Frequently Asked Questions
- I'm a beginner, which safety razor is right for me?
There are a number of brands which offer great all around razors that are easy to use. We recommend getting a razor with a classic head (as opposed to an open comb, slant, or TTO/butterfly) with a handle style that you prefer. A few recommendations are the Merkur 34C or the Edwin Jagger DE89L. Please keep in mind that traditional safety razors have handles that are much shorter than cartridge razors that you find at the drugstore. While using a safety razor, the weight of the razor will be doing most of the work instead of adding pressure like you normally would with a cartridge razor. With this in mind, it may be in your best interest to purchase a longer, heavier razor that you will be more comfortable with such as the Merkur 38C Barber Pole or Muhle R89 Grande Safety Razor.
- I'm a beginner, which straight razor is right for me?
If this is your first straight razor, we'll recommend a 5/8" half hollow from Dovo. The Dovo Best Quality Half Hollow Carbon Steel 5/8" is a great starter razor at a reasonable price. The reason for a 5/8" instead of a larger blade is because the smaller size is easier to manuever. The half hollow grind means that it's a thicker blade which doesn't give it the flexibility that the full hollow blades have - this is a benefit for beginners because it decreases the likelihood that you will cut yourself. The scales (handle) on the best quality range are also very basic and require little maintenance, but still have the weight needed to balance the razor properly and develop the proper shaving technique. The carbon steel blade is also easier to maintain and strop.
- Should I get an adjustable safety razor?
We do not generally recommend adjustable safety razors for beginners. This is due to the extra maintenance that is required to keep an adjustable razor in good condition. Because of all the moving parts involved, it is important to give the entire razor proper cleanings (aside from just the normal soap scum cleaning, you will have to disassemble the whole razor for thorough cleanings). Besides the maintenance, adjustable razors are great if you require the extra settings (mild to aggressive) to shave.
- What's the difference between all of the shaving brushes? Which one is right for me?
For a better understanding of shaving brushes, we recommend looking at Shaving Brush Basics. We recommend best badger brushes for beginners because they're a reasonable price and work well with both shaving soaps and creams. Besides the quality of the bristles, factors that cause prices to fluctuate for a shaving brush depend on the knot size and handle material. Bigger knot sizes don't necessarily mean that it's a better brush - it's just a bigger brush. A great brush to start with is the RoyalShave PB2 Shaving Brush because of the price point and quality of hair.
- Which razor blades should I use?
This is completely up to you. We recommend that you try out as many brands of razor blades as you can to find which works best for your skin type and shaving angle. In addition, just because Blade A gives you the absolute best shave in Razor A, it won't necessarily give you the same results in Razor B. Try picking out a Double Edge Razor Blade Sampler Pack to find out which ones work for you. Note: it may be important to try blades more than once even if you were unhappy with the first result - everyone has a bad day :)
- Should I use a shaving cream or soap?
- I have sensitive skin, what do you recommend?
- Are the straight razors ready-to-shave?
Which do you like better? Some people prefer the extra hydration of lathering up a shaving soap while others like the thick foam of a shaving cream. We carry dozens of brands that are great all around, but there are other factors you should consider while choosing your shaving product such as: scent preference, glycerin/vegetable based products, or sensitive skin. Heck, maybe you'll like a croap (hard shaving cream/soft shaving soap)! A few favorites: Mitchell's Wool Fat Shaving Soap. Omega Shaving Croap, Truefitt and Hill Shaving Cream, and Proraso Shaving Croap
First of all, no one here is a dermatologist, but we can suggest a few things based on customer feedback and personal experiences. Some companies recommend using oil based products, but we suggest checking with a dermatologist before trying this route because oils are known to clog pores which could make the situation worse. Sensitive skin formulas are considered so because they don't contain certain harsh ingredients/scents that some people may be allergic to. If you aren't allergic to ingredients/scents, we suggest changing up your shaving technique/tools. For example: if you're using a cartridge razor and are getting bad razor burn, consider switching to a double edge razor and letting the weight of the razor do the work rather than adding extra pressure. Razor burn is caused by the skin getting overworked (a five blade system dragging on bare skin).
All of our straight razors are considered "ready-to-shave" by the manufacturer. Certain companies will offer a sharper out-of-the-box blade than others, but every razor that we sell has been expertly honed by the factory prior to shipping. You will still need to strop the razor before each use to warm and align the blade to give it proper structure for shaving. Your technique is very important and you should visit Youtube to see proper stropping techniques.