I converted to this wonderfully simple hobby about a year ago, and it's been a lot of fun. I've learned most of what I know and have found almost all my product recommendations from this site, and I decided I wanted some personalized recommendations. In about a month I'll be coming into about $125ish that my wife says I can splurge on shaving stuff with(!), but I'm at a loss. Here's what I have and what's worked for me.
Razor: Edwin Jagger DE89bl. I really like this razor. It's solid, hefty, and the chrome finish is surprisingly beautiful out of the box.
Blades: Against all advice, I made myself learn with Feathers. It was totally worth it though, and I've since settled on Astra SP's due to price and relative comfort, although I have a few packs of Feathers on hand when I want to change it up.
Brush: I started initially with the Body Shop Synthetic, which was a huge pain to lather anything with. I then moved on to an older Body Shop $8 boar brush that my grandma had decorated her bathroom with. It was much better, but shed like a dog at the start of summer. I then upgraded to a Rooney 3/1 which, you can imagine, was night and day from the two $8 brushes I started with.
Creams/Soaps: I've really enjoyed Bigelow with Proraso pre/post, T&F 1805 SC and ASB, and most recently RazoRock XXX. I also enjoy the performance of both Tabac, TOBS Rose, and Body Shop Maca Root, but not always their scents. I tried a puck of DR Harris Marlborough, and found it a huge letdown in terms of slickness and overall performance, even with a preshave oil.
All that being said, I've got this money coming in that I can spend, and I'm not sure where to go next... razor, brush, even more creams/soaps?
1. Is the Futur all it's cracked up to be? Should I consider any other kind of razor?
2. Would a new brush be worthwhile on top of my Rooney? (I do find myself occassionally missing the scritchiness of my old boar)
3. I've mostly been leaning towards trying some top shelf stuff like Santa Maria Novella and Acqua Di Parma. Are those two in particular head and shoulders above Bigelow and RazoRock (as I've seen them respectively compared)? Any others that you can't do without?
I get that almost everything in wet shaving is YMMV (hence my surprise at not enjoying DRH), but I'm wondering what your recommendations are.