The thing about multibladed system razors is that you have very little choice, they trap you in a walled garden where they have a monopoly on what they let you have. Real shaving is the exact opposite, you have infinite choices. You could shave with a different combination of the four main ingredients in a shave every day for the rest of your life! This is part of the fun, experimenting and personalising the experience. Any recommendation can only be a starting point on a personal journey of exploration and discovery.
Here are some ideas, feel free to ignore them.
Razor. The black plastic Wilkinson in Boots is OK. The ED DE89L is a whole lot better and is about £20. You really would enjoy owning one. A classic Wilkinson is a beautiful piece of heritage that still works very well. And the Merkur HD is probably the most owned razor in the real shaving fraternity. Eventually you will own more than one, you won’t be able to help yourself. It adds to the fun of the daily ceremony deciding which to use. And each model is like a different model of car, they just work differently. So whatever you buy it won’t be wasted money, it will just enrich your experience.
Blades. To start with the Persona blades sold as own brand by Tescos, Boots, Asda etc are excellent and can’t be faulted. Then perhaps try a sample pack. There are lots of good blades out there, they are different to one another. And different blades suit different people and different razors. Then, when you find something you like, buy in bulk from ebay. £20 per 100 or even less. Personally I am using just Iridiums in all my razors at the moment to give me a benchmark.
Brush. These last at least 10 years so even a £100 brush works out at less than £1 a month. The variety out there is infinite. You can start with a boar, they work well with soaps because of their stiffness. A very good one is the Omega brush on Amazon, but a cheap £1 from a pound shop or discount chemist will do the job. Eventually you will want a badger, they lather best and work brilliantly with creams. Take a look at the Kent Brush website to get an idea of the range and prices. In Britain we have a number of small companies that make the best quality shaving brushes in the world. Companies like Rooney and Simpson. So take your time over your badger purchase, there is a lot of choice and it is going to be with you for a long time.
Shaving creams and soaps. You really cannot go wrong with a 60p Palmolive shaving soap stick. This is tallow based so creates a perfect shaving lather. It sets a difficult benchmark for anything else to beat. Just wet your face and rub the stick directly into your stubble, then use your brush to build a lather on your face. After that the world is your oyster, you can use amazingly luxurious products and still be paying less per shave than using aerosols. Mitchell’s Wool Fat soap has a fantastic reputation which is very well justified. Proraso and Omega creams from Italy are lush and invigorating. But for the ultimate choice just visit the men’s grooming shops in St James’s in London. You can’t go wrong whatever you buy in, say, Taylors of Bond street. Just beware of all the tourist real shaving aficionados stocking up like crazy.
After shaving the available creams and lotions are infinite. The choice is personal and is part of the luxury and pleasure of real shaving. There is plenty on the shelves in Boots. Or once again buy at one of the St James’s shops. Trumpers coral skin food has a fantastic reputation, for instance.