Welcome to the wild world of wet shaving with a safety razor. Be prepared to shave like a man, save money, and look great. You’ll need a few items to get started, including a safety razor and blades. And then if you want the full experience, you may want to pick up some optional add-ons. Let’s go!
There are two basic types of safety razors on the market: a twist-to-open with a head that unscrews completely, and a butterfly style that allows for quicker swapping of blades. Both are fine choices, but I’d recommend a twist-to-open version because they are easier to clean while you’re shaving, and blade-swapping time is pretty minimal.
The big brands you’ll find include Edwin Jagger, Parker, Feather, and Murkur. German-engineered Murkur is by far the most highly recommend entry-level razor on the market. It’s a smart, solid purchase that will last you for years. Which leads us to our next decision: which Murkur is right for you?
Merkur “Heavy Classic” Double-Edged Safety Razor 34c
This is the best razor for the average guy. The 34c has a solid, heavy feel to it, a short handle for tight handling, lasts for years, and is priced under $45.
Merkur Model 180 Long Handled Safety Razor
The long handle of the 180 is great for men with large hands.
Merkur Heavy Duty Double Edge Straight Cut Razor
Don’t like silver? Want to go Wall Street style? Go for the gold.
Merkur #210 Travel Safety Razor with Leather Case
I don’t typically bring my set with me on trips, but if you’re planning to wet shave on the go (and if you end up a true safety razor convert), you should consider purchasing this travel version.
Next: Razor blades
Every face is different, so you’re going to need to find a razor blade that works for your own beard.
All standard safety blades will fit in all standard safety razors, and because they’re so cheap, you can buy a bunch and experiment on your face. I suggest you start with a large trial pack to choose your own shaventure. A thick blade works best on long, thick hair, while some men prefer a lighter blade against their skin.
Merkur Double Edge Razor Blades
Sharp and slightly heavy, these are great starter blades for guys with average beards and faces.
Feather Razor Blades
If you’re looking for an extremely close shave and you don’t have heavy stubble, try out these Feather blades from Japan. But be careful — they’re very thin, so you’re more likely to cut yourself if you’re not cautious.
Next: Shave sets
THE WET SHAVE
You can use your new safety razor and blades with your current shaving setup. But if you want to get that authentic wet-shave experience — and I know you do — you’re going to need shaving cream, a mug, a brush and some other fancy accoutrements. If you’re on the fence, you may want to purchase an affordable starter kit like the Van Der Hagen Shave Set, which comes in premium and luxury options.
Many guys swear by pre-shave treatments, claiming that they make your face slicker and shave closer. I find that pre-shave ointment doesn’t affect my shave at all, and my skin feels oil-logged after applying. However, if you want to try one, ladies love the masculine scent of sandalwood.
I practice abstinence from alcohol — at least, I do when I’m shaving. But that’s just a personal decision. You may want to try this soap, which has been recommended to me by every barber I’ve ever met.
Next: Shave cream
There are many different types of soaps for wet shaving, from hockey-puck soap bars to cream that comes in trays or toothpaste tubes. I’ve tried them all, and they each have their own pros and cons.
This is one of my go-to shaving creams. It smells like clean soap, but with a distinct, surprisingly fresh, gentlemanly scent. It’s packaged in a tube, so it’s easy to clean up and store.
Proraso Shaving Cream Tube
Like menthol in your morning routine? Try Proraso, which has a light sandalwood scent and minty zing, to kick-start your morning.
The New York Shaving Company Old St. Patrick’s Shaving Cream
This lightly soapy cream has a hint of musky freshness; it’s an old-standby scent my girlfriend can never place. I tell her I smell like an old Irish stream.
The Art of Shaving Lemon Essential Oil Shaving Cream
You can’t always smell like The Most Interesting Man in the World — and the best thing about shaving cream is that you can (and should) mix things up easily. Freshen up with this nice lemony citrus scent.
Next: Shaving bowls
Whether you purchase a bar of shaving soap, or you stick with the tube method, a shaving cup will greatly improve your ability to whip up a thick lather. Don’t use a coffee mug! There’s actually a platform inside the mug that snugly holds a puck of shave soap to keep it from sliding around. This little platform also centers and elevates the soap slightly so that the excess water pools below the platform and doesn’t turn your soap to mush.
Edwin Jagger Porcelain Shaving Cup
There are plenty of shaving cups out there, but look for one with an easy-to-grip handle to hold close to your face while lathering up. I personally like the porcelain cups because they’re lightweight and easy to rinse off.
Marvy Shaving Mug Rubber Green
This cup is made of a solid rubber — so if you drop it in the shower it won’t shatter into a million little pieces. Also, bonus points for nailing the woodsy 1970’s log-cabin wood paneling vibe.
Now we’re getting fancy. Make sure the brush you choose is made from 100% pure badger hair — avoid the synthetics as the bristles don’t have enough give enough under hot water and make for a unpleasurable experience.
Escali Pure Badger Shaving Brush
A simple and affordable shaving brush? Sold!
Wet Shaving Products Premium Black Pure Badger Shaving Brush
There’s no need to get too extravagant, princess. But if your skin is sensitive, try a softer, more expensive brush.
D R Harris Arlington Aftershave Milk
If you haven’t shaved all week, you may experience some redness after you finally ditch the salty seadog look. To combat irritation, use a soothing a lotion like D R Harris Aftershave Milk. It may be pricey, but a little goes a long way.
Musgo Real After Shave Balm
If you’ve ever dreamed of smelling like erotic jungle sex, I highly recommend Musgo Real After Shave Balm. And if you don’t know what erotic jungle sex smells like, just trust me, and get this balm.
Still not convinced? Here’s 7 reasons you should be shaving with a safety razor.