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I was in high school, 10th grade. It wasn’t something that I bought but more like what I built with the tools my father had already.
Up till then, there wasn’t even a need of a shaving kit. All I had to do is apply some foam (no matter shaving or just soap) on my “wannabe” moustache and shave it off. Easy peasy.
The kit consisted of three items. A silver Wilkinson Sword cartridge razor with 2 blades (there was no razor with more than 2 blades), my father’s badger hair shaving brush and a Kolynos shaving cream.
I can still bring the smell of the shaving cream back to my memory. It was a kind of medicinal scent that gives a refreshing feeling while lathering. I could swear that the shaving cream was exactly the same product as that brand’s toothpaste. Same smell, same feeling.
Certainly not the best shaving kit but I didn’t have a lot of options either. Just my first attempt to build one.
Since that first kit, I’ve been on the lookout for shaving set a few more times.
So, I do understand…
Finding a shaving kit is not an easy task. There’s always going to be something that you won’t like. This might be the shaving brush or the razor, or you just don’t like the looks of the kit.
This is why I decided to write this article and find you the best shaving kit a man can have.
I already raised the expectations too high, didn’t I?[UPDATE September 2016: Since I wrote this article, I had the chance to try out a few additional razors and brushes. I include the shaving sets at the end so, feel free to have a look at my findings]
How to choose the best shaving kit for your needs?
At first, it might seem ideal to buy a shaving kit. And who can blame you? Someone else did all the hard work and combined the tools of wet shaving in one single set.
Even though the kit might seem to be the ONE, there’s a great chance that there’s something that you didn’t think about before buying it.
So, there are a few things to consider before you run to the stores and buy a shaving kit.
Items that the shaving kit consists of
There are a few shaving kits you can choose from that include one out of three types of razors.
A cartridge razor, a safety razor and a straight razor (cut throat or shavette) .
If you’re just starting out with shaving, I suggest you play it safe and get a shaving kit with a cartridge razor. It’s much easier to shave with and requires lower initial investment.
The two other types of razors give you the ultimate wet shaving experience. This will be the deepest shaving of your life with low “running” costs. The disposable blades in safety razors and shavettes are much cheaper than cartridge razors, even though the actual razors might be a bit pricey.
The shaving brush
Here, you’ll find a couple of different shaving brush types.
First, you need to choose between an artificial and natural hair brush.
There are many great synthetic shaving brushes that offer great water retention with great lathering capability and at the same time, they are soft to the skin.
On the other hand, there are quite a few great natural hair shaving brushes. Among the natural ones, you’ll probably have to decide among a boar, badger and horse hair shaving brush. Each one of them feels different on your face skin and it’s up to one’s preference which one is the best for lathering.
Badger hair shaving brush is generally more expensive than other types. So, this might also be something to keep in mind. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better, but rather that it consists of more rare materials (badger is a protected animal in many countries) and this could be something that increases the price.
The shaving kit holder
And if you want to give your kit some extra class, a holder is that secret ingredient. It’s not only practical, but also aesthetically pleasant!
If the razor and the shaving brush are the arms and legs of a shaving kit, the holder is definitely the body. And as we care about the beauty of our bodies, same thing applies to the shaving kit stand.
Even though the holder doesn’t contribute to your shaving routine, a wet shaving enthusiast gets pleasure by looking at it. Personally, I like to have a premium looking shaving kit stand inside my bathroom, holding elegantly my safety razor and shaving brush.
Awesomeness level: reached!
Tip: Avoid plastic holders. It doesn’t take long until water messes it up.
Other products that complete a shaving kit
In your shaving kit formula you’ll have the constant and the variables. The constants are obviously the razor and shaving brush which remain unchanged for a while. As for the variables, there are a lot of products that you can get your hands dirty with.
For lathering there are a lot of options. Shaving creams and lotions, shaving gels and foams, shaving soaps.
My personal favorite is shaving soap when I’ve got time to shave. When I travel (which happens more often than I want), I tend to get a shaving gel due to space limitations. I prefer gels because shaving feels smoother compared to shaving with foam. Again, this is personal preference.
To complete the lathering kit, one should get a shaving bowl or mug. Not necessary, but it looks awesome! I’m a proud owner of an old spice shaving bowl from the 70’s which my grandfather gave to me. Even though I’ve never used it, since I treat it as an antique, I cherish it ever since.
Self explanatory. Depending on the type of your skin and the type of after shave you like (cream, lotion etc), there are plenty of options available.
You can choose between after shaves that either contain alcohol or not. Then, there are different options such as lotions, balsams and creams.
