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I use a norelco aquatec on my head for ease of use and a 4 blade disposable on my face with bar soap. I have a long goatee so I just shave cheeks and neck takes less that 3 minutes five on the head usually while sitting in traffic. JTM We the People of the United States, in order to form a more Perfect Union......

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I use either a 1957 or a 1960 Gillette Fatboy with quality blades. I shave my face about every day and my head about once a week.

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Merkur double-edge razor and a mug and brush.

100-packs of Personna blades are dirt cheap on Amazon and they're US made.
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The outrageous cost of the modern multi-blades is what drove me to try the safety razors.  I'll grant that the Fusion offers a nice shave, but dang!

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The outrageous cost of the modern multi-blades is what drove me to try the safety razors.  I'll grant that the Fusion offers a nice shave, but dang!

 

Gillette et al gave up on double edged shaving when the patents ran out, unwilling to compete just in the non-proprietary razor blade market, though they still do in Russia. Indeed some of the better double edged blades in the world are made in the Gillette St. Petersburg factory in Russia.

 

In the US, they just depend on the latest and greatest new patented design with propriety expensive blades. Shark must swim or die.

 

- OS

Edited by Oh Shoot

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Went back to double edged about 9 months ago.
 
Settled in with Edwin Jagger, tried various bulk sample packs, bought bulk packs of my four favs: Crystal (Israeli), Astra (Russian), Wilkinson (German) and Personna Blue (US).
 
While the Feather is no doubt a great blade, I find it almost a bit too sharp (but not necessary as smooth as some others) will go right through any kind of skin aberration rather than glide over it, so takes a bit more care. Also double or more the price my favs above.
 
No super fav as to soap, been using Proraso for a while now, but have stash of Williams, Conk, and Arko which are plenty fine also. Finish with witch hazel.
 
- OS

Proraso is the best.
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It is funny this thread was created as I was thinking about getting a safety razor the other day and giving it a try. I currently use a Mach III and each blade lasts me about a month. Anyone recommend a site to get everything you need to start as well as what to buy?

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It is funny this thread was created as I was thinking about getting a safety razor the other day and giving it a try. I currently use a Mach III and each blade lasts me about a month. Anyone recommend a site to get everything you need to start as well as what to buy?

 

Amazon, mostly.

 

- Edwin Jagger is a fine middle of the road choice, aggressive-wise. The heads are all the same, only handle design differs. Beautifully chromed, among the best finish out there.

 

- One of the Merkurs is probably the other most popular as far as new ones.

 

- You'd do well to spend a bit extra on some sample blade packs and then buy 100 pack of what you like best. eBay is pretty competitive for sample packs with Amazon and depending on the blade choice, some 100 bulk packs are too. You can get 100 say Crystal or Astra blades for under 15 clams, Feather is about the most expensive at about 25, and others like Personna split the diff. "Sharpest" doesn't necessarily translate to "smoothest" though, or even consistency between shaves as it ages toward dullness.

 

Btw, Personna is the only US blade I know of that's worth a crap, but it's very nice indeed. Most all the Russian and Israeli blades are quite nice, Korean and middle eastern less so (as general rule, but there are exceptions).

 

- The cheapest actual badger hair brush I know of is the Tweezerman. Boar bristle is "okay", but badger is the best.

 

- Some soaps, like Prorazo and Conk (not one of my favs, doesn't lather as well) come in their own tubs. Prorazo (Italy) is indeed very nice. You can get a three pack of their biggest sellers pretty reasonably. Williams (USA) is the cheapest soap made, but I also like it fine, will need a tub though.

 

I bought a wood dish with top and razor/brush stand on Amazon just because they look nifty, but any will of course work, idea is just get razor and brush off counter to air dry well.

 

Yes, you can go with old razors off eBay. The most popular adjustable Gillettes are pretty pricy these days for a nice one though, and YMMV using them. Biggest thing is finding one that is aggressive enough to work well for your beard but not overly or underly so. You'll generally need to hit the ole beard at least twice with any of the though, once with and once either across or against the grain.

 

It's a learning experience, but you need to minimize the variables as you seek out best combos for yer own face.

 

- OS

Edited by Oh Shoot

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The Semogue 830 is a great boar brush. The consensus on Badger and Blade is that a quality boar brush beats a cheap badger brush. Semogue and Omega make good brushes. Personally I am interested in the Weber U.S. Made razors. They are solid stainless. Also we have "Above the Tie" razors made in TN, but they are generally $200-$300 for a stainless razor. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Forgot, I've been chipping at a review log as I've tested blades over time, here's what I have so far with about 15 more brands in the stash to still try out (mostly Russian left, so expect lots of good ones). Only doing 3 shaves with each, usually with a 2-3 day growth, as I don't have to shave every day.

