Six Shaving Questions Answered
Ask The Shaving Expert, Executive Shaving
Name: Carl Meerveld (Hong Kong)
Your question: Hi, I have just resumed shaving (face and head) after more than a decade of wearing a full beard (and ever depleting hair on top). As with most men, I am looking for the closest and most comfortable shave possible (closeness being the first priority). I have spent several hundred pounds buying a bewildering range of products online from all over the World (including yourselves) trying to find what I am looking for without complete satisfaction.
I would greatly appreciate some professional advice as I live in Hong Kong, and as most Chinese do not shave, there are no decent shops I can consult locally. I am currently using the ubiquitous Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power for both my face and head. I usually shave my head in the shower using a gel and my face afterwards using a cream and badger hair brush. Finishing with an aftershave cream.
My questions for my face are:
1. Would I get a significantly closer/more comfortable shave from a DE razor and, if so, which one do you recommend (I have been looking at the Feather As-D1, Murker Futur or Vision)?
2. Would a straight edge ultimately give me the closest shave and is it significantly better than DE to justify the extra work/risk and, if it is which one would you recommend I start with?
3. Which best quality shaving brush(s) would you recommend?
4. Would you recommend a shaving cream or soap for the closest shave and which one(s) would you recommend.
5. What post shave creams or treatments do you recommend?
My question for my head is: 6. I have tried the HeadBlade but found the Fusion gave a much closer shave. Would you recommend any other head shaving equipment?
Hi Carl, Thanks for your questions.
The Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power is yet another Gillette gimmick to get you to spend more money on the latest, super-duper fad. First it was 1 blade cartridges, then 2 blades, then 3 blades then 5 blades. What's next Gillette? One that shaves you and brushes your teeth at the same time? A standard Gillette Mach3 will do the same job at half the price!
The problem with cartridge razors is that the blades are designed to remain shave-sharp for only 3 or so shaves so you need to keep on buying replacement blades and Gillette make even more money from you. Alternatively, get yourself a RazorPit razor blade sharpener, using this will ensure you use a sharp blade every time.
My advice is to go for a Double Edge Safety Razor (DE) see below.
In answer to your questions:
1) Yes without a doubt a DE razor does give a significantly better shave, one sharp blade shaving your stubble is preferable to a blunt five blade or a three blade cartridge blade hacking and scraping your skin. Financially it's a no brainer, a packet of 10 Feather Blades (best in the world) costs only £3.50 whereas a packet of 8 Mach3 Blades costs around £15.00. The Feather blades are good for 5-6 close shaves, Mach3 and Fusion - maybe 3 close shaves.
Which Double Edge Safety Razor would I recommend? The Merkur 34c and the Merkur 33c use share the same head, the only difference between them is that the 34c has a thicker, heavier handle. Both razors are absolute classics of their type. The design and dimensions are spot on, both are very maneuverable and will give a nice close, comfortable shave.
Another Safety Razor I can heartily recommend is the Merkur Progress, the Progress is an adjustable DE razor so you can adjust the setting to get a mild shave or an aggressive shave. In your case you may want to set the Progress for shaving your face at a number 3 setting and on your head at number 1 or 2 setting.
2) In my opinion, a DE used properly will give a comparable shave to a cut throat / straight razor (I know the cut throat purists will disagree but this is my personal opinion). Futhermore, a cut throat razor does not come alone, it needs a strop, strop paste and a honing stone too. A worthwhile, basic cut throat kit will cost £200 plus.
3) Carl, all the brushes we sell are very high quality. My own current favourite is a Simpson's Chubby 2 in Best badger hair. This brush is densely packed and has good backbone which is good for breaking down soaps and exfoliating the skin when I lather up. Hand made in England, Simpson brushes are highly recommended. The Chubby 2 just feels right in the hand and it lathers up exceptionally well.
4) Shaving creams outsell soaps by around 3 to 1 here, personally I prefer creams, right now I'm using Fitjar Citrus Kick. Citrus Kick is an all natural shaving cream made in Norway, it lathers up amazingly well and it has a wonderful citrusy scent. I highly recommend this shaving cream.
5) eShave Fragrance Free After Shave Soother, seems expensive at £19.50 but you only need a little to cover your face and neck and this is a 6oz bottle. Fragrance free so your after shave or cologne scent will not be diluted with the post shave cream.
6) The Dovo Striglia Head Shaving Razor gets great reviews and being German made you know the quality will be good. It's surprising that you didn't like HeadBlade as we sell a lot of this brand and feedback has been really good.
You can use the Citrus Kick Cream on your head or why not take a look at Bald Guyz from USA. They do a small range of products specifically for those who prefer the complete shaved off look, their Clear Shave Gel is reputedly very good.