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it is. You have to be careful of the corners as they will cut the fuck out of you but any decent razor will have a little guard at the edges. Most have a turn to open at the top so if you clog your blade you just twist till its loose, rinse clean, and tighten and continue to shave. Here's mine, [link]
The Feather Popular is widely considered one of the mildest razors. To the point that people often complain of it being too mild.
With your goals I'd also look into Schick injectors. They don't make them anymore but your can get the blades on Amazon and there are tonnes of vintage ones on eBay. If you search around for threads about them you'll see that the later models are very mild and people report them as being a less close shave but one of the easiest to use and one of the hardest to cut yourself with. They're also easier to learn than DE.
Feather popular on amazon. $12. With a personna blade, I get a mild, smooth shave.
OR Merkur 23C if you are willing to give 3 piece razors a chance!
Here's the one I recommend. It's very cheap, works better than the metal one I had before it, it's very safe (you can't catch the edge of the blade and cut yourself while shaving, and when you tighten the top all the way the blade doesn't stick out too far), it's a very familiar feel compared to your standard disposable razors and really nice quality for something made of plastic. Even though it's cheap, it feels like they used the materials because they're the right ones for the job, not just the cheapest they could find.
If you just want one to try it out, take a look at this:
It's not BIFL, but it does a great job, and it's a bit less money to risk...if you get that and like it, then you can invest in a better one
I have a Van Der Hagen and it's not bad. Maybe mine was a quality control exception, but the alignment and finish are perfect. It's got decent heft to it, but personally I like a lighter razor. The blades it comes with are crap though.
But my favorite sub-$20 razor is from Feather. Sure it's plastic, but it's some sort of magical plastic that feels like powder coated metal, is indestructible, but is light as a, well..., Feather. It's definitely the better shave than the VDH, I prefer the Feather's blade angle.
Old fashioned safety razors.
Feather safety razor: https://www.amazon.com/Feather-Double-Edge-Shaving-Razor/dp/B003YJ70NY/ ($15, never needs replacement)
Feather razor blades: https://www.amazon.com/Feather-Double-Edge-Blades-Count/dp/B00AGG3MNU/ ($0.25 each @ 50ct, replace every so often.)
Works way better than a Gillette, isn't designed to be thrown out every few weeks. Just swap out the blade every so often and you're golden.
and Amazon US.
Feather. Under $20 CDN
First of all, no reason at all to be scared or worried about using a DE. It's ALL just hype from the shaving companies who want us to pay several $$ for each of their shaving heads.
I've been shaving using DEs and other alternative shavers for years now. I wouldn't even consider standard western razors at all. I don't use any sort of brush to make a lather. I use just whatever soap I have around - either castile soap or bar soap. Nothing more. I only ever nick myself when I'm going super fast (and I do typically shave fast - can't be bothered to go slow at this point) but I do the same with "regular" razors, too. Seriously, there's nothing to worry about. Bikini line is fine, too. Just go slow and get used to the angles. Under arms are a breeze. You'll likely need to shave from multiple angles (at least I do with any razor).
For travel (at least on airlines) you can't bring the DE razors with you (you can bring the razor itself, just not the refills). You can buy more when you arrive (more places like Target are selling DE refills). You can also check out the Gillette Guard which is sold in developing countries. It's a single blade cartridge which gives a DE like shave but it fine for travel. You can grab them on eBay, sometimes on Amazon. They are shipped from India. I love those, too. They are great. They last me months for one head. I probably should replace more often.
As far as which DE razor, most any will work. I've used a few different brands. I wouldn't recommend one that's described as angled, as these are little more aggressive and just a touch trickier to get used to whereas the normal DEs are a very easy switch. One of my favorites is the Feather razor. This one: [link]. I've had it for nearly 9 years now and it's still in perfect condition. The Feather razor blades are amongst the most sharp and they do an amazing job. But what I love most is the butterfly action of the razor that makes it much faster and easier to switch out blades. The other styles are more fiddly as they have multiple parts that are taken apart and put back together. Either is fine, I just really like the butterfly style myself. I also feel that the price of the Feather is great for what you get. I think it does as well as razors many times its price. It has a really nice balance and it's light weight. Mine is stored in my shower hanging up and after almost 9 years shows no signs at all of wear, rust, etc. Looks like it did the day I took it out of the package.
Most of all, just go for it. You'll be absolutely fine. I'm actually angry that the disposable razor brands and their marketing act like people are all idiots and will instantly slice themselves to pieces making horrible scars if we even hold a DE razor. People have used them for more than 100 years and haven't had any issues. This is a simple way of dumbing down our abilities while making their corporations piles of money. You'll love DE shaving.
A Feather Popular for $12 on Amazon.
Vintage alternatives are Gillette Knacks, Slim Twists, Superspeeds or adjustables like the Slim.
To answer your question, I would strongly recommend safety razors which use double-edge (DE) blades. I too don't shave much and this was by far the best option for me economically and environmentally. I also transitioned away from Gillette on principle. What a disgusting ad! And what a delight to see the company suffer an $8-billion loss. Karma bitches!
Going back on topic, I started out with a cheap plastic beginner razor made by Feather. It is $20.99 at Amazon AU at the moment so it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
It comes with Feather 2 blades. Just make sure you watch YouTube videos and read about wet shaving for beginners. Join r/WickedEdge for some good advice. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time when you start out and don't rush. It's totally different to 'normal' cartridge shaving and it's infinitely better. Good luck mate!