 

---------------------

 

Astra (Russian): Great for 3 shaves, felt so good went for a 4th also, just fine. So far right up there with Crystal as best all around, and as a bonus are among the least expensive also.

Crystal (or Israeli Personna) (Israel): Just aces for three shaves, and quite good fourth one, but pretty sure further ones would be significantly degraded. From all reports should be about as good as the best, will revist down the road.

CVS Branded (USA): Some say these are actually the US Personna, (they do say made in USA on blades), and after 3 great shaves I'd say they are right, performance just as excellent as the Personna Blue, defintely could have gone with at least another shave or two. Of course, these cost more CVS (5-6 bucks for 10), but it's something to keep in mind if you're ever out of blades or out of town, whatever, and need some quality blades on the quick.

Derby Extra (Turkey): Have more experience with these babies than many of the others, as one pack came with my first Edwin Jagger (and had gone ahead and grabbed a 100 pack in additon, figgering EJ must think highly of them). Well, I guess I'd give them an overall B. Mainly because some seem to be A- and some C, meaning, just in the 10 or so I used, they just aren't consistent between blades. The good ones are more than adequate, the sub par ones are well, just that.

DG Branded (Dollar General-Made in Korea): Got a decent first shave, but suck pretty bad, felt very rough, gave up during second shave, who needs to go on with so many fine ones around? A buck for 5 blades, use only in emergency. Wonder if made by Dorco? Haven't tried my Dorcos yet, have two different editions,  we'll see if about the same or what.

Dorco (Korea): This was the biggest surprise in my testing so far! First let me say this blade is in white plastic blade bank, package has insert over top blade that says "stainless blade" with a red corner notation that reads "NEW Platinum ST-301. The blades are in orange and white single wrap with the "made in Korea" on them, otherwise that is not notated anywhere else. The blades themselves only have a poorly printed "Dorco" in oval and "stainless blade" on them. Next, let me say these seem to be almost on par with my best rated blade experiences. Smooth, sharp, wore well over the three shaves. Certainly could have gone another shave or two without undue discomfort.

Dorco (Vietnam): These are in paper box, double wrapped blades, box shows picture of blade and says "stainless blade" and "NEW Platinum ST-300. The blades are double wrapped. The blade itself has different logo presentation than the Korean made above, has a stylized D and word Dorco not in an oval. Figured would be made on similar equipment with similar specs with the Korean made ones, or wouldn't even have Dorco name at all, right? WRONG! 180 degree differece. In a word, these suck. First shave, not great from first stroke, and I swear the blade was losing ground with every new stroke. Didn't even try a second shave.

Gillette Nacet (Russia): 3 pretty decent shaves, seemed edge held up consistently for all three.

Feather (Japan): What can I say about Feather that hasn't been said before? None are apprently sharper. Held up great for three shaves, virtually identical, but started feeling a bit of drag on fourth. One drawback that if you don't have a great surface complexion, can slice right through bumps, moles, zits, whatever rather than tending to glide over them -- I got a small weeper or two on two shaves, which is rare with the Jagger razor's middle of the road aggression. Certainly right up there overall with any blade made, but the other drawback is that you'll pay over double the price of say Astra or Crysal for essentially the same results.

Gillette Super Blue (Russia): Great first shave, pretty good second, fair third. The blade just didn't seem to hold up well, something I didn't expect from one you pay somewhat of a premium for. Odd thing was it stayed smooth for all three, but just didn't cut as closely as it aged.

Kroger Branded (Israel): Huge dissapointment! Figured if made in Israel, would be in ballpark of the Crystal or whatever. Absoultely wrong, these sucked worse than the Dollar General blades. Even tried two of them, gave up after one shave (barely). No redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Lord Platinum (Egypt): 3 good shaves, maybe not as good as Crystal but seemed very consistent between all three shaves, no real complaints.
Lord Super Stainless (Egypt): No noticeable diff between these and the Platinum, more than adequate for my 3 shave test.

Personna Blue (USA): Excellent, right up there with Astra and Crystal, top tier go to blade.

Sharp Hi Chromium Durablade:(Bangladesh, "made on machinery from UK, from imported Swedish steel"). Yeah, whatever.  Sucked, tried two, quite poor, couldn't get two decent shaves out of either blade.

Shark Super Stainless (Egypt): Made by Lord, has "super stainless" on blade. I'd rate these pretty much on a par with the Lord Platinum above, which is to say quite acceptable, three shaves ranged from quite good first to still quite adequate third.

