Greetings from a Brit Canuck

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Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by Tayken » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:42 pm

I just wanted to introduce myself to the members here at SMF. Im a complete newbie to wet shaving, and stumbled across this forum when I was researching ways get a clean shave and curb bumbs and rashes that appear from my current way of shaving, using supermarket Gillette and Bic shavers, as well as the goop in the cans.

I have to shave everyday for my job unfortunately, and I also have sensitive skin. My question for your wise ones and long term wet shavers is as follows:

- For a complete novice like me looking to get into the wet shaving using creams and soap, which list of basic newbie tools would you recommend for me to buy from stores or online from ebay?

- I don't have long beard or anything i.e. am not a bushy type

- Which aftershaves care with no alcohol that will dry my face do you suggest?


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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by CMur12 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:14 pm

Hi Tayken, welcome to SMF!

We have a lot of great vendors who are very helpful and offer outstanding service: and more.

There are also some good vendors in Canada proper. I believe one of them is called Fendrihan. SMF members from Canada should be able to tell you more about what is available without going outside of the country.

As a rule of thumb and starting place when selecting a razor and blade, I choose the razor for the skin and the blade for the beard.

If you have sensitive skin (as I do), I would recommend a mild/gentle/not-aggressive razor. There aren't that many truly mild razors currently being made. A Merkur Progress at its lowest setting works very well for me. A Weishi razor is truly mild. The expensive Feather AS-D2 is another good candidate if you are willing to pay for it. You could also look for a used Feather AS-D1 or a vintage Gillette Tech, Super Speed, or one of the Gillette Adjustables. My main razors are a Merkur Progress with a custom metal knob on the bottom (a "Mergress"), but the standard Progress would function the same, and a Gillette Tech. New razors by Edwin Jagger and Muehle, regarded as mild by many, are still too aggressive for me.

Some will argue that your sensitive skin may well be the result of abuse by multi-blade cartridge razors and that going to a razor with a single blade will resolve this problem. This is a definite possibility, but truly sensitive skin does exist. A good solution might be to buy an adjustable razor, such as the Merkur Progress, which will offer you a mild shave if you need it, and it can be adjusted all the way up to very aggressive if you find that your skin isn't as sensitive as you once thought.

If you have an average beard that isn't very heavy or coarse, most blades will work fine for you. Still this is a very individual matter. There are many blades available and every shaver has his/her preferences. I would start with a fairly widely liked blade like the Crystal (Israeli Personna), stick with it while you develop your technique, and then get a blade sampler pack. I don't recommend a sampler pack for getting started because changing variables slows learning and you wouldn't know starting out what makes a blade best for you. As your technique develops, your preference in blades may also change.

When it comes to soaps and creams, there are so many good products available that it is hard to make a recommendation. I like Valobra hard soaps (Valobra Shave Stick and Valobra soap in a cake), Cella soft soap, and I like "artisan" soaps, such as Mike's Natural Soaps and Mystic Water Soaps, among others.

Choosing a brush gets a little more complicated, as this depends largely on whether you want to lather in a bowl or face-lather. Lately, I have been filling a one-cup Pyrex dish less than half-full with soap, then I make my lather directly on the soap. Most any brush will work well for this approach. I find that less-dense brushes, such as Vulfix super badger brushes, work great in this way. I also like Semogue boar brushes, such as the 1305 and the 830. There are may other Semogue boar brushes and Omega makes excellent boar brushes, also.

If you want to face-lather, the afore-mentioned Semogue boar brushes will work fine, as will Omega boars. Badger brushes for face-lathering need to be stiffer, so that means a denser knot and/or stiffer grade of badger. Semogue makes a couple of two-banded badger brushes that are very well suited to face-lathering. You will find other outstanding brushes by traditional makers, such as Simpson, Rooney, Shavemac, and Plisson. There are also a lot of new Chinese-made brushes that have become popular.

For an aftershave, I just use a cold water rinse, sometimes followed by Thayer's Witch Hazel. Beyond that, others will have to tell you about other aftershaves on the market.

Good luck -

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by ShadowsDad » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:27 pm

Welcome to the forum!

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by Brutus » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:49 am

Firstly, welcome to the Forum.

As starting point to DE shaving, you might want to consider the Edwin Jagger DE89 or near identical Mühle R89 razor that were the result of a cooperation between the two companies. Both razors are universally acclaimed and perfect for you in that they are forgiving, yet provide comfortable, close shaves at a reasonable price.

There are various (YouTube) videos available on how to best use a safety razor, but in a nutshell first you soften the beard and then follow with one pass with (WTG), one pass across (ATG) and one pass against the grain (XTG) to produce IMO the most consistent, least irritating close shaves. But we can talk more about that later.

Talking about Mühle and Edwin Jagger, their synthetic brushes use the same latest generation fibres (Mühle calls them "SilverTip Fibres") and are attractively priced, excellent brushes that are easy to build a good lather with. Having used traditional badger silvertips for years, I have come to appreciate the quality and ease that the latest generation of synthetic fibre brushes offer. They come in a range from S to XL and you can't really go wrong with a M or L brush in the beginning.

