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What would be in your "beginner shave kit"?

I've been shaving with a Mach 3 for about 30 years and made the move to DE shaving less than a month ago - so I thought it might be useful for someone to list what I have and I'm very happy with it all.

Razor: Muhle R89 - £35
Blades: Astra SP - £9 per 100
Brush: Rocky Mountain Best Badger with stand - £17
Soap: Taylors Sandalwood Having Cream - £10
After: Alum Block - £8

Total £79

Should keep me going for a long time while I learn.....
So I was having a think about what would be a good starter shave kit and I decided to see what others would think. What would you choose to put in your beginner set, maybe for someone just reaching shaving age, or for someone interested in trying wet shaving out for the first time

-Each part of the kit has to be affordable enough that someone new to wet shaving would consider buying it, so that means no fatboys and 100 packs of feather blades.
-Has to contain the following: Razor, 100 pack of blades (I know "but sample packs!" but I wanna see what you would give to a beginner, plus adds to the pricing element), a brush, a shaving soap/cream and an aftershave or aftershave equivalent.

With that said, here's my set:

Razor: Gillette 7 O'Clock Sterling. Recently picked it up and its my new go to cheap razor. Picked it up for £3.95, shipping included and it shaves great. Its fairly light but the head (based on the Gillette tech) performs really well with little irritation.

Blades: A controversial choice for some but Derby Extra. They're not my go to but they're smooth and cheap, a pretty appealing option for someone new. Available on Amazon here for under £5 usually, but every available derby product seems to have disappeared here so the cheapest was £6.59 off Ebay

Brush: The most expensive item on my list but in my opinion the one that's worth splurging on, since a good brush is miles ahead of a bad one. This Yaqi Sagrada is an exceptional little brush and is my second favourite. Can be picked up for £16.99 off ebay, or £12 off aliexpress.

Soap: Easy, Arko shave stick. Cheap, but produces a wonderful lather and lasts months. Would also accept Derby but its not as available here. £6.99 for a pack of 5 isn't bad, but amazon sometimes does single sticks for £1.50 and for the longest time this combo pack was £6.99 and an excellent option.

Aftershave: Nivea cool aftershave balm. For £3.29 its a nice soothing option that smells clean. Would maybe also add a witch hazel facial toner as well since they're fairly cheap

Total price (when items are in stock at their cheapest prices): £27.21 Price Now: £37.81

Would love to hear what you guys would do.

To answer your question, I would need to know something about the potential new shaver. For example: How old are they? What color is their beard? Do they have any skin sensitivity issues?

Shaving hardware should last for many years, so do not make the mistake of selecting things that are inexpensive at the expensive of quality.

For most new shavers, I would recommend a SuperSpeed clone such as the Weishi Nostalgic long handle butterfly open razor. While inexpensive, it is a well-made brass razor with good balance that should last many years. It is a mild razor suitable for new shavers, but depending upon the blade equipped, it can handle a wide variety of beards.

I cannot recommend the Derby Extra for any but those with very fine beards. The Weishi razor used to come with Derby blades, but now comes with a tuck of Weishi blades that I find to be mid-sharp. Some of the least expensive blades on Amazon in the States are the Gillette branded Wilkinson Sword blades. Here they are under $7 USD for 100 blades. They are sharp enough for most shavers. The 7 O'Clock Sterling razor comes with a 7 O'Clock Super Platinum black blade which I cannot recommend for new shavers as it becomes super sharp after the first shave or two and can draw blood for those who do not expect that level of sharpness.

As for a shaving brush, I would recommend starting with either a synthetic or boar brush. They are inexpensive and can provide years of good service. I still have a Barbershop Brand boar brush that I have had for nearly 40 years. The varnish has pealed from the handle, but the brush still whips up a nice lather. Boar brushes might stink when new and might be somewhat harsh until broken in. Synthetic brushes do not have any of those issues, so they might be a better option. Many people find a 24mm knot diameter to be the sweet spot. With synthetic brushes, the cost of the knots is similar. Differences in pricing depend largely upon the type of handle.

I hesitate to even talk about shaving soaps. That depends upon the skin sensitivity of the individual. I have shaved with Arko exactly one time. The shave left my face irritated, dry and tight; it was a most unpleasant experience. Thus, it is not a soap I can recommend. If you are looking for an inexpensive soap that produces lather easily, yet will not dry your face, I recommend Yardley of London Extra Moisturizing bath bar with cocoa butter. Although the lather will not be as long lasting as better shaving soaps, it performs better than Arko and many inexpensive shave soaps. It should be readily available and inexpensive in the UK. It is my recommendation for those on a tight budget.

A Merkur 34C. I wish I started with this and I would have saved a nice bit of pocket change.

Budget brush and soap/cream I would say the Razorock 24mm Plissoft and a Razorock soap or TOBS cream. All reasonably priced and good quality.
Based on easy to obtain, but good performance and short money…

Baili BD176
Astra SP
Omega boar brush
Pacific Shaving cream (or Proraso red or Body Shop creams)
Pacific Shaving balm

i can get everything locally except the razor. Pacific cream and Omega were in my starter kit when I started down this path 7 or 8 years ago.
This past Christmas I set my dad up with a shaving kit. I guess it would qualify as a starter kit. It included:
1948-50 Gillette aristocrat TTO
Simpson TT synthetic brush
Speick stick (vegan)
Pitralon AS
100 Personna comfort coated blades
5 Gillette Silver Blues
5 Gillette platinums (dark blue)
5 Gillette nacets
10 Personna Israeli reds
I am about to do this very thing with our youngest kid. He is 22.
I am giving him these things from my own gear:

RAZOR- Henson AL13 Medium version 1.
Great beginner razor. Great razor, period.
(Cheap runner up razor would just be a Gillette Guard and a 100 pack of carts.)

