questionswhat is a good beginner's safety razor and blades?

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i've got one of the merkurs and i like it a lot. as far as blades go, i've only used a couple brands, but feather's have treated my face nicely. i really like the switch, the first few shaves i got a couple of very small cuts, but since then i haven't had any issues. i actually somewhat look forward to shaving now, whereas i used to dread it. just take your time the first week or so using one.

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I got those exact razor blades for my boyfriend a while back. He's been very impressed by them and the box is big enough that the supply will last for many years to come. That being said, it may not be the best buy if you're iffy on trying them.

The guy who owns the website www.shave-like-a-man.com actually posts a lot of deals on the sellout page, and he offers smaller size packages of blades (as I'm sure many other websites do as well, I've just seen his deals quite often and he seems to have good customer service, which makes a huge difference when I'm buying online), and a few different types, if you want to test them out before committing to one brand.

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I've heard good things about the cheap LORD safety razors, but haven't used one.

The Parker, Weishi, Jagger & Merkur all seem to be quality products, but they start in the high $20s and go up.

Don't buy too many of one blade yet. A sampler pack would be a good choice, as there really are differences between the blades. Make sure your sampler comes with blades that you can find in quantity.

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I am also new to double edge safety razors, and after reading the excellent forum www.badgerandblade.com for several days, as well as artofmanliness.com and talking with my friends who shave with DE razors, here's what I ordered:

Lord LP1822L razor
7 O'clock (Gillette) yellow box blades
Astra Superior Platinum blades
Shark Super Stainless blades
Arko shave stick
Van Der Hagen Luxury shave kit (found at Target for about $19, here are the details: http://www.target.com/p/VAN-DERHAGEN-LUXURY-4PC-SHAVE-SET/-/A-13992942#?lnk=sc_qi_detaillink)

I already have a badger hair brush which I have used for many years, but I'm going to try to pack-in that came with the Van Der Hagen set starting this morning.

I almost bought the Edwin Jagger De89bl or the Merkur Model 180 but decided on the Lord to try something different (I write a lot of reviews on my blog, and the Badger and Blade forum liked the Lord).

(continued)

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Some important things I learned in my research:

1) Pre-shave prep is a very important step, takes a lot more time than you may be used to with cartridge shaving, and can be done with any number of products.

2) The angle of the blade (not necessarily the handle) is super important.

3) Don't apply pressure when shaving. This will be a big deal for me.

4) Different blades are better for different faces, so it's important to try different ones over time. For example, the Feather blade is considered one of the sharpest blades made, but unless you have really thick, coarse beard hair it may be overkill for you and cause irritations and nicks.

5) When starting out, try to only change one thing at a time, such as the oil, soap, blade, handle, aftershave, etc.

Good luck, my stuff arrives on Thursday but I've already started "practicing" by shaving with my cartridge razor as I would with a DE.

[edit] my pal uses and loves his Merkur handle and blades.

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Thanks for all the input!

I think I am going to try that Lord safety razor.

Should I start with the astra or shark blades do you think? Does it matter that the shark blades are only 1/2? I guess that just means you change blades sooner.

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@portezbie: Not sure what you mean by '1/2'. The Shark blades that came with my Parker were good. I have since got a sampler pack, and have tried all but the Feathers. The Sharks for me are equal to any of the others I've tried. The Gillette blades were just wrong. YMMV

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Sorry, I believe the amazon description said the shark blades were single sided? Or did I read that wrong?

Btw, I just shaved for the first time with my new lord safety razor and the lord blade that came with it. It was great! Surprised what all the fuss was about. I watched a quick video on safety razor shaving tips, and just took my time. Got a nice fairly smooth shave, probably closer than with my old razor, with only one small cut on my neck. I assume I'll get better with time too.

Woo!