If you are interested in starting shaving with a double edged razor, I hope this page can be helpful.
I won’t go into the advantages of wet shaving as if you find this page you have already decided this may be for you, be it to save money, reduce waste or look after your skin.
Where to start
You’re going to need to put together a shave kit of a razor, some blades, a shaving brush and a shaving soap or cream. Now you can go cheap, middle of the road or expensive depending on your budget or commitment. To try it out I’d recommend starting off cheaply, you can always upgrade as you go along.
Probably the cheapest option and where I started off was the Wilkinson Sword Classic razor. It usually comes with a pack of blades to get you started and you can usually pick one up on the high street at say Boots the chemist although I’m sure there are other places you could pick one up. It’s a plastic razor but does have a metal core in the handle which gives it a good weight and the shave for a beginner is pretty mild and forgiving.
Middle of the road cost wise would be either the Edwin Jagger DE89 series or the Muhle 89 series which both have the same razor head which they designed jointly. The EJ DE89 was my second razor and the all metal construction is a nice step up in quality. Again the shaves are on the mild side. There are also razors available from Merkur and Parker, but I have no experience with their razors apart from the Merkur Slant and R41 which I wouldn’t recommend for someone just starting out and learning their technique. Edit: I now own a Merkur 34c which is also mild and similar to the EJ89.
The more expensive route for razors would be all stainless steel models which will no doubt last a lifetime. Some examples would be Above The Tie (ATT), Ikon and Weber razors who I think currently aren’t producing razors. I have both Ikon and ATT razors and they are very nice pieces of kit to have. Edit: there are many high end razors available now, some more accessible than others Timeless razors at the time of writing are readily available in a variety of head options.
Blades are a very subjective thing and I’d suggest trying out a sample pack of blades from Connaught Shaving. I did when I first started and found the blades from Russia work best for me.
There are so many brushes to choose from and many different knot materials, loft (height of bristles) and knot sizes (base of bristle in diameter at the base). The types of knot material are boar (pig hair), badger, horse and synthetic (man made fibres).
The cheapest route isn’t alway the best when it comes to brushes. You can pick up a Wilkinson Sword brush in most supermarkets but I’d recommend trying out a cheap Omega boar brush which can be found for under £10. In particular look at the Omega 10066 which I have and still use regularly. Connaught Shaving stock a good range here. Bear in mind with a boar brush that they need to be soaked in water for 5-10 minutes before use as they absorb water. A boar also has a break in period where they just get better with use as the tips split and they become really soft on your face. Boar brushes can also have a bit of an unpleasant smell for the first few uses so give it a few test lathers to get rid of the piggy smell and practice making a good lather. Another good choice at the cheaper end of the scale is the Muhle or Edwin Jagger Black Fibre Synthetic brushes.
Middle of the road I would recommend a badger brush from New Forest Brushes. They are made in England and offer amazing quality for the price and I believe they ship worldwide. Edit: these brushes are no longer available due to the maker retiring, I would suggest either a Frank Shaving or MS badger brush from eBay. Also in the midpoint price range you can pick up a Muhle or Edwin Jagger Silvertip Fibre Synthetic brush or if you can find a L’Occitane Synthetic grab one, its definitely my favourite synthetic brush but they have been discontinued. A number of makers now offer the Plisson style hairs in much nicer handles. Another option to consider at the upper end of the middle price would be the Semogue 2 band badger brush.
The more expensive options can run to over £100 from the likes of Simpson shaving brushes. The Chubby range is an example but I do like my Duke 3 in best which is a great brush for the price. Shavemac and Thater of Germany are also really high quality badger brushes.
Soaps & Creams
once you get into this you won’t believe the huge choice of scents and brands available. You really need to try them out to find your personal favourites. I’d recommend a cream to get started with as they are easier to lather for a beginner.
You can find some nice cheap options in your local supermarket such as Palmolive soap stick and creams as well as Ingrams cream which has a nice cooling menthol effect. Others worth looking for online would include Proraso, Taylor of Old Bond Street (TOBS), Razorock and Haslinger soaps.
I thought it may be useful to list out some example kits below in the three price ranges.
Wilkinson Sword Classic Razor
Palmolive shaving cream
Omega 10066 boar brush
Edwin Jagger DE89
Muhle Silvertip Synthetic fibre brush
TOBS Mr Taylor
Simpson Duke 3 in Best Badger
Castle Forbes Lime shaving cream
So there you have it some examples of the kit to get started in DE shaving now I’d recommended going on YouTube and search for videos by Mantic59 to learn about the technique and prep needed for a good shave. A lot can also be learnt and discussed in shaving forums, below are some worth checking out:
Paste and Cut a great Aussie based forum with good chat and knowledge.
Damn Fine Shave one of a few forums with no hidden agenda. Much like paste and cut.
Some useful links are below
I hope this guide is helpful and good luck. If you have any comments or suggestions leave a comment below.