6 is one of the more affordable SS adjustables at $99, and the price goes up from there. Read through the forums to see what people think of various models. You can definitely get something in your budget that will save you money if you don't go down the rabbit holes.
 
Welcome to B&B. You are quite fortunate on many points.
- A friend that got you started on B&B and has made some good reccos in terms of hardware
- A vast knowledge of folks you will find here at B&B
- Being the father of two sets of twins.
Enjoy the journey. Moreso, enjoy life!
Happy shaves my friend!
 
Welcome! Many fine suggestions above, but I am going to recommend not screwing around with cheaper brushes. I started with a synthetic and the problem with them is you can literally shake all the water out of it. I could never get a consistent hydration level and consequently never get my lather the same every time. Gentle Shave sells nice Zenith badger brushes for a very reasonable cost. I bought my boar there, but plan to get a badger too. Whatever you do, 40-50 is a good spot to start in case you ruin it. Eventually, a nice two band badger is even better. If you keep an eye on this forum, people post when they find deals. I got a Simpsons Best badger brush that still retails over 100 for 50 and it is real. Many others did the same.
 
Welcome aboard!

Lots of good advice above. The great thing about wet shaving and this forum is that you can make it what you want with funds available. Some are utilitarian, some are collectors, and some are hobbyists.

I would recommend starting with a synthetic brush and Stirling soap. Stirling soaps are 5.8 oz (other soaps are typically 4 oz) and last awhile.

One other razor suggestion is the brass Karve Christopher Bradley. Only mentioning because it's well priced for modern, is brass and will last a lifetime, and you can buy a wide range of baseplates to adjust efficiency.

Enjoy the journey!
 
Welcome to one of the best shave forums in cyberspace!

My recommendation, with my own bias like everyone else, is to start with an adjustable razor. You can dial it down to very mild in the beginning (like training wheels) and then experiment with ramping up as your technique improves. Additionally, you can do like some of us prefer and that is change the settings for each pass during the shave. Very versatile. I started with the Merkur Progress and it is still one of my favorite two razors. Shaving legend Mantic59 covets the Merkur Progress, calling it his pry it from his cold dead hands razor. Other options are the Parker Variant and vintage Gillettes such as the Fatboy (which never resonated with me).

My favorite brush, the Omega 10049, is all of $10 but if I was starting from scratch I'd get a synthetic. The Aerolite Amber for $20 is supposed to be great and there are some Razorocks in the $10-20 range that are really nice.

Continue to evaluate and critique your skill set as you go along and you will have a lot of fun and success!
 
I'm glad you made it over here!

I have no personal knowledge of razors that I didn't mention to you. Fatip, for example, I know nothing about. Parker is supposed to be good and you can get a stainless version of that razor. I think they are made in India. You will be amazed at how long the soap lasts. Far, far longer than cans. You do not have to spend PM2 kind of money to get into this. I didn't. I started with an Edwin Jagger DE89. Awesome! I liked it so much I upgraded to the Hensons and the Game Changer. I still really like it though.

Don't waste money on alcohol based aftershaves that are very expensive. I use Barrister and Mann balms. they are cheap, smell great, and they last a long time after putting them on. The best thing is, just the amount you put on the tip of your finger and a damp palm is all it takes. These last a long time, too.

This is as fun as collecting Spydercos.
 
Welcome to B & B, looks like your choice of razors are good, Personally I have been down a few rabbit holes myself with shaving hardware. I would just start out with a 24mm synthetic brush and work on your razor technique for a while and go from there. No use in blowing a wad of money while learning traditional wet shaving at first.
If you want to save money shaving you have to stay disciplined for some time and just enjoy the brush and razor and you will be one happy camper. Milder razors are good for sensitive skin, adjustable razors can be good for finding a sweet spot also while learning and a person does not have to adjust after each pass as seen on a lot of you tube videos.
Have some great shaves!
 
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