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New to this, would like advice on starter gear!

Hello everyone!

I've decided I'd like to try a safety razor. Right now I'm using a Gillette Fusion Proglide, the problem is I'm getting ingrowns with it. I don't have particularly rough facial hair, but it's not soft either, if that makes any difference. I'm hoping a safety razor (and proper technique!) will fix that. Here's what I'm looking at getting right now...

Merkur HD 34C

Arko Shaving Soap
Escali Badger Shaving Brush

I have no idea what I'm doing, so I'm just basing this off the research I've done so far. Any suggestions or does this look like a good pick? I've tried to find a thread with an all inclusive "tutorial" on how to get started but I haven't found anything, but perhaps I'm just not looking hard enough!

Thanks guys!
Honestly, I would look into getting one of these:

If you're really serious about getting into it. It has everything you need. I wish I knew about these when I was starting..would have saved me $60.

Or if you're not sure you want to stick with it and don't want to throw out that kind of cheddar..check one of these kits for under $25:

The razor isn't as fancy..but it'll let you find out if you want to keep with it or not..and save you a nice chunk of $$ if you discover you don't.
Good for you for trying it.

I'd recommend an Edwin Jagger razor over a Merkur. I think the EJ quality is much higher.
Arko is great to start with, because you can use it as a stick and apply it to your face, or mash it up and lather it in a mug. It's cheap too.

The starter kits BallisticBurrito recommends are good, for sure. Some of them include the Edwin Jagger DE89, which is a great razor. Alternately, you could buy an old Gillette Tech for $10 or so. Techs are great, solid razors, and especially suited for those starting out (and I still use one).

You'll get a lot of different advice on brushes, but I would recommend a nice affordable boar like the Omega 10049, which you can get for just over $10. Good enough for Italian barbers!
I was in your position a very short while ago...I went with the Merkur HD 34C, it's a very mild razor that you really shouldn't any "damage" to yourself.
Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn't have gone new, I would have gotten a second hand 34c or DE89 from the BSS area, there's some great deals going on there as people "grow" out of one kit and into another.
I am fairly new to safety razors and got an Edwin Jagger DE89. That is one sweet razor and looks amazing. Best $35 I have spent on shaving equipment thus far. Good luck and have fun.


The Lather Maestro
X 1,000 on the EJ DE89. Get that kit from Italian Barber. Get an Arko stick with it if you like, but that kit is perfect.
+1 on the Edwin Jagger DE89. The Italian Barber starter kits that BallisticBurrito recommends in his post are a good deal and as someone else already said I wish I knew about them when I was starting out. I would not look into getting a vintage razor that is used until you know more about them. The EJ DE89..... for $35 you know that you are getting a very good quality razor that is in brand new condition and has a very common razor head (it shares the exact same head with a Muhle R89 as well as many other EJ razors with different handles). You will be able to sell it easily later if you decide you would rather have something else. You might be able to find a good used razor for a little cheaper but right now you are not looking for the best deal..... you're looking for an inexpensive way to get into the game and get started. The EJ DE89 will allow you to do that at a relatively low cost and it will take many of the variables out of learning. When people refer to using the proper blade angle and how to hold a razor, whether it's in a youtube video or in a post here in B&B, chances are they are using an EJ DE89 or something very similar. Get the basics down and go from there. The wonderful thing about traditional wetshaving is all of the options and different ways of doing things.... and you'll have plenty of time for that..... it's a journey that you take a few steps through everyday.

Good luck and welcome.

You can't go wrong with the EJ, based on what others have said. Make sure to hit up your local flea markets/antique stores for vintage razors. There's something cool about shaving your face with something that's been around nearly half a century. I use a vintage Gillette Super Speed flare tip from 1957. I found it at an antique mall for $12. It's a twist-to-open, so blade loading is a no-brainer, and its a mild shaver.

But, get the EJ if you have the funds, so you can get started right away. Then you can look for a Super Speed, a Tech, a Slim, a Fatboy, etc., etc. See, you just can't stop at one!
I've only been at this about 2 months, so I'm not an expert, but I started with an EJ razor, and despite my membership here, it's still the only one I own. Very smooth shaver, and has been easy to learn with.
For bang for your buck, you can't beat the BST forum. Great stuff at great prices. There is usually a starter kit on there. (Like maybe now).
I've tried to find a thread with an all inclusive "tutorial" on how to get started but I haven't found anything, but perhaps I'm just not looking hard enough!
You're not missing anything. There's no one-size-fits-all starter shopping list and it's impossible to make perfect recommendations for any newbie. You'll end up tweaking what you're using over time and with experience. If you should get anything from reading up, it's: YMMV. Don't be afraid to try out stuff to see how it works for you. You can always use the BST subforum to resell anything that doesn't work for you. As metioned above, you can also use BST to find deals from other people on B&B.

I'd recommend an Edwin Jagger razor over a Merkur. I think the EJ quality is much higher.
The 34C is certainly a good starting point but I'd agree on the EJ DE 89. However, I'm biased as that's my current DE.
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Welcome aboard! I would echo those above who are suggesting you take a look at the BST - and pick up a vintage Gillette Tech or Superspeed, both legendary shavers that will perform forever. Have fun!
Wow! I didn't expect this many responses. Thanks so much for everyones advice! Are there any alternates to italian barber? On their website it says they won't be shipping any orders until August 10th. I simply can't wait that long, I'm trying to get something together in the next couple of days so I can shave. If I can, I'm trying to hold off on shaving until I can get a kit together. I hate these ingrowns I'm getting and I especially hate electric shavers.
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