Razors and Shaving Brushes Buying Guide

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A lubricant  and a razor  are all you really need for shaving . A brush , while less common, is still preferred by some who are dedicated to an old fashioned shave. This guide focuses primarily on razors, but it will also touch on brushes and even razor/brush kits. If you're looking for shaving cream  or lubricant , check out this guide.

Different Types of Razors

Disposable Razors 

  • Inexpensive, but cheap construction.
  • They aren't flexible enough to adjust to the contours of your face and the blades tend to rust and wear quickly, which can cause nicks and cuts.
  • Add to creating more waste, but they are convenient.

Cartridge Razors 

  • Reasonably priced for what you get.
  • A solid, nicely weighted handle that you can buy replacement heads for as often as needed saves hassle and ensures that you will always get a good shave with less irritation.
  • The blades on the cartridges tend to be of higher quality than regular disposables, plus the heads are flexible and some have moisture strips.

Straight Razors 

  • Oh so classic! But you better get some Straight Razors.
  • There is technique required to both use and care for a straight razor.
  • They will last forever with periodic blade sharpening, which reduces overall cost and negative environmental effects.
  • The downside is the maintenance.

Safety Razors 

  • Safety razors have double-edge replaceable blades that require less strokes to get a close shave, meaning less irritation.
  • The quality permanent metal head and handle are solid and will last a lifetime.
  • Preferred by those who like wet shaves and are a good alternative to a cartridge razor because it cuts costs over time.
  • These razors are inches shorter than the standard cartridge razor and cost from $25 to $60.
  • Popular brands include: Merkur ,Muehle-Pinsel , and Edwin Jagger  (luxe). You may also want to look for the Schick Injector .

How to Choose

The most important consideration when it comes to buying a razor is personal comfort. A razor that doesn't feel comfortable on the skin is not only a waste of money, but it's going to leave the skin irritated and possibly lead to breakouts, cuts or ingrown hairs.

Besides comfort, there's convenience and cost. If you're the kind of guy that likes to grab a new pack of disposable BICs while dashing through the grocery store to grab a pizza, chances are you're not too worried about a fancy-schmancy razor. There's nothing wrong with sticking to something you like if you know it works well. But if your daily shave is less than average, you might want to consider switching to something a little more refined -- something that takes more effort than just throwing it out when you're done with it.

Cartridge razors  are not only convenient, but they're reasonably priced and give a pretty good shave. The next step up, a safety razor , may not be quite as convenient, but the quality of the shave plus a low overall cost and durability make be worth it.

As for a brush , should you do decide to invest in one, you can be sure that it will last a lifetime. Feel free to indulge on something you'll enjoy everyday for the rest of your shaving life or hope that someone gets you a nice one as a gift.

Shaving Brushes

So you want to look hip and use a brush and a safety razor to shave with. Excellent choice, sir. When looking for brushes, the main thing to remember is that the brushes should be 100% badger hair. If you can't afford a badger hair brush , then boar's hair brush  is the nest best thing. Beyond these animal derived brushes, there are synthetics, which you shouldn't even bother with since they don't do a great job.

For badger brushes choose from one of three grades (in descending order of quality and price): Super ,Silvertip ,Best  and Pure . A brush will typically cost you from $20-$80 depending on the brand and the level of badger you choose. Of course boar is less expensive, as are synthetics. However, when you consider that a brush can last you for years on end, the price becomes less of an issue.

Finally, if you want to get a brush, you will also need the proper accessories, including a shave mug  and a brush stand .

Which brands are best? For an entry level brush, FHM recommends the inexpensive Men-U Barbiere Pure Bristle Brush .Muehle-Pinsel  and Concord  also make inexpensive brushes. Also try Simpson Wee Scot  and Vulfix .