The Basics

So you’ve had it with electric and cartridge based razors and are ready to enter the world of wet shaving. Where do you begin? We fully intend to analyze all facets of wet shaving in detail, but we thought it also might be best to start of with some core tools of the trade, we call them the basics.

Fundamentally you need the following in order to start wet shaving:

  1. Soap or cream
  2. Brush
  3. Razor
  4. Blade


We recommend using Proraso for soap. There’s no bowl or prep involved, this is an easy to use soap for beginners and it makes your skin feel great after a good shave.


There are lots of brushes out there, the important thing to remember is badger hair. (It’s better than boar hair).  We’re not picky about the brand, but the type is important. Don’t be fooled by imitators, something like this Escali brush will do the job and not break the bank either. And if you have any doubts, just trust us: Badger hair.


Believe it or not, this is easy an one for us to recommend. Merkur is the standard, and we strongly recommend the Merkur 178 Classic.  You have some choices to make, short or long handled and weight. We say short and we say heavy. The bottom line is you want the weight of your razor to do the work for you. It’s the safest way not to cut yourself.  The 178 is on the heavier side of straight razors and provides a manageable grip without getting in the way. You’ll find that your razor is the most expensive item you’ll buy, but keep in mind this thing will last forever. It’s about the same price as that cheap Phillips Electric razor at Walmart, but it’ll still be around in six months.


Every face is different and every blade is different too. It’s hard to recommend a specific blade for general use, but we personally have had positive experiences getting started with the Crystal (Israeli Personna). We’ve found it to be sharp, with almost no tugging and yields an absolutely pleasant shave in single or multi-pass approach.  That said, don’t necessarily limit yourself to just one brand of blade. The pack we’ve linked above has 240 blades in it and normal use means that this set should last you more than a year. So consider a sample pack like this one or this one (which includes the Crystal) so that you can experiment and find out what works best for you. Even if you pick up a sampler and then use the Crystal you’ll still find you’ve paid less than an eight week cartridge refill for that fancy Gillette you’re giving up. We’ll spend some more time analyzing a bunch of these blades in the coming weeks, but we consider this to be a good place to get started.

Remember, your gear is important! There’s a little bit of a buy in but it’s worth every penny and saves a lot in the long run.

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