It does not have to be expensive

A place to learn and compare notes about the art of wet shaving.

It does not have to be expensive

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:08 pm

Hi All,

Just a reminder for newcomers that the initial foray into traditional wet shaving does not have be an expensive affair. A cheaper razor can get the job done just as well as an expensive one. Cheaper soaps and creams can also perform just as well as some of the more expensive brands. At the end of the day, if you are getting a good quality, irritation free shave, that's all that matters.
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Chrisvo » Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:42 pm

True enough, just don't try a Lion razor though.

What I would really like to see is what exactly South Africans can get at their local neighbourhood shops and pharmacies. I only see SuperMax New Improved blades at Pick 'n Pay and other stores. Cheap blades but they do work well enough to get anyone started. The only cream I can find, besides the Maca Root, is the Palmshave. Which I found to be a bit disappointing.

Razors are another thing I haven't found anywhere but online. Talking new razors here and not the vintage finds.

Perhaps another thread to add would be 'Product Finds' in your area.
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Thug » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:29 pm

I agree that it doesn't have to be expensive.

However, using a cycling analogy, you can ride the 94.7 on a dikwiel bought from Game or on a Specialized S-Works. They'll both do the job but the latter will be smoother and quicker. :D
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Jacquers » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:18 pm

Yeah, you can definitely get started for not a lot of money.

Blades:

Bic Chrome Platinum (PnP, Dischem) Decent blades. Anything is better than the Lion blades!
Super-Max New & Improved. Some like them, I haven't had much success with them yet.
Gillette Minora (seen at some Cafe's) I heard that they used to be good, but not so much anymore. Maybe a bad batch? Relatively expensive at R15 for a tuck of 5, but they sell them loose at R3.50 each if you want to just try one.

Brushes:

You can get a cheapie boar brush for R30 at Dischem and a Badger one for R99. Also the Palmshave one for +-R70 at Checkers / PnP.

Creams:

About R30 each:

Palmshave (don't take the brushless one...)
Super-Max Lime at Checkers - Not bad, I like this one for variation now and then.

Soaps:

Perfect Shave (black tub) at Dischem (same as Maca Root?)
Tabac at Dischem (more expensive, but will last a while)

Razors:

Besides the super aggressive Lion I've only seen the Super-Max plastic one at Checkers, which is on the opposite side of the scale - too mild to be useful.

This is the real problem area. No decent starter razors available other than online and then the best worthwhile starter options are at least +-R130. I checked at a local Chinese variety store, but they didn't have. They could probably import something like the RiMei or Weishi if I asked.
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Chrisvo » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:26 pm

This is one of the reasons Gillette's cartridge system took over from DE so well. They took all the DE supplies off the shelves and replaced them with their new products. Most guys simply want to run into a store, grab the razor, blades and soap; and be on their way. Trying to convince them otherwise is the biggest difficulty I've faced trying to convert friends.
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Thug » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:01 pm

Further to my comment above, if you have the means, these two items will set you back over R10k if purchased.

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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Jacquers » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:07 pm

In America they are making progress. I've read on some blogs and forums that stores like Target are stocking re-branded Weishi razors in the form of MicroTouch One / van der Hagen / Dorco Prime sets. And in Europe I think it's easier as well to get hold of decent DE razors.

Of course we have guys like RVT, ShaveHaven, etc and ourselves promoting it here, but it's largely word of mouth.

Maybe if one of the chain stores or even TV commercial places starts stocking DE razors it might give wet shaving a good kick start. I saw this with the LCHF diet, it started small and then the stores caught on and realized that they can make money from it (basically the only reason they stock anything). Maybe the same will happen with wet shaving.
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby thetarn » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:41 pm

I used a Lion razor for over a year. Had no issue with it, using SuperMax blades. Then I switched to Minora as it is the only brand I can find right now (stock levels vary widely down here!). Big mistake! Cuts all over.

I since got the starter kit from theshavingcompany. The last person I spoke to said the brush shed too much. Mine has yet to shed a single hair after 3 weeks of daily use. The razor works well enough. But is a bit too mild for my taste. The included blades aren't bad. The aftershave and pre-shave oil are great. Stink a bit too heavily of tea-tree oil, though. Although my messed up skin loves it. Soap doesn't lather very nicely (but that could just be my technique) and smells pretty ok. All in all cost me R300 something with courier. Not a bad start.

Interestingly, the Minora blades are fine with the TSC razor. Would still like to try some fancy ones.

I switched to the red Palmshave (regular) from normal aerosol cream, shortly after getting the Lion. What a difference! My skin condition improved by 50% almost immediately.
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Thug » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:57 pm

There are a number of local vendors on BoB

MasterShave
ShavehavenSA
River Valley Trading


They all offer brushes, shaving soaps/creams, blades and razors.

