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What would you tell your past newbie self about wet shaving?

Don't chase the perfect razor, soap or cream. If one works for you keep using it. Find a blade that works (buy a sample pack to start with) and stick with it. I don't regret my journey down the rabbit hole, but saving money "Wet Shaving" only works if you have self control. Saying you are just browsing the BST or the large auction sites will almost always results in a purchase than you really don't need. However, if you throw caution to the wind this can be a fun hobby and as others here will attest "You are a member of the Club" (BOSC - Brotherhood of the Shaving Crazies).
 
1. Don't ever, never, never ever step into an Art of Shaving store--don't ask why, I've got about 180.89 reasons not to.
2. You'll find more good vintage badger brushes that have lasted, and will last longer than say one over priced AoS Badger Brush
3. That cheap VDH boar brush will break in and last longer than say one over priced AoS Badger Brush
4. They may not be as pretty or photogenic as say an over priced AoS Badger Brush, but you'll grow to love smaller sized vintage badger and especially boar knots
5. If it's bakelite or lucite and in good shape, just buy it and save the gas driving back to get it (hopefully)
6. Gillette Super Adjustables & high school girlfriends -- sexy as hell in their prime, but don't age well, just say no & stay away
7. Don't wait so long to try vintage SE and Lather Catchers, they are well worth the shave
8. Your new found hobby will last longer than say any of the Art of Shaving brick and mortar stores selling inferior over priced Badger Brushes and shave stands built for cartridge razors in any of the local malls
9. When coworkers look at you oddly when told that you shaved with a razor over a hundred years old (especially a straight) that morning, they're at a loss for words because they realize they're basking in the presence of a bad ***; plain, simple, truth.
 
You have a choice…..

a: buy that snmirn, stick to wizamet, get a Yaqi synthetic and a stick of arko. Trust me great shaves and dirt cheap…. Oh and do not visit any shaving forum it will make you poor.

b: go to b&b, meet nice people, dive in the rabbit hole, enjoy the trip and the people the experience will make you richer
 
Some thoughts in no particular order...
  • The cheap modern Gillette Tech with the plastic handle is the only DE razor you'll really need. Save the time and money you'll spend trying other razors.
  • Skip Feathers and just go with Gillette Blues, Nacets, or GSBs. You'll save money and still get excellent blades.
  • Skip the soaps and just go with C.O. Bigelow/Proraso cream. Buy two tubes, and as soon as you finish a tube, buy another.
  • Forget the shaving bowl and face lather from the beginning.
  • Get a good synthetic brush.
Note that I'm not saying these choices are right for everyone, just what I wish I'd done for myself.
 
Starting back in the 1990's buy a bunch of Gillette Sensor/Excel handles and stock up big time on the cartridges. Buy a few Omega boar brushes and stick with the reputable soaps and creams like DR Harris and Palmolive until the good synthetic brushes come along. Forget about DE's and all the other types of razors and save yourself a lot of money, time and effort. They will never give you as good or as easy a shave as the Sensor. It is the one for you.

Spend a lot of time learning how to lather. When it seems like your lathers are okay there is still a long way to go. Neither too little water nor too much water. Keep at it until the lather is slick and shiny. Face lathering is easier than bowl lathering as far as seeing how the lather is coming along. It doesn't need to take a lot of time either, it's more about getting the proportion of soap to water right and mixing them together properly.
 
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If you could send a message about what you've learned about wet shaving, to yourself, as you first picked up the practice, what would you say?

Here's mine:

Shave soaps last a lot longer than you imagine. Also, the best scent components do not have an unlimited shelf life. Don't go too nuts buying shave soap.

You will have multiple rounds of thinking you suck at honing a razor, then thinking you are good at it, then realizing that you still suck, just in different ways.

Skin stretching seems silly and stupid, but get over that fast. You need it.
Bowl latherer right away. And despite what you hear you will spend much more money on DE shaving lol lots more
 
Hey, newbie 16 year old self:

1) Don't buy a Techmatic - those things are terrible. And don't toss that Schick injector. Keep it (and a big stash of blades) as backup. But you are right to go with Williams Mug. It will always be available.

2) Get a nice short mug, not some old coffee mug.

3) Don't leave your brush in the mug, strictly for aesthetic reasons.

4) If the internet comes along in about a quarter century, and then shave forums are going strong another quarter century after that, DON'T JOIN! Keep your money in your pocket! An Old Type and a Merkur 36 slant are enough razors for anybody. Besides, you've still got that Schick injector for backup, right?

5) And if you don't listen to me about shaving forums, at least don't post to threads that went quiet two months back.
 

FarmerTan

FarmerStan the Man
Starting back in the 1990's buy a bunch of Gillette Sensor/Excel handles and stock up big time on the cartridges. Buy a few Omega boar brushes and stick with the reputable soaps and creams like DR Harris and Palmolive until the good synthetic brushes come along. Forget about DE's and all the other types of razors and save yourself a lot of money, time and effort. They will never give you as good or as easy a shave as the Sensor. It is the one for you.

Spend a lot of time learning how to lather. When it seems like your lathers are okay there is still a long way to go. Neither too little water nor too much water. Keep at it until the lather is slick and shiny. Face lathering is easier than bowl lathering as far as seeing how the lather is coming along. It doesn't need to take a lot of time either, it's more about getting the proportion of soap to water right and mixing them together properly.
Yep, the Gillette Sensor was the last "innovation" that NEEDED to be done. If they hadn't kept going up higher than inflation you poor folks NEVER WOULD HAVE MET ME! Let that sink in fer just a sec and let the tears flow.
 
Shavettes and traditional straights are not the same thing.

You'll go through a phase where you think you need/want brushes with extreme backbone...you don't. Ditto for density.

7 o'clock green (Super Stainless) are it. Don't waste time trying to find a smoother blade. You won't.

Buy BitCoin
 

JCarr

More Deep Thoughts than Jack Handy
Don't mess around early on...spend the money on the high end razors up front. Also...blade samplers, blade samplers, blade samplers!
 

FarmerTan

FarmerStan the Man
Don't mess around early on...spend the money on the high end razors up front. Also...blade samplers, blade samplers, blade samplers!
I feel I have to Korreck you on a few points: buy Gillette Silver Blue blades and some old Gillette New Long Comb razors. And of course, Arko. And Williams. And Palmolive Stick. And all the vintage Avon aftershave lotion you can find.
 

JCarr

More Deep Thoughts than Jack Handy
I feel I have to Korreck you on a few points: buy Gillette Silver Blue blades and some old Gillette New Long Comb razors. And of course, Arko. And Williams. And Palmolive Stick. And all the vintage Avon aftershave lotion you can find.

Gillette Silver Blue blades I tried too late, but I have them in quantity now. They are good. Have a few others that I like also.
 
Don't mess around early on...spend the money on the high end razors up front. Also...blade samplers, blade samplers, blade samplers!
I know this point has been made before elsewhere, but there are good reasons for doing exactly this. One, you have a new, precise instrument so any shaving issue is your technique. Two, if your first high end razor works out you may very well be content for many years and can work on said technique. Lastly, a high end razor can be sold or traded with little lost.

For me, the upside of getting the razor out of the way first is being able to try blades and especially soaps. And vintage razors. I failed at this, but not for lack of trying. My second razor ended up teaching me what I needed to learn.
 
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