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New to DE's Looking for Razor Suggestions+Noob Guide

Discussion in 'Razors, Scissors, & Personal Grooming' started by TriviaMonster, May 26, 2012.

  1. TriviaMonster


    Jan 2, 2012
    Hello all,

    I have just recently switched back from the painful world of electronic shavers to wet shaving. I picked up a pack of disposable Schick Quattro razors and while they shave great 3-4 times, after that my fairly coarse facial hair dulls them to the point of failure.

    My shave:

    Pre Shave: Shave Secret (love this stuff, just wonderful).
    VDH Boar brush, bowl, and soap combo recommended by a member here.
    After Shave: Aqua Velva.

    I love the stuff I have so far, except for my razor's. They are too dang expensive for 3-4 shaves tops. I am new to DE razors like the title says, and am looking for a good, solid razor. I prefer something not super aggressive, and if adjustable is where I need to go, so be it. I have coarse facial hair like I said before, and prefer to shave everything off, no mustache, no goatee, nothing left. I shave about 4-5 times a week.

    Budget: Alright, I am looking for a razor. ONE razor. I want something built to last, comfortable, and easy to learn with. I am not an idiot, but I have heard DE shaving has a learning curve. I figure I can pick it up quickly, but don't need significant blood loss. So I would like to keep it in the $50-70 range and have a razor I can use for years to come.

    Models considered: Merker Futura- I have read several people on here like and own this model. I like it also. Looks very cool and love the adjustable factor.
    Edwin Jagger DE86- Don't know a lot of stuff about this one, except for it's positive reviews. Love the fake Ebony handle. Looks nice, cheaper than the Futur.

    Well, that's all I have. Looking forward to hearing from some of you guys, and if you need any more info to help with, just ask. As always, thanks in advance for advice. Have a great day!
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  2. Nickelsig229


    Sep 7, 2004
    In my experience, the DE razor is only important for a few things.
    Angle of blades cutting edge when assembled (adjusted)
    Length of handle

    There are models that do offer differences although most are subtle. Adjustables allow you to change the angle, some have Slant's, others have teeth instead of a flat leading edge, some are very light and others heavy. It comes down to personal preference. You might find one you like because it looks good and that may be enough to keep you happy with its performance. You might end up going through 3 or 4 until finding one you like.

    The blades themselves also require a little trial and error, though that can be done much cheaper with a sampler pack.

    The good news is that for 50-70 dollars you can get a quality DE. I would look at a mergress if you need an adjustable, or a fatboy/slim/super off ebay if you don't mind an old Gillette. If you don't want an adjustable there are a lot of models in the 30 dollar range from Merkur, Jagger, Parker and other lesser known brands.
  3. unky_gumbi


    Aug 28, 2009
    Adjustable can be a tad expensive, but great for tuning the way the razor shaves. If you are looking for a new razor more people start with a Edwin Jagger 89L or Merkur HD than any other razor. Both are quality razors, the Jagger wins on overall finish most of the time. Cheap and built to last would be an old Gillette, something like a Super Speed you can pick up at a flea market for under $10. If you are really jonesing for an old Gillette Adjustable I may be letting a 1962 Slim go in a few weeks, it all depends if I buy the Slim Aristocrat I saw. Its the same razor shaves the same, just a little rarer and gold.
  4. Gollnick

    Gollnick Musical Director

    Mar 22, 1999
    Get a Merkur Futur. Don't worry about cost. DE shaving is so economical that the razor pays for itself litterally within matter of months and then goes on to serve you for the rest of your life. This is the epitome of "buy quality and you only cry once."
  5. Magnaminous_G


    Jul 13, 2011

    I started with a Futur, and I'm still using a Futur. It has great weight in the hand and has great settings. The higher settings are extremely aggressive, so you probably won't want to go above 4 (it goes to 6, I believe). The low settings (1 and 2) are perfect for that last ATG pass (or for all passes when first learning to shave with a DE). With a little practice, you'll learn to really use the heft of the Futur to effortlessly take your shave to BBS heaven. I've been Wet Shaving for like eight months now, and I'm still improving. I've only just recently really started to understand the true meaning of "feather light" touch. It literally means barely touching the face: letting the DE edge do its magic on the final pass ATG, leaving your face irritation-free and so smooth you can't feel stubble in any direction. But to unlock that door, I first had to have the technique nailed down... and I had to know my own face and what it would take to coax out the magic of the Futur in that feather-light touch. And to get to that point, I had to spend the first six months truly learning: learning about my own face and how my beard grows. Learning about what irritates my face and what doesn't. Learning which areas need special attention and which areas are easy to shave. Building the muscle memory in my hand and wrist to always, instinctively achieve the correct angle and pressure for each stroke on each part of my face. A journey of self-discovery and a labor of love. A Wet Shaver's odyssey.