All of them developed with the same idea in mind. To make your face look great and keep it well moisturised while reducing/preventing skin irritation from shaving.
For guys with sensitive face skin and/or thick beard, pre shave products such as lotions, creams and oils are a game changer.
These products will prepare your skin and will reduce irritation from shaving. Moreover, the follicles of the hair open up and become softer, offering you a more pleasant shaving experience.
Trimming and Cutting
If you’re one of the guys that don’t go clean shaved, you can consider getting a pair of scissors or beard trimmer.
For beard and moustache wearers, a pair of scissors allows you to groom your facial hair with precision. A must have tool in the arsenal of man grooming.
As for beard trimmer? It helps you maintain your preferred beard length and clear with ease the lines on your beard, such as neckline, cheek and moustache area.
It’s no real trouble finding shaving kits that fit any budget. This always depends on the brand and materials of the set.
If you’re just starting out in wet shaving, don’t overdo it. Aim for something that won’t cost you a monthly wage but at the same time, don’t go cheap. After all, it’s your face we’re talking about. Besides, there must be a reason why something is super cheap.
And yes, if something seems too good to be true, there’s something fishy going on.
For a good shaving kit for wet shaving beginners, don’t spend more than $70. Get a feeling of the kit, see if you like using it after a few shaves and upgrade a few months or a year later.
Now, for the more experienced wet shavers, there are some beauties out there that cost between $100 and $300 that looks like a jewel in your bathroom. You can find more expensive kits if you wish to, such as handmade products. manufactured with the unique and premium materials.
Availability of parts
Even though this is the least that you care about, it might make a difference when choosing your favorite shaving set for your needs.
Make sure that the shaving kit that you buy isn’t a brand that no one has heard before. Otherwise, there might be a chance that you won’t be able to find a compatible razor blade.
Invest a little bit more money and get a shaving kit from a well established brand. This way, you’re rest assured that if a part from your shaving kit goes missing, you can easily replace it.
What is the best shaving kit that a real man can choose from
As a quick note, this is not a review and I wouldn’t want you to believe. It’s more like a summary of what I think are good shaving kits that are broadly available, at decent prices.
From the below products, I tried the Merkur razors as well as the Gillette Mach 3 cartridge blades. I would recommend either of them depending on the type of razor you’re looking to buy.
Harry D Koenig & Co 4 Piece Shave Set in Silver
- Plastic razor handle compatible with Gillette Mach 3 Cartridges
- Natural boar bristle hair brush
- Shaving kit stand made from plastic
- Shaving bowl for lathering
A rather inexpensive solution that will get the job done. This a great set for wet shavers that are just starting out since it has everything you need for your wet shaving adventures.
The razor is compatible with Mach 3 cartridge razors, which is good in my opinion. From all the cartridge razors I’ve used, the particular model from Gillette is the best for smooth and safe shaving. Not to mention that it’s very good for shaving sensitive face prone to irritation.
Silver Badger Shaving Brush SET with Mach 3 Razor Stand
- Plastic and metal razor handle for Gillette Mach 3 Cartridge Razor
- Natural badger bristle hair brush with plastic and metal knot
- Shaving kit stand made from plastic and metal
At the time of writing, this shaving set is priced on Amazon at $14.95
As previously said, I’m not a big fan of plastic materials when it comes to shaving equipment. However, the price of this set is unbeatable, and that makes it perfect for wet shaving beginners.
Besides, the all natural badger hair shaving brush, it also comes with a razor handle that takes Mach 3 cartridge blades.
If you’re not sure what to get, this particular shaving set could be your starting point.
Parker 29L Safety Razor Shave Set
- Parker 29L safety razor
- Badger hair shaving brush
- Shaving kit stand
Parker is company that offers high quality shaving products, often priced at decent level. This shaving kit couldn’t be any different.
This shaving kit comes with a Parker double edge safety razor which, in my opinion, wouldn’t be the perfect solution for a beginner. Safety razors offer a more aggressive and deep shaving compared to cartridge razors. So, if you’re just starting out, you better be careful with this beauty.
The particular Parker safety razor is a one piece razor with a twist-to-open razor head, also known as butterfly open. It’s considered mild to medium in terms of shaving aggressiveness and hence the reason why I wouldn’t recommend this shaving set to a wet shaving beginner.
The set is completed with a natural badger hair brush with an elegant knot and a kit stand that holds both the shaving brush and the safety razor in a unique position.
Price wise, it’s an affordable solution for the quality that you get.