Shark Super Chrome (Egypt): Perhaps only a subjective delusion, but used this right after the one above, and seemed to hold sharpness just a bit more consistently between all threee shaves, overall very good to fine blade.

Wilkinson Sword (Germany): Right up there with the best, sharp but smooth, 3 great shaves and a pretty good 4th. Cost a bit more than some of my other top choices.
 

 

- OS

Edited by Oh Shoot
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I don't shave much, but this is my go to for the neck cleanup. [URL=http://s680.photobucket.com/user/owensnj/media/9aba7336.jpg.html]9aba7336.jpg[/URL] [URL=http://s680.photobucket.com/user/owensnj/media/e5983c26.jpg.html]e5983c26.jpg[/URL]

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Started more than 30 years ago with disposable Bic yellow sensitive skin safety razors and any thick white shaving cream in a can. Rotated through all combinations of brand and blade style, numerous safety blades, creams and gels, went back to the Bic yellow as the best disposable and regular thick white cream. Then switched to a very expensive vintage straight razor (no changeable blades) which was hand made in Germany. Had the whole setup including cup, bristle brush, lather cakes, and leather strop all imported from the same place my favorite "old guy" ethnic barber got his stuff. He did everything with that blade even after it was no longer legal, including hair cuts, thinning, facial hair, brows, ears, neck, you name it. He worked magic and taught me how to get started but I never could do it anywhere near as good, and that razor was so sharp I was afraid to slip and end up dead. Still got it all, just never use it. Then switched to electric shavers and tried every style and brand out there. They did hurt at first and took many passes to get a perfect shave but after a month or so your skin gets used to them and it doesn't hurt, only minor razor burn similar to disposable blade shave, which is easily remedied by showering after shave or using a hot towel. My favorite was Remington titanium dual foil, but replacement foils and cutters are $15 a set. After trying it all, I still use the Remington titanium foil shavers, usually their most expensive model, which I replace or upgrade every few years. As long as you stick with it and don't try switching back and forth to blades, the electric does great and can be used while driving or without a mirror. And it doesn't really take any longer than a blade shave, and you don't get any nicks and cuts by hurrying. Only thing I dislike is using electric on a several day old beard, it's like grinding down a stump and takes many more passes, but it still works good. They trim nicely too, so it's my best overall choice. Edited by wileecoyote

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In April I purchased a Merkur Double Edged Safety Razor with a long handle, Feather blades, Poroso menthol soap in a green tub, Tweezerman Badger bristle brush, a stand for the brush and razor, and also some Taylor of Bond Street Sandlewood Soap.  It took about a week of trial and error and watching Youtube videos, but I have it down now and can get an awesome close shave in not much time.  I just couldn't stand paying over $20 for a pack of fancy 5-blade cartridges.  I'm changing the blades once a week, on Sunday...just so I can remember.  The Poroso soap is great, and the Sandlewood stuff is a good too, but a little soft and probably won't last as long.  I may try the Poroso Sandlewood soap.  But I'm very happy with the Merkur device...I also looked at the Edwin Jaggers and may get one eventually - I like the one with the ivory looking handle.  Funny how we're all taking a step back in time to get better, more economical shaves :pleased: .

 

Best wishes, B

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Forgot, I've been chipping at a review log as I've tested blades over time, here's what I have so far with about 15 more brands in the stash to still try out (mostly Russian left, so expect lots of good ones). Only doing 3 shaves with each, usually with a 2-3 day growth, as I don't have to shave every day.

 

 

 

I've used most of those brands as well, and I'd say OS's review mirrors my experience pretty much exactly. 

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This.

 

[media='500']https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZB8HRrJ0KM[/media]

 

 

I just hack at it when the wife tells me to.

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You're a man after Einstein's own heart.    He didn't use cream either.   I found the text below on the matter.  

 

He (Einstein) believed in simplicity, so much so that he used only a safety razor and water to shave. When I suggested that he try shaving cream, he said, "The razor and water do the job. "

"But Professor, why don't you try the cream just once?" I argued. "It makes shaving smoother and less painful. " He shrugged. Finally, I presented him with a tube of shaving cream. The next morning when he came down to breakfast, he was beaming with the pleasure of a new,great discovery. "You know,that cream really works," he announced. " It doesn't pull the beard. It feels wonderful." Thereafter, he used the shaving cream every morning until the tube was empty. Then he reverted to using plain water.

 

I find it's possible to get a reasonable lather by getting the soap wet and rubbing it in my cupped left hand. Sometimes it takes two goes. My father used to use a flannel. Then it's a Mach 3, used until it starts to pull.