    As a result, I have to correct something, OP. You said you were "switching back" to Wet Shaving. But if you've been using cartridge razors like the Schick Quattro or Gilette Mach3 before switching to electric, then I'm afraid that you have *not* been Wet Shaving, at all, in the first place. :D You have been cartridge shaving. You are about to begin your journey on the quest of self-discovery that is Wet Shaving. Wet Shaving is a very different universe, a skill that takes time to master and is ultimately far more rewarding and satisfactory than cartridge shaving.

    Here I am, eight months after I started, and I'm still on the journey, still learning about my beard and my face, and still improving. And still loving it!
  6. Sabong1


    Mar 29, 2012
    Got my 1st DE 2 years ago from CS. I played it safe and got a Feather. 2 years later I'm loving the shave I get from a DE razor! Will eventually upgrade to a Merkur. The Feather is nice but I want to get a DE with a little more heft. OP you will not be disappointed with a DE razor.
  7. giant1


    May 9, 2007
    + 1 for the Merkur Futur but stay away from their brushes. Mine is 14 months old and falling apart. It's a real POS.
  8. Gollnick

    Gollnick Musical Director

    Mar 22, 1999
    Wow. My Merkur Futur-style brush is 42 months old, been used daily, and has shed about 42 bristles. It's great. But, Merkur brushes are overly expensive. You pay a big premium to get the matching look.
  9. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    The only merkur stuff I say to stay away from is their blades. They just don't cut it. Get the $15 blade sampler and a couple of other soaps. I found that the same blade with different soaps or creams seemed to behave differently.

  10. TriviaMonster


    Jan 2, 2012
    Alright, so the general consensus is a slightly weightier razor gives a better shave.

    And actually, even though I have been using cartridge razors I have always used a bowl, brush, and soap. I have never actually used canned cream except maybe a couple times. It never seemed to work right. Unfortunately, my somewhat nice, IMO, shaving set from a flea market was lost a few years ago in a move. That's when I switched over to electric razors. I have noticed my stubble filling in a bit more as I haven't used my electronic razor in awhile. It was a bit better at pulling hairs then shaving them. But, when you spend $60 for an electronic razor it can't be that good :rolleyes:

    For now, I think I will just stick with my brush and bowl set from Walmart. I may try some other soaps out when I order my blades and razor online.I'll probably try out an assortment of different blades also. I am thinking some Feather's, some ST300's, and some BiC Chrome Platinums.

    I really like the pre shave Shave Secret I am using, so that will probably stay. Plus, I believe I can get it through a locally owned grocery store which is a huge plus. And, I also like Aqua Velva quite a lot admittedly. I like that it smells strongly initially, but is gone after a half-hour or so from what I am told by people around me.

    I think I may go with a Merkur Futur. I have also been looking the Gillette Slim adjustable's that Mr. Gumbi was talking about. I think if I could find the right Gillette Slim, I would be inclined to go with that model, but the Merkur Futur is my backup in case I can't.

    Thank you to everyone who gave me advice. And, I would like to continue this discussion to maybe some more noobs like myself can have a good thread for razor advice.
  11. Nickelsig229


    Sep 7, 2004
    If you can afford it, try the Feather SS. It is a fantastic, weight, length, machined stainless steel. The japan version comes with a different stand then people are used to seeing shavers in.

    It has supplanted my Pils which is a couple hundred dollars more expensive.
  12. Geektechnica


    Feb 27, 2012
    I started in on wetshaving about a year and a half ago. I have both a Merkur Futur and an Edwin Jagger EJ89. As much as I love the feel and the shave the Futur gives me, I find myself using the EJ89 almost 90% of the time. This is mostly because I wear a goatee (or more accurately a van dyke) and I find it very hard to see around the bulk of the Futur when I'm trying to do the detail work around my mouth.

    Get a hundred Feather blades off of the 'bay and be set for a year or more.
  13. Magnaminous_G


    Jul 13, 2011
    I would just add that a high-quality brush is a good investment and will improve your shaving experience (as well as last for many years). Vulfix is a good brand: English boar, around $70 for the good quality ones. That seems a lot for a little brush made of animal hair, but it will last for many years and give you great lathers far superior to the cheap brushes.
  14. lwt210


    Mar 21, 2007
    I have two Edwin Jagger DE89 razors....one in plain chrome and one in barley chrome.

    The barley chrome model is DE nirvana. I mainly use Feather blades and Astras but greatly prefer the Feathers. I get an astoundingly close shave, irritation free, using that EJ razor.

