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Beginner help. What shaving accessories should try to start my DE safety razor journey?


New Member
Hello all. Brand new to this forum and brand new to DE safety razor shaving. After getting tired of the quality of my cartridge razor subscription, I decided to jump into the DE safety razor world. I bought and used for the first-time last week a Merkur 34c with a Merkur. Bought a sample razor pack online and gave it a go. Was happy with my initial shave but do realize my technique needs improving. I used just a shave gel from an aerosol can (like I have done for many years). However, the more I research online, the more I find that those products are not good for wet shaving as the can introduces too much air and the lubrication properties are decreased. Everything points to using a shaving soap or shaving cream used in a bowl and creating a lather with a brush. So now to my title question. Where do I start with soap/creams. Looking online, I find my options overwhelming. I have tried looking for a "starter kit" that would include a brush, bowl, and soap/cream, but I have had very little luck finding a kit with all three. Should I be looking for a soap or a cream? The videos I have seen online usually show a cream being used in a bowl to build a lather. Soaps are usually talked about in a similar fashion, but no one discusses the after care for soaps. Are they lathered in their tins? Are they entirely placed in a bowl for the life of their use? Are they rinsed off (whether in the tin or in the bowl) once shaving is completed? I have read about 3 options for brushes (beaver, boar, synthetic). Sounds like its user preference. With all these options, that I why I was hoping to find an easy starting point with a kit and then expanding from there after putting more shaves under my belt. I am sorry for rambling, but to appreciate any information and tips anyone provides.

High their, Cardinalcin. Welcome to the world of wet shaving. I am 75 and started using carts when the Trac // first appeared. I upgraded to the Atra, Sensor, Mach 3, and finally the Fusion. That is when I gave up carts. I just couldn't see paying the price, and I got out before they eventually got up to 6 blade carts. I discovered vintage razors and never looked back. My first was a 1946-47 Gillette Aristocrat that I picked up for about $20. Now I have over 150 DE, SE, injector, and straight razors. I have a lifetime supply of soaps, creams, and blades. I also started making shaving brushes in December 2014. I have made 445 brushes so far.
I used to use a bowl to build lather, but I have learned to skip that step and just go straight to the face to build lather. All my bowls are now containers to hold shaving stuff. I have also adopted a cold water shaving routine year round. I will wet my face with cold water and rub the puck or stick right on the face and build the lather there. It doesn't take long, and I end up with enough lather for two or three passes. I quit chasing the baby years ago, and I only to two pass shaves now. For creams, I will take a dollop and smear it on the face and then build the lather. For soaps that are in a container, I will load the brush for about 8 swirls and then go straight to the face. You can see many of my shaves on YouTube. Here is a recent shave.
Most important thing is get a shavingsoap/cream, and get a brush. Brush can be anything, as long as intended for shaving, but keep in mind: boar will take a while to break in. You don't need an expensive brush. There's great synthetics around.
I do not like shavingbowls. I just go directly to the face: get enough soap in the brush and just swirl around on the wet face. That will build lather in a jiffy, and the advantage is you spend more time getting soap and lather in the facial hair, making it easier to shave them.
For the rest: stick with one razor/blade combination for a while until your technique has developed a bit. There will be time enough to join us that have hundreds of the things afterwards :)
Thanks for the replies gents. Looks like I need to just "jump in" and try something. Have a cheap brush and a non-aerosol cream on order.