Wet Shaving is all about the tools. To get a real wet shave, you'll need a few items that aren't as easily available as they once were. 10 years ago these things might have been difficult to find, but with the emergence of the internet, classic wet shaving technology is just a click away and can be found on the internet from specialty vendors. Just a note before we start: when buying wet shaving products over the internet, stay away from eBay there's not a large enough secondary market for you to get your money's worth.
So what will you need for a great wet shave?
There's really not all that much to it, you will need the following:
· A shaving brush
· A double edged (DE) safety razor and blades
· A glycerin based shaving cream/soap
· A non-alcoholic after shave
· A mug or bowl to make lather in
So where to start? At the beginning of course.
A good shaving brush is the key to a proper wet shave, and the best brushes are made from badger hair. It's smooth on the face and retains water better than any other material. There are four levels of badger hair brushes; pure, best, super, and silvertip. Pure badger hair is badger hair that generally comes from the underbelly. These are the baseline quality of brushes. Above this are 'best' badger hair brushes, which use more fine and pliable hairs from the badger's body. Even more high quality are the 'super' brushes, using the best, most highly graded hairs from all over the body. The deluxe in badger hair is silvertip it is very rare naturally white hair on the badger which holds water best. However, as the brushes ascend in quality, they also grow in price, and silvertip brushes can run easily into the hundreds of dollars. Personally I use a brush with 'best' badger hair that I got for $50 dollars and it has served amazingly.
Next you'll want a DE safety razor. There are two very popular options for these. First, and my personal choice, is the Merkur hefty classic. Merkur is a German company that continues to make quality DE razors and blades to this day. The other popular option is the 1961 Gillette Adjustable razor. This razor may be more difficult to acquire but I have heard is also excellent. Merkur also makes great blades, but you can find blades from a variety of companies as well.
For your shaving cream there are also two popular options. The first is Proraso, an old Italian shaving cream in a tube with eucalyptus and menthol. This stuff is cheap and amazing. It makes a great lather with a wonderful smell and when you splash your face with cold water after you shave, the menthol activates to give you a cooling sensation. The second is one Geo F. Trumper's shaving creams. They too are phenomenal, with classic dignified smells and creams that culminate in great lathers.
There are many after shaves available as well, but Trumper's once again tops this list for quality with their 'skin food' products. They are not alcoholic after shaves with lovely smells that don't hurt the face afterward. There is a multitude of after shaves available from other companies as well, so you should find one with a smell and feel that you like however. Just make sure that they are non-alcoholic or they will hurt your shave.
Lastly, you'll need a mug or bowl to make lather in. Sure you can buy these online, but I'll bet you've got a soup bowl or coffee mug lying around that you can convert to save yourself $20.
That's pretty much it. Put everything together and you'll have yourself quite the shave (once you learn how that is). While wet shaving can have a high start up cost, it's actually cheaper in the long run; your creams and after shaves will last a long time, and the blades are significantly cheaper. So get out there, get what you need, and shave.