A tuck of RP blades that come with the Henson just to get used to a DE. Then a sample of each of nearly 2 dozen tucks that I started out with. After that be ready to buy him 100 of his favorite.
I STRONGLY DISAGREE with giving anyone new 100 of any blade. I found a few "everybody's favorites" that I positively do not like. (If I just had to, I would give Astra SP. Not my daily driver, but pretty cheap and sharp and smooth enough. I would not curse my worst enemy with 100 Derby Extras.)

BRUSH- PAA Doppler
Makes stupid easy lather.
If I did not already have it, I would just get him a Yaqi, cheaper AP Shave, Stirling, or Razorock. No matter what... synthetic.

SOAP- Stirling Unscented Bees Wax and/ or Soap Commander Integrity.
All my soaps are unscented. Otherwise I would get him the scent of his choice from Stirling or Soap Commander. He likes sweet almond oil in anything.

BOWL- His face.
The kit that I I bought last year when I started this wonderful journey of DE wet shaving is the following:

Razor: Yaqi closed comb with a heavy long handle
Soap: proraso green and la toja sensitive cream
Blades: Derby extra and Boc astor
Brush: Omega 10777
After shave balm: Lea 3 in 1 after shave balm

The total cost for this kit was 54 Euros.


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Schick injector
Schick blades
Omega Boar brush
Stirling soap
Speick splash

Easy transition from disposables. Blade choice limitation is a plus.

Another easy transition kit would start with the Leaf Twig and Personna lab blues.

Very close to what I would recommend! If I had discovered injectors as a beginner at the same time as DE I would have abandoned DE long before I did. Even where I am (the UK) vintage Schick injectors are very cheap online. And the Schick blades (yellow pack) or Personna injector blades are decent.

However, I would suggest Palmolive Classic Cream and a Yaqi synthetic brush. And to keep things budget friendly a cold water rinse instead of aftershave!
First shave for old man. Someone who has lived their life, got married and children, now in the best years of their life.
1. Razorock Chubby 506 badger. It is great gift, longevity and competitively priced knot with performance.
2. CELLA and it is to love the shave. Scent is mild after and enough to notice it during the shave.
3. Derby Extra. I think Derby are fine for daily use. No need to get something sharper for most.
4. Razor I would get a Tech I or II for versatility, a butterfly chrome for ease of use, Merkur 3-piece in gold because it has value and mild shave. A Parker Variant because I feel these also are available in Rose Gold and are exceptionally good adjustables
5. Razor you could use as the daily driver. Edwin Jagger, MUHLE R89
6. Aftershave would be something strong and cheap. Some long lasting. And some good for a few minutes. Something good for church. And something for a date or family dinner.
7. Shave bowl. At least 5" and horn.
8. A cream from a bowl or tube.

First shave for a teenager going to college: Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements is what I would give. It has a brush. A decent amount of soap for a young man who shaves probably 3 times a month. A good introduction to safety razors and a good (synthetic) brush.
Other choices.
Van Der Hagen soap brush and mug kit, Merkur for the mild shave

For a young lady: Stirling because there are women scent soaps and brush is affordable for legs
I like the Oil of Olay kit for women.

If it were me: (age 39)
MUHLE R89 shave kit pure for me, Plisson red shavette and Simpsons brush and R41 with extra head
I started with WSP T formula soap.
Well, I would start with a straight like a Dovo best Quality in 5/8 or even a 6/8 and match it with MWF because it really is a staple that never disappoints and is not terribly priced. Then I would get a bottle of Clubman Aftershave in musk scent and a cheap scuttle or stainless bowl. At the end of the day less than $150 invested and maybe cheaper if you find a sale.


Dirty Donuts are so Good.
I would disagree with that. A 100 is a lot for a lousy blade choice. I wonder how many new DE shavers have been turned off for good by the crappy sample blades some manufacturers include.

I would suggest 4 25 blade samples. That would improve choice and still keep cost and blade numbers in focus, as per your original point.

Great advice and post. When I first started long ago, I made the mistake of using the Merkur blade that came with the Merkur 33C classic razor I purchased. Being new; it might have still been a blood bath with my fledgling technique, but maybe not?

Then to make matters worse, I turned around and purchased a 100 count of Derby’s. Even with improved technique and years under my belt, Derby’s don’t like my face.

DE shaving did not start shining upon me, until I purchased a sample pack of various popular blades.
Razor: Gillette Tech. Preferably pre-war, since that's generally thought to be more mild. Either this, or a Super Speed Blue Tip. Total cost, let's say $35, high end.

Blades: Wilkinson Sword 100 pack. These are sharp enough to give a good shave, but not sharp enough to make you an involuntary blood donor. $10 (again, high end estimate).

Shaving brush: I love my Omega synthetic. They apparently make a nice badger hair, too. $10.

Shaving soap/bowl: let's kill two stones with one bird (heh), shall we? Proraso makes a nice protective soap bowl, very nice cushion for those rough first few shaves. $10.

Aftershave: Nivea After Shave Balm. This is very personal. Myself, I love bay rum; others don't. So, let's go with something unscented. Let's say $10.

Total cost (mind you, this is with high end price estimates): & 75. With 100 blades, perhaps a year's worth, this is plenty to get an idea of whether or not this is for you.

Gillette Tech or Superspeed razor
Astra or Nacet blades
Yaqi badger or synth brush
La Toja or Proraso soap or cream
Any Captains Choice aftershave splash

Personally, I love the Captain's Bay Rum. But I wanted to keep things as neutral as possible, which meant unscented.

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