    I also use Shave Secret as a pre oil and VDH luxury soap most of the time. And like you, I have found that Aqua Velva (ice sport, for me) is a very nice aftershave. I also use Thayers witch hazel right after the shave before applying aftershave and love their products as well.

    The EJ89 barley is not adjustable but I wholeheartedly recommend that razor.
  15. THG


    May 18, 2008
    Also consider a Weber DE razor. I hear nothing but good about them, and you've got to love that their razor is produced here in the US.
  16. quattromori


    May 7, 2011
    I'm a newbie too, so take my advice for what it's worth but...
    I recently decided that the era of cartridge shaving was coming to an end, and started browsing this subforum.
    Luck was on my side: my father had a brand new Merkur Futur (gifted to him many years ago and never used), so the choice was obvious: first try it, then see what happens.
    I've been shaving with it for 2 or 3 weeks now. So far, I never changed the setting (using it at "2"), and I feel like I'm getting better and better. Apart from the quality of your shave (which will come with time, I suppose), the first positive thing you will notice is that, no matter how many passes you make (I usually make 2 or 3), your skin will end up being far less irritated than with one single pass of a cartridge razor.
    Once I get confident, I guess I will try to adjust the Futur and use all its potential. So far, I'm pretty happy with it. You will need some time to get used to weight, but again it's not taking you years.
    To a newbie from a newbie, good luck (and welcome to the club) :)
  17. unky_gumbi


    Aug 28, 2009
    I strong suggest NOT buying 100 of any sort of blade when starting off, the blade that works for one person could be hell for the next. Fast14riot's suggestion of a blade sampler pack is the best way to go, try each blade for a full cycle of shaves, unless you find that it is just too harsh on your face, then when you think you have found your blade, buy 100 of that blade. You have to try them all though before you make up your mind.
    Keep in mind that every company will have a lemon get through from time to time, so if one blade feels particularly bad toss it out and come back to that brand later and try a new blade from the pack.

    I have been shaving with a DE for some time now, I have a fairly full shave den with about 25 different razors now. My preferred blade is the Israeli Persona Red it is sharp enough, and smooth for me. I also like Astra, Bic, and Dorco 301. I tried a couple of Shark blades, I liked them, but two blades weren't enough for me to make up my mind. Feathers never worked for me till recently and even then it has to be in a very mild razor and I still get a little bit of irritation from them.

  18. TriviaMonster


    Jan 2, 2012
    I plan on buying a blade sampler from WCS. I also was looking into a Weber DLC coated razor. From everything I read, people are saying a couple of things. First, some are having problems with the aggressiveness of the razor, and secondly, some razors tolerances seem to be off by a significant amount. I have read where some people say that one side is extremely mild while the other side of the razor is super aggressive.

    I have, however, found a few things to add to my order. Razorock shave soap, a highly recommended Omega badger & boar brush thats under $15, and the Razorock Alum.

    I have also been reading the head on the Futur is really big. Is this true? And I read that some people do not like the way the razor holds the blade due to the clip-on cap design. But, others seem to be in some sort of sexual type love with this thing. Gah! Decisions! I knew this was going to happen. I love to read and research purchases. And, like always, I have read too much and talked myself out of what I thought I wanted. Crap. And this is just a cheap(ish compared to my knives) razor. Imagine what it is like to buy a car or tv with me. One word: Excruciating.

    I may just go with the DE86 mentioned in my first post. It appears to be a well-loved, beginners bargain like Mr. Gumbi mentioned. I know it may seem like I am being picky, but I have to set myself up to love DE razors. I really do not want to wish I hadn't wasted my money. I want it to be something I really enjoy. Kind of hard to explain what I mean, I guess. I just don't want to be turned off from this wonderful world. Likewise, I don't want to spend $300 off the bat and never use it again if I don't find it comfortable or worth the effort.
  19. unky_gumbi


    Aug 28, 2009
    It's pretty hard to waste your money on a quality DE razor, even if you don't like it you can sell it for close to the purchase price on the right site. I would go for the EJ DE89L or barely chrome, much nicer razors than the 86 even though they have the exact same head.
  20. TriviaMonster


    Jan 2, 2012
    Actually, I am now looking at the "Goodfella" made in NZ. I have been hearing some really good things about how mild and well machined this razor is. The cost (~$60) is right where I would like to be, even though I am also looking at razors that are much cheaper. But, like all the razors I have been browsing and reading about, there are a few bad reviews. Seems like it's a hate it or love it kind of razor.

    And if you think the DE89L or Chrome Barley is they way to go instead of a DE86, I will take your advice if I decide to go that route. I really appreciate all the advice I am being given.

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