My Best Shave Kit – Traditional Style

Affordable, Eco-friendly, & High Quality Smooth Shave

Benefits of Traditional Shaving

First let’s start with the benefits of the traditional approach to shaving:

  • Eco-friendly: Minimal plastic, minimal waste, most items are reusable and some are built to last a lifetime.
  • Skin-friendly Best Shave: Razor sharp blades provide extremely close shave, minimal razor burn & less prone to ingrown hairs. It is also easier to clean and minimizing bacterial growth which can cause skin infections.
  • Budget-friendly: As most items are reusable, the main costs come from replacing the razor blades which are as cheap as $0.15 per blade and the shaving cream.
  • Mental-health-friendly: Shaving becomes a relaxing ritual that engages the mind and body, instead of a routine chore.

Downsides of Traditional Shaving

However, there are some cons to consider:

  • Time-consuming: Although a relaxing ritual, it does take some 5-15 minutes which may present a problem in some situations. Also, straight razor with built in blade takes time to sharpen.
    • I suggest having a modern multi-blade style razor as a backup for urgent shaving needs. In my experience, it has never been an issue.
    • I suggest using blade handles instead of built in blades so you can quickly swap in a fresh sharp blade, no need for sharpening.
  • Dangerous: In order to get extremely close shave requires extremely sharp razor blades which are dangerous if not properly handled.
    • I suggest “Safety Razor” style blade handles which are more similar shape to modern style razors and have less chance of harm compared to straight razor.
  • Learning curve: It can take some practice to get comfortable with traditional style shaving
    • I suggest “Safety Razor” style blade as it much more beginner friendly than straight razor and also requires no sharpening as the blades are replaceable.
  • Maintenance: some items require proper maintenance in order to prolong the life of the item, which can take some time. remember that disposal items are always more expensive to your wallet and our planet.
    • I suggest taking good care of your stuff and get the most use out of it.
  • Up-front costs: Although more budget friendly over years of use, there are some up-front costs to get the main items like razor handle which can last a lifetime and the brush which can last years with proper usage and care.
    • I suggest spending the extra dollars to get higher quality products which will last many years longer than the cheaper alternatives.

Basic Shaving Items

Any decent traditional shave kit must have the following items:

  • Razor blades
  • Safety razor or straight razor to hold the blades
  • Shaving cream
  • Lather brush

Some essential accessories to consider:

  • Razor + Brush stand
  • Shaving oil

Razor Blades

This is the most important item in the kit since it is the part that contacts skin and cuts hair.

Therefore, you want to get the highest quality blades available. Here are some brands I suggest:

Depending on thickness and amount of hair shaved, blades can be re-used a few times. Just make sure to thoroughly clean the blade and handle with hot water in order to avoid bacterial growth.

Safety Razor

Safety razor is what I personally use as it is easier to use because it has similar shape compared to modern razors I used to use. It is also designed for safety and less dangerous.

This is the brand I use and suggest:

  • Merkur Titanium Safety Razor made in Germany with lifetime guarantee

I bought 1 about 10 years ago and still use it till this day, works just as good the day I got it.

Shaving Cream

Compared to modern shaving creams that come in cans, I suggest traditional shaving soaps which can be lathered into a cream and applied using a shaving brush. These are more affordable over the long run, use better quality ingredients, and are eco-friendly as it produces less disposable waste

I suggest the following brands:

Lather Brush

Lather brush is used to turn soap from hard block form into soft luxurious lather. It is also used to apply lather to face.

Lather brush have a wide range of prices and can costs from $5 all to way up to $100s. I suggest going for mid-range option around $20-$40, as I have never tried anything above that price point I can’t comment whether or not it is worth going more expensive.

When I first started traditional shaving, I got $5 lather brush using synthetic bristles, and right away it quickly started losing bristles, the bristles were rather hard and easily clumped together. Only served me a couple months before I had to upgrade.

From there I tried $15 option which served me well for some years, and the difference in quality was massively noticeable. Nonetheless, it eventually needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the brand.

Finally, I upgraded to $35 option with all natural badger hair and again I noticed a big increase in quality. With proper usage and care, I am confident this brush will last me many years

This is what I currently use and suggest:

And a proper stand to dry the brush and also hang the safety razor

Starter Kits

The items I listed above are my own collection of items that I have purchased over the years and would make a great starter kit. All items are available on Amazon.

However, if you would like an budget friendly all-in-one kit, here are some options I suggest:

How to Traditional Shave

Here are some great videos showing how to do traditional shave:

In short summary, here are the basic steps

  • Prepare blade (sharpen straight razor or insert fresh blade if needed)
  • Prepare skin using hot water to soften hair and open pours
  • Optional but preferred: Apply pre-shaving oil to skin
  • Prepare lather using shaving soap and lather brush
  • Prep skin again with hot water
  • Begin to shave with slow and steady downward passes of the blade on the skin, with the direction of the hair growth
  • Repeat as needed for closer shave, this time with upward passes against the direction of hair growth
  • Finish the skin with cold water and skin toner like witch hazel and/or after shave
  • Clean the razor and brush and throughly dry. Especially the brush, do not leave it dirty or with any excess moisture as it will ruin the brush beyond repair.