Saturday, August 5, 2017

How to save money wet shaving with a classic safety razor the fast and easy way, no subscriptions required!

If you're like me you probably started getting tired of the Gillette monopoly on your face and the price tags to match every time you go to get a new razor blade. For me I found I liked the Mach 3 Turbo the best of all the Gillette lineup and it started getting harder find and more expensive to replace the blades for that razor. I tried the Fusion and all that stuff and finally I was like enough blades already.

When I started shaving I used a Bic single blade safety razor that came in bright yellow and they still do. Super cheap and does the trick, but I never liked all the plastic I had to toss since it was literally one use for me and toast. I tried the Dollar Shave Club but was a little annoyed by the marketing and the shave wasn't as good as the Gillette and wasn't that much cheaper really. Then I tried Harry's which I did like the razor better than the DSC and you could get them at Target which was convenient but still expensive and disposable plastic.

Enter the original safety razor, non-disposable and will outlive you! Check out this post from Lifehacker on the Merkur Safety Razor
Merkur 34C
If you really want to go retro you can find them in antique stores but I'd recommend getting a new one from Amazon and I'm not alone recommending this razor especially for beginners like myself.

This post is just to save you some time, I am not endorsing these products or getting any kick back for calling them out. Mostly I'm documenting this for myself so have an easy link to my shopping list if I need to reorder anything. If you start Googling safety razors or wet shaving you may find yourself in a bit of a shaving rabbit hole. I was on YouTube quite a while before I pulled the trigger on my safety razor. First let me dispel your fears, there's a reason it's called a safety razor you will not hurt yourself with this thing. Well if you really try you can. I watched a lot of videos and read a lot of articles trying to figure out what to do. Here are the main tips from what I've learned first hand and from others.

  1. Get a washcloth hot and wet and apply to your face for a while or take a hot shower before shaving, or get a mirror in the shower and shave there (that's typically my approach but the lighting in the shower has me miss a spot or two usually but I can hit them when I get out). 
  2. Always shave with the direction your hair grows if you feel the razor pulling on your hair try a different direction for that area (around my Adam's apple is a tricky spot prone to nicking so I go slow there). 
  3. Everybody's face is different and responds to razor blades differently so get a sample pack and try them if you don't like the shave from one blade the next one you may love. I ordered this sample pack from Amazon and to test blades initially. 
  4. Not all razor blades are created equal, some are truly terrible and will make your face hurt but since every face is different you may have to try a few before you find the one that works for you, for me it was the Feather brand and they are fantastic (slightly more expensive than other brands but worth it in my opinion).  

There are tons of resources which makes it a bit overwhelming just deciding on the razor was the hardest part but now this one seems to have become the go to for a lot of folks. I travel with it now and it is my only razor.

If you're like me and don't want to spend a lot of time shaving you can skip the whole brush and soap bowl routine which is messier and more time consuming but a nice sustainable way to get shaving cream without all the disposable packaging. I just use shaving cream any brand you use already with your Gillette will work fine as long as you get your hair nice and warm and wet before you start. I like the Dr. Carver's Shave Butter personally which I ordered from the DSC when I was trying their razors.

The only other items I picked up was a razor stand pictured above just because it looked nice hanging there but it's really for hanging the brush on you can put your razor anywhere. I also got a little disposal bin to put the old razors in because I have a 2 year old and you never know what she'll get into.

If you do decide to go the brush and soap bowl route there's another rabbit hole to meander through. I tried it I found the boar hair brushes itched my face and irritated my skin I then tried a synthetic brush pictured above which actually lasts longer and felt great. The different shaving soaps I tried seemed to dry my skin out a lot so I went with a Shea butter one that sounded the most moisturizing. I still find my shaving cream is still superior to the brush and soap method and faster and less messy.

Thanks to Avinash Kaushik for inspiring this post with your King Gillette TMAI newsletter!