 

Tried the electric razors (Norelco here) for a while. They work but if you get any kind of length of beard, it's a real chore to get it down (like doing the yard). I finally went full wet-shave when I started growing a van Dyke cause it does the edges better.

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For as long as I have shaved i've used a disposable BIC and a $1 can of Barbasol, those multi-bladed ripoffs feel like they are ripping my face off.

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Funny how we're all taking a step back in time to get better, more economical shaves :pleased: .

 

New ain't always better, huh? 

 

I find a lot of things were better before somebody started trying to make them "better"...like french fries.

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I had a strait razor, could never get the angle just right.Eventually gave up. My beard will grow fast only up to a certain point, and then it turn into a craw, so I just use clippers. Kill two birds with one stone. 

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I use hair clippers and am lucky to just keep the stragglers in check. I stopped shaving as a habit a few years ago. Now when I used to shave I tried creams and gels and ultimately just used conditioner. It works better than soap as shaving lube since it doesn't dry out your skin, and it helps keep the shower clear of clutter. I used the Gillette Mach 3 they sent me in the mail. I can't remember why they sent it, some kind if weird promo I guess, but I used their razors for a few years. Switched to electric a few times, stuck with it for a few years before stopping all together.

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I used the 5 blade Gilletes when I shaved everyday in the Marines, for the first 2 years. I switched to the 2 blade disposables, changed them every 3 days and was happy. Now that I'm out I haven't shaved clean in a long time. I just do my cheek and neck lines with a cheap disposable and the clear Gillette gel I got as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. I can see the lines with it so they look a lot sharper.

Tapatalk ate my spelling

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Man, I'm glad someone started this thread. 

 

I've been a HUGE fan of double-edge shaving for the last 4 years or so. When I was an outdoor industry rep, it didn't matter what I looked like. I used to shave, at most, weekly, with a Mach3. Bought the "better with more blades" all the way. Couldn't figure out why my neck was hacked to bits every time I shaved. When I got my current job, I needed to look much more presentable most of the time. 

 

Then, discovered DE shaving. I've probably spent $hundreds trying out what I like and didn't care for. I'll admit that it wasn't a money-saving objective for me, but a hobby with all sorts of customizations at my fingertips. Sorta like guns. But cheaper. 

 

But, I've sold off most of my cabinet. I found that I need a really mild razor. I guess I don't have manly neck skin... It's tender and doesn't respond well to aggressive razors. 

 

I liked Fat Boys, Slims, Super Speeds, and Tech's when it comes to DE razors. I've pretty much settled into my Tech as a daily go-to. (I have some vintage straights I'll use for a special event, date night, etc.)

 

I tried a couple mid-level badger brushes first. Liked them, but then discovered boar. WOW! A broken-in boar is fantastic! I like the backbone it offers, and I can really scrub on my face without it feeling like a marshmallow. Although, I did obtain a special-editing Semogue 2-Band badger, and it's got more backbone than any badger I've tried, mostly because the knot is set low, so it's lower-loft than most. Works a treat. 

 

And, don't let anyone tell you badger is "better" than boar. Folks think so since they're a LOT more expensive. I've had some $7 Semogue boar brushes that were fantastic!

 

I've tried dozens and dozens of soaps, with varying results. Mitchell's Wool Fat, Proraso, and Mama Bear's are all still in rotation. But, my daily carry soap is without a doubt Martin de Candre. It's a French soap, not imported. You'll see it pop up on the Badger and Blade forums from time to time and get snapped up immedietly. I took the wife to france last year, and picked up about 3 of them. Gave one to a good friend and fellow DE devotee, and haven't even managed to get through half of the first jar. It was expensive, but the lather is absolutely heaven. Perfect cushion and still VERY slick for good glide. I've got one more tucked back, I really bet I'll be taking another trip that way before I run out, and will probably buy the store out while I'm there. I wonder if there are rules about shaving soap importation...?

 

Blades, I didn't mind Feather, but they weren't very durable for me. Astra are ok. I liked the Crystal a lot. But, once I found Merkur blades, I didn't look back. They're more expensive than Feathers, or anything else really, but they are REALLY durable, and I charted my cost-per-shave to see if I came out ahead. They're great. 

 

If anyone's interested, I kept a daily shave journal of what I used and the experience while I was getting everything sorted out and deciding what worked for me. Some combinations led to LOTS of weepers, or downright slicing myself to ribbons. My experience won't reflect yours, but if you'd like some really weird reading, feel free to PM me. It's a Google Drive spreadsheet, so I can just send you a link. Might help you get started if you're reading this thread and wondering what all the fuss is about. 

 

I've converted about 10 friends since I got my routine down, so I'm a pretty strong proponent of the system. 

Edited by mechanically
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