Well I've been stalking the forum here for a few weeks and finally signed up about a week ago. What a crazy treasure trove of shaving knowledge here... every product I have been curious about is commented or reviewed somewhere on this site... pretty amazing. It would be plain silly not to want to join up with this community. Thanks for having me!
Anyway, grab a tasty beverage and read on about my shaving history:
Been shaving about 20 years (Yeesh, am I dancing into geezer territory or what?) I haven't had a single enjoyable shave probably ever. Passable and presentable- yes, but always something irritated or whatever. I work in an office environment, so the wolf-boy look is frowned upon.
My routine was shave with a Mach 3 and Gillette canned cream on monday morning to clean up the weekend shag. Tuesday through friday was the Braun electric shaver, because I could never blade shave two days in a row unless I wanted to look like Darkman. The Braun worked ok, but I literally had 5 o'clock shadow at noon. When I got home from work you'd never know I shaved in the morning. Saturday and Sunday I wouldn't shave unless I was getting the Congressional Medal of Honor or something like that. So yeah I never shaved on the weekends.
So the Braun shaver was on it's way out as it is very old, so I was researching a replacement for it online. THEN my brother and his wife asked me to be the godfather of their new baby boy. I accepted, but I needed to figure out what that really entailed. I imagine they weren't looking for mafia business from me, despite me being a pretty decent Brando body double. I found an article on artofmanliness.com about being a godfather. At the bottom- a link to another article- "learn how to shave like your grandpa!" That led to the Mantic59 videos, and also here. I was sold on wet-shaving, despite having never tried it.
I ended up getting some decent starter gear and dove in. HOLY MOLY... where has wet-shaving been all my life?? I have been trying to figure out why anyone would go from this to a disposable throw-away plastic toy. My father tells me he used to use a safety razor and he stopped because they stopped making them, the blades were hard to find and it was just easier to get a bag of 5 throw away razors. I imagine Gillette probably pitched it as being quicker or easier or something. I'm sure they make way more money selling plastic handled crappy playskool throw away razors too.
Anyway, my gear:
Vanderhagen Luxury Shave Kit ($32 on amazon) Pure badger brush, Luxury shave soap, lather bowl, plastic stand for brush and razor.
1 tube of The Real Shaving Co shave cream- moisturizing skincare formula (I think it was $4 or $5 at Rite Aid pharmacy)
Wilkinson Sword razors, 10 pack ($1.88 at Walmart)
Nivea replenishing after shave balm ($3? at Walmart)
1 gold Gillette Techmatic (I think it's a 1948-1950 Gillette Aristocrat?) that I FOUND HANGING ON THE WALL IN MY BASEMENT!!
This is what I started out with from my first shave, saturday night, march 24th. I've not only shaved every day since then, but I've looked forward to it! For the first time in my life, I've looked forward to shaving! I remember watching a Mantic59 video when he said something like "would you like to turn shaving from a painful chore into a pleasurable hobby?" and I had such a sarcastic chuckle... heh yeah, hobby. Doubt it. Can you all guess what my newest hobby is?
I also picked up the C.O. Bigelow (proraso) shaving cream about a week ago, as well as some Pinaub Clubman after shave (splash). I had Old Spice in the cabinet, the cologne & after shave, both covered with enough dust to look like Pompeii artifacts.
90% of my technique is from Mantic59. Hair conditioner on the beard in the shower, super-lather with the Vanderhagen Luxury soap and Real Shaving Co cream. 1 pass with the grain, 1 pass 90% angle to grain, 1 pass against the grain, then hit any stragglers with some quick blade buffing to finish. I switched the cream to the C.O. Bigelow and it's far better super-lather... the Bigelow seems to be better in every way.
I don't think I am experienced enough to really comment or review on the products too much yet though... with just over a month of wet-shaving under my belt, I feel like I am just starting to get my skill set up to par. But I will say I haven't had any problems with any of the gear I have used so far, and would STRONGLY recommend all of those items as excellent starter items for anyone looking to get into wet-shaving without breaking the bank.
So yeah, every day since that first day I have had the best shave of my life, until the next day and it's even better. It's great to be a part of this community... I have told everyone I know about wet-shaving and they all think I am crazy. If I am crazy, well, I am happy to be here at the Arkham Asylum of shaving!
See y'all on the boards. Cheers!