September 27, 2022 5 min read
The world of classic shaving is wide and wonderful. Once you take the plunge, the nearly unlimited variety of products, brands, and ways to shave can be both thrilling and daunting. It’s tempting to try them all right away in search of the perfect shave, but you can quickly sink thousands of your hard-earned dollars into gear. I’ve personally done this with zero regrets - I enjoy switching out my hardware, and all of the software gets used eventually. That said, not everyone has the budget or time to experiment up front, so to save you the FOMO, I’ve compiled some of the most beloved pieces of shaving gear that I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love.
A safety razor offers a better shave regardless of what body part you shave, how sensitive your skin or how thick your hair. Chances are you already know that, but what razor is right for you? Each brand shaves a little differently, but you can’t go wrong by buying a sturdy one, a razor that can stand up to being dropped every now and then. Don’t stress too much about picking a particular brand of razor; you can experiment with different types of razor blades and find a shave that suits you.
I started my journey with Merkur 23C, a razor I still use to this day. Most razor brands use a softer metal clad in chrome, but Merkur seems to make the most solid one. I’ve been hard on mine, travelling with it, dropping it, storing it in the shower, and I’ve even managed to wear off some of the chrome, but it is still going strong. Another great alternative would be Henson, which carries a similar price tag to Merkur, but is made in Canada from lightweight aluminum. These tend to be easier for beginners but continue to provide excellent shave for decades thanks to their rugged aluminum build. The one downside to Henson is their mildness; folks with the toughest of beards may want to steer clear and stick with a more aggressive brand, like Merkur.
Another no-brainer is stainless steel. Stainless is exceedingly tough, and most of the best razors are stainless steel. The Rockwell 6S is adjustable, giving you a ton of customization over your shave and the ability to change your preferred aggressiveness as your skin and hair change with age. Feather, Karve, and Rex all make excellent stainless steel razors, but the 6S balances quality and affordability, making them approachable for beginners.
The one single tool that’s made the most significant difference in turning me from a shave-hater to a shave fanatic is my badger hair shaving brush. In addition to helping me stretch my shave cream or soap much further by expanding it with air and water, the brush has made a considerable difference to the smoothness of my shave and the happiness of my skin afterward. Once your lather is built, I suggest you spend 30-60 seconds lathering with the brush directly on your skin. This action scrubs dirt and oil, softening your stubble and lifting it into the lather. This makes the hair way easier to cut without tugging or pulling and helps eliminate ingrown hairs and razor burn. I can get an excellent shave with almost any razor if I use a shaving brush.
They come in many shapes and sizes, but silvertip is undeniably the best. Silvertip has a distinctive white top coming from the white strips on the badger. It has a strong backbone, just like other badger hair grades, perfect for exfoliating and whipping up a good lather, but the white tips are silky soft and feel excellent on your skin. Being a higher-end brush, they also tend to be made with more care and can last decades when cared for properly.
If you have a shaving brush, youneed a stand. Hanging your brush upside down to dry keeps moisture out of the handle. Stored improperly, a brush can fall apart in months. Hung to dry, it’ll last years, even decades. It’s a no-brainer; just get a stand.
Yet another product you simply can’t go wrong with! Shave oils allow your razor to glide more smoothly and offer a second line of defence between your razor and skin. They also make your hair even softer, reducing drag during the shave. There’s absolutely no downside to using preshave oil; you can even use it on its own if you’re shaving in a hurry and don’t have time to build a lather.
Traditional shaving soaps packed in ornate wooden bowls are one of the most iconic bits of classic shave gear. These soaps are a little trickier to lather than shaving cream but have a ton of benefits. You can lather directly on the soap, eliminating the need to lather up in a separate bowl. They’re super slick, have excellent glide, and almost last forever. If I use the same soap and shave every second day, I’ll get a minimum of two years out of one. That’s over 300 shaves! The wooden bowls are also reusable, which saves you money and reduces waste. Just gran a refill puck in the scent of your choice and recycle the packaging!
Seriously, you can’t go wrong with any product from Castle Forbes. Their shaving creams are luxurious, their perfumes are wonderful, and their preshave has to be the slickest substance on earth. Everything they make is lovingly crafted with plant-based ingredients and formulated by their president Andrew French. Their Lime, Lavender, and Cedar products even contain enough essential oils to have benefits for your skin. Castle Forbes lime is extraordinarily fresh and invigorating, while the Lavender is rich and incredible at preventing razor burn. Their Cedar is very earthy and might leave you smelling like a forest floor, but if you’re down with that (I sure am), it will give you a sauna-like experience while you shave, leaving you feeling super refreshed.
Speaking of razor burn, sometimes it just can’t be avoided. Even if the stars align, I’m prone to some redness on my neck following a shave. Our aftershave balm has been specially formulated from all-natural ingredients and crafted blocks from our store specifically to stomp out shaving irritation. Shaving also removes a fine layer of skin, and this soothing natural balm protects and moisturizes it while the healing process gets underway.
No matter how safe your razor and how steady your hand, you will get the occasional nick and cut when you shave. When this happens, an alum block will be your best friend. This natural mineral salt constricts blood vessels, slowing or stopping bleeding. Just wet it, rub it, curse a little, and you’re good as new! No need for toilet paper on the neck or blood stains on your shirt collar.
With this collection of gear, you’re guaranteed to get a delightful shave and never be left wondering if you chose the right products. That said, everyone is different, and we pride ourselves on finding the right shave setup for each individual. If you’d like some help finding the right items, visit us in-store or shoot us a message, and we can help!