Edwin Jagger Shaving Gift Set
- Razor handle compatible with Gillette Mach 3
- Pure badger hair shaving brush
- Shaving kit stand
- Shaving bowl for great lathering
Edwin Jagger is another company that specializes in shaving products.
So far, I knew Edwin Jagger from their safety razors as well as their shaving brushes. I wasn’t aware that they make razors that are compatible with Gillette Mach 3 blades.
A surprise indeed. Pleasant one? It’s up to you to answer.
The razor and the brush look magnificent. The shaving brush is a pure badger, which is the lowest grade among natural badger hair brushes. I’ve tried all grades from Edwin Jagger and even though it’s not the best shaving brush among their products, this won’t disappoint you. And for the total price, it’s a very good deal.
Together with the shaving bowl, the Edwin Jagger shaving kit is the ultimate shaving gift box. That said, the entire kit comes in a very beautiful box. Who’s going to be the lucky one?
Parker 71R Safety Razor Shave Set
- Pure badger bristle brush
- Parker 71R safety razor
- Shaving kit stand
Another shaving set from Parker. From what I found out, the difference with the previous Parker shaving kit is the actual safety razor and the holder. The shaving brush is the same, a pure badger bristle hair.
The safety razor of this shaving kit looks nice and it’s got a rough handle that offers you a steady and non slippery grip. The safety razor is a three piece razor with closed comb safety bar. Most closed combed safety razors are not very aggressive (with a few exceptions) and I would say that if you want a shaving set with an affordable safety razor from a reliable brand, this would be a good choice. Not sure how the shaving is with this razor since I haven’t personally tried it, but there are little chances that you can go wrong with a Parker safety razor.
Again, if you don’t have any experience with a safety razor, do your homework and see if this shaving set is for you.
Merkur Barber Pole 38C 6 Piece Wet Shaving Set
- Merkur 38C safety razor
- Royal Shave Badger Hair Shaving Brush
- Bowl of Taylor Of Old Bond Street Luxury Shave Cream
- 10 pack of Merkur Blades
- Razor and Brush Stand
What a shaving set!
I’m happy to say that I’ve got a Merkur 34C already and the 38C is exactly the same with the handle lenght and weight to be the only difference. It’s one of the 5 safety razors I have at the moment and the one I use the most. A well balanced, sturdy and reliable safety razor with excellent grip. Merkur 38C share the same razor head as its brother and has a bit longer and heavier handle which makes it ideal for someone with relatively big hands.
As for the shave cream, Taylor of Old Bond Street is one of my favorite brands. With this shaving cream you’re going to go lather-crazy.
I don’t have any experience with the shaving brush but you should expect a high quality tool from RoyalShave.
On top of the above goodies, the shaving set is completed with a pack of Merkur blades for your safety razor and the brush/razor stand.
Is this the best shaving kit you can get? Maybe…
Can you get better products separately? Definitely!
But this shaving set gives you everything to get you started while s(h)aving you some time searching.
RoyalShave Black & Chrome Shaving Set
- Edwin Jagger DE86 Safety Razor
- Natural Boar Bristle Hair Brush
- Royalshave shaving mug
- RoyalShave shaving kit stand
- Lemon & Sandalwood Shave Soap
- 5 Packs Wilkinson Sword & Derby Blades
If you’re looking for another premium solution in an all-in-one kit, this could be it.
This shaving set packs an Edwin Jagger DE86 with black handle. The particular safety razor is one of my favorites and I personally have the DE86 with a metal handle -with the same razor head. It’s an Edwin Jagger and you can trust it with your eyes closed.
Well, until you start shaving. You don’t want to shave with your eyes closed, do you?
It’s got a safety bar with scalloped closed comb that gives you a nice and deep shaving. Even though it’s medium aggressive, it’s considered to be very forgiving, even if you’re using a safety razor for the first time. It’s got great balance and it fits nicely in your hand with a very solid grip when you’ve got lather in your hands.
In this shaving kit, you will find the same RoyalShave PB3 Shaving Brush like the previous set. Yet, you now get a shaving mug to create your perfect lather.
How are you going to create this perfect lather? RoyalShave thought about this as well and they included a shaving soap with lemon and sandalwood scent.
You finished your razor blades? No problem!
This shaving kit has razor blades for all tastes. Inside this shaving kit you’ll find 5 packs of both Wilkinson Sword and Derby blades. This way, you can test both of them with your safety razor.
The New Shaving Sets Entries
As I already mentioned in the beginning of this article, over the past two months I tried out a few additional razors, shaving brushes and shaving soaps. For this reason, I thought it would be helpful for you to get an idea of a couple additional kits from products that I’ve tested and are included in the following shaving sets.