As you can see, you're not alone. I also choose to boycott Gillette on principle. I've got nothing against Schick. They released a funny ad in response to the Gillette one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=60&v=RF-iYC5W6Mo
But I want to recommend you try double edge safety razors as many have done here. Feather have a plastic razor that comes with 2 blades and it's only $13.49 on Amazon so it's a cheap way to try wet shaving: https://www.amazon.com/Feather-Double-Edge-Shaving-Razor/dp/B003YJ70NY/
If you continue with safety razors in future just be aware that Gillette also make safety razors and blades. They also own other companies that make blades such as Astra. There is some confusion about Wilkinson Sword blades. I wish someone could clear that up.
Shave before you go to bed. Also, make sure that you are using a good razor. I use Cremo shave creme and a fairly inexpensive razor from Feather that is amazing(and inexpensive) that I learned about after reading an article about the 6 best safety razors that you can buy(this one wasn't in the list, but the user recommended it for those who couldn't afford the Feather razor that was in the list.)
Try Feather Razor, it is a very good razor for beginners. It was my first too.
Here's what I suggest:
Feather Popular razor
Mitchell's wool fat soap
Razorock synthetic brush
Don't use that overpriced crap. I use this: [link] and get yourself one of these: [link]
and you're pretty much set for life.
Do not get any of that stuff. If you HAVE to go Amazon and have up to $50.00 see my links below.
Feather Popular - [link]
Satin Tip the Purest Syth shaving brush - [link]
Cella shaving cream bowl - [link]
Then buy Aqua Velva or Nivea Post shave balm at a drug store to clock you in right at 50 bucks or a couple of dollars over.
To be clear, while I love the high end Feather AS-D2, I am not overly thrilled about the budget Feather Popular. Still, it is $15.00 and I think better than any of the other razors you linked to, so i went ahead and listed it. The brush and shaving cream are solid and reputable budget picks though from what I have seen.
That should get you up and running but really you should buy a Maggards or Stirling kit if you can swing it. You get way more bang for the buck.
It wasn't anything too pricey, just a feather handle and van der hagen cup and brush. Enough to get him started and to see if he liked it.
Feather Double Edge Shaving Razor
Van Der Hagen Men's Luxury, Shave Set
I frequent /r/wicked_edge. if you're just looking to break into wet shaving, I would look at something like this. I have this razor, along with far too many others for my wife's liking. it provides a very good shave, and is quite affordable. The Astra blades you linked are a good price, but the same blade doesn't yield the same result for everyone, so you might want to stat with a blade sampler pack and see which blade feels best on your face. When it comes to brushes, the sky really is the limit, I like big, thick hair knots on my brush, others like them a little floppy(ok, that sounds slightly dirty) anything in badger should do you fine to start out.
So if I want to use a DE, should I go with a standard razor holder over the shavette?
If scout around, several manufacturers will send you samples if you ask; particularly ones that depend on word of mouth. Lots of them may be too expensive for you to buy in full size right now, but it will show you the range of things that are out there.
p.s. get a stick of Arko for $5 and also look at this as intro to Feather blades. [link]
Edit: don't know if they still do it, but Gentlemans Refinery sent me some nice samples awhile ago. [link]
RazoRock also has some nice soaps in the $ 10-15 range. A couple bucks more gets you Taylor of Old Bond Street soaps on Amazon. Either would easily last you 6 months.
How much time does he have in the mornings? I was in the service, and the routine that I use is great, but for the fact that it's more of a 20 minute routine vice a 5 minute routine. DE shaving doesn't fit with the shit-shower-shave in five minutes mentality that the military drills into people.
Warning I am a Feather Fan Boy
I too have the super thick beard thou', and with a good shave, it lasts me about a day and a half, so there's definitely a better return if he's burning through cartridges as fast as you say he is.
For the least expensive start, Feather has a plastic DE Safety Razor. I mention it because it's something he can throw in a kit bag and not worry about getting lost or stolen.
Personally, nothing has come as close as my Feather Shavette. The damned thing is sharp as hell, and will fucking cut you for tiny hand tremors if you don't respect it - though you won't feel yourself bleeding either due to it going clean through any nerve endings, so at least you'll have that going for you, which is nice.
That being said, if you just want something that can breeze through a beard, it does the trick in fewer passes than a DE or traditional straight razor.
I have this one...
This is a decent razor to try with plenty of good reviews.
Astra blades are decent, Derby blades are very mild. The Feather blades which come with this will be very sharp, so you can alternate and experiment.
We have graphs and info showing the comparative sharpness of different blades here. That might help guide you. You'll want to order a sampler pack of blades to try out, also, so an amazon search for "DE blade sample pack" pulls up many results. Pick one with a fair amount of variety and enjoy the experiment!
I live lets say in the middle of nowhere so my best option is [link]
to avoid crazy shipping fees. Any idea if it is good? Im new to DE shaving so i want to try it out first and if i like it, ill invest in a more expensive razor
I could use this since I can't get a close shave with the dollar store disposables I have, but can't really afford it since all my money is going towards college tuition. It would be useful so I can get a much cleaner look for my internship interviews.
I have just introduced myself to DE shaving and my o my what I have been missing..Been using those 190410481481 bladed fusion razors for most of my young life...-____-
Now let me make your life easier my good sir by providing you This. For the price, you CANNOT beat the quality of this handle and blade. From what I've read up on, Feather blades are top of the line, being made by the same people who use to construct the steel of the samurai swords. So yea man try that out, cause it fucking works. Didn't cut myself once on my first time shaving with a de using that blade. Went against the grain and everything...I am still MINDBLOWN at how smooth my face is.