Following on from the Lounge discussion here; click

Getting Started

To start with you don't need to go mad, you can start off simply with a new razor and the few trial blades that it will usually come packaged with. The addition of good soap/cream and a brush to apply the soap with and new blades can all come after you have decided that you're happy to shave this way.
The general consensus is to buy a (very) cheap set-up to try out DE Safety Shaving before investing in the more expensive razors, brushes, etc. You can get yourself started at Boots, other high street chemists and shops for about £20 with:
1. Boots own label or Wilkinson Sword DE Safety Razor < £5.00 Click. For a little more Feather Popular is also a good choice.
2. Brush < £10 Click.
3. Soap and dish < £4.00 Click. Easy lather with Palmolive stick or cream from 50p.

Amazon alternative here: click < £15 Jan 2013

Better Option:
freecar said: £14.95 razor £2.60 blades £10 soap and dish, Mitchells Woolfat, very nice! £8.95 brush
Boots would be cheaper but not quite as good. I would recommend a decent badger bristle brush, they retain more water and make a better lather!

Once you've decided it's for you, popular choices include


Make Example site Comment
Timor Click TTO very 'safe', good choice for beginner
Mühle Click
Merkur Click Makers of the Futur "marmite" razor
Edwin Jagger Click Gorgeous hand made Razors
Parker Click Light shave 22R
Feather Click Japanese
Tradere Click Stainless Steel Made in the USA


Make Model Comment(s)
Derby Extra Marmite - as many fans as detractors
Feather Click. Reputed to be the sharpest/most lethal out there.
Gillette 7 o'clock SharpEdge aka Russian yellows
Gillette 7 o'clock Super Stainless
Gillette Super Thin
Merkur Make superb razors but universally the most hated blades
Merkur Super Platinum Awful, ran out of Feather blades so opened a pack of these. Virtually unusable. Avoid.
Personna Double Edge
Personna Platinum Chrome aka Personna red
Personna Super
Tesco Value blades Made in Israel = Personna
Wilkinson Sword Classic Click


Make Model Comment(s)
Kent Brushes
Omega good value boar brushes


Make Model Comment(s)
Edwin Jagger Natural Shaving soap with aloe Vera Easy to lather and great for sensitive skin
Erasmic Lather Shave Cream Cheap stuff availible on the high street, lathers and protects well
GEO Trumpers Almond Shaving Cream Smells like fresh biscuits, shaves well, takes a bit of practice to get a good lather
GEO Trumpers Lime Shaving Cream Fresh Citrus smell and gives a great glide if you get the mix of water right
GEO Trumpers Rose Shaving Cream Great for sensitive skin, shaves well, lathers up beautifully (worth pairing with GFT skin food pre and post shave)
Ingram Blue (Menthol) Shaving Cream Bought from a high street chemists at less than £2 a 150ml tube I would like to say this is good value for money, but its not, one of the worst creams i have used
Mitchels Wool Fat Soap Mythical soap, once mastered it's superb. See Mantic59's video on how to lather it. Click
Vulfix Scicilian Lime Shaving Cream My everyday cream of the moment, fresh clean smell, wonderfully simple to lather and gives an excellent glide


Alum Block
Styptic Pencil
Witch Hazel - post shave freshener/cleanser.

Care and maintenance


After use rinse and air dry.


After use rinse under lots of running water, flick several times to remove excess water before brushing a towel. Air dry, worth investing in a brush stand (less than £5) to keep you brush bristles down but not splaying the bristles.


Not much to do here, just safe disposal. Pretty much every pack of 5 or 10 blades has a slot to put the used blades, once refilled a little tape to seal up and dispose of in your household rubbish.

A rumour I have heard is that your blade is losing its edge and you don't have a replacement you can resharpen them by running them round the inside edge of a straight glass. (Take great care if you try this - blades arent worth slicing your fingers off).

TTO (Butterfly) vs Two-piece vs Three-piece

Arguments for and against/comparison


DE = Double Edge
TTO = Twist To Open aka butterfly razors
3Piece = The handle will unscrew alowing the comb and head to part so you can replace the blade
WTG = With The Grain
XTG = Across The Grain
ATG = Against The Grain

Online vendors

Connaught Shaving
The English Shaving Co.
Executive Shaving
Safety Razors
Shaving Shack
Timothy Edwards
The Traditional Shaving Company
Rock Shaving

Discounts etc

10% with The Traditional Shaving Company using "tsr" code thumbup

Methods and advice

Video: Mantic59
Video: ShaveNation

Recommended reading

Sharp Practice - The real man's guide to shaving, Anders Larsen. Click.
Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving: Shaving Made Enjoyable, Michael Ham. Click.