As far as soap or creams are concerned, in Canada you find it easy to get Proraso (Proraso White for sensitive skin) creams or semi-soft soaps, and Nivea (Mild and Sensitive) creams in drugstores like Shoppers or London Drugs (Western Canada).
Proraso is a decent product, and while not my favourite, is a good, inexpensive point to start from.
Nivea may grow on you and while they make only two types of shaving creams (no hard soaps), they produce an exhaustive range of reasonably priced other mens' products (e.g. after-shave balms, creams, etc.).
I find some of the best value is the ubiquitous classic blue Nivea cream (or blue Nivea lotion) that makes a great yet inexpensive substitute for much more expensive products.

Some people will suggest the Arko shaving stick; admittedly cheap and producing a good lather, but frankly I don't like the overpowering smell ( "The Munster cheese among shaving sticks." :twisted: ) and shaving sticks take some time getting used to and are somewhat of an acquired taste.
If you want to spend some more money, D.R. Harris, Valobra, Cella and Tabac will give you a nice introduction into English, Italian (2x) and German classic shaving products.

As for blades, you might go for a blade sampler that includes a few blades from various companies, so you can choose your favourite blade. But be forewarned, especially in the beginning you may go back to a blade that you tried some time before and it may leave a much better impression the second time around, since your technique has improved in the meantime and you handle now the razor much more proficiently.
Hence it may not be such a good idea to order 100 blades until your technique is well established and you are comfortably settled in.
There are many good blades, Astra blades (originally from Czechoslovakia, now owned by Gillette and produced in Russia), Japanese Feather blades (feared for their sharpness, but really excellent blades) are my own favourites when I use a safety razor, but there are many others like US made Personna Lab Blue blades and several Russian blades like Polsilver and Voskhod.
The list is exhaustive and it may take you years to experiment and find your personal favourite blade.
This is where this site comes in, as members report on their experience with products and you get a good idea over time what is worth trying and what isn't.

A reliable source in Canada is aforementioned Fendrihans, and Italian Barber who has reasonable prices, ships quickly and carries all the items that I mentioned above.
The latter carries also Palmolive shaving creams (classic and menthol) and shaving stick. Palmolive shaving products are inexpensive and excellent, but can be difficut to find in North America.

For sheer convenience, I would stick to a Canadian supplier and bundle all my needs into a single initial order, unless you have an item that is just not available in the Great White North or costs you a fortune over here, in which case you may need to expose yourself to the vagaries of Canada Customs and delays in delivery.

Good luck, before long you will hopefully agree with us hat traditional wet-shaving is much more satisfying than the shave with cartridge razor and shaving cream/gel out of a can.
What was a boring morning routine at one stage could thus eventually become something that you start enjoying and look forward to.


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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by fallingwickets » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:26 am

Welcome to smf.......Murray and B have given you and incredible start to your journey

de gustibus non est disputandum

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by brothers » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:49 am

fallingwickets wrote:Welcome to smf.......Murray and B have given you and incredible start to your journey

I agree with Clive. These gentlemen have just shared an incredible amount of wise advice in response to your questions. Welcome to SMF!

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic/boar/badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by TheMonk » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:15 am

Welcome to SMF!

“Use any means to keep from being a genius, all means to become one.” John Cage

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by pausted » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:25 am

Welcome to the forum. You will enjoy a great learning experience.
Best regards,


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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by drmoss_ca » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:29 am

Yes, welcome. We have a soft spot for British Canadians around here. :whistle:

"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by Squire » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:14 am

Good morning Tayken, welcome aboard.

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by Tayken » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:54 pm

Gentlemen...bloody hell (pardon my French), I turn my back for a wee bit and bam all these responses. I really appreciate it fellas, and yes if I can get all that I need here in the country, there will be no need for me to start shopping from our cousins in the US or even from back home in blighty (expats name for the UK).

I have access to shoppers drug mart, as well as wal-mart and am not far from a NY state border if need be. I use to watch my now 70 plus yr old dad wet shave back then, but didn't think anything of it. I have never let my beard grow more than 3-4 days, and all am dealing with due to the nature of my job is just small small side cheeks and under chin hair...nothing more than an inch.

Unfortunately my dad is not in my now chosen country of resident for me to steal / borrow his shaver :D

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by jww » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:27 pm

Lots of good advice so far, so I won't complicate things. But, I will share my welcome to you to SMF. We have a few ex-pat Brits among us, and at least one -- ahem -- who confesses full anglophiia. :wink:

Resident Wool Fat Evangelist & anglophile. Have you hugged a sheep today?

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Re: Greetings from a Brit Canuck

Post by mustang_john » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:31 am

Hi, just seen your posts, welcome to the forum and enjoy your journey to a better shave.

I was were you are about a year ago and everyone on here has been amazingly helpful.

Good luck to you and let us know how you get on :)


John, in a cold and wet blighty :roll:

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