Colonel Conk Complete 8-Piece Shave Kit
- Merkur safety razor #180 long handle
- Pure badger shave brush
- Razor and brush stand
- Chrome Shave Bowl Col. Ichabod Conk Natural Shave Soap
- Col. Ichabod Conk Original Pre-Shave Oil
- Col. Ichabod Conk After-Shave Lotion
- Merkur 219 Precision Safety Razor Blades
- Gift Box
This a very good shaving set for someone who wants a complete package and starting out with a safety razor.
The Merkur razor is the version with the long handle. Personally, I don’t like the long handle and I’ve got the Merkur 34C. The long handle falls a bit too long for my relatively small hands. That said, if you have big hands, this would be perfect for you.
The shaving brush on the other hand, it’s a natural pure badger hair with chrome handle. The natural badger hair brushes are classified depending on their quality to Pure, Best, Super, Silver Tip. The Pure, is the lowest quality among badger hair shaving brushes. This doesn’t mean that it’s not good. Pure badger hair are quite soft with good water retention and decent latherability ( = ability to create rich lather from shaving soap or cream).
Now, the bowl is a bit compact. The shave brush is a bit too big for the bowl. It’s not that you’re going to struggle lathering inside the bowl, but you won’t have so much space and comfort to swirl the shaving brush.
As far as concerned the shave soap and pre-shave oil, they’re both excellent products. I haven’t tried the lotion but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Besides, it’s not the one that costs the most among the other items of the shaving set.
Last but not least, you got a few Merkur shaving blades with the kit. The particular safety razor blades are very good (meaning… sharp) but you’ll finish them in max two weeks if you shave daily.
If you’re looking for a complete kit at a reasonable price that contains a safety razor, it’s one of the best shaving sets to buy in this list.
Merkur-Razor Futur Shaving Set
- Merkur Futur Safety Razor
- Silvertip badger hair shaving brush
- Matching stand for shaving set
- Shaving bowl
This is the only shaving set in this article that includes one of the latest (if not the newest) safety razors from Merkur. The Futur stands out in terms of design and shaving experience.
It’s got an adjustable razor heads which means that you can increase or decrease the gap of the razor’s safety bar. Therefore, you can increase the aggresiveness of the razor as much as you want with six different settings. I found out that even when you have the first setting, this safety razor is overly aggressive and I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who is inexperienced with shaving. Heck, it’s even aggressive to someone who is already shaving with a safety razor. The Merkur Futur is a great razor, but I wouldn’t call it a newbie friendly.
The shaving brush is a natural silvertip badger hair. As explained in the previous shaving set, the silvertip is the best grade among badger hair shaving brushes. It’s got the best water retention, latherability and softness. The reason is that this grade is made of the highest quality badger hair from the badger’s neck. The hair is usually not color treated and the tips got the natural white-ish color.
The shaving bowl isn’t something that I’m familiar with and never used it. Therefore, can’t make any comments here.
At first glance, this shaving set might seem a bit pricey. The main reason for this brush is the shaving brush. Normally, you won’t find good silvertip badger hair brushes below $120. If you do, feel free to share it with me.
Overall, the set is a good deal and you won’t regret it. Especially if you’re an experienced wet shaver, this is an awesome shaving set you can get since it’s got a combination of an excellent safety razor and a silvertip badger shaving brush.
Buying your shaving kit can be as challenging as buying a car. It feels that you’ll stay with it for a long time and you want to be careful with your selection.
This isn’t too far from the truth. (chuckles)
There’s not really such thing as the greatest shaving kit. I’m saying this because even if you get a shaving kit with a great razor, you might not like the shaving brush and vice versa.
As in most things with shaving -and not only, the best way to find out what’s the shaving set that is ideal for you, is trial and error.
If I had to select the best shaving kit, I would vote for the RoyalShave Black & Chrome Shaving Set.
I’m familiar with Edwin Jagger safety razors, and I believe that this shaving kit is the most complete. It literally has everything that you need. One of the best safety razors and this high quality brush, the shaving mug, the razor blades. Looks great!
However, if you’re inexperienced with wet shaving or you don’t shave very often, I would propose the Edwin Jagger Shaving Gift Set. It has a cartridge razor that ensures a safe and comfortable shaving and it’s packed with all the goodies a wet shaving beginner wants. On top of that, it’s decently priced for what it offers.
The decision is yours now…
What’s your favorite shaving kit?
Image Courtesy: flickr.com/coffeegeek