RAD, SBAD and other acquisition disorders

Shaving brushes by Vulfix, Simpson, Rooney, Omega, Semogue, Trumper, Edwin Jagger, Plisson, New Forest and Kent

Shaving scuttles overhead view

This gets discussed a lot in the traditional shaving community, mainly RAD (Razor Acquisition Disorder) and SBAD (Shaving Brush Acquisition Disorder), they are used self-deprecatingly to explain the growing piles of shaving kit that many have neatly organised in their shaving “den”. So what is going on here?:

  • Collecting things seems to be a male preoccupation, useless used postage stamps, camera lenses, music CDs etc. Many men seem to have many collection obsessions and at least the good thing about shaving kit is that some of it gets used every day.
  • Some of this stuff is very nice indeed from an aesthetic standpoint, Simpson’s shaving brushes for instance. It is not too difficult to see how people end up owning 30 or more different models.
  • The whole ethos of traditional shaving is that we have escaped from the patent protected walled garden of the big global shaving companies and have discovered choice. And the more kit we buy the more choice we have.
  • Most of this stuff is really good to use. Building a lather with a top end Simpson’s brush and Taylor’s of Old Bond Street Avocado shaving cream is pure, unmitigated, indulgent luxury. Enough to make you feel very sorry indeed for all those poor suckers who still get their lather out of an aerosol can.
  • Some vintage shaving kit is going up in value pretty quickly. Personna 74 blades and Eclipse Red Ring razors have rocketed in value recently for instance. So the more you have the more you make on your investment. Owning 100+ vintage Gillette razors can be justified on sound financial terms.
  • Keeping up with the community. If they are all discussing the latest New Forest or Semogue brush then you are a bit left out if you haven’t got one. This is why banning perfectly good vendors (Connaught, iKon, Frank Shaving, Nanny’s Silly Soap, New Forest Brush, etc etc) from forums is so bad for the members of that forum, they are deprived from discussing some of the best stuff out there. This is ungentlemanly.
  • It is so cheap and such good value. A Vulfix 404 brush, one of the best you can buy, is under £10, luxurious St James’s shaving creams are less than £7 for a big tub and blades are so cheap that it only makes sense to buy them in batches of 100 or more. Other hobbies can be a lot more expensive, try helicopter flying for instance.
  • Shaving acquisition disorders allow us to keep up with the women. For years they have had scores of mysterious bottles in their bathrooms and boudoirs, now we can get our own back. In fact it is good to compete with your significant other as to who can occupy the most shelf space.
  • Bragging rights, as in my daddy is bigger than your daddy. If someone has 30 Simpson’s brushes then someone else will soon pop up with 50, with pictures to prove their superiority.

Of course there is another side to this. Maybe sometimes there is a bit of sub clinical obsession creeping in. Nothing to worry about for the moment but it could get out of hand one day.


  1. The urge to collect is in our genes. I recall seeing a collection of labels from baked beans tins that seemed to fill a guy’s house. I felt normal after that.

  2. Wow. That is a lot of scuttles. But at Fido said: It’s in our genes.

  3. No guilt here. A nice dinner out with an excellent merlot will set you back $200. You can buy a lot of razor kit for that amount of money. So it is all relative. Gotta go, Ebay calling.

  4. There appears to be no such thing as ‘one’ in DE shaving. I suppose with cartridge razors the acquisition (of blades) is done for you.

  5. I started De shaving with a wilkinson sword blue bowl, wilkinson sword brush, boots safety razor and re branded personnas from the supermarket. Then I decided to buy one decent vintage razor to use for life. I now own 12 in all. My brush was a little worn, so I started looking for a new on. I got 3. I now also own 6 latherables based on ‘ooh, that looks good.. And it’s cheap’. Shaving gear acquisition disorder is a serious problem exacerbated by various forums recommending good gear to try andthe wide availability of good quality, cheap shaving gear (some historically and aesthetically pleasing as well as being a nice piece of handheld engineering).

    And I never want to find a cure 🙂

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