And no, shaving doesn't have to be expensive but what's the use of only having 1 razor and 1 brush... :lol:
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:20 pm

thetarn wrote:I used a Lion razor for over a year. Had no issue with it, using SuperMax blades. Then I switched to Minora as it is the only brand I can find right now (stock levels vary widely down here!). Big mistake! Cuts all over.

I since got the starter kit from theshavingcompany. The last person I spoke to said the brush shed too much. Mine has yet to shed a single hair after 3 weeks of daily use. The razor works well enough. But is a bit too mild for my taste. The included blades aren't bad. The aftershave and pre-shave oil are great. Stink a bit too heavily of tea-tree oil, though. Although my messed up skin loves it. Soap doesn't lather very nicely (but that could just be my technique) and smells pretty ok. All in all cost me R300 something with courier. Not a bad start.

Interestingly, the Minora blades are fine with the TSC razor. Would still like to try some fancy ones.

I switched to the red Palmshave (regular) from normal aerosol cream, shortly after getting the Lion. What a difference! My skin condition improved by 50% almost immediately.

Hi there, I think you will find through experience that different razors have different levels of aggression. The blades work the same way as well.

One of the joys of a wet shaving is that you can experiment with the gear to find the combination that works the best for your personal skin type / beard growth combination. As you become more familiar with the forum you will see everybody has their favourites.

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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby danievdm » Tue May 23, 2017 9:27 pm

My own opinion is that I would not want my first experience to be a bad one, and I did not have a good shave with the Lion razor. It will cost more to buy a razor like a Merkur 34C (well less than 16 Gillette Fusion blades) and once bought the savings anyway kick in with far cheaper razor blades.

Combinations that worked well for me were:
1. Merkur 34C razor with Feather blades (Milder razor with sharp blades)
2. Edwin Jagger DE89 razor with Gillette 7 O'Clock blades (closer shave razor with slightly milder blades)

A good local soap I used was Tabac's shaving soap, and I have always preferred a slightly stiffer boar brush over the badger hair brushes (I use a Bluebeard Revenge boar brush also bought locally).
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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Mikaar » Tue May 23, 2017 9:51 pm

danievdm wrote:My own opinion is that I would not want my first experience to be a bad one, and I did not have a good shave with the Lion razor. It will cost more to buy a razor like a Merkur 34C (well less than 16 Gillette Fusion blades) and once bought the savings anyway kick in with far cheaper razor blades.

Combinations that worked well for me were:
1. Merkur 34C razor with Feather blades (Milder razor with sharp blades)
2. Edwin Jagger DE89 razor with Gillette 7 O'Clock blades (closer shave razor with slightly milder blades)

A good local soap I used was Tabac's shaving soap, and I have always preferred a slightly stiffer boar brush over the badger hair brushes (I use a Bluebeard Revenge boar brush also bought locally).

Welcome to the forum! I'm also relatively new to wet shaving, but learnt a lot from here.

I agree that it would be better for new wet shavers to start off with a milder razor, but unfortunately these are only available online as far as I can tell. For the majority of people shaving is just another chore. For example I wouldn't go out of my way to buy toothpaste online, in the same way most people wouldn't want to invest a couple hundred rands in a basic DE kit online. Also considering that the normal reaction to DE or straight shaving is "But don't you get cut?" , they wouldn't want to risk wasting that money if they don't like it. They'd rather spend that on more cartridges.

I agree that starting off with a Lion is basically a baptism by fire into the world of wet shaving, if you like it you'll stay. Otherwise you'll go back to cartridges. I have a very small collection of razors, but the lion is my daily shaver because I've come to like the aggressiveness of it.

If we had decent DE razors readily available in stores more people would be willing to try it out. All of the people that I told to try it out had to be pretty much convinced into doing so.

Our local soaps available from stores are also very limited, but there are excellent soaps made locally that are available online. Tabac is also one of my favorites in terms of scent and performance, but all of the RVT soaps have much better performance and better value for money.



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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby Thug » Tue May 23, 2017 10:02 pm

RVT's online store and that of Mastershave are veritable goldmines for newbie wetshavers at very reasonable prices.


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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby danievdm » Wed May 24, 2017 6:15 pm

Mikaar wrote:Welcome to the forum! I'm also relatively new to wet shaving, but learnt a lot from here.