From the forum

snowy slopes said:
If you go down the Merkur, badger hair brush, Edwin Jagger shaving cream route, it can get expensive for the initial layout, but if you do what I did, and buy the el cheapo stuff from Boots to see if you will like using a safety razor, then the whole kit and caboodle shouldnt cost much over £13. The soap has lasted me 8 months so far, and at 10 blades a packet for £2, if you don't need to shave as often as I do, then they last a fair old time. What would you rather do, spend £8-10 on fusion blades, or £2 for ten?
freecar said:
The Brush
The brush is important, firstly it provides a source of exfoliation, it removes dead skin cells and dirt from around each hair and it also brings the environment to create "emulsion" with your soap but more on that later. The brush is generally made from Badger bristle, the finest type is often referred to as "silvertip" badger and comes from the neck of the badger in winter, this is the softest, most absorbent type of brush you can get and it makes a fine lather.
When using a brush, the first time you lather up your face in the morning (or whenever you shave) you should grip the brush by the bristles, this tightens them up and makes them more aggressive. This will ensure that the bristles have picked up all the laying down hairs and surrounded them with gooey lather. Further latherings can be done by gripping the handles and letting the brush remain more floppy.

The Soap
Shaving soap should be alkaline (which is why you shouldn't use face soap which is acidic!) which is essential to cause the little plates that "armour" each hair to split apart and allow moisture within the hair shaft. It is this process that swells each hair and makes it easier to cut, it also allows for a tiny bit of stubble "retreat" after your shave leaving you very smooth, but not so far beneath the skin that it will cause irritation and ingrown hairs like hysteresis (the process by which cartridge razors work, they don't shave, even the manufacturers admit it!)
The key to creating a good lather is to make an emulsion of soap and water. Just the right amount of water will make you lather tenacious and slick, I usually put my soap, brush and razor in my mug in the sink full of the hottest water my tap can muster while I have my shower. Once out I give my brush a good shake to remove the excess and tip the water from inside the soap, 80-100 whirls of the brush 'pon my puck and I have enough soap to make a decent three pass and polish shave. I put this into the hot mug and start adding water while mixing it up, it is actually surprising how much water you can add to make it good and slick (something you can do in the early days while learning is to make up a batch and ruin it by adding too much water, this will give you experience of the stages it goes through so you can spot when it's just right) and provide enough cushion for the blade.
It is also worth mentioning that the first time you use a new brush it will smell a bit like dead wet dog! The best thing to do is to shampoo the bristles a few times to get rid of the smell!

So there you have it, a comprehensive reason why crap in a can just isn't up to the job, the brush and soap do so many tasks between them, it is not simply a case of lubrication.
snowy slopes said:
digger_R said:
What do you mean by mapping your beard?
Look at your beard in a mirror, very closely, and see which way your hairs grow. For example, my cheek hairs and top lip hairs grow in a V shape towards my chin, my cheek hairs grow straight down, and under my chin, my left side grows horizontaly so to speak, my right side grows at about 45° towards my adams apple. If you can find which way your hairs grow, and follow them with the razor, it is a much nicer shave, as you dont get that burn afterwards.
snowy slopes said:
Invest in a good facecloth, which should be soaked in hot water and placed on your face, do this 3 or 4 times and it softens the hairs up lovely, which makes shaving that bit easier. Remember to use cold water after.
the_lone_wolf said:
I tried a cheapy £3.50 safety razor from Boots, was so impressed with the lack of irritation that, as I've just received an unexpected bit of money, I ordered the whole hog, Futur, brush and soap. Today was the first time having a shave was an experience to be enjoyed rather than a time consuming chore that I knew would leave me unsatisfied (electric beard trimmer) or in a rash of ingrown hair and nasty little spots (disposable or cartridge razors).

So thank you, to the folks who offered advice, all I need to get hold of now is a styptic pen until I get the proper hang of controlling the blade around the stranger contours...
tonym911 said:
Never, ever buy the Lidl double-blade razor. It rips your face to shreds.

A nice set up - courtesy Soovy