I agree that it would be better for new wet shavers to start off with a milder razor, but unfortunately these are only available online as far as I can tell. For the majority of people shaving is just another chore. For example I wouldn't go out of my way to buy toothpaste online, in the same way most people wouldn't want to invest a couple hundred rands in a basic DE kit online. Also considering that the normal reaction to DE or straight shaving is "But don't you get cut?" , they wouldn't want to risk wasting that money if they don't like it. They'd rather spend that on more cartridges.

I agree that starting off with a Lion is basically a baptism by fire into the world of wet shaving, if you like it you'll stay. Otherwise you'll go back to cartridges. I have a very small collection of razors, but the lion is my daily shaver because I've come to like the aggressiveness of it.

If we had decent DE razors readily available in stores more people would be willing to try it out. All of the people that I told to try it out had to be pretty much convinced into doing so.

Our local soaps available from stores are also very limited, but there are excellent soaps made locally that are available online. Tabac is also one of my favorites in terms of scent and performance, but all of the RVT soaps have much better performance and better value for money.


Thanks Mikaar, yes actually I did find Edwin Jagger DE89 razors in the Crabtree & Evelyn stores in SA. I did my initial choice though by looking at lots of reviews and choosing a DE razor that was at least available in SA (even if it was online). What I would avoid is foreign imports as that is a nightmare process and takes long. RiverValleyTrading has a reasonable choice and does (did) at least stock the Merkur 34C razor.

I suppose it is a toss up then between those that choose to try spend as little as possible to try it out vs those that may want to give it a good try and invest a bit. Personally I would still be worried about someone having a less than optimal experience with the Lion razors. Beginners have not even mastered the skill of holding a DE razor correctly so the Lion would be less forgiving. I suppose it is an important issue to make known though, so beginners can decide which route they want to go. They should just remember that a cut or two with the Lion, is really not how it normally goes with DE shaving. It's a pity we don't have a better entry level DE razor in SA in shops.

RiverValleyTrading does have DE razors from R90 through R160 to R300 and would deliver within 2 days. I just have never tested any of those lower end models, and would be interested to hear if anyone has tried them out. That is basically disposal cost compare to Gilette Fusion blades anyway.
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It does not have to be expensive

Postby ShavingB » Sat May 27, 2017 7:41 am

If I had to start fresh and try be cost effective but having a great Shave. I would go for the following:

Razor: Merkur 34c OR Muhle R89 OR Edwin Jagger DE89

Blade: Derby AND Personna Blue AND Astra SP

Soap: Figaro OR RVT Soaps

Brush: Semogue Boar

Aftershave: Prep OR fino soothe

This would give anyone world class Shaves. Unfortunately the razor is the most expensive. But with the right Semogue Boar (Maybe 1800 or 1250) and a Merkur 34c, this could probably be done for just under R1000. At the end of the day if you paying R250 for a set of 4 Gillette Blades, a R1000 for good equipment with low blade costs will be a good investment.

Another option is to look for a couple of vintage razors from antique stores. But that is a gamble to the quality of the Shave and I'd say it's better to start with a recommended new razor and blade to know it's a good start.

If you wanted to go a bit more premium (not that you'd get any better shaves) I would stay with the same razor and blades:

Soap: MWF OR Shavers Heaven OR Figaro OR RVT Soaps

Brush: RVT Finest Knot OR Semogue SOC 2 Band Badger

Aftershave: Proraso (aftershave or a preshave as a aftershave) OR Prep OR fino soothe

What I would NOT buy starting out because I personally find this gear to underperform and people may disagree. These are readily available from local stores. Lion and Super-Max Blades are not smooth in my opinion. Tabac is expensive and lacks slickness in my opinion but has a great scent. Perfect Shave Shaving Soap lacks slickness in my opinion. I would not get a cheap silvertip badger brush because it will be rather floppy.
The Cheap Lion razor and Palmshave are readily available and I think can do the job fine, just use a decent blade in the lion razor. Palmshave is the soap I started with and I still enjoy it.


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Re: It does not have to be expensive

Postby jegreen » Sat May 27, 2017 10:08 am

Agree very much with ShavingB's and most of the above posts. You CAN go much more budget and end up with a poor experience and decide that wet shaving is a terribe idea. I researched well before I started and would recommend this for a good investment to get a great result:

Razor: Merkur 34c or Edwin Jagger DE89 feature on every modern razor list for a reason.
Blade: Anything with the word Platinum on it should work well.
Soap: Wriggly Tin for low price and punching well above price on performance.
Brush: Omega Boar
Preshave: Prep
Aftershave: Alum block or Nivea

The most expensive part is a new razor, but vintage can be a lot cheaper and arguably much better value. I would then rather go for a vintage Tech above a Weishi. Best place to source is from an experienced forum member, rather than first time on BoB or flea markets until you know what to look for.
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